Treating sleep disorders naturally

Schlafstörungen natürlich behandeln

Around 40 percent of the German population say they suffer from sleep disorders. The reason is often stress, as well as family, financial or professional worries and problems. This can put a lot of strain on everyday life and lead to serious consequences. Good and sufficient sleep is very important for a balanced physical and mental state: if you want to live a healthy life, you also need to sleep well.

But why do we need to sleep at all? And what happens during our sleep phases? This guide explains everything about sleep and also focuses on sleep disorders, where they come from, and which natural remedies can be used to combat them.

The sleep

We spend a lot of our lives sleeping. A person spends about a third of their life sleeping. But why do we need to sleep at all? The reason for this is to ensure that the cells regenerate sufficiently so that they can perform at their full potential during the day. New cells are also formed at the same time. Good sleep is important for our memory and immune system. This is why poor sleep can have a negative impact on our health.

How long do we have to sleep?

The amount of sleep required varies from person to person. Some people need more sleep to be productive, while others only need a few hours. The amount of sleep required also changes over the course of a person's life. Children need around ten to twelve hours of sleep, while adults can get by on an average of seven to eight hours. Seniors need a little less sleep, which is also due to the fact that their sleep quality decreases. However, they often make up for this with a nap. The general average amount of sleep in Germany is seven hours and 14 minutes.

Sleep phases

Our sleep is made up of several different sleep phases that alternate like a cycle within a night. Our body and brain are also in different states:

  • Falling asleep phase : In the first phase of sleep, the body is in a state of transition between being awake and sleeping. Muscles and body relax and breathing becomes more regular. The phase can last between five and 30 minutes.
  • Light sleep : In the light sleep phase, the muscles relax more and more, breathing becomes more regular, and the heart rate and pulse rate slow down. In this phase, you can still be woken up quite easily.
  • Deep sleep : In deep sleep, you cannot be woken up so easily. All body functions are shut down. Blood pressure and body temperature drop. Our immune system is particularly active during this phase. Cells are renewed and repaired.
  • Dream sleep or REM sleep: The brain is very active in this phase of sleep, and it is very difficult to wake it up. Our body, on the other hand, is totally relaxed. This is why this phase is also called the paradoxical sleep phase. In addition, rapid eye movements can be heard during REM sleep (REM = Rapid Eye Movement) while we dream. REM sleep seems to serve primarily to relax the nervous system and the psyche.

For a restful sleep, all phases must be completed several times per night. A complete sleep cycle with all sleep phases lasts 70 to 110 minutes. The REM sleep phases lengthen over the course of a night by up to an hour, while the deep sleep phases become shorter. We wake up several times per hour, but in most cases we cannot remember it.

sleep disorders

Sleep disorders are a widespread phenomenon that affects many people. There are a variety of different reasons that can cause problems with sleep:

Causes:

  • Mental illnesses: depression, psychosis, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, etc.
  • Physical illnesses: pain syndromes, thyroid diseases, cardiovascular disorders, kidney diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, rheumatism, cancer, respiratory diseases, brain diseases and damage
  • Irregular sleep-wake rhythm due to night and shift work or frequent time zone changes when traveling by plane
  • Certain medications
  • Alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, illegal drugs
  • Sudden stress: stressful life events, long-lasting stressful situations

Symptoms

The following symptoms may indicate that you are suffering from sleep disorders. The symptoms are particularly noticeable during the day when you are awake and can severely restrict your everyday life.

  • exhaustion
  • fatigue
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Inner unrest
  • Tension
  • Limited performance
  • Mood swings
  • irritability
  • Concentration problems

Sleep medicine specialists equate the effects of severe sleep deprivation with those of being drunk or having a wild night of partying. If you sleep less than six hours a night in a row, the condition can be compared to having a blood alcohol level of one per mille.

The long-term consequences of sleep disorders can also be serious. While the immune system, metabolism, brain and heart are affected, the risk of cancer, diabetes and dementia also increases.

Natural treatment

Particularly mild sleep disorders can be treated well. Natural and herbal remedies are particularly suitable for this. They have a calming effect and usually also combat stress symptoms such as inner restlessness or heart palpitations, which are often associated with sleep disorders.

L-tryptophan

L-tryptophan is an essential aromatic amino acid that is biotransformed in the central nervous system into the neurotransmitter serotonin and the sleep hormone melatonin. Serotonin influences sleep and mood. Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake rhythm. The body cannot produce it itself, which is why it must be taken in through food. The interaction of the substances can enable better sleep.

