The first part of the story spoke in detail about the ways peri-menopause and menopausal women can deal with Insomnia. In this second part, we will look at some sleeping remedies in detail that you can take to relieve you of insomnia and get a good night’s sleep.
Top Natural Sleeping Remedies
Natural sleeping remedies can be of great benefit to anybody who has trouble getting to sleep at night but does not want to take regular sleeping pills. Since most women in peri-menopause and menopause are dealing with night sweats/hot flashes, or hormonal changes that are disrupting sleep, let’s look at options for both. Hormone replacement, as mentioned is one option, but there are other options that might help you as well.
Night Sweats and Hot Flashes
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Valerian is an herb traditionally used as a remedy for insomnia. It is not known exactly how it works but it is thought to have a similar effect to some prescription sleep medications. It is not addictive but it is better not to take it for more than 3 months at a time.
You can take it either as tea or in capsule form. Tea is more traditional but it is harder to get an accurate dose that way and many people do not like the taste, so capsules are more popular.
Although some people find valerian helpful immediately, others have to take it every night for a couple of weeks before it begins to have an effect. This is not always convenient because it is important not to take valerian if you have been drinking alcohol, if you are pregnant or nursing, before or after surgery, or if you have liver disease. Common dosage is 600 mg.
Some people experience mild side effects including headaches, indigestion and dizziness. If you suffer from these then you probably will not want to take valerian on a regular basis, but there are still some other natural sleeping remedies that may suit you.
Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body. When the end of the day comes and darkness falls, our body converts serotonin into melatonin to help us fall asleep. Melatonin supplements are therefore often used by people seeking natural sleeping remedies, especially in cases where the body clock has been thrown out by something like shift work, jet lag or hormonal changes.
Some studies have concluded that melatonin should not be taken by people with schizophrenia, depression or autoimmune diseases (e.g. lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and many more). In these cases you might want to consider other natural sleeping remedies. For best results take 30-60 minutes before bed. Common dosage is 1-5 mg.
5-Hydroxytryptophan or 5HTP is a natural amino acid that is involved in the production of serotonin, one of the body’s ‘happy chemicals’ that helps us to relax, among other things. It is one of the most often mentioned natural sleeping remedies.
Studies have shown that 5HTP can be effective as an antidepressant, appetite suppressant and sleep aid. It may also help reduce anxiety.
If you take 5HTP for insomnia, the best time to take it is in the evening, about 30-60 minutes before you go to bed. You can take it on an empty stomach. A dose of 50-100 mg should be enough.
No serious side effects have been established so far but you should consult with your health practitioner before taking 5HTP, especially if you are taking other medications. 5HTP should not be combined with antidepressant drugs that are involved in serotonin production.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Studies indicate that it promotes positive mood, supports relaxation and moderates occasional stress.
A recent study indicates that GABA also enhances alpha wave production in the brain to promote relaxation and moderate occasional stress. In the same study, it supported healthy IgA levels, suggesting that it may support immune health during occasional stress. GABA can help calm racing thoughts and axiety you might have at night. Common dosage is 500-1,000 mg.
5. Passion Flower Tea
Passion Flower is a medicinal herb that acts as a mild sedative, helps calm the nerves that can allow you to relax and fall asleep.
6. Lavender Essential Oil
Can aid relaxation, anxiety and ultimately help with sleep. This can either be put in a diffuser at your bedside or put a few drops on the bottom of your feet.
There are some herbal remedies that will combine Valerian, Melatonin, 5HTP, GABA, Passion Flower and other herbs. This is certainly an option as well. Always look for a high quality product. Here is one that combines many of these elements: Best-Rest Formula.
As with most other supplements, pregnant and nursing women and anybody with health issues should consult with their health care provider before taking natural sleeping remedies.
Hope this help you to a better night’s sleep and helps you maintain your sanity. If you want to learn more about surviving the hormonal roller coaster, listen to the Cool Cami radio show. It is all about Menopause. You can also check out my latest online course, “Hormonal Roller Coaster”. Trust me, I know about this subject, because I have lived it. I also have helped and treated many women going through menopause.