Insomnia? Find out the natural remedies for a better sleep

13 March, 2020

Human beings spend up to a third of their lives sleeping.

Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality have a strong negative impact on our health, both in the long and short term.

Over the past decade, sleep disorders have grown considerably. Insomnia constitutes a global problem that threatens health and quality of life for 45% of the world’s population.

Latest data from scientific research suggest not to underestimate this pathology. Poor quality sleep or sleep deprivation itself has been associated with significant health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems and even some cancers. In support of these statements, studies show that the mortality rate of patients with insomnia is three times higher than that of people with regular night rest and sleep pattern.

Insomnia: what is it?

Insomnia is a pathology that involves a condition of dissatisfaction with the quantity or quality of sleep. Usually, it is a phenomenon resulting from bad habits and incorrect lifestyles.

It can manifest itself as:

  • Difficulty falling asleep.
  • Difficulty maintaining sleep (frequent awakenings in the middle of the night).
  • Early awakenings in the morning.

Sometimes it can be characterized by the union and alternation of these events.

On the other hand, the three elements that characterize a good quality sleep are:

  • Duration: the duration of sleep should be sufficient to allow the person to be rested and alert on the following day.
  • Continuity: you should stay asleep fluidly and without fragmentation.
  • Depth: sleep should be deep enough to be restorative.

How to understand if you suffer from insomnia

The diagnosis of insomnia is made taking into account different factors and different symptoms. The minimum conditions to understand if a person suffers or has a significant degree of insomnia are:

  • The time to fall asleep the first time and after a night awakening is equal to or greater than 30 minutes.
  • The frequency of events such as difficulty falling asleep or frequent nighttime awakenings are greater than 3 times a week.
  • The duration of the condition lasts for more than 6 months.

Insomnia can extend its repercussions and have side effects even outside the sleep period, altering the waking state. Those who suffer from it complain of sleepiness during the day and a deterioration in their working skills.

Insomnia: the causes

The causes that lead to insomnia can be many and varied. This particular condition affects a wide spectrum of factors related to the social status of the person, and for this reason it is difficult to frame a single cause. The most frequent causes, however, are:

  • Chronic stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Diseases and physical pain
  • Menopause
  • Thyroid hyperactivity
  • Environmental factors
  • Taking medications
  • Incorrect lifestyle and diet
  • Jet lag

In addition, psychosocial factors, such as the working environment, the use of drugs or exciting substances, allergies and particular conditions such as snoring or the presence of sleep apnea are to be taken into consideration.

Natural remedies to help you sleep

To facilitate sleep, it is important to relax and therefore try to remove all those phenomena that can cause a stressful event.

The World Sleep Society has drawn up a decalogue of advice to improve sleep quality.

  1. Set a regular time to go to sleep and to wake up. Try to preserve regular circadian rhythms.
  2. If you have the habit of taking a nap during the day, do not exceed 45 minutes.
  3. Avoid excessive alcohol intake 4 hours before going to bed, and do not smoke.
  4. Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea and many drinks, in addition to chocolate.
  5. Avoid heavy, spicy or sugary foods 4 hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed is acceptable.
  6. Exercise regularly, but not before bedtime.
  7. Use a comfortable bed.
  8. Find a comfortable sleeping temperature and keep the room well ventilated.
  9. Block out all the noises that might distract you and eliminate as much light as possible.
  10. Reserve the bed only for sleeping. Do not use the bed for work or recreational activities.

As for the diet, it is very important to eat an adequate dinner before bedtime, preferably before 9:00 pm. A meal based on whole grains, lean proteins and vegetables is preferable. Avoid bingeing on foods that slow down digestion such as cheese, fatty foods and fried foods. Almonds and walnuts are ideal foods because they are like natural melatonin supplements, improving the sleep-wake rhythm.

To help you find physical and mental relaxation, it is recommended to do some activities in the evening. Yoga, meditation or other relaxation techniques promote the slowing of the heartbeat, loosen muscle tension and are indicated in case of anxiety and disorders sleep, such as insomnia. Simpler actions can be a warm bath with relaxing salts and essential oils.

To reconcile sleep, it is good to avoid watching television until late in the evening, as well as being on the computer or watching the smartphone continuously. The blue light and the electromagnetic waves of these devices disturb the brain waves, altering sleep. This is also why it is better not to keep your smartphone on the bedside table during the night. As an alternative to late TV, we recommend reading a good book, an excellent way to balance sleep.

Six natural remedies for insomnia

Nature provides us with a wide range of plants with relaxing properties, which induce sleep and help maintain it. They represent the natural alternative to pharmaceutical sleeping pills or drops. Many of the plants and herbs that will be described below are mainly consumed as infusions, herbal teas or phytotherapy compounds.

The main natural remedies to fight insomnia, therefore, are:

  1. Lemon balm: a plant with a well-known sedative and anxiolytic properties; it works at the level of the central nervous system and has a hypotensive action on the cardiovascular system. The leaves of the plant, rich in essential oil, have calming effects on anxiety states, and relaxing for the muscles.
  2. Linden: it has sedative action on the central nervous system. It helps relieve tension, calms nervousness and headaches, promoting sleep.
  3. Hawthorn: it also has a sedative effect on the nervous system and also acts as an antispasmodic. The hypotensive action on the cardiovascular system is useful in case of insomnia, especially in very nervous patients, in whom it reduces emotionality, tachycardia, palpitations, agitation and anguish.
  4. Valerian: relaxes and helps reduce the time needed to fall asleep; improves sleep quality and is therefore indicated in all sleep-related disorders, such as insomnia and anxiety.
  5. Chamomile: it is used for its relaxing effect as it has anxiolytic and antidepressant activity. Beware of doses! Beyond a certain concentration, it has the opposite effect.
  6. Passionflower: the properties of passionflower are essentially sedative and anxiolytic, and they make the plant an extremely effective remedy in fighting insomnia, because it stimulates physiological sleep without nighttime awakenings.

Another solution to assist falling asleep is represented by the use of essential oils based on calming plants to add to the water of a room diffuser. The most commonly used oils are those of lavender oil, jasmine oil, marjoram oil and rose oil.

Nature and science together to fight sleep disturbances

PromoPharma researchers have created Aminovita Plus Sleep and Relax, an innovative food supplement based on plant and active amino acids of natural origin to counteract insomnia and related symptoms.

Aminovita Plus Sleep and Relax, contains specific components that can help the body relax and reduce stress.

It is particularly active:

  • in subjects who must realign the sleep-wake cycle (e.g. travelers, workers on night shifts);
  • in times of severe stress.

Completely vegetable, Aminovita Plus Sleep and Relax, is based on Relaxcomplex, a complex of vegetable amino acids made up of Glycine and Tryptophan that perform a specific relaxing action.

Glycine is involved in neuronal activity, exerts a calming effect on the central nervous system and induces relaxation. In particular, glycine helps the body to produce serotonin, a hormone that has significant effects on sleep and mood.

Tryptophan is the starting point for the synthesis of serotonin. Serotonin acts on several organs, including the brain and intestines. Specifically it affects sleep, cognition and mood.

To enhance and improve its effectiveness, the product formulation is enriched with Passionflower and Chamomile, useful for relaxation and mental well-being.

We recommend taking 1 stick pack per day, to be dissolved directly in the mouth.

  • For a RELAX action: take 1 stick pack in the morning before breakfast.
  • For action on SLEEP: take 1 stick pack in the evening before bed.
  • For a double action on SLEEP and RELAX (in times of high stress): take 1 stick pack in the morning and 1 stick pack in the evening.
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