There’s a great deal of debate among researchers about the best light therapy for SAD (seasonal affective disorder).
I’m going to narrow the research findings down as much as possible for you. That way, you’ll have the basic information you need to know for purchasing a light box for SAD. And you won’t be overwhelmed with all the research from the science journals.
Let me first say, I don’t take any of this lightly (no pun intended). Depression is a serious topic, one that has greatly affected my own family. (Two first cousins—one was my best friend—committed suicide, and two other family members attempted suicide several times and almost succeeded.)Without question, light relief therapy is a highly effective method for overcoming the seasonal depression that occurs in the fall and winter months.
Over the past several years, the standard recommendation for the best light therapy was for light boxes containing fluorescent bulbs that put out a white light. White light does work and is designed to mimic the effects of natural daylight.
But some of the claims for these lights sometimes refer to them as “full spectrum lights.” And they also claim they are the “best light therapy.”
Here’s what Dr. Daniel Kripke, an expert on sleep, sleep medications, and bright light therapy has to say about full spectrum lights:
“A lot has been written about natural lighting and whether one should use lighting with a “full” spectrum. I suspect this spectrum of claims is largely baloney! I doubt that any of the commercial sources really produces a light spectrum which could be mistaken for the rather smooth spectrum of natural sunlight.”• Light intensity.
• Whether the light box is free of UV light.
• How long a person may need to sit in front of the lights to get relief.
• Whether you respond better to light therapy first thing in the morning or whether evening light helps you better.
• The color of the light.Light comes in colors, as you’ve seen if you’ve ever viewed a prism. For the purposes of seasonal affective disorder light therapy, the colors of interest are white, blue, green, red.
Forget about red for seasonal affective disorder light therapy. White and blue are better for SAD.
Green light therapy is an interesting, fairly recent development in light therapy for SAD over the past 10 years or so. However, I haven’t seen any substantial evidence that green light is better than blue light (and green light boxes are far more expensive).
What I have seen is that green light has been touted as being safer for the eyes than blue light.
The thought is that light causes macular degeneration in the eyes. So over a lifetime of exposure to the sun, there is potential damage to the retina of the eyes.Light boxes are designed to put out a certain amount of light intensity, known as lux. The thinking is, sitting in front of a light box may lead to macular degeneration. And some discussion has speculated that blue light is worse than green light or white light.
I’m not convinced of this.
Here’s the thing.
All you have to do is keep this in mind: DO NOT stare into any light box! You don’t stare directly at the sun and you should never stare into a light therapy box.
Also keep in mind that white light does contain a lot of blue light and blue-green light.Just in case you’re interested in knowing more about macular degeneration, I have a FREE e-book for you. You’ll find out:
• What is macular degeneration?
• The types of macular degeneration
• How to diagnose macular degeneration
• Symptoms of macular degeneration
• What causes macular degeneration?
• Natural remedies for macular degeneration
Simply click the following link Natural Help for Macular Degeneration and download the e-book to your computer (link opens a new browser window). If you need Adobe Reader to read the e-book, go to my sitemap (see the menu up above on the far left).
By the way, there are many other FREE health and financial e-books in my sitemap you can also download.The standard advice when dealing with white lights is “get a light box with 10,000 lux.” For a white light therapy lamp, that’s good advice.
However, new light therapy research shows that blue-enriched light, which has a lower intensity, may be just as effective as the high intensity white light boxes.
I know I know. All of this sounds confusing and you’re sitting there thinking, “What the heck am I supposed to buy for the best light therapy!”
For now, I think your best bet is to go with either a white box or the new smaller blue light boxes. Green light therapy is expensive right now and I’m not convinced the potential benefit is worth the price.
If you have any eye disorders, such as glaucoma, cataracts, or susceptibility to macular degeneration, don’t use a light box without consulting an eye doctor. If you don’t have eye concerns, light boxes for SAD should be safe.I think it’s far better to try something in the way of light therapy for depression, even if all the facts about different types of lighting are not known.
It’s clear that whether blue light is better than green light is better than white light as the best light therapy still needs more research to determine.
In the meantime however, just do something about your seasonal depression!
The people who get somewhere in this world are the ones who take action, even in the face of depression and setbacks.
So don’t let confusion stop you from getting help that is available.There are companies all over the Internet that sell light boxes for SAD. You can spend hours searching around (as I have).
If you want to save yourself some time, I think the easiest thing to do is start by clicking below to view one of the Philips blue lights from Amazon.com.
• They’re clinically tested, which is essential for choosing a light box…
• They’re small and compact, yet effective…
• They’re endorsed by the prestigious National Sleep Foundation…
• They’re free from UV light, which is absolutely critical in choosing a light box for SAD…
• They’re small and compact so you can put the box above your eyes, perhaps on a shelf, and let the light filter down to you. Research is now showing that due to the structure of your eyes, if the light is above your head, and filters down on you, the effect on your seasonal depression is better.
Please note the above model can only be shipped in the United States.
So here’s another light box for SAD that can be shipped to various countries:
Or check out this visor light, also from from Amazon.com. It treats winter blues and some insomnias too.
