Sleep loss can be to blame for a wide range of issues, some of which are well known, such as an irritable mood and impaired concentration. Others less so, such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Whatever the grievance, the solution is the same: get the required amount of sleep night.
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This is easier said than done of course, and the fact you are reading this suggests you have not yet found an effective solution.
The good news is, making even small dietary tweaks can help to reset your body clock.
With this in mind, a growing body of research makes a strong case for drinking herbal teas before bedtime.
One promising tea is lemon balm, an infusion derived from the lemon-scented herb that belongs to the same family as mint.
One study that found children taking a combined dose of lemon balm and valerian root, another herbal tea-infusion, experienced a 70 to 80 percent improvement in insomnia-related symptoms.
Both the researchers and parents regarded lemon balm as being a good or very good treatment.
Furthermore, one small human study showed a 42 percent reduction in insomnia symptoms after participants received 600 mg of lemon balm extract per day for 15 days.
However, the study didn’t include a control group, calling the results into question.
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What’s more, evidence shows that lemon balm increases GABA levels in mice, indicating that lemon balm may act as a sedative.
Its sleep-inducing benefits may be attributed in part to its proven ability to alleviate stress and anxiety, both of which can cause sleep loss.
For example, one study found that taking lemon balm eased the negative mood effects of laboratory-induced psychological stress.
Participants who took lemon balm self-reported an increased sense of calmness and reduced feelings of alertness.
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Another study examined the mood and cognitive effects of foods containing lemon balm.
The supplement was mixed into a beverage and into yoghurt along with either natural or artificial sweeteners.
Participants in both groups reported positive effects on various aspects of mood, including reduced levels of anxiety.
Other ways to address sleep loss
There are a number of simple self-help tips that can also help to aid sleep loss.
According to the NHS, one approach is to keep regular sleeping hours.
“This programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine,” explains the health body.
As the NHS website explains, most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night.
“By working out what time you need to wake up, you can set a regular bedtime schedule,” it says.
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