Sleep Disorders:

A health treatment that is not classified as standard western medical practice is referred to as "alternative." Alternative therapy encompasses a variety of disciplines that include everything from diet and exercise to mental conditioning and lifestyle changes. Examples of alternative therapies include acupuncture, guided imagery, yoga, hypnosis, biofeedback, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbal remedies, massage and many others.

Complementary medicine is essentially alternative medicine that is taken along with conventional treatments.

Some complementary and alternative therapies used to treat insomnia include:

Herbs

The effects of the root of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) on sleep have been examined in people with sleep problems. Some studies have suggested that valerian helps with the onset of sleep and with sleep maintenance. However, more research is needed before a final conclusion can be made about the safety and effectiveness of valerian for insomnia.

Chamomile is another commonly used herb for the treatment of insomnia. The FDA considers chamomile to be safe and the herb has no known adverse effects.

Other herbs promoted as effective sleep remedies include:

Since herbal supplements can interact with certain medications, always inform your health care provider if you are using any herbal supplements.

Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that is synthesized by the pineal gland in humans and produced in animals as well as plants. Although the effects of melatonin are complex and poorly understood, it plays a critical role in the regulation of sleep-wake cycle and other circadian rhythms. Melatonin has been studied as a possible treatment of circadian rhythm disorders and may be helpful in decreasing sleep disturbances caused by jet lag.

Adverse effects of melatonin are minimal, but long-term studies examining efficacy and toxicity of melatonin supplements are needed.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for the treatment of insomnia. This procedure involves the insertion of very fine needles (sometimes in combination with electrical stimulus or with heat produced by burning specific herbs) into the skin at specific acupuncture points in order to influence the functioning of the body. The results of recent preliminary clinical trials of acupuncture have indicated improvements in sleep quality in people with insomnia. However, additional research is required before the effectiveness of acupuncture is proved conclusively for the relief of insomnia.

Relaxation And Meditation

ncreased muscle tension and intrusive thoughts interfere with sleep. Therefore, it is not surprising that techniques aimed at relaxing muscles (progressive muscle relaxation and biofeedback) and quieting the mind (meditation) have been found to be effective treatments for insomnia. Most people can learn these techniques, but it usually takes several weeks before they can sufficiently master the techniques well enough to help ease insomnia. There is a growing body of evidence that supports the value of meditation in treating insomnia. Several studies show that regular meditation practice, either alone or as a part of Yoga practice, results in higher blood levels of melatonin, an important regulator of sleep.

Exercise

Regular exercise deepens sleep in young adults with or without sleep disorders. In addition, several studies show that exercise can improve sleep in older adults. Recent studies show that even the low to moderate Tai Chi and Tibetan Yoga practices enhance sleep quality in older persons and cancer patients with sleep problems, respectively. Although consistent exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality, most experts advise exercising at least three to four hours before bedtime to avoid interference with sleep.

Insomnia

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep.

There are two types of insomnia: primary insomnia and secondary insomnia.

Insomnia also varies in how long it lasts and how often it occurs. It can be short-term (acute insomnia) or can last a long time (chronic insomnia). It can also come and go, with periods of time when a person has no sleep problems. Acute insomnia can last from one night to a few weeks. Insomnia is called chronic when a person has insomnia at least three nights a week for a month or longer.

Causes Of Acute Insomnia Can Include:

Causes Of Chronic Insomnia Include:

Symptoms Of Insomnia Include:


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