At Amazon, you can see the reviews and how well people have been helped. Maybe these products will work for you too.The best light therapy and seasonal depression treatment is the one that works for you. That could mean a combination of therapies:
• using a light box for SAD
• natural remedies for anxiety, depression, and stress (Link opens in a new window.)
• cognitive behavioral therapy
• yoga or other exercise
• or if absolutely necessary, antidepressant medications.
The key is—try something until it works to boost your mood and gives you vibrant fall and winter energy. And always keep in mind that the best light therapy is to get as much sunshine as possible. I truly wish you all the best!
1. J Affect Disord. 2011 Sep 10. [Epub ahead of print] The effects of blue-enriched light treatment compared to standard light treatment in seasonal affective disorder.
2. Biol Psychiatry. 2006 Mar 15;59(6):502-7. Epub 2005 Sep 13. Light therapy for seasonal affective disorder with blue narrow-band light-emitting diodes (LEDs)
3. Blue in the Face. Sleep Med. 2009 March ; 10(3): 277–278. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2008.07.003. Michael Terman
4. Light Therapies For Depression, PsychEducation.org
5. Brighten Your Life, by Daniel F.. Kripke, M.D.
6. Spectral Responses of the Human Circadian System Depend on the Irradiance and Duration of Exposure to Light. Sci Transl Med 12 May 2010: Vol. 2, Issue 31, p. 31ra33
7. Green Light Affects Circadian Rhythm, May 12, 2010, Press Release Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School
8. The Efficacy of Light Therapy in the Treatment of Mood Disorders: A Review and Meta-Analysis of the Evidence (Am J Psychiatry 2005; 162:656–662)
9. Lux vs. wavelength in light treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2009 Sep;120(3):203-12. Epub 2009 FebFree e-book: Natural Help 4 Depression (Link opens in a new window.)
Knowing how to fall asleep can have a dramatic impact on your health, finances, daily productivity, and mood.
So before you reach for those sleep medications, make sure you’ve checked off all of these how to fall asleep tips first.Here’s the thing. Millions of people act as though sleep is some sort of inconvenience. It’s like an interference from their cell phones. It gets in the way of their daily life and all the things they try to get done on their to do list.
I like the way sleep and dream expert Rubin Naiman, Ph.D. so eloquently puts it when he says we must embrace sleep as another essential part of our consciousness, “willingly descending into a mysterious sea of sleep.”
And note this if you want to know how to fall asleep. Naiman writes, “The single most critical factor impairing healthy sleep is not, as is commonly believed, that we are insufficiently sleepy at night. It’s what sleep science calls hyperarousal—that we are excessively wakeful.”
So I say make sleep sacred. A life priority. Understand that one of the best tips to fall asleep is to recognize that sleep is an essential part of renewal, exploration, and discovery in your life.
The rest of the following tips will help you develop the sleep hygiene that is so important for descending into sleep.Let me tell you, I recently learned how important it is to have a regular sleep schedule. I just completed three weeks of travel back and forth across the United States from the South, to the Northwest, to the South, to the Northeast, and back to the South. My sleep schedule was totally screwed up.
The consequence? I was exhausted during the day!
One of the best how to fall asleep tips there is is to have a regular pattern of when you go to sleep and when you wake up. Boring? Sure. But you’ll sleep a heck of a lot better and suffer from a lot fewer sleepless nights.
So get in the habit of going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. It’s that important. And this also applies to you if you’re retired. When we reach our forties, patterns of sleep begin to change and it becomes even more important to develop good sleep habits.
The last thing you want to do is crawl into bed with a brain full of worry. Money, kids, work, stupid things you did today—or five years ago…these can all keep your mind on fire.
The only thing I have found that works for me is a total brain dump. Plain old paper and pen works wonders for writing down everything that is on my mind and dumping it out of my brain. So whether you are trying to get to sleep but can’t…or you wake up in the middle of the night with worry…get it down on paper.
Better yet, why not pick a time earlier in the day before bedtime to think about the things that are bothering you. Jot them down. Make out your to do list for the next day several hours before you hit the sack so you aren’t thinking about it in bed.
Another thing I sometimes say to myself if I’m lying awake in bed is that there is absolutely nothing I can do at this moment to solve my problem…and I let it go for now. It’s interesting though that sleep has the ability to let your brain figure things out for you and solve a problem. Just another reason you should embrace sleep as a friend.Mother Nature is so wise. She has equipped your body with the hormone melatonin so you can slip into slumber as the darkness of night comes. Problem is, every source of light there is in your bedroom can disrupt your sleep.
Let me give you an example.
One of the resorts I stayed at on my recent trip to New England kept their outside porch lights on all night for safety reasons.
Problem is, a porch light was right outside my window and the blinds in the bedroom were not able to totally block out the light. The bedroom was probably only 50% as dark as it should have been and I paid the price with several poor night’s sleep.
Solution? Heavy drapes that block out all the light. Total blackout makes a tremendous difference for your bedroom.
