Using Lemon Balm for Better Rest

If you’re suffering from seemingly impossible levels of insomnia or anxiety, you’re probably willing to reach for the strongest drug you can get in order to solve your problems. But we have bad news for you: it’s not going to work. When it comes to calming yourself down before bed, you should approach the problem with the simplest, gentlest solutions first before resorting to dangerous, expensive medications. Believe it or not, there are plenty of natural solutions out there that can help you get the rest you need!

One of the best natural remedies for sleeplessness and anxiety is called lemon balm. But how can this tart little fruit help you with your seemingly inescapable sleep problems? The story behind lemon balm and what makes it special is really fascinating. There are lots of things lemon balm can do for your overall health and wellness. If you’re ready to sit back and keep reading, we’ll be happy to tell you all about what those things are.

The Most Common Uses of Lemon Balm

Lemon balm comes in many different forms. No matter which form you take, you can get health benefits from it. Lemon balm is popular in herbal tea, essential oils, and even in oral or sublingual supplements. Humans have relied on lemon balm for centuries in order to cure our various ailments. The more popular uses for lemon balm are:

  • Reducing anxiety  
  • Speeding up wound healing
  • Improving sleep quality
  • And much, much more!

Okay, before we go any further, we have a little secret: lemon balm isn’t actually made of lemons. It’s made from a plant that actually belongs to the mint family. It is native Southern Europe, parts of Central Asia, and many areas in the Middle East. But this is a pretty sturdy little plant, so it can be grown almost anywhere.

Lemon balm is great for protecting your major organs and joints. It has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In certain cases, it’s even antibacterial. Some herbalists believe that lemon balm can play an important part in reducing the frequency of herpes outbreaks. Women everywhere rely on lemon balm to improve symptoms of PMS and improve digestion. But those aren’t even the best things that lemon balm can do for you.

Lemon balm has its strongest effects in the brain. People like lemon balm especially for its propensity to improve your mood, your concentration, and your ability to get the best possible rest. There are some studies on elementary school children who took lemon balm and experienced reduced signs of hyperactivity. Plus, there’s the mountain of anecdotal evidence from people who report that lemon balm has made a serious difference in both their mood and their cognitive performance.

So we know that lemon balm is good for many things. And we know there are thousands upon thousands of people who love taking lemon balm for things like anxiety, brain fog, and sleep problems. But how does lemon balm compare to its prescription drug counterparts? Let’s take a look.

Lemon Balm and Prescription Drugs: a Better Alternative?

From what we know about lemon balm, prescription drugs, and the benefits of each, we feel confident saying that you should definitely reach for the lemon balm first before you try to get a prescription. We know there are tons of TV commercials these days advertising drugs using inspirational music, hopeful storylines, and smiling doctors. But most of that is a lie. These “informational” advertisements largely gloss over all of the scary and dangerous side effects of these medications. And you need to know what these are before you start taking these pills!

Prescription medications aren’t the only things you have to watch out for. Over the counter drugs designed for sleep and anxiety come with their own baggage. They have the same issues when it comes to making you feel sleepy, but actually reducing the quality of your sleep. Just because a pill knocks you out doesn’t mean that you’re getting the restorative rest your body needs to recover from the previous day. Some over-the-counter sleep meds have even been linked with age-related brain disease! Plus, most people feel “hungover” the next day after taking them. Based on all the evidence, we sincerely believe that lemon balm is a much better choice.

Using Lemon Balm to Help You Sleep

Working lemon balm into your nightly regimen isn’t as difficult as it seems. It can be as simple as drinking a cup of tea in the evening. But you don’t have to drink lemon balm tea by itself. There are lots of herbal concoctions out there which incorporate lemon balm along with other helpful, calming ingredients like chamomile, valerian root, lotus flower, or even passion flower in order to get a synergistic effect from these natural, safe, sedative botanicals.

What’s that? You’re not big on tea? We understand. Tea is not for everybody. I mean, you have to boil the water, and then pour it into a cup, and then wait for it to steep, and then you might burn your tongue if it’s still too hot…Ain’t nobody got time for that. Instead, you can purchase a lemon balm supplement. They come in capsules, tablets, and sometimes even in tinctures.

Lemon balm tea is more readily absorbed by the body, but it’s hard to know for sure how much you’re actually ingesting. Taking a lemon balm supplement helps you get a better idea of how much you’re getting, but you can’t always be sure but the quality of the supplement is as good as a manufacturer advertises it to be. Lastly, like all things in life, you don’t want to go alone. Lemon balm is great and it has a ton of benefits, but you can maximize those benefits and get a more potent sedative effect if you combine it with things like melatonin or 5-HTP.

And we know just how you can do exactly that – with Avinol PM! Avinol is the natural sleep aid you need to get the rest you want. The botanical extracts and other natural ingredients in Avinol PM combine to give you some of the most effective and peaceful rest your body can get. And it’s got lemon balm in it, too! What more could you want?

Here Are the Top Reasons Why You Can’t Sleep at Night – Number One Will Blow Your Mind!

Do you know, off the top of your head, how many people struggle with sleep problems each and every night? In the United States alone, it’s over 60 million people. That’s million, with an m. Are you one of those people? Are you in this 20% of the population who struggles to get good sleep each night? Hopefully knowing you’re not alone it’s a bit of a consolation. But the next step is to figure out what to do about it.

The first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one. The next step is to figure out what is causing the problem. Most people rush to their doctor or the drugstore in order to find some sort of magic pill which will cure their sleep problems for them. Unfortunately, this is more of a band-aid over a bullet hole – and could make your sleep problems worse over time! Before you resort to a pharmaceutical solution, sit yourself down and try to figure out why you’re having such a hard time sleeping. There may be a practical, easy, affordable solution right at your fingertips.

Problem #7: Your Sleeping Environment Is Too Warm

Your circadian rhythm is largely responsible for making you feel awake during the day and sleepy at night. We’ve talked before about how certain types of light exposure can influence this. But we haven’t talked too much about temperature. You feel awake in the morning both because of bright sunlight and because the temperature rises with the sun. Conversely, after the sun goes down, the temperature drops. Feeling cooler in the evening helps contribute to the natural drowsiness you experience as part of a healthy day-night cycle.

