Can a Good Night’s Sleep Save Your Life?
I’m amazed when patients come to me with chronic sleep problems… and then apologize as if they’re afraid they’re bothering me. “It’s really nothing, Doc,” they say. “I’m just having a little trouble sleeping.”
But a chronic lack of sleep is a serious issue. Sleeplessness affects about a third of us. It causes brain fog, trouble concentrating and poor mental performance. It can lead to accidents and illness, too.
And now we know a lack of sleep can also kill you.
A new study of 2,242 adults found that people with chronic sleep problems are three times more likely to die from all causes as folks who sleep well. That’s right… lack of sleep triples your risk of dying early.1
So if you’re having serious sleep problems, don’t apologize. Get help instead.
I generally don’t like conventional sleep aids. It’s easy to get hooked on them, and withdrawal can be unpleasant. Plus, they have side effects.
They can leave you feeling foggy and disoriented – even after a night’s sleep. And they can produce bizarre behaviors: even driving or eating huge meals in your sleep. Imagine gaining 25 or 30 pounds from stuffing yourself in your sleep!
Fortunately, Nature offers several safe and effective alternatives.
Melatonin is probably the best-known natural sleep aid. It’s a hormone that regulates your “internal clock.” Basically, melatonin tells you when to be sleepy and when to be awake.
But we often throw our internal clocks off by fooling our bodies. If you expose yourself to too much light too late in the day, your body thinks it’s time to be awake. When that happens, your body doesn’t release enough melatonin. So you may have trouble falling – and staying – asleep.
Our bodies also make less melatonin as we get older. Either way, simply taking melatonin resolves sleep problems for many people.
If melatonin doesn’t do the trick for you, you have other natural options. Here are two of my favorite herbs to promote better sleep.
Valerian root has been used for centuries to help people relax and fall asleep. And it’s very effective. In one study, 89% of people with sleep problems said they slept better while taking valerian. And 44% of them reported “perfect” sleep.2
When was the last time you had a perfect night’s sleep? With valerian, it may be closer than you think.
But, believe it or not, there’s an even better way to get a good night’s rest. And that’s taking valerian and hops together.
Hops is an ancient herb. It’s been used to flavor beer for nearly a thousand years. Long before that, the Romans raised it as a vegetable and ate the shoots like asparagus. Later, Europeans often used a pillow filled with the herb’s flowers to help people sleep.
Today, we know that hops has a calming effect. Numerous studies have shown it promotes sleep. And some of those studies also show that adding hops to valerian is even more effective than valerian alone.3
In fact, a Canadian team found that hops and valerian promoted sleep as well as a more conventional sleep aid… but resulted in patients reporting a better quality of life during their waking hours.4
Both valerian and hops are approved to promote better sleep by Germany’s Commission E. They’re natural, safe and have no side effects.
So if you’re having trouble sleeping, don’t ignore it. The health consequences can be serious. But you don’t have to suffer with the side effects of conventional sleep aids to get a good night’s rest. You have effective natural options.
With a little luck, you may enjoy that elusive “perfect” night’s sleep at last.
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
Best Life Herbals
1 See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100607065559.htm.
2 Lindahl O and Lindwall L. Double blind study of a valerian preparation. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1989 Apr;32(4):1065-6.
3 Koetter U, et al. A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, prospective clinical study to demonstrate clinical efficacy of a fixed valerian hops extract combination (Ze 91019) in patients suffering from non-organic sleep disorder. Phytother Res. 2007 Sep;21(9):847-51.
4 Morin CM, et al. Valerian-hops combination and diphenhydramine for treating insomnia: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Sleep. 2005 Nov 1;28(11):1465-71.