This article is free of opinion and bias, and is based solely on medical science. No medical advice is offered herein on the part of the author. All listed theories and facts within this article are fully-attributed to leading medical experts and organizations, including Charlene Gamaldo, M.D. (medical director of John Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital), Jon Johnson for Medical News Today (medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD), WebMD.com (medically reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, M.D.), and Alina Petre, MS, RD (NL) and Alan Carter, Pharm. D. for Healthline.com.
For further perspective, I am a former mental health professional with training in Psychology. Though I left the field to become a full-time writer, I have continued my studies in the mental health realm. As stress has long been considered a culprit for sleep disorders, we will also explore the role of mental health in this matter. See here for Medical News Today’s “How to Tell if Stress is Affecting Your Sleep.”
Sleep Disorders and Natural Treatments
According to John Hopkins Medical, over 60 million Americans suffer from poor sleep quality. See here for “Natural Sleep Aids: Home Remedies to Help You Sleep.” U.S. physicians have recognized many of those who suffer prefer not to take prescribed medication, and instead seek natural treatments.
In their article, John Hopkins Medical recognizes five treatments considered particularly effective:
- Drinking Warm Milk, Chamomile Tea, or Tart Cherry Juice Before Sleep. Hopkins Medical further recommends that those with sleep disorders refrain from alcohol.
- Physical Exercise. Quoting from the article: Physical activity can improve sleep, though researchers aren’t completely sure why. It’s known that moderate aerobic exercise boosts the amount of nourishing slow wave (deep) sleep you get. It is further advised not to work out two hours before bedtime.
- Melatonin Supplments. The hormone has been long recommended for sleep disorders, due to mimicking a naturally-released brain hormone that is released four hours before one feels a sense of sleepiness.
- Staying Cool. Hopkins Medical recommends a room temperature between 65 and 72 degrees.
- Going Dark. Turn off all lights, including the television, once you turn in for the evening.
Other natural remedies said to be effective said to be effective in combating sleep disorders include the following:
- Managing Stress. Admittedly, this is frequently easier said than done. According to WebMD.com’s “The Effects of Stress on Your Body,” one’s day-to-day emotional stressors can impact not only sleep, but one’s natural functioning of body organs such as the heart. Meditation and disciplines such as yoga have had long-measured positive effects on stress, which left untreated has been known to cause ailments such as high blood pressure. If so diagnosed, high blood pressure can impact sleep and also cause heart attacks and strokes. It is largely agreed by medical professionals that the practice of managing one’s personal stress level is imperative for good overall health.
- Other Natural Supplements. According to Healthline.com, natural supplements such as Valerian root and magnesium can be effective in regulating sleep. See here for Healthline article, “9 Natural Sleep Aids That May Help You Get Some Shut-Eye.”
It is important to reiterate that lack of sleep can have deleterious effects on one’s health. The treatments as listed above are not meant as cures; they are, however, largely agreed to by the medical community as effective alternative techniques to medication. That said, always consult a doctor if you believe you have a sleep disorder. You want to be certain that no other medical difficulties are present or related to your lack of sleep.
If your doctor prescribes medication and advises against alternative therapies for your particular circumstance, please follow their professional advice.
For other NewsBreak articles I have written on the matter of sleeping, see here for “If a Loved One is Taking Prescription Painkillers or Aspirin For a Sleeping Disorder, Look for Signs of a Larger Problem,” and here for “The Dangers of Self-Medicating For Sleep Disorders.”
Thank you for reading.