Category Archives: Health
Coping with Insomnia
Insomnia is a relatively common sleeping disorder, affecting about one-third of the adult population worldwide. Unfortunately, as we age, quality of sleep can decrease. While different types of insomnia have different causes, most people can find relief through natural remedies for insomnia, regardless of the source of their insomnia:
- Establish a consistent bedtime routine, and try to go to bed at the same time every night. Get plenty of exercise during the day. The more energy you expend during the day, the sleepier you will feel at bedtime.
- Reduce or eliminate your intake of caffeine, stimulants and alcohol. Even when consumed early in the day, these can affect sleep.
- Avoid large meals late in the evening.
- Learn and practice a relaxation technique regularly.
- Breathing exercises, meditation and yoga are good examples, although these are not sure-fire natural cures for insomnia.
- Don’t obsess about not sleeping. Instead, remind yourself that while sleeplessness is troublesome, it isn’t life-threatening.
Trouble Sleeping? Try Mantram
Mantram is the practice of repeating over and over in the mind certain syllables, words or phrases that help unify consciousness and counteract negative mental states. It is especially helpful for people with restless minds, whose turbulent thoughts keep them from relaxing, concentrating and falling asleep. The repetition of a verbal formula is a way of focusing the thinking mind and counteracting the damage done to both mind and body by thoughts that produce anxiety, agitation and unhappiness.
You can practice mantram anywhere, especially as a sleep aid and a natural remedy for insomnia- it is a totally portable technique, requires no training or equipment, and can be used in any circumstance, so long as you don’t practice it while doing something that otherwise requires your undivided attention. Try experimenting with it – choose a word, sound or phrase that is pleasing to you, and repeat it. If your mind wanders, simply focus back on the word. You will be amazed at the results.
Even though they are tiny in size, canker sores cause a disproportionate amount of pain. What’s more, the causes of canker sores remain unknown. Even though experts have not been able to determine the exact reasons why these miniscule ulcers flare up, 20 percent of the population suffers from canker sores
. Canker sores, or aphthous stomatitis, are small ulcers in your mouth that cause pain and discomfort when talking or eating.
To help relieve pain and speed healing:
- Rinse your mouth. Use salt water; baking soda (dissolve 1 teaspoon of soda in 1/2 cup warm water); or a mixture of 1 part — such as 1 teaspoon — diphenhydramine (Benadryl) to either 1 part Kaopectate or 1 part Maalox. Be sure to spit out the mixtures after rinsing.
- Dab a small amount of milk of magnesia on your canker sore a few times a day.
- Cover canker sores with a paste made of baking soda plus a small amount of water — just enough to make a paste.
- Try over-the-counter products that contain the numbing agent benzocaine, such as Anbesol and Orajel.
- Avoid abrasive, acidic or spicy foods that can cause further irritation and pain.
- Apply ice to your canker sores by allowing ice chips to slowly dissolve over the sores.
- Brush your teeth gently, using a soft brush and toothpaste without foaming agents, such as Biotene, Sensodyne ProNamel or Rembrandt Canker Sore.
What natural therapies for canker sores does Dr. Weil recommend?
- Use goldenseal mouth rinse. In one cup of warm water, mix one quarter teaspoon of salt and one half teaspoon or the contents of one capsule of goldenseal powder (it will not dissolve completely).
- Take a B-100 B complex vitamin supplement daily.
- Try applying tincture of propolis, available at health food stores. Propolis, the cement made by honeybees to construct their hives, has remarkable antiseptic and healing properties.
- Use DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice), a licorice extract with mucosa healing properties that you can buy in the health food store as chewable tablets or powder. Make a paste of the substance with saliva and apply it to the sore area.
- Take slippery elm powder mixed to a paste with water; alternatively, suck on slippery elm lozenges, available in both drug and health food stores.
- Topically apply alum powder, available in the spice sections of supermarkets, directly to an ulcer. It will burn for a few minutes and will promote rapid healing.
- Mind/body medicine, such as hypnosis or guided imagery, can be effective.
- Probiotics (products that help replenish the friendly bacteria in the digestive tract) may also be helpful.
- Try to minimize the discomfort of canker sores by avoiding acidic and spicy foods as well as abrasive foods such as nuts, all of which can be irritating.
- Switch to a toothpaste that does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a foaming agent that may contribute to recurrences.