Unfortunately, not all of us are rich enough to follow proper sleep hygiene etiquette and set our thermostat to 68° every night. It costs money to cool your home that much. Alternatively, you can try:

  • Using fans to cool down your bedroom – just make sure they are of a lower wattage than that of your AC unit so that you know you’re saving money
  • Take a hot bath or shower before bed – this bumps up your body temperature in the short-term but cools you down shortly thereafter, prepping your body for breast
  • Sleep naked!

Problem #6: You Need an Afternoon Nap (but You Aren’t Getting It)

The more that scientists look into the human sleep cycle, the more they begin to realize the health benefits of naps – regardless of age. We understand how an afternoon nap may sound antithetical to the conventional advice of “stay awake until your body is dying for sleep”. But there are plenty of studies which show that a power nap between 30 and 60 minutes in the afternoon – especially if it coincides with your post-lunch crash – is it a great way to pep yourself back up and tackle the rest of your day.

Problem #5: Your Sex Life Is Lackluster

If you’re having trouble getting quality rest, sleep experts agree that you should reserve your bedroom for sleep and sex only. But if you’re having trouble with one, you may start to have trouble with the other. Not getting enough sex, not being satisfied in the bedroom, or not getting any sex at all can leave you restless at night. If you have a significant other, you should open up a dialogue about spicing things up between the sheets. If you’re single, you can either try to find a partner or purchase some intimate toys that’ll help you spend more quality time with yourself.  

Problem #4: You’re Drastically Underestimating Your Caffeine Consumption

Lots of people overestimate the amount of caffeine they consume in a day as well as their tolerance to it. One of the easiest things you can do – and one of the first things you should do – if you experience sleep problems is to take a careful inventory of your caffeine consumption. You should limit your intake to about 1 to 2 cups in the morning. You should also stop drinking any and all caffeinated beverages after 12:00 PM. Otherwise, you could end up tossing and turning all night.

Problem #3: You Don’t Have the Right Exercise Routine

If you aren’t getting enough exercise or the right kind of exercise, you could be causing yourself sleep problems at night. It’s common sense if you think about it. Why do you think children sleep like, well, babies? Because they’re constantly running around and being active all day long. Try increasing your activity level, even if all you’re doing is taking a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood after dinner. It should make a significant difference in your sleep.

Problem #2: Anxiety!

We were going to put this as our number one problem, but then we discovered a problem which is much more common and potentially much more serious (more on that in a minute, though). Sometimes, it can be as simple as one bad day at work, one miserable parent-teacher conference, or an overwhelming to-do list that you barely make a dent in by the time your bedtime rolls around. It could also be something as serious as chronic anxiety or depressive mood disorder. Either way, your anxieties can follow you to bed and haunt you awake at night.

When it comes to mild occurrences of everyday anxiety, simple things like meditation or a hot bath before bed (like we mentioned earlier) can help relax you enough to get ready for rest. If it happens very frequently and very intensely, you may want to talk with a therapist or with your doctor about more effective solutions. You should never be afraid to ask for help if your emotional struggles are having a severely negative impact on your physical health.

Unfortunately, for some people, their doctors may reach for the quickest, easiest solution and write them a prescription for an anxiety medication or a prescription sleep aid. But this isn’t always the best thing to do, because…

Problem #1: You’re Using the Wrong Sleep Aid

Prescription sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medication can cause long-term brain damage which makes it difficult to get healthy rest. Even over-the-counter prescriptions can cause harm to your nervous system. But natural herbal sleep aids like Avinol PM have exactly what you need to feel relaxed and sleepy when you need to. It’s gentle and safe, yet more effective than most other options. And it’s healthier for you in the long run, too.

Did You Hear the Good News? Chamomile Helps Alleviate Sleep Problems!

Chamomile is a very popular flower. Especially when it comes to tea. But there are also perfumes, body sprays, lotions, and many other things which people like to infuse with chamomile. The idea is that this beloved flower is good at helping people feel calm and relaxed when they are stressed out or anxious. But how does it do this? Most people might not be curious enough to wonder why. But we think it’s important to know these things. That’s why we’re going to discuss the potent medicinal properties that chamomile can bring to your life.

Using Chamomile to Beat Anxiety and Insomnia

This is one of the most popular reasons people consume chamomile, regardless of whether they drink it in a tea or take it in a supplement. And it’s not just a placebo effect. Drinking chamomile tea or getting chamomile into your body in some other way is great for reducing anxiety and alleviating insomnia. There’s plenty of science to back this up, too.

But not just any chamomile will work. You have to get the good stuff. Chamomile is the type of plant which has traveled all over the globe and been evolving for centuries. Because of this, there are certain subspecies of chamomile which are more effective than others. Mother Nature is funny like that. The takeaway point is that you want to get German chamomile, otherwise known as matricaria chamomilla. This is basically chamomile in its purest form. it’s also it’s more potent form, too.

As we’ve touched on already, chamomile is one of the most popular tea drinks in the world. Unfortunately, there are still some people out there who would not come around to the fact that tea is wonderful and should be imbibed as often as possible. However, if you aren’t a fan of tea but don’t mind swallowing, there are supplements made out of chamomile. Either way, you’ll be doing a good deed for your health and for your body’s ability to get quality sleep. If you live in europe, you’re in even better luck; German doctors write prescriptions for pharmaceutical grade chamomile supplements all the time. These prescriptions are usually for patients who present with symptoms of insomnia and/or anxiety. German doctors believe in both the safety and efficacy of chamomile so much that they have designated it as a Class B drug which is safe for all of the general population, including pregnant and breastfeeding women.

So what’s all of the science behind chamomile, you ask? That’s a very excellent question. It all has to do with the flavonols and other plant compounds which chamomile naturally produces. These powerful antioxidants can help clean up the oxidative damage your cells produce as the result of everyday wear and tear. Because of chamomile’s unique botanical properties, the antioxidant power of this plant is especially effective on the central nervous system and brain cells. It’s easy for chamomile to pass the blood-brain barrier, which means that it is great at boosting the levels of GABA swimming around between your brain cells. The more GABA you have, the more calm and relaxed you will feel. As we’re sure anyone who has trouble sleeping knows, anxiety is probably one of the main reasons people have trouble sleeping at night. Thanks to chamomile medicinal properties, many people have experienced relief from their sleepless nights.

