Use Natural Sleep Aids
While you may need over-the-counter pharmaceuticals or prescription sedatives at times, you may be able to get a safe, good night’s sleep by using natural substances.
Valerian and Hops
Valerian and hops are potent herbal remedies that work particularly well when used in combination. I recommend taking them as tinctures or as concentrated dry extracts for maximum effectiveness. Do not use hops if you are depressed. I don’t recommend taking valerian and hops as a tea because they are strong tasting herbs.
Tryptophan is a substance manufactured by the human body that promotes sleep. You can consume tryptophan by eating turkey, whole grains, yogurt, bananas, dates, chicken, fish, legumes, or nuts, and drinking milk. Have a light snack of a tryptophan rich food a short while before you retire for the night and you may find that you sleep better.
Your body makes a very important sleep-inducing compound called melatonin. If you have a deficiency of melatonin, you may benefit from purchasing an over-the-counter melatonin supplement. Initially, take 1.5 milligrams of melatonin one half hour before going to bed each night. Most people require less than 2 milligrams of melatonin for sleep promotion. You may gradually increase the dose to 5 milligrams nightly if needed, however.
Do you take calcium supplements? If you do, try taking them in the evening. Calcium is a natural sleep aid. I recommend using calcium citrate or calcium as they are easily absorbable forms of the mineral. Make sure that the calcium supplement you take contains magnesium, vitamin D, and zinc — you need a combination product in order for the calcium to be utilized effectively by your body.
Magnesium is a gentle relaxant. I suggest using a calcium supplement that contains 1–2 grams of calcium and 1 gram of magnesium. An added benefit of taking a calcium supplement that contains magnesium is that magnesium can help to relieve restless leg syndrome, which keeps millions of people awake at night.
Consider using aromatherapy oils in a diffuser or in massage oils. Many essential oils have sleep-inducing qualities. When used consistently, your mind will subconsciously associate the scent of the oils with sleep. When used in massage oils, essential oils reduce inflammation, promote relaxation, and reduce pain. Marjoram, ylang-ylang, lavender and rose are all good choices.
When to Seek Professional Help
If you employ natural approaches and still do not sleep well, consult with your health care provider. You may need prescription sleep aids.
If pain is keeping you awake, you might need to use a narcotic or non-narcotic pain reliever at night. Many types of medicines are very effective at relieving discomfort. If you try one and it does not work well for you, consult with your health care provider. Everyone reacts differently to medications. It may take some time to find a remedy that works best for you, so do not be discouraged.
You may need a referral to a sleep specialist. Other specialists who may be helpful include pain management specialists and mental health therapists. You may benefit from consulting with a practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda, the science of life, offers many solutions for insomnia. An Ayurvedic practitioner may recommend meditation, specific herbs, dietary approaches, and many other interventions that may enhance your comfort and result in a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is vitally important in order to live well and be healthy. Persevere until you are able to find a solution. There is an answer for your insomnia. Once you discover that solution, you will finally be able to get the rest and comfort which you need in order to live well despite osteoarthritis.