Another thing that works is a black sleep mask for the eyes. Believe me, I’ll be packing one from now on in my suitcase when I travel.
And now that I think of it, a lavender eye mask would do the trick also. I’ve written previously about how lavender can sometimes be used effectively as an herbal sleep aid. You can read about lavender in the Egyptian Mummy article below.
Also, you may need to turn the alarm clock away from you if it’s putting out light that distracts you.Along with blocking out light, you need to block out sound. It’s hard to make a bedroom totally soundproof. Investing in a white noise machine might be worthwhile if sound issues disrupt your sleep.
Amazon.com has an excellent white noise machine that is inexpensive. For over three years this has been one of their top 100 selling products.
Click the image below to see some of the 1,766 customer reviews of this white noise machine. Maybe it too will help you shut out those annoying sounds (dogs, neighbors, traffic) that keep you awake. (Clicking the image opens a new window.)
Please note that white noise machine, sound conditioner, and sound screen all refer to the same thing. They all block out noise.
Now let’s look at part two of this article, including a few tips on how to fall asleep fast. Plus, we’ll look at what may be the best natural sleep aid for you.Part 2: How To Fall Asleep Naturally
I’ve given you ten tips in Part 1 and Part 2 that can show you how to fall asleep fast. In Part 3, you get four more tips.
I’m going to show you how having an evening routine can reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep. We’ll look at relaxation combined with natural sleeping pills.
It’s a powerful combination.This how to fall asleep fast tip has to do with simple math. Suppose you know you need eight hours sleep every day to feel good and you have to be up by 6 a.m. That means that at 10 p.m., your head has to be on that pillow heading for dreamland.
Unfortunately, unless you’ve prepared your mind for sleep, you may not be able to drift off and will toss and turn…even if your body is dead tired. The key is to develop an evening routine that helps you wind down at the end of your hectic day.
How? By 9 p.m., you should turn off the television. Avoid the news. Get off the computer. Turn off your cell phone. Stop working.
Winding down after you get into bed is NOT how to fall asleep fast.
So consider having an evening ritual that you get used to. Make it a habit. One that trains your body for sleep and helps you relax the best.
Consider pleasant reading. Meditation. Deep breathing. Some nice pleasant music. Some light yoga an hour or so before bed. Or a cup of chamomile tea a few hours before bedtime may also help you wind down.
In addition…Many studies are showing that something called progressive muscle relaxation is an excellent “how to fall asleep fast” technique. It works to de-stress your body.
I like to do this after I’ve done my yoga.
First, lie down on your back, either on the floor or in your bed. Breathe deeply a couple of times. Close your eyes. Then, starting at your toes, just imagine your feet are getting totally relaxed. They’re melting. Then your legs. And on up your body, every muscle fiber is melting into relaxation.
I like to imagine a white light of peace moving gently from my toes up to my head. Slowly letting go of all tension.
As an alternative, you can tense each muscle group for 10 seconds, and then relax for 20 seconds. For example, tense your arms for 10 seconds, then completely relax for 20 seconds.
When you get the hang of this, you will feel like you are floating on a cloud.
Now imagine this: doing progressive muscle relaxation after taking one of the following powerful natural sleeping pills as part of your evening routine. Talk about how to fall asleep fast!I’ve identified a few natural sleeping aids that are good remedies for how to fall asleep fast. The one below I’m recommending because it may be the best natural sleep aid that does not contain melatonin.
That’s important for two reasons.
First, only about a third to half of the people who take melatonin for sleep benefit from it.
Second, many parents do not like to give melatonin for kids. So here’s a good, scientific alternative that uses several herbal remedies for insomnia I’ve written about on Sleep Passport.
• These natural sleeping pills can be taken by children as young as 12.
• They are beneficial for teenagers.
• For adults, the 49 ingredients work closely together to help provide a deep refreshing sleep that many people say they have not had in years.
• And, it contains several of the herbs and other ingredients I recommend because they are known to help people who want to know how to fall asleep fast. Some of these ingredients are: valerian extract, hops, passionflower, chamomile, B6, and 5-htp.
Click here for more information on what may be the best natural sleep aid you’ll ever try. (Link opens in a new window.)
I highly recommend you visit this website and explore it, even if you have no intention of buying a single thing. It is a wealth of health information.
One of the top biochemists in the world does their research for them in formulating their natural products for:
• Depression, stress, and anxiety…
• Beauty products for healthy skin (secrets of Hollywood celebrities!)…
• Probiotics for digestive help…
• Increasing energy naturally…
• Perhaps the most potent multivitamin in the world (called Total Balance)…
• Natural support for diabetes…
And many other products. If you take health seriously, you’ll love this website.As Consumer Reports recently showed, many people respond really well to melatonin and it helps them get to sleep…and stay asleep.
And if you respond well to melatonin supplements…and want to know how to fall asleep fast…the natural sleeping pills I’m recommending next may be just the thing you need.
This supplement combines melatonin, 5-htp, valerian, and passionflower. They’ve even designed it to be safe for children.