There’s So Much More to Chamomile

As you can see, chamomile is one of the best natural solutions for anxiety and insomnia that you can get your hands on. But what if we told you that it does a whole lot more than that? Well, it’s true! Most of us live in an age where you take one specific medicine that is only designed for one specific thing; so it seems confusing or suspicious when you find something that can cure many different conditions. But when you’re dealing with herbal remedies, the same botanical compounds which yield healthful benefits can have a holistic effect on almost every single cell in your body. Just take a look at all the other things chamomile can do for you:

  • It helps with muscle spasms
  • Eliminates hay fever symptoms
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Soothes menstrual cramps  
  • Mollifies ulcer pain
  • Relieves gastrointestinal distress
  • Reduces hemorrhoid swelling
  • Helps alleviate psoriasis
  • Some people use it for chickenpox
  • Also used to treat eczema

By now, you’re probably thinking about ways that you can get more chamomile into your daily routine. It’s easier than you might think. There are many different ways to get chamomile that we’ve already talked about so far. But there’s one other secret, special method you can use to enjoy the relaxing, sleep inducing benefits of chamomile which we haven’t discussed yet.

How to Get More Chamomile

You don’t have to live in Germany and beg your doctor for a chamomile prescription in order to get chamomile’s potent health benefits. For many people, it’s a simple as driving down to your local grocery store, or vitamin shop, or a beverage boutique which specializes in tea…You get the idea. There are many different retail outlets in almost every city which will sell you some form of chamomile tea. Either that, or a chamomile supplement. For some people, either of these methods may be sufficient on their own. But that’s not always the case.

For others, tea may not be an option or they might not have access to the right kind of tea at an affordable price. Furthermore, not all chamomile supplements are created equal. Many of them are made with cheaper, imitation versions of pure german chamomile. This makes them ineffective. Furthermore, why settle for a chamomile supplement with chamomile by itself when you can take an herbal sleep aid which also includes:

  • 5-HTP  
  • Lavender
  • Passion flower
  • Valerian root
  • Melatonin

All of these herbs and other natural ingredients have a strong reputation for helping people sleep. So what do you think is going to happen when you combine them with the anti-anxiety, relaxation properties of chamomile? Well, you get a highly effective sleep aid which doesn’t come with any of the baggage or dangers of prescription drugs. That sleep aid is Avinol PM. If you want to take advantage of chamomile and other healthful herbs to help with your sleep problems, you should buy a box today.

Sleep Troubles and 5-HTP

For most people, getting a prescription sleeping pill from their doctor is the quickest and easiest way for them to solve their sleep problems. But prescription sleep aids actually haven’t been around for that long; so the hard science on their long-term safety is just starting to come to light. As it turns out, they’re not nearly as safe as we once thought. Some medical experts are recommending that seniors over the age of 65 not be prescribed prescription sleeping pills at all because they could be a contributing factor in age-related brain disease.

Even if you’re not yet in your mid-60s, relying too heavily on hard sleep drugs can still cause physical damage. But did you know that the answer to your sleeping troubles could be as simple as taking an amino acid supplement? In addition to that, medical experts are also starting to discover some new, hard science related to a natural compound called 5-HTP. It turns out that it can help a lot of people fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep over all.

What Does the Human Body Do With 5-HTP?

In case you didn’t know, 5-HTP is an acronym for 5-hydroxytryptophan. Or if you want to keep it simple, you can refer to it by its other name: oxitriptan. This amino acid is naturally produced as a part of your normal daily biological minutiae. It’s not essential, meaning that you can either get it from your diet or your body can produce it from other free amino acids that are floating around in your bloodstream. One of the main purposes of 5-HTP is to act as a building block of serotonin. The more serotonin you have in your body and your brain, the more likely you are to feel happy and experience fewer mood imbalances. But if you don’t have enough, sleeplessness and insomnia are just a couple of the unfortunate side effects it can cause.

In general, you want to have healthy levels of serotonin in your brain throughout the day if you want to sleep better at night. Whenever you’re happy, you’re automatically feeling much less stress. And that stress (which comes from a troublesome little molecule called cortisol) is what causes a cascade of hormonal responses that make it hard to fall asleep at night.

5-HTP isn’t just the building block of serotonin. It’s also the building block of melatonin. Melatonin is more commonly referred to as the sleep hormone. The body usually makes more melatonin at night in response to darkness. Unfortunately, we are almost always surrounded by bright lights. And if you have a 5-HTP deficiency on top of that, it can be nearly impossible to produce enough melatonin to get a proper night’s sleep. Improving your sleep hygiene and creating the right environment for encouraging your body to produce melatonin is only half the battle. Getting the 5-HTP you need – weather from diet, supplements, or both – will push you into the optimal position for maximum melatonin production.

Priming the Pump for 5-HTP Production

There are so many things in life which can either be positively or negatively affected by diet that it’s almost impossible to count them all. But your 5-HTP production is definitely on that long list. If you have enough l-tryptophan in your system, your body can break it down and recycle its parts to construct 5-HTP. So what can you eat to get more l-tryptophan into your system? The higher the protein in your meats, the better. Turkey is a great example. In fact, if you’ve ever felt sleepy after a thanksgiving meal, tryptophan is probably the reason why. But tryptophan can be found in other foods besides turkey. Raw nuts, high protein veggies, and plenty of dairy products are also rich in l-tryptophan.

But don’t go overboard at the grocery store buying those l-tryptophan foods just yet. Some of those food – especially the high protein meats and nuts – will expand your grocery bill by quite a bit. And even if purchasing those foods is no problem for you, don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. You’re probably going to have to spend some time learning new recipes and making new meals, which most busy people don’t have time for. Absorbing and digesting that l-tryptophan is going to put an extra workload on your body on top of everything; but it gets worse. If you really want to change your diet to help your body make more 5-HTP, you need to eat your meals at the right time of day, too.

