Kick That Drug Habit: With All Natural Insomnia Relief Options

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For years I’ve taken sleep for granted, but now that it alludes me and I think back to when I was much younger, I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t sleep.  To be totally truthful, I had a family reputation of being able to sleep through anything and falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.  Since hitting my menopausal years, I just can’t seem to sleep anymore, I know that it is connected to a decline in hormones.  I thought that once I started taking hormone replacement my body would rebalance its self and glorious sleep would return, but it hasn’t.  You really don’t appreciate the renewing qualities of this vital process until you are sleep deprived.   So I started looking for something to help me sleep but I don’t want to feel hung over in the morning or feel weird after taking it or have to worry about becoming addicted.  In my quest to get, good, quality sleep I started testing out allot of different products and techniques to find a great alternative that’s safe and all natural. Here are some of the things that I use or have tried:

  • Exercise or yoga – regular exercise can improve your sleep pattern. Determine the best time to exercise for your body type.  According to the Mayo Clinic, late-day exercise for some people can contribute to insomnia.
  • Take a hot bath – 90 to 120 minutes before bed in sage or calendula
  • Listen to music  – it produces a relaxation response
  • Drink milk – it’s loaded with tryptophan, an amino acid that induces sleep
  • Lose weight – It can contribute to insomnia and restless sleeping, also cause disorders like sleep apnea and snoring.
  • Tea, herbs & hormones –  can really help with sleeplessness, and can help break the cycle with prescription drugs or over the counter sleep aids that have allot of side effects.

Chamomile is probably one the best known herbal teas that help you sleep and promote relaxation before bed. Chamomile makes a gentle and effective sleep tea because it contains the amino acid glycine, which acts as a nerve relaxant and mild sedative. In England, using chamomile tea to sleep has been a folk remedy since at least the Middle Ages! Chamomile tea is one of the best relaxing teas to bring on a good, calming night of rest, and it tastes great, too!

Hops, a mild sedative herb which you might recognize as a main ingredient in beer. While I don’t recommend drinking beer before bed (alcohol can make you drowsy, but it ultimately leads to poor quality sleep), hops brewed in a sleep tea with other rest-promoting herbs can have a noticeable sedative effect for people seeking quicker onset of sleep.

Passionflower is a plant native to South America which is used as a relaxant and anxiolytic. If you’re trying to increase vivid dreams, passionflower can have a synergistic effect when brewed in combination with other relaxing herbs.  An infusion of passionflower with St. John’s Wort, hops and valerian root produces a very calming herbal tea for sleeping that’s also quite tasty.  People who dream will often use passionflower as a potentiator for other herbs with specific calming or dream-promoting effects.

Kava kava may be the best plant medicine for quieting that inner voice that keeps us awake at night, and thus among the best tea that helps you sleep. The kavalactones in this herb promote calm, ease stress, and work to promote deep sleep, which can be useful for people with disrupted or low quality sleep. Kava kava’s calming qualities also help reduce anxiety and can cut down on the duration and intensity of mild panic attacks. If you’re interested in trying out kava’s stress-busting abilities for yourself, it is possible to obtain kava kava in many different forms, from the whole dried root to instant drink mixes and capsules. Try taking kava about 30-60 minutes before bed to get the most out of kava’s sleep-inducing powers.

Valarian Root, studies have suggested that valerian root is one of the best natural insomnia cures available.  What makes it superior to other natural and pharmaceutical remedies? For one thing, unlike other sleep medication, valerian is totally non-toxic. And it does not result in impaired ability to drive or operate machinery. For many persons, those are big advantages.

Certain double-blind studies have found that valerian root is a very effective sedative for insomnia patients. More importantly, it was found that using valerian improved the quality of sleep, which puts it well ahead of some other sleep remedies.

Unlike certain pharmaceutical formulations, valerian does not result in lethargy the next day.

  • Try Natural Hormones & Hormone Releasers

Gaba  (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter,
chemicals that facilitate communication between nerve cells. GABA, which is
produced by the brain, suppresses nerve impulses related to stress and anxiety.
In a healthy, well-nourished person, the brain produces sufficient amounts of
GABA.

However, since many people eat poor diets and are over-exposed to
environmental toxins, GABA levels may fall below optimum amounts. A low level of
GABA is associated with a range of problems, including anxiety, depression,
irritability and sleeplessness.  Gaba is a mild natural tranqualizer that does not cause sedation or drowsiness but promotes relaxation, and can be taken with other natural tranquilizers like Valarian Root and Kava Kava.  Recommended dosage 500-1000 mg before bedtime.

