Insomnia may be caused by anxiety, stress, depression, too much caffeine, overeating, numerous health conditions, and the use of stimulating drugs. Food allergies can cause insomnia and narcolepsy, a condition in which an individual falls asleep suddenly, at any time, and anywhere. Eating carbohydrates 30 minutes before bedtime increases production of serotonin, a neu-rotransmitter that can reduce anxiety and promote sleep. For some individuals, warm milk has a sedative effect. As we age, the body requires less sleep. Natural progesterone may be helpful for PMS and menopause-related sleeplessness as a hormone imbalance can cause irritability and sleep disturbances. Exercise in the late afternoon or early evening can promote better sleep. Mela-tonin is only effective if there is a deficiency or body levels are low.
Restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea, a condition in which there is intermittent cessation of breathing during sleep that may be caused by a problem in the central nervous system affecting the diaphragm or a blockage in the upper airway, can benefit by weight loss if overweight and by regular exercise. Caffeine, drugs, and alcohol should be avoided and stress reduced. Food allergies or a deficiency of iron or folic acid may be a factor in restless leg syndrome; taking 200 to 800 IU vitamin E can alleviate symptoms of the condition by increasing blood circulation to the legs; 80 mg gingko biloba extract three times daily may be beneficial. Rhus toxicodendron or causticum are homeopathic remedies that can be beneficial for restless leg syndrome; and for sleep apnea, lach-esis, or homeopathic opium.
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