Despite all of this work, dietary changes may still fail to help your body produce the right amount of 5-HTP. So what do you do if that happens? You don’t have to keep guessing and experimenting with your diet to figure out the answer. You can try taking a 5-HTP supplement instead.

The Pros and Cons of 5-HTP Supplements

There are plenty of vitamin stores out there – and even some drug stores – which sell 5-HTP supplements. If you’re not taking any other supplements or vitamins, this might not be so bad. But if you, like so many other people, are trying to hack your body into optimal performance with many different supplements, do you really want to throw one more onto the pile? If you’re averse to taking fistfuls of nutraceuticals on a daily basis, then a 5-HTP supplement may not be for you.

On the other hand, you can take a supplement that includes 5-HTP as a part of its total formula. If you go this route, it’s important to look for supplements which contain complementary ingredients. These complementary ingredients will work synergistically with the 5-HTP in order to help your body sleep better. In case it isn’t obvious by now, the supplement you’re going to want to look for is a natural sleep supplement. We’ve seen plenty of natural sleep aids which contain 5-HTP along with other helpful ingredients such as melatonin, valerian root, and even chamomile. And if you keep perusing our site, we will be happy to offer you some helpful suggestions.

You Need to Learn More About Sleep Hygiene – Now!

Have you heard about sleep hygiene? If not, then you’re in luck! Especially if you’ve been having trouble sleeping lately.  Sleep hygiene is a series of personal habits which – if you start practicing them – can seriously improve both the amount of sleep you get and how easy it is for you to fall asleep in the first place. Best of all, it’s completely free! You don’t have to pay anyone to teach you and you don’t have to purchase any fancy gadgets or accessories. As a matter of fact, if you’re curious, all you have to do is to keep reading this page. Because we’re about to explain the basic principles of sleep hygiene for you.  

Learning Sleep Hygiene Basics

Today, we’re just going to start with the basics. You don’t want to rush into anything too fast or overwhelm yourself – otherwise, it won’t work. You’ve got to learn to walk before you can run, after all. For some of you, it may be like learning how to crawl before you can walk. Regardless, starting slow and simple with the very basics of sleep hygiene can help you transform your nightly routine and get the best sleep you’ve ever had in a good, long while.

Light Exposure Is Key

Mankind has evolved over thousands and thousands of years to be diurnal (fun fact: that’s the exact opposite of nocturnal). Our bodies were born to wake up at sunrise and settle in for a deep rest once the sun went down. But back then, the sun was the only light in our lives. Things are much more complicated now with electronic devices and artificial lighting. It completely messes up our circadian rhythm and throws our sleep/wake hormones out of balance.

But there are two simple things you can do to try to correct this imbalance. For starters, make time to give yourself more sunlight exposure during the earlier hours of your day. This ends a “wake up” signal to your brain and kick-starts production of the wakefulness hormones which give you energy and mental clarity. Next, limit your exposure to electronic light in the evening. Electronic devices bombard your eyeballs with the type of blue light that tricks your brain into suppressing melatonin. Melatonin is one of the most important hormones for sleep. So unplug, already! It’ll do wonders for your rest.

Pro tip: if you can, try to make sure you get up and go to bed at the same time each day. Work with your body’s circadian clock, not against it. With enough conditioning and practice, you may never need to set an alarm again.

Your Sleeping Environment – Are You Doing it Wrong?

The perfect sleeping environment is cool, dark, and free of distractions. If possible, set your thermostat for 68 degrees at night. Make sure there isn’t any ambient light peeking through your windows or coming from electronic devices. Blackout curtains and sleep masks work really well for this. Lastly, although we hate to say it, you may want to train your pet to sleep in its own bed. Rowdy pets could wake you up in the middle of night and ruin your sleep cycle, leaving you feeling groggy and awful the next day. 

Pro tip: turn your environment into a zen haven by practicing meditation right before bed. It’ll help clear your mind and dispel the anxieties of the day.

Exercise Is Important for Better Sleep – No, Really!

Have you ever noticed how young children seem to have all the energy in the world and then sleep like a rock at night? There’s a little bit of a cycle going on. When you sleep that well, you have tons of energy the next day. And when you run around all day playing and having fun – as children do – you tire yourself out and get great sleep that night. If you can find time to run around and exercise more in your daily life – especially if you can find a physical activity that is also fun for you – it’ll tire you out the same way playtime does for young children. And you’ll be able to sleep that much better at night.

Pro tip: exercise your mind at the same time. 20% Of the calories you burn each day are burned exclusively by your brain. If you can’t exercise, or if you can’t exercise enough to make yourself more tired at bedtime, do something that challenges your brain to work harder. Learn a new skill, read a difficult book, or journal your day and write about the things that are keeping you up at night. All of these can help exercise your brain and put it in a space which is more conducive to sleep.

Stay as Drug-free as Possible

As tempting as they are, prescription and over-the-counter sleeping pills will do you much more harm than good in the long run. Even though you feel like you’re completely asleep, your brain isn’t getting the restorative rest it needs because the chemicals block its ability to regenerate itself properly. And if you use these sleep drugs for a prolonged amount of time, it can permanently damage your brain’s ability to repair and replenish itself – even if you do figure out how to fall asleep naturally again. So beware of these substances, and only use them if it is absolutely necessary.

Pro tip: try and incorporate a natural sleep-aid like Avinol PM into your nightly sleep hygiene routine. Yes, we know we said you didn’t have to buy anything in order to take advantage of our sleep hygiene tips. And you don’t, to be fair. There is a money back guarantee you can take advantage of if you don’t like it. But if it does work for you, then that’s even better!

So there you go – the basics of sleep hygiene. As you experiment with different tricks and techniques, be sure to keep track of what does and what doesn’t work for you. It’s important to figure out the perfect sleep routine for you and your body – after all, your health is at stake!

Supplementing With Melatonin – Will it Give You a Good Night Sleep?