Melatonin is a very important hormone that is secreted naturally by the human body. It’s primary function is helping to keep our circadian rhythms – or body clocks – in check. When those clocks get out of whack, insomnia is a common result.  Many people who struggle with insomnia find themselves eager to try sleep aids – natural sleep aids that include melatonin have been effective in managing the symptoms of insomnia.

The link between melatonin and insomnia seems to become stronger and stronger with every passing years, as more and more studies show a connection between the two. Interestingly, insomnia is much more common in older people – and levels of melatonin naturally begin to decline with age. If you suffer from insomnia, you should definitely look into melatonin and find out more about what it can do for you and always consult your physician before starting any new vitamin or herb.  Suggested dosage 1.5 to 5 mg.

5-HTP is compound produced by the body from tryptophan.  It is naturally found in food and also most commonly extracted from the seeds of the Griffonia plant.  Europeans have used 5-HTP for decades as a approved treatment for depression, sleep problems & weight loss.

Clinical trials show that 5-HTP is a safe, natural way to boost the brain serotonin levels. Use of 5-HTP has been shown to produce results equal to or better than those of standard synthetic drugs used in the problems arising from serotonin deficiency syndrome.

5- HTP provides the quickest, most effective, and most consistent overall results in treating insomnia. It is an effective alternative for dealing with sleep problems in a safe and natural way compared to sleep medicines.  5-HTP improves the quality of sleep. More importantly, clinical studies show that 5- HTP is also useful in the treatment of sleep disorders other than insomnia.  5-HTP can up to 30 days to start working so be patient and don’t give up.   Suggested dosage 100-300 mg, 30 minutes before you go to sleep.

  • Change your bedtime routine

It helps to develop a bedtime routine.  Have a series of things that you always do when going to sleep.  For example, before going to bed, feed the dog, fold laundry, check the windows.  Humans are creatures of habit.

Remember the guy with the dogs?  He rang a bell and they knew it was dinnertime.  It’s the same theory.  Doing this will ‘program’ your body to know that it’s bedtime.”

Its important to reset your body’s natural sleep pattern, so make sure your room is quiet, dark, cool & comfortable.  Open the curtains and blinds in the daytime to let the light in so your body knows the difference between, time to wake and time to sleep.

  • Relationship Saver

One tip that has saved my marriage, and still enables me and my husband to sleep in the same room.  My husband snores like a bear and I can’t sleep.  My suggestion is to make sure you fall asleep first,  at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before your significant other comes to bed.

I have found the 5-HTP works well for me, it did take about 2 weeks to start working.  I have developed a routine every night, I take a shower or walk my dogs, take a bath or shower, drink tea, watch TV, make sure that I go to sleep at the same time every night, with the room dark, quiet and cool.

CAUTION

Be very careful when mixing herbs, herbal teas or natural hormones, with each other or other drugs especially SSRI’s which can have adverse reactions such as Seratonin Syndrome. Do your research and consult your physician or a naturopathic professional before trying any of these insomnia relief options.

 

Photo Credit: Dreamtime Photos

Grand Parents & 40 + Moms: Easy To Make Kids Cardboard Playhouse

cardboard playhouse

Reblogged from Shenows’ Blog

Easy to make cardboard playhouse

Turn a cardboard box into hours of entertainment for your little ones with this DIY collapsible playhouse.

Cardboard boxes are a hot commodity in our home — even my 8-month-old appreciates a good drum fest with empty cereal boxes. Pretty much the perfect toy, boxes are free, plentiful (if you eat the way my boys do, that is) and provide the creative possibilities that can be a great exercise for a child’s imagination.

My kids especially love making forts out of boxes, and it seems that for them, the smaller and cozier the better. While intended for my youngest, this easy-to-construct cardboard playhouse continues to entertain my older boys. And I made this house especially with small spaces in mind, because when the kids tire of it, the playhouse collapses down flat for easy storage.

Read more……..for step by step assembly

The 11 Rules of Aging Gracefully – A Speech by Dr. Larry Dunlap

Reblogged from A Trail Runner’s Blog

Why would I risk boring you with a speech about aging?  Well, for one thing, although I may have beat you all to it, you will get there sooner or later.  I just returned from Palm Springs which makes one think of the aging process.  Walk down the street, and it feels like everyone there is either retirement age or an illegal Mexican immigrant.  Here I am a member of the group optimistically called the “young old” and not to distant from the next group the “old old” which we all know is followed closely by the “dead old”.  I now fit in when in Palm Springs.  I am very aware of a certain loss of flexibility and elasticity, a forgetfulness and lack of retention and an unfamiliar wrinkled face that stares back at me from the mirror every morning.  People hold doors for me now.  When I stumble I am offered a solicitous “Are you okay?” instead of being offered a hand and immediately being pulled back to my feet.  Younger women respond with alarm more often than pleasure when I volunteer my attention.  Younger and younger grandchildren are able to elude me while playing tag.

