Sleep is the most important restorative process in the body. As simple as the concept of sleep may seem, it can be quite complicated when you start digging. The human brain is an intricate piece of hardware, but it performs most of its life-sustaining functions on autopilot. When the brain struggles to automate critical sleep-inducing tasks, restlessness, sleep deprivation, and insomnia may occur.
If you suffer from insomnia, whether mild or chronic, you’re a member of a not-so-exclusive club that embodies one-third of the entire population. Approximately 35% of individuals get fewer than the minimum recommendation of 7 hours of sleep per night. Numerous studies have shown that sleeplessness adversely impacts physical health, cognitive capacity, and mental focus, and even increases mortality rates. Some studies have gone as far to suggest that sleep deprivation will claim a life quicker than starvation. While there are plenty of brain supplements and energy boosters out there to give you a “pick me up” on sleepless nights, restful sleep is still the best way to maintain your health and your mental edge.
How to Cure Insomnia Using All-Natural & Herbal Remedies
According to a survey conducted by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), an estimated 4 percent of U.S. adults rely on prescription sleep aids to combat insomnia. Ambien, Lunesta, Restoril, Sonata, and Halcion have become household names. Widespread adoption of prescription sleeping pills and habit-forming sleep medicines are not only a global health concern, but they’re temporary solutions to underlying problems.
Chronic sleep deprivation and dangerous medications have led to the rise of many natural sleep aids and over the counter (OTC) remedies to cure insomnia. These supplements provide alternative pathways through all-natural and herbal homeopathic treatments addressing the causes of insomnia in a safer fashion. The goal of this article is to educate on safe nonprescription sleep aids for both children and adults.
What Causes Insomnia?
What causes insomnia? Insomnia is caused by the brain’s inability to control sleep-wake cycles. The process of sleep requires synchronization of two body systems called the circadian biological clock and sleep-wake homeostasis.
- The circadian biological clock governs endogenously generated circadian rhythms, which are 24-hour internal clocks that regulate the timing of physiological functions. These tasks include sleeping patterns, body temperature, eating habits, hormone production, and cell regeneration.
- Sleep-wake homeostasis is the innate timer that balances sleep with wakefulness. This internal biochemical system regulates the accumulation of hypnogenic (sleep-inducing) substances in the brain. Sleep-wake homeostasis reminds the body that it needs to sleep after a certain amount of time has elapsed.
The body undergoes active inhibition of its waking functions before reaching a natural recuperative sleep that boosts energy and rejuvenates health. Our brains contain a small region of cells within the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The SCN controls our circadian rhythm by responding to external stimuli such as light. In other words, our internal circadian clock and the 24-hour light-dark cycle are directly aligned.
- When it’s dark out, the eyes send a signal to the hypothalamus, which then signals to the brain to increase production of inhibitory neurotransmitters and sleep-inducing hormones like melatonin. The inhibitory process calms the nervous system, relaxes postural muscles, closes the eyes, and suspends consciousness.
- When it’s light out,the brain increases production of attention and alertness-producing neurotransmitters like norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and acetylcholine—the most prominent chemical messenger for memory and learning.
Studies have shown that even the blue light emitted from electronic devices like cellphones, can trick the brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Technology usage is a significant factor in melatonin suppression and disruption of our circadian rhythm. When our circadian biological clock and sleep-wake homeostasis are misaligned, it may cause insomnia or sleep deprivation.
Besides technology usage, other potential causes of insomnia are poor diet, lack of physical activity, anxiety and depression, and even workplace or relationship stress. If you’re not consciously aware of these factors, it’s easy for the complexities of modern society to disrupt natural sleeping patterns.
If you or someone you love is struggling with insomnia, consider learning more about Segal’s clinical study opportunities. Fill out the prescreen form below or call (877) 734-2588 for more information.