One of the most popular, natural, and safe supplements for better rest these days is melatonin. But whether you’re curious about it or you’re actually taking it right now, you might not know very much about it. Some people still don’t understand what melatonin actually is, how it helps people get to sleep more quickly, or why it’s so effective at helping them stay asleep all night long and making them feel refreshed the next morning. If you happen to be one of these curious people, then you’re in the right place. Get ready to learn everything you need to know about melatonin!

Melatonin Is an Important Part of the Circadian Rhythm

Your body’s internal clock – otherwise known as your circadian rhythm – is naturally in sync with sunrise and nightfall. In a nutshell, your circadian rhythm consists of many different physiological responses to not just the time of day, but your eating and exercise habits as well. Your circadian rhythm plays a large part in controlling the balance of hormones in your body, especially those hormones responsible for making you feel sleepy when you need to rest and making you feel wakeful during the day.

The main hormone responsible for helping you sleep and feel groggy is melatonin. Your body is supposed to naturally produce melatonin at night after the sun goes down. The low levels of light – especially bright blue light – send a signal to your brain which flips on the melatonin switch. This is essential because when humans don’t sleep, when we don’t sleep enough, or when we get poor quality sleep, we miss out on the opportunity to repair the damage we sustain from everyday activities.

Unfortunately, due to modern inventions, we aren’t as in sync with nature and with our circadian rhythm as we used to be. For example, we no longer have the luxury of low light triggering normal, healthy amount of melatonin production in our brains. The bright blue light from electronic devices like our TVs, cell phones, tablets, and computers tricks our brain into thinking it’s still daytime. If our brain thinks it’s still daytime, it doesn’t produce melatonin. And without melatonin, you won’t feel sleepy. For a lot of people – especially people who cannot tear themselves away from a glowing screen, regardless of the time of day – low levels of melatonin may be a major factor in why they have trouble sleeping.

Is it Possible to Boost Melatonin Naturally?

Yes, it is absolutely possible to help your body produce more melatonin in a healthy, natural way. All it takes is picking up a few new habits, or changing a few old bad habits for the better. Try starting with:

  • Mindfulness meditation. Meditation, when done correctly, can help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your blood, leaving room for your body to produce more melatonin
  • Expose yourself to more natural light in the morning. This early morning exposure reduces melatonin levels after you wake up so that your body will produce more at night. It also increases hormone levels which induce wakefulness and give you energy during the day
  • Starting at about 2 hours before your bedtime after the sun has gone down, try as best you can to limit your exposure to electronic light. As we’ve already said, little or no blue light at night flips the melatonin switch in your brain to the “on” position
  • Invest in affordable accessories that will block out all ambient light in your room, such as blackout curtains or a thick, comfortable sleep mask. The darker your sleeping space, the better it is for your sleep

If you’re a gadget junkie who cannot turn off the TV or the computer at night, here’s an alternative strategy: blue light blocker glasses. The lenses have a yellowish tint and help neutralize electronic blue light, which helps your brain produce more melatonin when it should. But if you follow all of this advice and still believe you aren’t producing enough melatonin, the next step is to move on to melatonin supplements.

Melatonin Benefits More Than Just Your Sleep

If you really want to argue in favor of melatonin, you have plenty of evidence to back up your case. Some of that evidence isn’t even directly related to sleep. For example: melatonin is a very potent antioxidant. Every single cell in your body naturally produces oxidative damage as the result of its everyday activities. Too much oxidative damage will lead to premature aging and chronic disease. But antioxidants like melatonin help reduce the unhealthy accumulation of oxidative damage. This keeps your cells healthier for longer, delays the aging process, and can even give you tons of energy.

In addition to being an antioxidant, melatonin reduces inflammation, too. It’s especially important to supplement with melatonin in the winter months because it can help boost your immunity when you’re exposed to a virus or a bacterial infection. Lastly, although melatonin is produced by your brain, it can help heal your brain, too. People with certain mental health conditions and/or chronic headaches have reported some symptom alleviation with melatonin supplementation. Just understand that even though melatonin can potentially be helpful, it is not a cure. And it certainly should not replace whatever advice your doctor has given you. But in recommended dosage levels it is safe and healthy to try. It also has few – if any – reactions with other drugs, including prescription drugs.

Sleep Supplements With Melatonin

Here’s the next question: do you only supplement with melatonin by itself? Or do you add other natural sleep inducing ingredients into the mix? If you ask the people who came up with Avinol PM, they will obviously answer the second half of that question in the affirmative. If you don’t believe us, all you have to do is look at the ingredients list on the back of the box to confirm.

Avinol PM includes a potent, highly bioavailable form of melatonin and its formula. It also includes natural ingredients like hops, chamomile, and valerian root. People have used these extracts for centuries in order to relax before bed. You can try and supplement with melatonin on its own first before trying Avinol PM. Don’t let us stop you. But if it’s not enough, or if you’re still struggling with other sleep issues, we highly recommend you give Avinol PM a try!

REM Sleep – It’s Good for Your Brain!

Did you know that your sleep is not just one static, monotonous state? Sleep is actually a very dynamic process. You go through many different stages of sleep while you rest through the night. REM sleep is one of those stages. You may be more familiar with it as the part of your sleep where you dream. But REM sleep is a lot more complex and important than just a few crazy images flashing through your brain. In this article, you’re going to learn all about REM sleep and just how essential it is for human health and well-being.

Defining REM Sleep

The acronym REM in REM sleep is shorthand for rapid eye movement, which is one of the most telltale signs of this particular sleep stage. Back in the day when scientists began to research human sleep cycles, they noticed patients and study subjects experiencing patterns of rapid, random back and forth eye movement during certain sections of their sleep. Aside from the eyes, though, nearly every other skeletal muscle in the human body is paralyzed during REM sleep. Scientists refer to this as atonia. Experiments on animals have shown that when REM sleep atonia is interrupted in any way, the animals walk around and move as though acting out their dreams, despite being completely asleep. It is strongly believed that the same thing happens in humans, i.e. sleepwalking. It seems like atonia is a natural defense mechanism to save us from ourselves when we dream.