In addition, they’ve written a free e-book on insomnia you can download from their website that gives you a nice overview of this sleep disorder.
Click here for their natural sleeping pills that can help you with how to fall asleep fast. (Link opens in a new window.)
Return to How To Fall Asleep Part 1
Here’s a list of ten excellent snoring remedies that will show you how to avoid snoring. So if you (or a bed partner) have ever asked, “How can I stop snoring?”, here’s your answer.
This list is important. Why? Because there are over 300 pills, sprays, and gadgets of one form or another that have been registered in the U.S. Patent Office as snoring solutions.
The majority of these pills and sprays do not provide lasting snoring relief.
Now don’t get me wrong. Some are worthwhile.
For example, a sleep apnea appliance (stop snoring mouthpiece) can be a worthwhile stop snoring aid for many people. And there are a few other snoring aids (nasal devices) I’ve seen that keep the airway open and help with snoring.
With that said, before you spend your money on any of those, you may want to try the following tips first. These are more long-term solutions that can change how you sleep and lead you to a healthier life.Just by looking at the list in my article, what causes snoring, you can see that your best stop snoring solution is to cut back on the booze.
The reason to do so is because alcohol is a sedative. It relaxes muscle tone in the throat and suppresses breathing. As the muscles relax, the airway passages get thinner, which in turn leads to snoring. Alcohol also swells tissues in the throat.
It can’t be stressed enough—alcohol is a major factor in snoring. If you drink alcohol, and don’t intend to quit, stop drinking at least three hours before going to bed…preferably four hours before sleeping.
And by the way. I recently read on a sleep forum where someone recommended drinking alcohol before bedtime as a great way to get to sleep. For most people, this is bad advice.
Alcohol can initially put you to sleep. But you’ll set yourself up for sleep maintenance insomnia just as soon as the alcohol wears off in the middle of the night.
Also, because alcohol is a diuretic, it can cause you to wake up to go to the bathroom.Anything that makes you drowsy can cause your muscle tone in the throat to relax and lead to snoring. Thus, you need to stay away from prescription sleeping medications, over the counter sleep aids, and tranquilizers.
Keep in mind also that allergy medications that contain antihistamines have a sedating effect and can make you drowsy. That’s why, if you’re taking anti-allergy drugs, it’s important to talk to your doctor and let him or her know about your snoring.
Allergies can make the nose and throat swell making breathing difficult…and cause snoring. The doctor can prescribe a medication that has less of a sedating effect, yet still deals with fighting the allergies.
a new window.)
Along with cutting out alcohol, losing weight may be the best stop snoring aid available to you. And it doesn’t even take a large amount of weight loss to begin reducing the snoring. Losing 10% of your body weight can make a difference.As long as you don’t sleep on your back, it doesn’t matter what side you’re on. Most snorers sleep on their backs, which is the worst possible position.
That’s because in that position, the tongue slides back into the throat, blocking the airway. So if you want to know how to avoid snoring, sleep on your stomach.No, the tennis ball doesn’t get stuffed in the snorer’s mouth. Although I’m sure you’d love to if you sleep with someone who snores like a jet engine!
Instead, here’s a trick that is often recommended because it works to keep the snorer from sleeping on their back. Sew a pocket or two onto the back of the pajama tops. Then put a ball or balls into the pockets.
During sleep, if the snorer rolls over onto their back, the discomfort from laying on a tennis ball or two will force them to their side or stomach. (That beats getting a punch in the ribs from their bed partner!)Actually, playing tennis isn’t such a bad idea for someone who snores. Any physical activity is good. Regular exercise keeps the heart fit, builds muscle tone, promotes better breathing and lung function, and helps with weight loss. This in turn can help to stop snoring or at least reduce it. Cigarette smoke swells the mucous membranes of the throat. In addition, it limits oxygen intake to the lungs. And if that isn’t bad enough, smoking can cause blockage in the nose and throat.
All of these are factors that can lead directly to snoring. Smokers who snore are literally playing with fire.Recently a reader sent in this question: “Can a good bed help with snoring?”
The answer is Yes!
If your mattress sags in the middle like the back of an old horse, this will effect the position of your neck when you’re sleeping…and block the airway in the throat. Sleeping on a good, medium-firm mattress is important if you want to know how to avoid snoring.
And speaking of your bed. Once you’ve got a nice, medium-firm mattress, raise the bed up by about four inches. This will help keep the throat tissues and tongue from plugging up the airway because you won’t be lying in a flat position. Simply take a couple blocks of wood or bricks and raise the legs at the head of the bed.Several studies have shown that for people with a bad back, a medium-firm mattress layered with foam and latex is the best mattress for back pain.
So now the question is, where do you get a great mattress? It took me a while to find a mattress company I was willing to recommend.
Once I found it, I learned that health book author, television celebrity, and cardiologist Dr. Oz put this company on his #1 hot list. MyEssentia.com is the ONLY natural memory foam company in the world. (Link opens a new browser window.)
