General Health Information
A sleepless night or two is not uncommon. But when sleeplessness turns into chronic insomnia, it can be detrimental to health. Such conditions as headaches, irritability, lethargy, depression, anxiety, mental confusion, and even immune deficiencies can occur. Insomnia refers to any sleeping difficulty, including difficulty falling asleep as well as difficulty staying asleep. It also includes sleep that is restless instead of refreshing.
Insomnia is often caused by brain chemistry imbalances or psychological factors such as depression, tension, and anxiety. Herbal and nutritional supplements that aid in balancing brain chemistry and calming the nervous system may be helpful for promoting restful sleep. These supplements include valerian, passiflora, hops, lemon balm, skullcap, chamomile, melatonin, and 5-HTP. St. Johns wort may be beneficial in some cases were depressed mood is a contributing factor. Nutritional factors play a key role in the proper formation and balance of the brains neurotransmitters as well as for proper balance and function of the body. Therefore, supplementing with daily vitamins and minerals, plus antioxidants and essential fatty acids may be helpful in keeping both the body and brain in good balance.
Medications, medical conditions, lifestyle, and various kinds of food or drink may also play a factor in sleeplessness. A balanced diet can help to avoid hypoglycemia, which may be a factor in some cases of insomnia. Avoid excessive alcohol intake, tobacco, caffeine, and sugar because they are mood-altering and stimulants. Exercise is also important for good restful sleep because it helps the body to produce endorphins, natural chemicals that can aid in an overall sense of well being. Exercise is also a helpful stress-management tool along with meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques to help promote restful sleep.
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Additional Information on Insomnia