Thanks to advanced technologies these days, we can empirically observe exactly what happens in the brain during REM sleep. For starters, brain wave activity changes dramatically. Throughout a REM cycle your brain can change from emitting alpha to theta and all the way up to high frequency beta waves. Scientists were puzzled by this at first, because high frequency beta waves are usually only observed when someone is fully conscious and undergoing complex mental tasks. Some scientists even like the joke that REM sleep is paradoxical sleep, because of the brain is behaving almost the same way it would if it was conscious – despite being completely asleep.

The Importance of REM Sleep for the Brain

It’s not just that your brain waves are more active during REM sleep; certain parts of your brain also get a good workout that they can’t get at any other point in your sleep cycle. Without REM sleep, your brain cannot consolidate, process, or store long-term memories of your experiences from the previous day. Your brain also goes through an emotional rollercoaster while in paradoxical sleep because the emotional sectors of your brain light up and become much more active. This helps explain why dreams have such a powerful effect on us.

Scientific studies show that people who try to take a lot of information in or perform many complicated tasks on a given day will spend a significant amount of time in REM sleep that same night. Science has also discovered that in all stages of childhood – from infancy all the way into a person’s teenage years – REM sleep takes up the biggest chunk of the human sleep cycle. Your brain uses REM sleep to prune the tree, so to speak. It breaks down neurons it doesn’t use and redistributes those resources to the parts of your brain you use the most. So the phrase “use-it-or-lose-it” as just as true for the brain as it is anywhere else in your body (or life, for that matter).

Negative consequences of disrupted REM Sleep

If you don’t get enough REM sleep, the consequences can be more severe than you would think. For example:

  • Poor REM sleep reduces your ability to cope with emotional stress
  • Poor REM sleep has been linked to more frequent, more painful migraines
  • Waking up tired and groggy is a common side effect of little or no REM sleep
  • Lack of REM sleep contributes to unwanted weight gain
  • Lack of REM sleep will eventually force you into rebound REM sleep, which is characterized by vivid dreams, night terrors, and delirium tremens in rare cases
  • Insufficient REM sleep leaves your brain vulnerable to chronic and age-related brain diseases
  • Poor REM sleep dismantles your ability to store long-term memories

As important as REM sleep obviously is, you’d think that it would be the easiest to get, right? Unfortunately, no. When your body isn’t getting quality rest, one of the first sleep stages to get sacrificed is REM sleep. But if you put in a little effort, you can make sure that your body dedicates a healthy chunk of its sleep cycle directly towards getting all the REM sleep you could possibly want.

How to Get More REM Sleep

There are certain substances you need to avoid if you’re having trouble getting the REM sleep you need to stay healthy. These include:

  • Cannabis
  • Alcohol
  • Antihistamines
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Certain antidepressants – especially MAOIs, SSRIs, and TCAs

Avoiding these substances is easier said than done. Alcohol and weed are more obvious, but can be hard to avoid depending on how you relax socially. Other things can be more insidious. Most people don’t know, for example, that the main ingredient in most over-the-counter sleeping pills is an antihistamine. Furthermore, most doctors won’t tell you that certain antidepressants can have a negative impact on your REM sleep. The sad truth is that most doctors don’t even know themselves that this is the case. It’s up to you and your medical practitioner to weigh the pros and cons of sacrificing your REM sleep for the potential benefits of taking a particular antidepressant medication. We can’t give you any medical advice on that subject here.

Before you reach for the drugs, prescription or otherwise, try to improve your sleep hygiene. Even changing small behaviors, such as avoiding electronic light before bed or taking an evening walk after dinner can have a pretty big impact. But if you must take something, make sure it’s a natural sleep aid like Avinol PM about half an hour before bed. The natural extracts and safe ingredients won’t interfere with REM sleep. On the contrary – it’ll help you get to sleep naturally so that it’s easier for your body to get all of the REM sleep it needs. So don’t just do it for better sleep; do it for better REM sleep.

Eating Before Bed Isn’t Just Bad – It Can Be Dangerous, Too.

There’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about how bad it can be to still be eating close to bedtime. Problems like weight gain and reduced sleep quality are some of the worst side effects. It can even make it difficult to fall asleep in the first place. Unfortunately, between our busy schedules and nighttime rumblies in our tumblies, it can be difficult to to avoid eating right before bed.

But it’s not completely hopeless. You can still lose weight, get good quality sleep, and find a way to keep yourself from going to bed starving. It’s important to understand, however, exactly why eating late at night is so bad for you. It can help put things in perspective so that you are more motivated to make better decisions about your health.

Eating Before Bed Compromises Your Lifespan and Your Health Span

Have you heard about autophagy? In its own way, it has a strong connection between sleep and eating before bed. When you eat right before bed it shortens the amount of time you spend fasting during any 24 hour period. When you’re fasting, autophagy happens. Autophagy is great because it does several good things for your body which improve both longevity and your overall quality of life.  

Autophagy is any small amount of stress which makes your body build itself back up stronger and more resilient. There are many things that do this; exercise, swimming in cold water, or spending time in a sauna are just a few. One of the easiest ways to trigger autophagy, though, is fasting. The longer you fast during a 24-hour period, the more benefits you will get.

It may seem difficult to go for an extended period of time without food. Not only will there be physical side effects at first, but our culture has brainwashed us into believing that you will immediately go into “starvation mode” and suffer negative health consequences if you aren’t eating every few hours. This is just plain baloney, and there’s plenty of scientific evidence to prove it. If you get good quality sleep at night, you’re automatically fasting for at least 8 hours out of your day. And the more distance you put between your final meal and bedtime, the more fasting you can squeeze in. That leads to more autophagy and better health benefits – including good sleep.

The Dreaded Inflammation That Comes With Late Night Meals

Everyone these days is talking about inflammation – and for good reason. Inflammation is more rampant in modern society than it has ever been before, and it is taking a serious toll on our health and wellness. Doctors and scientists now believe that there are a plethora of autoimmune diseases which can be directly connected to inflammation.  

