Insomnia is a symptom that can accompany several medical and psychiatric disorders, characterized by persistent difficulty falling asleep and/or difficulty staying asleep.
You are right to be worried if you can't sleep. Everybody needs sleep to feel healthy and happy. Sleep rejuvenates the body-mind connection and without it you just can't function properly.
The good news is that a cure for insomnia could be right under your nose tonight.
What causes insomnia? Why can't I sleep?
There could be any one or a combination of reasons why you can't sleep, such as:
- Physical and mental issues, ageing, medications
- Instabilities and/or stresses that cause worry and anxiety
- More serious psychological disorders, such as depression
- Poor bedtime habits or sleeping with someone who snores
- Caffeine; taking psychoactive drugs
- -Simply watching scary TV movies
Melantonin: Read this before you take it tonight
The sleep hormone melatonin works on GABA receptors as do several essential oils. The bad news, however, is that melatonin in pill form is not yet studied well enough to have FDA-approved prescription indications for sleep or anesthesia premedication. Even though there are several good anesthesia and sleep research papers, there are no newsworthy human studies on melatonin on which to base recommendations.
The good news here is that there are safe, natural, essential oils that can help you sleep.Essential Oils at work in the 'Sleep Laboratory'Sleep has very complex neurological, hormonal, and chemical physiology.Although the folklore of aromatherapy and sleep far exceeds the scientific research, modern science is catching on. Slowly but surely we're rediscovering our ancient knowledge of the healing powers of plants and herbs.One pair of cranial nerves -- the olfactory bulbs -- and the brain, have two types of receptors in common, which are well-known to anesthesiologists and scientists: the NMDA and GABA receptors for pain and sedation effects. Essential oils, interestingly enough, work on those receptors too, and are exceptional as natural remedies in dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.Currently, there are ongoing olfactory and circadian rhythm experiments being done on humans and rats. Dr. N. Goel, for one, has published a concise human study in Chronobiology International, stating that essential oil of Lavandula angustifolia increased the percentage of deep and restorative slow-wave sleep in men and women. All subjects reported more morning vigor.Essential oils can have specific stimulating or inhibiting effects on the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems of the human body's autonomic nervous system. Essential oil of rose, for example, decreases adrenal cortisol release -- which is a sympathetic response to stress -- by greater than 30% (Haze, 2002). In other words, you become greatly relaxed because your body is not excited in a sympathetic manner by reactions to worry and fears that may be a significant contribution to the causes of insomnia.
Natural cures for insomnia: Recipes for a good night's sleepDifferent essential oils, I should tell you, have different effects on sleep patterns in men, women, and animals.Try testing different essential oils in different ways to find your own natural recipe for a better sleep. At bedtime less essential aroma is better, for example. That's because a strong concentration of any aroma can be stimulating -- and less conducive to a good night's sleep -- just as loud music can keep you awake when you're trying to sleep.Insomnia is an individual experience just as any remedy or treatment by prescription is an experiment on you.Do some experimenting until you find your ideal scent for sleep by using an oil of your choice on a cotton ball placed under the pillow, diffused throughout the room, diluted in an atomizer of water "spritzed" as a hydrosol on the body, or massaged on the reflexology points under the big toes.The following essential oils have been suggested to be safe sleep aids:BergamotLavandula angustifoliaRavensara aromaticaMandarinNeroliSweet orangeMelissa officinalisSandalwoodRoman chamomileValerianAs an acute care anesthesiologist, I believe clinical aromatherapy should be integrated with conventional allopathic Western medicine. To that end, I've spent years doing clinical studies and research into alternate methods of helping my patients enjoy longer, healthier lives.Sleep well tonight with your own, personal natural cure for insomnia.