All these changes come unbidden.  In fact they are deliberately and unsuccessfully fought against.  Occasionally the inevitable can be delayed a few weeks or months through deliberate training and exercise of body or brain, but the inevitable always comes.  Some aspects are predictable and some a total surprise.  Denizens like cancer surface unexpectedly.  Illness, in its myriad form, challenges life itself instead of just the immune system.
What is the best way to meet these challenges that now arise unbidden?  Being the compulsive and studious man that I am, I used some of my time in Palm Springs to develop the 11 rules for aging:
l. When you cannot win a battle, lose gracefully.  I expect to bow out of roofing and tree trimming now and many more things soon.  Ski racing is gone.  I get thrown from moguls rather than jumping over them.  In softball I am happy to hit a slow dribbler that allows me to jog safely to first base.  Home run aspirations are gone.  No matter how much I visualize the perfect swing followed by a long arc of the ball towards the center field fence, it is not going to get there. Take pleasure in little victories.
2. Shut up about it.  All those aches, pains, and misfortunes are just what no one else wants to hear about.  Also don’t tell me now to handle them.  Do you have a cure for arthritis that saved Aunt Ann who couldn’t climb a staircase?  Wonderful – but I don’t want to hear about it. I have tried that already along with forty other remedies.  I’m a doctor, I know what works.  Complaining doesn’t work.  Neither will unbounded optimism.

My Eight Tips To Aging Authentically

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Aging gracefully is such a cliché. Frankly, I’m tired of hearing this term when referring to us over 40’s.  Just what does aging gracefully mean? I personally prefer the words aging defiantly or aging authentically.  That’s going to be my new word from now on, AGING AUTHENTICALLY, being the best me, I can possibly be.   I finally realized that I needed to change my beauty regimen, I’ve had this same routine for the last 20 years.  What used to work, doesn’t work anymore.  The same makeup that used to go on like silk, is now settling into the lines and wrinkles.  I have noticed that as I’ve grown older I can’t keep doing the same things that I did before 40.  My body is changing and my face is definitely changing and showing signs of aging.   Below are my 8 new healthy beauty tips that will help me combat these changes:

  1. EAT HEALTHY (Daily) – Detoxifying the body with a healthy eating plan will help heal and revitalize the body from the inside out.  KimberlySnyder.com has a great program to regain that youthful glow, lose unwanted weight & give you renewed energy.
  2. EXERCISEZumba or Zumba Gold are a really good way to exercise if you don’t like walking or working out, like me!
  3. MOISTURISE, MOISTURISE, MOISTURISE – I like Shea Butter because it helps my skin retain moisture, I’ve found that after 50 my skin is very dry and flaky.  I also just started using Suzanne Somers Organics Skin Care, which is organic and toxic free, which I love.  It really makes my skin subtle and soft, which I’ve really had a problem finding, a skin care line that keeps my face feeling dewey all day.
  4. EXFOLIATE – I can’t emphasize the importance of exfoliating weekly, aging has caused my skin to look dull and ruddy looking.  To help the skin rejuvenate and slough off the old top layer, exfoliation is a must to put in our beauty arsenal.  I have discovered a great exfoliation product called NaturDerm’s Epidermx II, it’s one of the best exfoliators that I have discovered so far, it is gentle, with a light scent and a little goes a long way.  You will notice a big difference in your skin immediately, that inner glow will return.
  5. CONTROL STRESS – Stress can cause many problems in our body including premature aging, learn to relax and take time for yourself.  I love yoga, drinking tea and reading.  I discovered this new tea called Teavana, they have tasty blends like Strawberry Rose, Champagne Peach Tranquility Tea Blend .  I Love, Love, Love It!  If this doesn’t work try Relora to relieve anxiety and stress.
  6. HYDRATE – Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.  If you don’t like water try, water with a slice of lemon or strawberry, it really makes it taste better and still gives you the hydration that your body needs.
  7. RETIN-A CREAM – This cream is one of the keys to slowing down the aging process and the secret to youthful skin for long term antiaging.  It facilitates the turning over of dead skin cells and allows the new skin to come through, give yourself about 6-8 weeks to start seeing a change in your face, you will need to talk to your dermatologist about getting a prescription. There are several online pharmacies that you can purchase both products with a prescription for allot cheaper.  I personally like the Retin-A Micro because it is slow release and not as strong which minimizes dry, flaky skin.
  8. SUNSCREEN – Another must for long term anti-aging benefits and to prevent premature aging. Two products that I really love are Revisions Intellishade SPF 45 tinted moisturizer that is lightly scented and leaves the skin dewey with a light coverage and it doesn’t settle into lines and wrinkles.  Also, EltaMD UV Clear, SPF 46; lightweight with a mild scent, is great for sensitive skin & can be worn with makeup or without.

