Every night, millions of people in the U.S. are struggling to fall sleep or stay asleep. For those with insomnia, sleeping can become a severe, ongoing struggle that has a negative impact on overall health and wellness.
What Causes Insomnia?
Insomnia can be caused by both psychiatric and physical medical conditions, unhealthy sleep habits and certain biological factors. Researchers believe that insomnia is the result of the brain’s confusion between the sleep cycle and the wake cycle. Causes of insomnia range from mild to severe. They include:
- Nasal / Sinus Allergies
- Gastrointestinal Problems
- Endocrine Problems (Thyroid Disorders)
- Neurological Conditions
- Chronic Pain
- Lower Back Pain
Certain substances and activities can also contribute to insomnia. Drinking alcohol before bed may help you fall asleep initially, but it will disrupt your sleep later in the night. Caffeine and nicotine can cause insomnia, as can eating a heavy meal before bed, especially one that involves spicy food.
Chronic insomnia can increase your risk of depression and high blood pressure, while having a negative impact on your overall quality of life. Common symptoms of insomnia include:
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Poor Memory
- Mood Swings
- Low motivation or energy
- Increased accidents
- Increased fatigue during daylight
Insomnia and Sleeping Pills
Sleeping pills are commonly prescribed for those suffering from insomnia. Rreferred to as “sedative hypnotics,” these drugs include benzodiazepines, barbiturates and various other hypnotic drugs. Benzodiazepines include Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Librium. They’re commonly used to treat anxiety, but they also increase drowsiness and help people sleep. Barbiturates work by depressing the central nervous system and causing sedation. Sleep-inducing drugs such as Lunesta, Sonata and Ambien work quickly to increase drowsiness and promote sleep. As with other medications, these drugs have a long list of side effects. Common side effects of prescription sleeping pills such as Lunesta, Sonata, Ambien, Rozerem and Halcion include:
- Burning or tingling in the hands, arms, feet or legs
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty keeping balance
- Daytime drowsiness
- Dry mouth or throat
- Problems with attention or memory
- Uncontrollable shaking in the body
- Stomach pain
Nutmeg for Insomnia
Insomnia can be extremely frustrating and debilitating. It can have an effect on nearly every aspect of someone’s life. If you’re experiencing trouble sleeping, nutmeg might work for you as a natural cure. Nutmeg is a popular spice that is associated with a long list of health benefits, including its ability to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, detox the body, boost skin health, strengthen the immune system and improve blood circulation. Nutmeg is also believed to possess mild sedative properties that may benefit those who suffer from insomnia.
Dried nutmeg most likely won’t produce the same results, but you can try grinding your own at home. After grinding, consume 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg dissolved in warm water, about 4-5 hours before bedtime. It is also okay to add it to your night time tea.
CAUTION: Too much nutmeg can act as a toxin, so be sure to only consume it in moderate amounts. Contact poison control if you experience hallucinations.