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Ashwagandha

For thousands of years, Ashwagandha has been known in the Ayurvedic tradition for its valuable ingredients and its good tolerability. Along with the Indian ginseng and winter cherry, it is also called "Indian ginseng" and is comparable to the importance of ginseng in Chinese medicine. The plant is valued for its use as an adaptogen, which means it can counteract stress in the body. Studies have shown that the Indian ginseng keeps cortisol levels in our bodies low. A low cortisol level is important so that sufficient amounts of the sleep hormone melatonin are produced in the evening. In addition, a low cortisol level in the evening and at night ensures that your deep sleep phases are particularly restful and are not disturbed by an early rise in cortisol.

Now to the FürstenMED Ashwagandha capsules [CLICK HERE] .

magnesium

Magnesium is a so-called essential nutrient. This means that magnesium is vital for the body, but our organism cannot produce it itself. More than 300 metabolic processes are dependent on magnesium. Studies have shown that magnesium can have a positive effect on sleep quality. The mineral inhibits the release of stress hormones, which is beneficial for good sleep. It is also called the salt of inner peace and ensures relaxed nerves and muscles.

Check out our FürstenMED Magnesium Tri-Complex with the best magnesium compounds [CLICK HERE] .

valerian

Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis L.) contains many substances that are said to be effective against sleep disorders. The active ingredients can interact with neurotransmitters in the brain and thus improve sleep quality. Valerian is often recommended, especially for mild sleep disorders, and can also be combined with other effective medicinal plants such as lemon balm, passion flower or hops.

meditation

Studies have already clearly shown that meditation can improve sleep. It can also reduce daytime fatigue. Stress and anxiety are combated, so that some studies have shown similar effects to those of medication.

Mindfulness exercises have proven particularly successful in meditation. These are exercises that train conscious living. Most variations can be easily integrated into everyday life, as no special tools are required. Ultimately, the goal is to be more aware of the "here and now" and to accept what "is" while neither judging nor avoiding feelings and thoughts.

Good sleep hygiene

If you frequently suffer from sleep disorders, you can try to improve your sleep through healthy sleep hygiene. The following points should be taken into account:

  1. Maintaining a regular sleep rhythm (including on weekends).
  2. Make sure that the room temperature is not too hot (18 degrees is optimal).
  3. If possible, remove all disturbing sources of light and noise from the bedroom.
  4. Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine in the evening.
  5. Do not watch television or work on the computer/mobile phone in the last hour before going to bed.
  6. Do not take a nap that lasts longer than 30 minutes.
  7. In case of acute sleep problems: desperate attempts to fall asleep are not helpful, try to distract yourself, for example by reading or ironing.

Caution! Be careful with sleeping pills. Unfortunately, they are often prescribed too quickly and too often. After just a few weeks, the risk of addiction is very high. Serious side effects can develop.

Conclusion

Sleep is therefore of great importance for our well-being and our health. When we sleep well, we feel better. Conversely, this also means that our quality of life can be negatively affected by poor sleep. Nowadays, almost half of the German population regularly suffers from sleep disorders. Pressure and constant stress play a major role in this.

To counteract this problem, you should not immediately resort to medication, as this is often highly addictive. However, there are many natural methods and medicinal plants that can improve sleep as a first step:

  • L-tryptophan
  • Ashwagandha
  • magnesium
  • valerian
  • meditation
  • Healthy sleep hygiene

Important: This guide is intended as a source of information only. Always consult your doctor if you have acute problems. Under no circumstances should you change the dosage of your medication or stop taking it yourself.

Sources

1. Salve J, Pate S, Debnath K, Langade D, Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study, Cureus. 2019 Dec 25;11(12):e6466. doi: 10.7759/cureus.646

2. Palego, L., Betti, L., Rossi, A., & Giannaccini, G. (2016). Tryptophan biochemistry: structural, nutritional, metabolic, and medical aspects in humans. Journal of amino acids, 2016, 8952520. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/8952520

3. Etienne Pouteau et al. Superiority of magnesium and vitamin B6 over magnesium alone on severe stress in healthy adults with low magnesia; A randomized, single-blind clinical trial. PLoSOne 2018

4. Prof. Dr. E. Rüther, Göttingen, Priv.-Doz. Dr. S. Volk, Frankfurt, Dr. Morgenstern, Berlin, Dr. A. Rhodenbeck, Göttingen, Dr. G. Ziegler, Stuttgart; Press conference: " Natural sleep - what does that mean?" Munich, March 13, 1998, organized by Lichtwer Pharma GmbH, Berlin. Dr. Beate Fessler, Munich

5. Gaßmann, DR, Bartsch, G., & Krepp, J. (2016). Addiction Yearbook 2016. German Central Office for Addiction Issues.

6. Müller, T. (2015). Meditating – counting sheep for advanced practitioners. DoctorsNewspaper .


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