These memory foam mattresses use organic fabric and natural, allergy-free latex. They are also free of toxins and glues. They don’t stink and put off offensive chemical odors like other memory foam mattresses. They provide superb comfort. And they are good for the environment. Imagine that. They even have natural crib mattresses for the ultimate in health and comfort for the little ones of the household.
If you want to really go green, these are the only mattresses and pillows to buy. They are considered the newest status symbol for the bedroom because of their quality. Click on that green banner to your right to learn more. And get ready for a luxurious night’s sleep. (Clicking the banner opens a new browser window.)
And in case you’re thinking of buying a memory foam topper, better click that link to read my article on why a topper may be a bad idea for you.Here’s something most people don’t know: sleep deprivation can actually cause snoring.
So either go to bed earlier or sleep longer. The key is to make certain you’re getting enough sleep. How much is enough? It varies from person to person. However, shooting for eight hours of sleep every night is a good goal.
And finally, if you want to know how to avoid snoring, develop a good sleep routine. Go to bed at the same time every night. Have some quiet time before bedtime so you can wind down and sleep well.What Causes Snoring? These Eight Main Factors
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Last updated: December 18, 2011
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How to Fall Asleep Naturally, Part 1
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Stop Leg Cramps at Night! My Final Five Leg Cramp Relief Options
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Hops: Herbs For Sleep That Really Work, Part 3
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Do You Ever Feel Depressed In the Fall and Winter Months? Part 1
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For most people, nocturnal leg cramps are an occasional painful nuisance.
However, there are those unfortunate people who have chronic night leg cramps.
If you frequently have muscle cramps in your legs or feet, and are looking for proven ways to prevent them, there’s not much help in the scientific literature.
Let’s take a look at what the research shows.Quinine has often been prescribed by doctors for nighttime leg cramps. But there are serious dangers with using quinine that you need to know about.
On December 11, 2006, and then updated in 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States issued a press release about the serious hazards associated with quinine.
Here’s what the FDA wrote:
“Since 1969, FDA has received 665 reports of adverse events with serious outcomes associated with quinine use, including 93 deaths. Quinine drugs are associated with serious side effects, such as cardiac arrhythmias, thrombocytopenia (a decrease in blood platelets that can cause hemorrhage or clotting problems), and severe hypersensitivity reactions. There is also the potential for serious interactions between quinine drugs and other drugs, and there are conditions under which quinine should not be used.
“As part of its action, FDA is also cautioning consumers about off-label use of quinine to treat leg cramps. Quinine is approved for treatment of malaria, but is also commonly prescribed to treat leg cramps and similar conditions. Because malaria is life-threatening, the risks associated with quinine use are justified for that condition. But because of the drug’s risks, FDA believes it should not be used to prevent or treat leg cramps.”
On top of that, the health hazards of taking quinine include: tinnitus (buzzing in the ears), fever, blurry vision, pruritus (severe itching of the skin), digestive ailments, headaches, and dizziness.
For pregnant women, nocturnal leg cramps are common. Taking quinine is risky however. Quinine is a teratogen, meaning it can interfere with the development of the fetus and cause birth defects.First, the amounts of quinine in tonic water are trivial and probably harmless. There also is not enough quinine in tonic water to have a significant positive effect on nocturnal leg cramps.
Secondly, an excellent research paper in the March 2005 British Journal of General Practice had this to say:
“Quinine is commonly used as a treatment for night cramps but there are doubts about its effectiveness and it has potential side effects. Advising those on long-term repeat prescriptions to try stopping quinine temporarily will result in no major problems for patients, and allow a significant number to stop medication.”
If you’ve visited online forums for people with nocturnal leg cramps, you’ll notice many people recommending to others on the forum that they should try quinine. I hope I’ve given you good reasons why that is bad advice.
Now let’s look at other treatments that have been suggested or researched for preventing nocturnal leg cramps and see how effective they are.Though vitamin E is an important nutrient, there is no evidence in the medical literature to show that vitamin E supplements provide any relief for nocturnal leg cramps. Magnesium is an awesome nutrient and useful for sleep, but what about night leg cramps?
You often see it recommended for cramps. Yet the medical literature shows no significant difference between taking magnesium or taking a placebo (fake pill) in terms of preventing the severity, frequency, or duration of night cramps.
A June 2011 research paper in The Journals of Gerontology concluded this: “Although oral magnesium is widely marketed to older adults for the prophylaxis [prevention] of leg cramps, our data suggest that magnesium therapy is not indicated for the treatment of rest cramps in a geriatric population.” (Nocturnal leg cramps are sometimes referred to as rest cramps in the medical literature.)
Still, most people are not getting enough magnesium in their diets. And because it’s such a vital nutrient, supplements may be beneficial to take for your overall health.
As for pregnant women, there is some evidence that magnesium may be helpful for nighttime leg cramps. Calcium may also help, although the studies show mixed results, from some improvement to no improvement. Pregnant women should consult with their doctors before taking either of these substances.
