Sleep is a natural process defined as a recurrent state of reduced attention to the surrounding environment. The most important sleep functions are: restoration of body functions, synthesis of protein and prevention of lethargy. The amount of needed sleep varies from individual to individual. Adults need seven to nine hours of good sleep to be alert during the day.
There are many sleep related diseases such as insomnia. Insomnia is a sleep problem defined as the inability to fall or stay asleep. Psychological factors, substance abuse, side effects of some drugs, medical conditions such as asthma, an inadequate sleep environment and a stressful life are the popular causes of insomnia. Recently, the NIH figured that fifty million to seventy million Americans have sleep-related disorders. Nearly 25% of older people and approximately 10% of the general population suffer from insomnia.
Provide a good sleep environment. The principles of a good sleep environment are:
• Make sleep time and wake up time the same time.
• Afternoon naps should be less than an hour.
• Regular exercise is very helpful.
• Do not use your bed to do anything except sleep.
• Avoid drinking alcohol, coffee, and tea and smoking cigarettes at night.
• Eat dinner so you do not go to bed hungry.
• Make one hour before sleeping a relaxing hour.
• Sleeping pills are dangerous unless prescribed by your doctor. Sleeping pills also lose their effect after a few weeks, leading to worse sleep. Using natural ways is safer.
Use relaxation techniques and hypnotherapy. Learning relaxation techniques is recommended for insomnia sufferers to help them get quiet and deep sleep.
Try herbal cures. Chamomile is a very helpful herb because of its relaxing effect. A cup of chamomile one hour before sleeping is advised. Hops herb has a beneficial calming effect and can be used in the treatment of insomnia. Valerian is another herb with a sedative effect and is used successfully in the treatment of insomnia. Herbal teas are more safe and effective than drugs for mild and moderate insomnia symptoms.
Treat insomnia with aromatherapy. Lavender oil has a sedative and calming effect. You can add some lavender oil drops to your bath or take a light massage with some drops of its oil.
Before taking any natural treatment, consult a health care professional for advice.
Dr. Tamer is the author of "The Complete Guide to Cupping Therapy." Visit him at his Web site at http://www.cuppingtherapy.info.