The connection between late night eating and inflammation isn’t quite so straightforward. But late night feeding can cause a series of unfortunate events which will lead to an inflammatory response. The cycle goes a little something like this:

  • Eating late at night raises your blood sugar right before bed
  • Raised blood sugar triggers your pancreas to secrete more insulin
  • When your insulin spikes in this manner, it causes a blood sugar crash
  • Your body scrambles to recover from this crash (while it should be restoring and regenerating itself instead)
  • Hormone levels spike, including the stress hormone cortisol
  • When your cortisol levels spike, it creates a snowball effect of inflammatory reactions

Granted, we aren’t trying to demonize every form of immune activity. The occasional acute inflammatory response is fine, like in the event that you get injured and need to repair. But if you’re constantly triggering this response outside of the need to heal or fight disease, it can lead to serious health problems like metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes, among others.

The Emerging Dangers of Adrenal Fatigue

Speaking of cortisol, we need to talk about adrenal fatigue. These are the glands which sit on top of your kidneys and regulate the vast majority of cortisol which is produced in your body. If you’re constantly eating late in the evening and causing cortisol spikes while you sleep, your adrenals will eventually run out of steam. This is what medical experts refer to as adrenal fatigue.

If left unchecked for too long, it can cause diseases such as hypothyroidism. More specifically, adrenal fatigue is considered a secondary type of hypothyroidism. This distinction is important because these two types of the disease require different kinds of treatment. If you get the wrong type of treatment, it can make the condition worse! So do yourself a favor and stop eating before bed if you want to avoid the dreaded adrenal fatigue.

How to Avoid Eating Before Bed

Taking a natural sleep aid half an hour before bed can help reduce some of the gnawing hunger which prompts people to eat late at night. They usually instruct you to take the supplement with a full glass of water. Since having something in your belly usually prevents your stomach from growling, this can amplify the benefits of your sleep aid.

If your sleep supplement happens to contain melatonin, that’s even better. Melatonin has an inverse relationship with cortisol – this means that the more melatonin you have in your system at night, the less cortisol your body will produce. Not only does this calm you down and make it easier for you to sleep at night, but it helps reduce the long-term consequences of late night eating.

If you simply can’t or don’t want to stop eating too close to bedtime, there’s really nothing at the end of the day we can do to influence your decision. We can only offer you at the facts and hope that you make the right decision for your health and wellness. But we hope you’ll at least consider giving this one, simple lifestyle change a chance. We promise that you’ll experience some very real and very wonderful benefits.

Cleaning up a Poor Sleep Diet

Are you having trouble with your sleep? Have you googled for solutions online, talked to your doctor, tried to take dangerous pills, and found no success? Are you at your wit’s end? Well, here’s a seemingly radical solution: have you tried to clean up your diet? It may sound crazy, but making healthier changes to your diet can really help improve your nightly rest. If you don’t believe us, we implore you to keep reading and hear us out. You may be surprised by what you learn.

What Exactly Is a “Poor Sleep Diet”?

When it comes to a poor sleep diet, you have to pay close attention to the foods you eat and the beverages you drink. Drinking and eating the wrong foods can wreak havoc on your ability to fall asleep at night and get the quality rest your body needs. So if you want to improve upon your sleeping habits, you’re going to have to moderate your intake of the following foods and beverages – or eliminate them all together.

Yes, Alcohol Is Ruining Your Sleep

We know this is going to be difficult news for a lot of people to hear. After all, how easy is it to fall asleep after a night of drinking? How much better do you sleep after taking a nighttime cold medicine – which, spoiler alert, is at least 10% alcohol in every dose? In a way, alcohol’s ability to make you fall asleep is similar to that of prescription sleeping pills; it’ll get you to sleep, but you’ll still get extremely poor quality sleep. And in the long run, getting poor quality sleep can be just as bad as getting no sleep at all.

The sleep you do get from a nightcap or dose of cold medicine or from drinking to the point of excess is short-lived for most people. Getting to sleep with the help of alcohol shortens your sleep cycle and reduces the number of hours of sleep you get. So when you wake up from your drunken stupor, you’re getting the double whammy of sleeping fewer hours and sleeping more poorly.

Lastly, falling asleep while you are still under the influence takes a huge toll on your body. Instead of detoxifying your brain and fixing the damage of your day, your body is metabolizing alcohol instead. This can cause systemic damage through every single cell in your body and, over time, lead to some serious health consequences due to poor sleep.

Caffeine and Sleep

Alcohol is bad for your body in many ways – sleep especially. But caffeine really only has a negative effect on your sleep patterns. Don’t get us wrong – it’s okay to use caffeine to help pep you up in the morning, especially if you’ve had a particularly restless night before. But drinking a single drop of coffee or taking caffeine pills after 12 p.M. Should be a big no-no in your book. Although you may not feel it, caffeine’s excitatory effects linger in the body long after you’ve had your final sip. And if there’s still caffeine circulating through your bloodstream when you put your head on the pillow, you will likely have trouble falling asleep. Even if you do sleep, the quality of your sleep may not be so great.

Spicy Food Can Keep You up at Night

Again, this is another entry where indulging yourself during the daytime hours can be relatively harmless; it’s when you eat spicy food too close to bedtime then it becomes problematic. Indigestion and heartburn can be painful and uncomfortable enough when you’re sitting or standing upright during the daytime. But when you are lying flat on your back in bed, it’s the worst. The acidic fluids in your stomach can easily slip back up into your esophagus causing a painful, burning sensation that you wouldn’t feel if you were sitting upright. Propping pillows under yourself to stay somewhat elevated can be an answer, but it can also be a very uncomfortable sleeping position for a lot of people.

The Connection Between a Poor Diet and Poor Sleep

Although what you eat is important, the when and how you eat are almost as important, too. Furthermore, if you aren’t getting enough exercise, that’s another aspect of your poor sleep diet which you should try and fix. Exercising earlier in the morning is best, but even exercising in the afternoon or evening is better than no exercise at all.

You should also work on improving your daily eating schedule. Unfortunately, most of us tend to eat the opposite of the way we should. The average person eats little to nothing for breakfast, a moderate lunch or snacks all day, and a huge dinner right before they go to sleep. This is very bad for a number of reasons. Some of those reasons include weight gain, poor sleep, difficulty falling asleep, and difficulty staying asleep.

