What Happens When You’re Sleep-Deprived?
Irish people get about 25 percent less sleep than they did a century ago -- and this isn’t just a matter of having less energy.
Too little sleep impacts your levels of thyroid and stress hormones, which in turn can affect your memory and immune system, your heart and metabolism, and much more. Over time, lack of sleep can lead to:
· Weight gain
· High blood sugar levels and an increased risk of diabetes
· Brain damage
The consequences of sleep deprivation are so intense because your circadian rhythm has evolved over hundreds of generations to align your physiology with your environment, and your body clock assumes that, like your ancestors, you sleep at night and stay awake during daylight hours.
For lifestyle and environmental advice on how to improve your sleep pattern view my 30 guidelines for a good night’s sleep type the word “sleep” into the search bar on this site
Top sleep experts from around the globe all report that it’s not the length of the sleep you get that matters but the quality of the sleep you get. Herbal medicines can be a great help for improving the quality of your sleep.
St Johns wort (Hypericum perforatum)
By far my most prescribed herb for sleep at the clinic. Traditionally used for anxiety and insomnia, St johns wort is a fantastic herb for improving the quality of your sleep.
Studies show that Valerian treatment showed significant improvements in sleep latency
(time taken to fall asleep), nocturnal time awake, total sleep time and sleep quality. An extract of the herb increased REM sleep, increased sleep efficiency and decreased morning sleepiness.
A randomised, double-blind, parallel trial demonstrated equivalent efficacy and tolerability for
a hops-valerian preparation compared with a benzodiazepine (sleep drug) in patients suffering from sleep interruption disorders.
Lemon Balm(Mellissa officinalis)
Leaf or aerial parts of Lemon Balm are used in western traditional medicine for sleep disorders of nervous origin associated with anxiety or depression. In a double-blind trial, 30 patients with anxiety and sleep difficulties were treated with Lemon Balm extract or placebo. Compared to placebo, patients treated with Lemon Balm extract experienced 49% less anxiety, 72% fewer anxiety-associated symptoms and 39% less insomnia.
Lavender Oil (Lavandula angustifolia (L. officinalis))
Oral administration of Lavender oil improved sleep disturbance and improved anxiety in a number of studies.
Magnolia & Zizyphus
A blend of Magnolia officinalis bark and Zizyphus spinosa seed was evaluated in an open study in the United States, which involved 295 volunteers with mild to moderate sleep difficulties. 86% found the herbal treatment to be relaxing, 82% rated it as assisting in a restful sleep and 82.8% rated it as effective in reducing fatigue.
Taking these herbal medicines in combination in the correct ratios can potentiate the medicine and improve the action of the blend.
When treating patients with insomnia it is vital to take a thorough case history, which should include:
• past experiences of insomnia;
• past medical history, particularly in relation to the nervous system;
• pre-existing conditions;
• general health;
• current emotional state;
• diet, particularly food and beverage intake in the evenings;
• attitude to sleep and preparation for sleep before going to bed;
• all existing medications including vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements.
For further information on how to obtain these herbal medicines contact the clinic on 0719142940.