People with kidney disease should also consult their doctors before taking magnesium supplements. In fact, everyone needs to keep their doctor informed of whatever supplements and herbs they’re taking.There aren’t any good studies showing whether these types of socks provide leg cramp relief or prevent leg cramps. They may work for you or they may not. You never know until you try them. I could not find anything in the medical literature about using pain killing drugs for prevention of nocturnal leg cramps. Besides, by the time you take a pain pill for the cramping, the leg pain will most likely have gone away. You would think that daily stretching of the calf muscles would be a good idea to prevent leg cramps.
But the evidence of its effectiveness just isn’t there. In the same paper I mentioned above from the British Journal of General Practice, researchers stated bluntly that after 12 weeks of their study, “calf-stretching exercises are not effective in reducing the frequency or severity of nocturnal leg cramps.”I haven’t brought you a lot of good news about preventing leg cramps. Sorry, don’t shoot the messenger! Facts are facts and there just isn’t a lot of scientific information out there on how to prevent leg cramps.
So what can you do about night leg cramps?
Start with the article below on leg pain at night. I’ve given you 16 options to try, and the first 5 options are in that article.
Also, if nocturnal leg cramps are causing you insomnia, here’s an excellent natural supplement for sleep (link opens in a new window). Adults can take it and so can children 12 years and up. They also have a scientifically researched natural supplement for stress, anxiety, or depression (link opens in a new window), if that’s what’s keeping you up at night.
1) FDA Orders Unapproved Quinine Drugs from the Market and Cautions Consumers About “Off-Label” Use of Quinine to Treat Leg Cramps. FDA news release for immediate release. P06-195. December 11, 2006. Updated June 18, 2009.
2) Leg Cramps. Clinical Evidence 2009;03:1113.
3) Managing nocturnal leg cramps—calf-stretching exercises and cessation of quinine treatment: a factorial randomised controlled trial. British Journal of General Practice, March 2005.
4) The effect of magnesium infusion on rest cramps: randomized controlled trial. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2011 Jun;66(6):661-6. Epub 2011 Feb 2.Leg pain at Night: 16 Lower Leg Cramps Treatment Options
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This series on leg pain at night may be the most complete information on relief and prevention of night leg cramps you’ve ever read. And I meant to post these articles on my website last week.
But then I got frustrated. Why?
Because night leg cramps are such a common problem. People are suffering. And there just doesn’t seem to be any one answer that solves the problem, especially from conventional medicine.
So I decided to really research the topic of leg pain at night, caused by leg cramps, even more than I already had…and leave no stone unturned.
I looked through stacks of books on alternative health. I visited forums. I read the medical journals. I searched all over the Internet for products that might help. I investigated homeopathy, acupressure, massage, nutrition supplements, and foods.
Here are the first 5 of the 16 total lower leg cramps treatment options I came up with. Hope they help you.Here’s a technique recommended by Ralph R. Stephens, a licensed massage therapist and instructor of neuromuscular therapy and sports massage at Ralph Stephens Seminars.
“With your hands, find the center of the cramp—the area of maximum pain and tension. With your loosely clenched fist, the heel of your hand, or your thumb, press into the center of the cramp, exerting enough pressure to cause pain but not so much that it’s excruciating. The pain should be 5 to 7 on a 10-point scale. Hold the pressure for 8 to 12 seconds. The cramp will often vanish by doing nothing more than this exercise.”This one sounds weird. It’s an acupressure technique that supposedly works great. It comes from Patrice Morency, a sports injury management specialist in Portland, Oregon, who works with Olympic hopefuls.
When the night leg cramp strikes, grab your upper lip between your index finger and thumb, and squeeze for 30 seconds.Night leg cramps can sometimes be associated with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This disease can also lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which can cause leg pain at night.
So working with your health care professional to control your blood sugar is essential.
Let me add this. When I was searching all over the Internet for information on nocturnal leg cramps, I came across an interesting natural product that helps support healthy blood sugar levels.
If you or someone you know has diabetes, you may find reading about this quite helpful. Click here to learn about an advanced natural supplement for diabetes sufferers.In my article on nocturnal leg cramps, I showed you evidence of why calf-stretching exercises over several weeks do not work to prevent leg pain at night from muscle cramps.
However, conventional medicine still continues to recommend stretching out those calf muscles. Maybe it will help you.
Therefore, for five minutes before you go to bed every night, do this simple exercise. Stand about three feet from a wall. Place your hands on the wall, feet flat on the floor. Lean towards the wall and press your heels into the floor and feel the muscle stretch.
If you have an exercise bike or treadmill, ride or walk for five minutes. Do it slowly, just a little warm-up, because vigorous exercise before bedtime may keep you from getting to sleep.When you’re hit with painful night leg cramps, get up and walk around. Or shake and jiggle your leg as if you’re trying to get a spider off of it.
In the next article on dealing with leg pain at night from leg cramps, we’ll look at six more leg cramps treatment options.1. Leg Pain. Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
2. Alternative Cures. The Most Effective Natural Home Remedies for 160 Health Problems. By Bill Gottlieb.
3. Harvard Health Letter. April 2005.
4. Harvard Health Letter. December 2004.
5. The Doctors Book of Home Remedies II. By Sid Kirchheimer and Editors of Prevention Magazine Health Books.
6. Sleep. By J. Paul Caldwell, MDFree Special Report: Natural Help 4 Varicose Veins. Link opens in a new window. Click the link and you can save the report to your computer. Click here if you need Adobe Reader to read the report. (Link opens in new window.)
