Another thread on dealing with stress and anxiety-- herbal remedies?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by mkate, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    Mar 22, 2014

    Hmm, this may be somewhat off topic, so if so, I hope one of the moderators will be kind enough to move this post to a more appropriate forum.

    Anyway, I am having a tough time at work this year, and while I have never before had any trouble sleeping, this year I often wake up (or am awakened by something/someone) and then take a couple of hours to be able to fall back asleep. It's worst in the early morning-- I usually get up at 6:15, but often one of my kids will get up to go to the bathroom around 4 or so and then many days I just don't make it back to sleep at all. I find myself obsessing about work issues and just can't relax.

    Obviously I am trying to resolve the work difficulties as best I can, but in the meantime I am looking for help with the sleep issue. I am not interested in sleeping pills/narcotics, but I have seen some herbal remedies advertised lately that have me curious. I have tried drinking different kinds of herbal teas without much luck, but one product (capsules, by Bayer) has a combination of Valerian, passionflower, and California poppy that sounds like it might do the trick. (It's available here in pharmacies, so I wouldn't have to order from dodgy internet websites.) However, I am a bit concerned that even an herbal remedy (especially one containing poppy?) could create dependence or otherwise be not a really healthy solution.

    So, I am wondering if anyone on here has experience with herbal remedies for this problem or related advice to share. Since teaching-related stress/anxiety has popped up on the boards quite a bit recently, I thought I would try asking. Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Mar 22, 2014

    Out of curiosity, why do you wake up when one of your kids gets up to use the bathroom?

    I recommend lots of sunshine throughout the day to help you sleep at night. I have heard that it's best to get the sun that happens first thing in the morning, not afternoon or evening sun.

    I think that a lot of people think that herbal remedies are better than pharmaceuticals because herbal remedies are natural. They also usually aren't usually regulated, so you might be getting significantly more or less of what you're looking for. That's something to consider when going the herbal route. I guess just make sure that whatever method you use, natural or otherwise, is safe. Not all herbal things are safe things.
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I just bought a herbal supplement that combines verbena, lavender, and melatonin. It does provide relaxation and a nice deep sleep. I wish I could get organized enough to take it about an hour before bedtime ..... instead I usually think of it when I can't get to sleep.
     
  5. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Mar 22, 2014

    Melatonin is a supplement that is commonly taken for sleep issues. It regulates the day-night cycle by simulating the biochemical response that occurs, if I recall correctly, when a person is in darkness.

    St. Johns Wort is an herb that has been scientifically shown to treat mild anxiety and depression. However, it should not be taken in conjunction with prescription meds. Ask your doctor before supplementing.

    Be wary of herbal supplements in general. Recent studies have shown that a shocking number of supplements that are labeled as containing one plant actually contain mostly fillers or even none of the advertised plant.
     
  6. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    Mar 22, 2014

    Caesar, I think it's just that my sleep is so light that any extra noise wakes me up. Up until now now I had never had any problem with sleep. Here in Spain, I do get lots of daytime sun!

    The supplement I mentioned is made by Bayer, which I hope means that it is more carefully controlled than others of less well-known brands.

    Myrisophilist, your mention of darkness made me think that maybe it would help to have the room darker-- right now I sleep with the blinds up, which lets in some streetlight/moonlight. That has never been an issue before, but it might have an effect now.

    Upsadaisy, I will see if something like that is available here, too.

    Thanks!
     
  7. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I am leery of herbal remedies, personally, but when my daughter got some relief, I decided to try one.

    Caesar, are you beginning to worry about future sleep habits?
     
  8. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    I remember a close friend who recommended Valerian Tea for anxiety and to promote sleep. I drank so much of that stuff that I can't even stand the smell of it any more.

    Unfortunately, I don't think it really helped me, either.

    I know that you said you're not interested in drugs, Mkate, but if you don't have luck with the herbals, lorazapam (adavan) helped me with the anxiety and the sleep problem.

    And it's taken only as needed...
     
  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I strongly recommend EVERYONE get checked for Vitamin D deficiency at their next physical. It's amazing what low D levels can cause.
     
  10. Loveslabs

    Loveslabs Companion

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    Have you considered using essential oils?
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I would recommend darkening the room. Also, do you get enough exercise? Maybe try doing some exercise in the evening (for example, cardio, early enough so that it doesn't actually energize you so much that you can't sleep) and strenuous enough that will make you sleep like a baby.
    Warm milk, a hot bath are also great things to do before you go to sleep to ensure a deeper, more relaxed sleep.
     
  12. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    A cup of chamomile works like a charm for me - If you drink beer or wine, try to cut back - alcohol can affect your sleep. Also don't eat to close to bed time. I agree with Linguist about the exercise too.
     
  13. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    I have found that tea before bed helps when I am having trouble sleeping. I also cut out the screen time an hour or so before bed.
     
  14. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Mar 23, 2014

    Do you keep your bedroom door closed? It is recommended to keep bedroom doors closed because of fires and smokes. I know most moms want to be able to hear their kids, but I am betting you would be able to hear them anyway if it was important.

    In the past, I have used a notebook by my bedside to jot down thoughts or lists right before bed or when I wake up in the night so they are on paper instead of rattling around in my head.

    I tend to hold my stress in my neck and shoulders, so a rice bag I heat up and either use before bed or in bed seems to help relax those muscles and signal it is time to sleep.

    I like the dark - really dark, so I agree about closing the blinds. Sometimes I watch t.v. in the dark before bed to transition before going to bed. I even do a lot of my morning routine in the dark to ease myself into morning.

    It sounds good, but there are still wakeful nights and have been all my life. I have had to develop a lot of different strategies. Oh, another one is that if I have been in bed an hour without going to sleep, I get up and sleep on the couch or some other bed which, for whatever reason, seems to help me fall asleep.

    Hope this helps.
     
  15. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    Mar 23, 2014

    Thanks, everyone! Some really good advice here....
     
  16. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    A doctor recommended Valerian to me when a new prescription was causing insomnia. I didn't want a prescription sleeping pill or an OTC one, so he recommended valerian. I just waited the transition time out and once my body adjusted to the prescription, the insomnia went away so I never took the herbal. I did buy some in case I got desperate. It does smell funny.
     

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