Natural Sleep Remedies: Step 3: Improving Your Sleep
Improving sleep is an important part of easing fibromyalgia. The chronic lack of restorative sleep affects overall health as well as pain levels. Treating sleep problems can improve the quality of life and reduce other symptoms. Some medicinal herbs and natural supplements may help treat sleep disorders for people with fibromyalgia.
Herbs & Supplements That Can Help You Sleep
There are many herbs and supplements that can help you sleep. These products are available without a prescription in forms, such as pills, teas, and liquid supplements. The most recommended natural sleep remedies for fibromyalgia are:
- Magnesium – Magnesium deficiency is one of the many problems in people with fibromyalgia. Magnesium deficiency may contribute to anxiety, restless leg syndrome (RLS), sleep disorders and muscle spasms. The best form of magnesium for sleep problems is Magnesium Glycinate. It helps increase the amount of melatonin your body produces. Magnesium Glycinate is one of the most readily absorbed forms of the magnesium.
- Melatonin – Melatonin is a hormone that helps control your sleep and wake cycles. In one study, 3 mg of melatonin taken at bedtime improved sleep and reduced tender points in people with fibromyalgia. Research indicates that melatonin may help ease fibromyalgia pain. It helps prevent migraines, cluster headaches, and season affective disorder (a form of depression due to lack of sunlight). Melatonin has proved to be helpful for irritable bowel syndrome. The effective dosage varies from person to person.
- Valerian – Valerian is a herb used for anxiety and sleeplessness. It has been used for thousands of years as a sedative. Valerian comes in capsule, tea, tablet or liquid extract forms. People taking medications for insomnia or anxiety, such as benzodiazepines, should not take valerian. (Note: a small percentage of people find valerian stimulating instead of sleep inducing.)
- 5-HTP – 5Hydroxtryptophan is a building block of serotonin. 5-HTP appears to decrease the amount of time required to fall asleep as well as the number of night-time awakenings. Some studies show that 5-HTP may be as effective as some antidepressant drugs for mild to moderate depression. Researchers reported that 5-HTP may help to increase deep sleep and reduce fibromyalgia pain. But there are studies that show no benefit with 5-HTP at all. Do Not take 5-HTP if you are taking tramadol or antidepressant medications.
- L-theanine – L-theanine is an amino acid found in the leaves of green tea. It is able to improve the quality of sleep, so you wake-up feeling rested and refreshed. Suntheanine is the purest form of L-theanine sold. L-theanine seems to lower blood pressure. You should not take it with high blood pressure medications. Also, L-theanine could make stimulant medications less effective.
- Passionflower – Passionflower is a herb used to treat anxiety and insomnia. It can help relieve tension, fatigue, anxiety and sleep problems. Passionflower is available in teas, liquid extracts, and tinctures. It is often combined with valerian, lemon balm, or other calming herbs. Passionflower may interact with other medications. Read Possible Interactions with Passionflower before taking.
- Lemon Balm – Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a calming herb. Several studies show that lemon balm combined with other calming herbs (such as valerian, hops, and chamomile) helps reduce anxiety and promote sleep. Lemon balm may interact with sedatives and thyroid medications.
Do your homework before trying any herbal remedy. Some herbs may counteract other prescription drugs. They can be dangerous if used in combination with alcohol or sedatives. Others may be dangerous when combined with antidepressants.
Using Aromatherapy for Sleep Problems
Certain essential oils may help promote relaxation and encourage better sleep. Inhaling or absorbing essential oils through the skin may influence brain chemicals involved in controlling sleep.
There are many ways to use essential oils to ease your sleep problems. One approach is to massage your neck and shoulders with a relaxing essential oil blend. You could also shake three or four drops of a sleep-promoting essential oil onto your pillow. Or unwind with an essential-oil-enhanced bath before bedtime.
Five essential oils recommended to help you sleep are:
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Chamomile Essential Oil
- Valerian Essential Oil
- Vetiver Essential Oi
- Marjoram Essential Oil
Some individuals may experience irritation when applying essential oils to the skin. Make sure to blend your essential oil with a carrier oil (such as coconut, jojoba or sweet almond oil) before applying it to the skin.
Have you tried any natural sleep remedies? If so, what have you found to be helpful?