The Fundamentals

Insomnia is described as prolonged or abnormal ability to sleep. The main cause of temporary insomnia is psychological stress, worry and anxiety. The consumption of caffeine or other stimulants before bedtime is also a cause. More serious is Fatal familia insomnia, an inherited, rapidly progressive prion disease of middle or later life. Symptoms of this type of insomnia include intractable insomnia, autonomic dysfunction, endocrine disturbances, dysarthria (difficulty in speaking but without mental defect), myoclonus (twitch or spasm of muscle groups), coma, and death. There is no specific therapy known for the treatment of fatal familia insomnia.

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Doctor's Guide: Insomnia
he National Sleep Foundation conducted a survey and found that one out of two Americans has trouble sleeping occasionally, and at least 12 percent of the population experiences frequent insomnia. There is a plethora of over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids, but these generally come with side effects such as drowsiness, clumsiness, difficulty awakening, dry mouth, constipation, and nausea, just to name a few. Herbs are much more effective, generally have no side effects, and are not addictive. Valerian Root is the most studied and most popular herbal sleep inducer. While it easily causes sleep, there is no difficulty in awaking in the morning, it does not interact with alcohol, and it is non-habit forming. Because most temporary insomnia is caused by anxiety and stress, Passion Flower, Kava Root, Chamomile, and Scullcap are very effective. Passion Flower has been shown in clinical studies to decrease anxiety as well as induce sleep. Kava Root both acts upon the emotion centers in the brain and relaxes muscles, thereby promoting sleep. Chamomile has long been a favorite for calming nerves and easing the body into a restful sleep, and Scullcap, a nerve tonic and sedative, is useful in reducing anxiety and encouraging sleep. Several other herbs have sedative properties to help battle insomnia including Devil's Claw, Gotu Kola, and St. John's Wort. Additionally, Schizandra Berry has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to treat insomnia and other stress-related ailments.
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Note: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the use of a qualified health care professional. We strongly recommend the use of a physician for the diagnostic phase of any treatment. With an accurate diagnosis in hand, we believe the consumer, at that point, has a basic, unalienable right to seek out factual information on all therapeutic approaches, both orthodox and alternative, and choose those approach(es) that are right for them. Nonetheless, a "good doctor" should be considered a requisite starting point.

To U.S. Users: None of the products mentioned on this page have been evaluated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration; therefore, they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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