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Dear Sleep Passport Visitor,
Are you losing sleep because of money worries? If so, the best business to start can change all that for you.
For example, want to get out of a dead-end, 9-to-5 job? Quit the daily commute and work at home?
Or maybe you’re already retired and need some extra monthly cash.
Perhaps you’re still working but feeling totally unprepared for paying for your retirement years. If so, you have a lot of company. On November 15 and 16, 2011, three different reports were released showing that Americans ages 40 to 75 are not confident at all about being able to afford retirement (references below).
As these reports showed, anxiety and depression over retirement were common. And it’s not just Americans who are worried.
People all over the world get depressed and lose sleep on Sunday night because they keep thinking about going to work on Monday morning.
It’s no wonder. Jobs are stressful…if you even have one these days.
And here in America, you can’t count on Social Security. Also, most people don’t have pensions, and the ones that do can’t count on those either.
And savings? Have you got an extra million dollars stashed away somewhere?
If not…There are three things you’ll need to get started.
1. Time. Anything worth doing takes time. Turn off your television and you’ll have plenty of time.
2. Effort. If you want to reach the mountaintop, you can’t sit in the valley all day.
3. Less than one dollar per day. I know, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it? Some spare change and it’s yours…the best business to start.
Read on and I’ll show you how this all works.
In addition, understand you’ll have to work at what I’m going to show you. And, you need to get it into your head that this is not a get rich quick scheme. I can’t stand those. I’ve fallen for those scammy things in the past and it cost me a lot of money.
What I’ve learned from getting burned is that get rich quick is fool’s gold. The only way to get rich fast is to inherit money, win the lottery, or marry someone who’s already wealthy.
So leave your skepticism at the door and come on in. Let’s take a look at….
You want proof and results that show this is the best business to start? I don’t blame you.
Simply click on either or both of the links below. Your doubts will melt away like an ice cube on a hot stove.
(Both links open a new browser window.)
Yes, that’s right. The best small business to start is to start a small business online.
That’s exactly what I’ve done with my SleepPassport.com website. I write and research all the articles myself on this website. And I love what I’m doing.
Just look at the advantages of an online business (also known as E-commerce or E-business):
• You can work at home. Click here if working from home is most important to you in starting a business. (Link opens a new browser window.)
• You can use the knowledge you have and sell information people are willing to pay for.
• Your income is unlimited. If an extra $500 to $1,000 per month is all you want, you can certainly reach that. If you want to make $5,000, $10,000, or more per month, a lot of people do that too, and in time, you may reach that lofty goal also.
• You’ll be working at what you love to do and selling only the things you truly believe in. Just one more reason why this is the best business to start.
• You can finally have extra money coming in for those retirement years, whether you’re close to retirement, or still years away. Eventually you can even quit your job and “retire” into your own Internet business!
Simply click here and see how several retired people are having a great time with their own online businesses. (Link opens a new browser window.)
• The only boss you’ll have is YOU…or maybe your spouse or significant other telling you to get to work on your website!
• You’ll be proud of the work you do…
• It costs less than one dollar per day to get started. So forget about needing startup cash. What other business can you start with such low overhead? There is none!
However, there are a couple of big hurdles you have to get over first…The following link will put a big dent into your skepticism. That link takes you to a page about real people making real money on the Internet. (Link opens a new browser window.)
People with families, and worries, and hopes, and dreams, who took the plunge into the best business to start.
And now they’re living life on their own terms. Wouldn’t you like to be your own boss too? In charge of your own hours?
They’ll tell you about their journey in their own words. It’s inspiring to see what they’ve done…and to know you can do it too.
As for the action plan, the biggest obstacles to starting an online business are all the technical details necessary to get a website up and running.
Well guess what?
The company I’m introducing you to today, Site Sell (also known as SBI for Site Build It!) has a 10-step action guide. (Link opens a new browser window.)
The guide shows you what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. They’ve automated most of the technical details for you so you can focus on building your business.Site Sell has been around since 1997 and they know what it takes to create a winning—and profitable—website for entrepreneurs.
Over 100,000 people know that having a Site Sell website is the best business to start.
And there are thousands of comments from these people in the Site Sell forums ready to help you out.
It’s a great community of people who are driven to working for themselves and reaching financial freedom. There are no failures in the forum…and no dumb questions either. It’s all about sharing.
Follow the Site Sell step-by-step guide and you can follow your dreams. Right to the bank.
If your financial life has not gone the way you had hoped it would, doesn’t it make sense to start today to turn things around?
Because think about it. Wouldn’t you rather be the pilot of your own successful small business, rather than a passenger crammed into some corporate cubicle?
Well I’ve just given you a golden parachute you can use to jump ship. I highly recommend you click on any of the links on this page and start jumping…straight into the best business to start!