The best way to fix this is to follow an inverted pyramid type of diet: make breakfast your biggest meal of the day, followed by moderate lunch and a late dinner. Furthermore, make sure you eat most of your carbs in the morning and most of your protein in the evening. This helps deliver the nutrients your body needs when it needs them most and can also prevent you from storing food as fat while you sleep.

Another thing that trips people up is counting calories and/or points instead of focusing on the nutritional content of their food. There are plenty of low calorie, nutrient dense food out there that most people aren’t eating simply because they don’t taste as good. If you try to shift your palate towards these nutritious, low calorie foods, not only will you lose weight but your body will be able to produce more of the sleep hormones it needs to get easy, quality rest.

If you’re trying to fix a poor sleep diet, there’s one thing you definitely need to add into the mix: an herbal sleep supplement. These usually contain many ingredients which are natural, safe, and effective at helping you relax. In addition to moderating your unhealthy food and beverage intake while improving the quality of the food you eat, a natural sleep aid is perfect for helping you improve your sleep diet.

Are You Following a Good Sleep Diet? Here’s How You Start!

Believe it or not, a “good sleep diet” is a thing that exists in the real world. Although it’s not what you would typically think of when it comes to dieting. It may seem confusing at first, but we’ll clear up this confusion right here, right now. Get ready for the 411 on the good sleep diet.

Step Number One Get Used to Sleeping on a Regular Schedule

Before you even think about how changing your dinner plate can help you sleep, you need to start thinking about another big, important circle: your clock. Well, your body clock, at least. Your internal rhythm has evolved in ways that expect certain meals at certain times in certain quantities. And if you eat against your body’s natural schedule, it can give you some serious sleep problems.

Did you ever notice that the acronym for the “Standard American Diet” is SAD? We don’t think this is a coincidence. Over the last few decades, unhealthy eating habits – largely proliferated by greedy corporations and food producers – have been ingrained into our psyche. There’s plenty of proof that these eating habits are unnatural and unhealthy, and there are dozens of documentaries which show the proof. But we’re not going to dig too deep into that today. Right now, we’re mostly concerned with pointing out the flaws and the dangers of the Standard American Diet. Such as:

  • Skipping breakfast nearly every day, or eating a breakfast that’s too small  
  • Grazing all day by eating small snacks and skipping lunch
  • Eating most of your calories in the evening – especially if you eat very complex meals

Some or all of these habits could be contributing to your sleep problems. Thankfully, science has the answer. We looked at the research and realize that the common consensus tells people to flip that eating pattern right on its head. Start by:

  • Breakfast is the new dinner – eat the majority of your calories right when you get up in the morning, not at night before your supposed to fall asleep
  • No skipping lunch – eating big meals at opposite ends of your day can seriously mess up your circadian rhythm
  • Dinner is the new breakfast – you see what we did there? The fewer calories you eat, the easier it will be to fall asleep in the evening because you won’t be loading your body with a ton of energy when you’re supposed to be getting ready for rest
  • No matter what, stop eating two hours before your bed time, if not earlier
  • If you absolutely, positively have to eat something right before bed, keep it simple. Consume a small portion of healthy protein with a small portion of healthy carbs. These two things together will release neurotransmitters in your brain that promote relaxation

Experts sometimes refer to these patterns as the Upside Down Pyramid eating schedule. And if you sit down to think about it, this eating regimen can make a lot of sense. It’s like starting your day with a full tank of gas, and going to bed on an empty tank. Eating more of your calories in the morning gives you more energy to tackle your day with a running start. Plus, at the end of the day, why would you load yourself up with energy? You should only do that when you need it – not at night, when you’re supposed to be at rest. Otherwise, the calories you eat in the evening will end up stored in your fat cells before anything else.  

Make Good Sleep Hygiene a Part of Your Good Sleep Diet

It’s not just changing your feeding schedule that’s going to help you sleep better at night. Changing your bedtime routine is an important part of establishing a good sleep diet. But you’ve got to learn to walk before you can run. Here is some of the easiest good sleep hygiene habits you can start developing tonight:

  • Turn off your electronic devices (or wear some anti-blue light glasses) about 2 to 3 hours before bed so that your brain can produce more melatonin
  • Assuming you can afford a higher energy bill, turn your thermostat down to 68 degrees so that the cooler environment can trigger sleep hormones in your body
  • Electronic light isn’t the only light you have to watch out for; ambient light in general can disturb your sleep if you don’t put up some blackout curtains or other obstructions

While we’re at it, we want to make one more important note: sleeping pills should not be a part of your bedtime routine if you can avoid it. This is especially true for over-the-counter sleep drugs, or prescription sleep aids. These pills interfere with your body’s natural ability to sleep and can even reduce the quality of your rest. Natural sleep aids, on the other hand, are perfect for relaxing you enough to fall asleep on your own without ruining your sleep.

Eating Well on a Good Sleep Diet

Finally, we’re getting to the “diet” part: the part we talk about what you should eat. Changing your routine is most of the battle – but changing what’s on your dinner plate will bring everything together.

If you don’t shop in the produce section of the grocery store very often, you’re going to need to start. Incorporating whole foods into your diet is an important part of not just better sleep, but better health in general. The more of your food that comes out of a can, a bag, a box, or the freezer section, the worse your sleep habits will be. This is because most processed food is a combination of sugar, trans fats, and an excessive amount of salt with extremely little nutritional value. And this is bad for your sleep because:

  • Highly processed protein prevent your body from converting amino acids into serotonin, tryptophan, and melatonin; without these hormones in your body, you’ll feel awake and restless at bedtime
  • Processed food doesn’t have the complex carbohydrates do you need to unlock the sedative powers of tryptophan, melatonin, or GABA (another important neurotransmitter in the brain which promotes relaxation)
  • If you aren’t eating enough healthy fats, then you’re also setting yourself up for disaster because these fats will block your brain’s ability to tell your body to produce more melatonin and amino acids like tryptophan

We know we’ve given you a lot of information all at once. But this is all just the tip of the iceberg. Keep checking back to her blog for more information on good sleep diets, good sleep habits, and good sleep in general.