It's a self-perpetuating cycle, and it must be stopped. If you cannot wean yourself off caffeine totally, at least try to lessen your intake. Doing this includes stopping drinking and eating colas, chocolate, and yes, the ubiquitous Starbucks. Have some insomnia herbs instead.
Valerian root is the best there is. It is "the safest and most effective sleep aid with no side effects," according to British scientist turned herbal guru Dr. Malcolm Stuart, who says the best time to drink it would be around 8 PM. Thirty minutes before taking to bed, use one to two teaspoons of the dried root to make a sleep-inducing tea. Unlike sleep aids, Valerian causes no heavy feeling the day after. And as opposed to its counterpart synthetic cures, which may bring on an addiction, you will not develop a dependency on this herb.
Just like Valerian root in terms of its sleep-inducing effects is catnip. Not only is this herb used as a answer to insomnia, but it is also thought to be a solution to nervousness, anxiety, and even migraines. The administration of catnip is again similar to Valerian--one to two teaspoons of the dried herb for one cup of boiled water and set aside to infuse for around ten minutes. Do not boil the herb along with the water as this may destroy some of its active ingredients.
Chamomile is milder and is recommended for children to take, more so when they are restless. The usual dosage is two teaspoons of dried chamomile flower for a cup of tea.
Lavender also makes for a very soothing drink at night (three flower heads to one cup of boiling water, immersed like catnip), and taking a whiff of a few drops of its oil or mixing it with your bath water has the same soothing effect. It may also be rubbed onto your body during a massage and its flowers and seeds stuffed into your pillows.
In Chinese medicine, the longan fruit and sour jujube seed are also known to soothe the spirit. The former is used to help insomnia, while the latter complements stronger cures.
While the insomnia herbs mentioned above may be ingested alone, you may also mix an herbal cocktail if you prefer. Try blending Valerian with chamomile, catnip, or some other mild herbs like hops and passionflower. Add a small amount of the natural sweetener stevia if you like if you find the taste slightly too strong to your taste. Don't consume too much to spare yourself from sleep-disturbing trips to the loo.
While there is nothing fundamentally bad with relying on insomnia herbs, homeopathy, and aromatherapy to go off to slumberland, it is still best to let nature take its course and let your body to drift off to sleep left alone, the way it's made for. To let your body to perform at its best, a lifestyle overhaul should be undertaken.
To prevent sleep disorders, having an exercise regimen, proper stress management, and committing to a healthy diet made up mostly of fruits and vegetables is the the healthiest way to go, aside from consuming your favorite concoction of insomnia herbs. While you're at it, why don't we have a cup of antioxidant-rich and comforting Valerian-laced grape juice? Cheers!
About the author: Michael Lee