All the best,
P.S. Do you have questions about what you’ve read today about the best business to start?
Then click here if you want to speak to or email someone and get your questions answered. (Link opens a new browser window.)The good people at Site Build It! will be glad to answer whatever questions you want to ask.
P.P.S. People from 102 countries come to SleepPassport.com. Therefore, below I’ve put links to Site Sell in six different languages. (Each link opens a new browser window.)Return from Best Business to Start to Facts About Insomnia
How to Get Out of Debt (A Sleep Chat newsletter back issue.)
Get Rich Slowly (A Sleep Chat newsletter back issue.)
2. Poll: Boomers’ Anxiety About Retirement Grows. Associated Press Poll, LifeGoesStrong.com, October 5-12, 2011
3. Americans Getting More Worried About Retirement, DailyFinance.com, November 17, 2011
4. Sleep is Money; US Loses $63 Billion A Year to Insomnia Woes. American Insomnia Study. Medical News Today, September 1, 2011
Chamomile is often mentioned as one of the herbal sleep remedies. I’ve investigated the scientific literature and there aren’t a lot of studies to support this.
Nevertheless, as you’re about to discover, the studies that are there make this herb a welcome addition to the other five insomnia herbal remedies I’ve already written about (see below).
Also, because most of the research out there has been done on German chamomile (scientific name matricaria recutita), that’s what this article focuses on.
And one final point about studies on herbal sleep remedies. Yes, studies are important. And I do believe in being cautious with herbal products, especially for people taking certain prescription medications.
However, if we all waited around for “absolute proof” from a bunch of studies on herbs to be done before we ever used them, we’d all be dead by the time that happened. Then none of us would ever have had the benefit of what these alternative herbal treatments can do for us.
Fortunately, chamomile is one of those herbs that’s been safely used as a folk medicine for thousands of years for a wide variety of ailments.
Chamomile benefits include using it for stomach upset, intestinal gas, anxiety and worry, muscle spasms, healing wounds, and as one of the herbal sleep remedies for insomnia. It also happens to be one of the most widely consumed herbs worldwide.One study reported in Planta Medica, one of the top journals in the area of medicinal plants, showed that chamomile flowers contain a compound called apigenin. It exerts an anti-anxiety and slightly sedative effect.
The May 2005 journal, Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, showed that chamomile exerted a significant decrease in sleep latency. That means that chamomile reduced the time it takes to fall asleep. (By the way, this was a study using sleep-disturbed rats. What do you suppose a rat with insomnia worries about?)
Anyway, the study concluded that chamomile was an herb that had sedative-like, sleep inducing activity.If you ever have trouble falling asleep because your mind is dizzy with stress and anxiety…and if you don’t like the idea of taking prescription drugs for anxiety because of their side effects…then chamomile just may be one of the natural remedies for insomnia you’re looking for.
In a well-designed study at the University of Pennsylvania, researchers split 57 patients diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder into two groups. One group received a placebo (fake pill) and the other received capsules containing chamomile. After two months, the group taking chamomile had fewer symptoms of anxiety. (Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. 2009;29(4):378-382).Another reason chamomile may be one of the effective herbal sleep remedies is because of its ability to sooth the nervous system and the digestive system. I’ve been drinking chamomile tea for decades and I know that nothing has ever worked as well for me for an upset stomach. And for a pleasant tasting tea that packs a gentle but effective one-two punch for stomach ache or intestinal gas, try chamomile together with peppermint in a tea. It’s important to have some sort of bedtime sleep routine so you signal your body and mind to get ready for bed. The ritual of having a cup of chamomile tea about an hour before bedtime invites a relaxing calm at the end of the day. The easiest way to get started is to make an herbal tea. Steep 1/2 to 3 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers in one cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes. I personally prefer the tea bags.
You can drink several cups a day (1 to 4) but you may want a smaller cup closer to bedtime so a full bladder doesn’t wake you up in the middle of the night.
And here’s another little tip I learned from Dr. Andrew Weil when I was co-writing and editing Simple, Natural Solutions for Better Sleep (published by Weil Lifestyle). To prevent loss of the volatile oils in the chamomile steam, keep the tea covered while steeping.
A tincture of chamomile works too to promote good health. Check with your local health food store.
There are also chamomile capsules available. And the chamomile may come in a formula with other herbs such as valerian or passionflower.German chamomile has GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status from the U.S Food and Drug Administration. The reported cautions about chamomile most often refer to those people who are allergic to plants in the daisy family (ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies). So if that’s you, it will certainly be necessary to use caution.
Also, the drowsiness and sedating effects of chamomile may be increased when combined with other herbal supplements.Chamomile does contain coumarin, an anticoagulant (stops blood from clotting). So use caution if you’re taking anticoagulant medications like warfarin.
Other than these cautions, millions of people around the globe use this wonderful herb every day because it’s such a soothing remedy.
But there’s really no way of knowing how chamomile will work for you as one of the herbal sleep remedies until you try it. And if chamomile isn’t your cup of tea, at least you have the many other natural sleep aids below. Enjoy!
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