Common Insomnia Cures: Fact or Fiction?

It’s almost certain that your mother has told you to drink a warm cup of milk to help you sleep better but does it really work?  While she may feel she’s an insomnia master, her trick may not be enough to help you get a sound sleep each night.  However, this cure and many other home remedies have been studied scientifically finding little to no truth behind the use of six common insomnia cures.  As with most sleep aids, there are a handful of users who swear that herbal tea or sleep supplement helps them to achieve a restful night but scientists say other wise.

Drink a Glass of Warm Milk before Bed – Fiction

Milk, as with turkey, contains a chemical known as tryptophan.  Tryptophan is said to stimulate the production of seratonin in the brain helping to produce sleepiness.  Unfortunately, foods that contain tryptophan also produce amino acids which compete for entrance into the brain, with the amino acids winning time and time again.  Pure tryptophan will affect seratonin levels but not that soothing glass of milk.

Bedtime Snack – Fact

A bedtime snack may keep hunger at bay but studies show that you have to choose your snack wisely for a good nights sleep.  An evening meal with complex carbohydrate such as wild rice will assist you in falling asleep as it produces more insulin, increasing the ratio of tryptophan that reaches the brain.  On the other hand, simple carbohydrates such as long grain white rice do not achieve the same effect.

Drinking Herbal Tea – Fiction

Chamomile tea is said to help lull you to sleep but studies show it is not so much the herb that is helping you to sleep.  Studies do not prove that chamomile has any true effect on a person falling asleep.  Instead, it is more likely that any warm liquid other than caffeine or alcoholic beverages can ease you into feeling sleepy because it generates body heat.

Have Yourself a Nightcap – Fiction

Many people will sip a glass of wine or enjoy a warming brandy before turning in.  The consumption of alcohol prior to bedtime will in fact cause you to be drowsy.  The side effect of this cure is that alcohol will actually interrupt the ability to reach REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, causing you to awaken in the middle of the night.  In turn, many people who consume alcohol are suggested to lower, if not cut out, alcohol consumption to resolve insomnia.

Cut out Caffeine in the Evening – Fact

Caffeine is a stimulant; therefore, it is likely to cause sleep disturbance when consumed before bed.  This is not, however, true for everyone as in our youth such as during our 20s, we can often consume larger quantities without a great effect on the body.  As we age, we become more sensitive to caffeine.  So, listen to your body before you have a soft drink, tea or chocolate before bed to better ensure you have a restful nights sleep.

The truth is that if you find a cup of tea or lavender-scented candle helps you to achieve a better night sleep, then by all means use what works.  If, however, you are plagued by recurring sleepless nights, you should consult your physician or other insomnia experts for a proven cure or remedy.