Photo: Dreamtime Photos

Update To : Weighing Me Down, Weight Gain After 40

garcinia cambogia pic 2

Fab Forty Plusers, I have an update for you.  There’s a product that’s been out for a while called Garcinia Cambogia Extract (HCA), and I’m just hearing about it.  But, it has great reviews about its effectiveness.  The product claims are:

  • Curbs the appetite
  • Increases fat burning
  • Control cravings
  • Decreases cortisol levels to shrink belly fat, manages stress
  • Balances serotonin levels to aid in insomnia, anxiety & depression.

WHAT IS GARCINIA CAMBOGIA EXTRACT?

Garcinia Cambogia is a small, sweet, purple fruit also known to some as Malabar tamarind. People who live near where it grows have used the fruit for hundreds of years because over time they have noticed certain beneficial properties after daily consumption.

SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE

  • In an 8-week double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 60 overweight individuals, use of HCA at a dose of 440 mg 3 times daily produced significant weight loss as compared to placebo.
  • In contrast, a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 135 overweight individuals, who were given either placebo or 500 mg of HCA (as Garcinia cambogia extract standardized to contain 50% HCA) 3 times daily, found no effect on body weight or fat mass.   However, this study has been criticized for using a high-fiber diet, which is thought to impair HCA absorption.
  • A 12-week double-blind trial of 89 individuals found that HCA had no effect on appetite.  Another study tested HCA to see if it could cause weight loss by altering metabolism, but no effects on metabolism were found.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A PRODUCT?

  • Have the name Garcinia Cambogia Extract (HCA) on the bottle
  • Contains at least 50% HCA (hydroxycitric acid)
  • Contains Potassium and Calcium (helps with metabolism)
  • Daily serving size 1,500 mg (Dr. Oz recommends max 3,000 mg. per day)
  • No fillers, binders or artificial ingredients

Dr. Oz’s Additional Guidelines For Buying Any Supplements  *Taken directly from Dr. Oz website:

  • Prescription “Strength” – Avoid buying anything claiming to be an alternative to a prescription
  • Packaging in Foreign Language – Avoid this and packaging with misspellings
  • Miracle Claims – Avoid anyone making unrealistic claims i.e. lose 20 pounds in a week
  • FDA vs. Tainted Supplements – Some sites try and sell pills that were previously marked tainted by the FDA
  • Supplement Facts – Do not buy anything if you can’t find the supplement facts

Dr. Oz said in a segment about this extract ““Anytime I see a scientist get this excited about something like Garcinia Cambogia Extract and when I looked through some of this research and called these scientists myself, I get excited.  That’s why Garcinia Cambogia Extract makes sense to me and fascinates me.”  Literally, this extract is eliminating at least 4 of the problem areas that I have, belly fat, stress, fat burning & appetite suppression. 

On previous posts I have recommended various weight loss products that I have tried, and I still stand by them, but, this product is a great multitasker that will elevate the need to take several different products.

TIPS

  1. Because hydroxycitric acid affects digestion, as well as the body’s absorption  of fat and sugar, it may impact blood sugar levels. People with diabetes should  consult their physician prior to taking any supplements containing hydroxycitric  acid and also may need to monitor their blood sugar levels more often.
  2. This supplement works best on people who tend to overeat when anxious and stressed.
  3. Use with chromium for best results, because our diets often lack the mineral chromium, this deficiency may contribute to diabetes and weight gain as we age according to Ehow.com.

I have just started taking this product, and so far I have:

  • Lost 1 lb. –  cravings have diminished
  • Continue to lose belly fat – my cloths are fitting better and I don’t look pregnant anymore
  • Serotonin levels are more balanced – I am finally sleeping through the night and have less stress and anxiety

I will continue to update you on my progress, and I look forward to your comments and input about your weight loss challenges and products you are using.  Please LIKE me on Facebook and join in the discussion about Garcinia Cambogia Extract.

This post and all  of my recommendations are based my experiences.  I am not a doctor and do not make any claims or promises, please consult your doctor before starting any of these products.

Friday Morning Tummy Tickler: Tonight Show Gas Pump Prank

Happy Friday Fab Forty Plusers, I saw this video on Savoring Your Sixties and wanted to share it.  This gas pump video on the Tonight Show cracked me up and made my day, so I wanted to share it! There’s nothing like a good morning tummy tickler 🙂

Part 1

Part 2