Sleeping pills increase the risk of dementia, 4 tips to treat insomnia naturally

Nearly a third of Americans suffer from insomnia, according to a recent survey, and most of them are likely to treat the disease by self-medication. However, a 2023 study found that people who regularly use sleeping pills have an almost 80% increased risk of dementia compared to those who rarely use them.

The study followed about 3,000 older white and black people without dementia for an average of nine years. It found that white participants who regularly used sleeping pills had a 79% increased risk of developing dementia compared to those who rarely used them.

Insomnia refers to sleep disorders such as difficulty falling asleep, poor sleep quality, and waking up too early. In the long term, this can have a serious impact on health and daily life. For example, prolonged insomnia can lead to slowed reaction time, memory loss, emotional instability, and an inability to cope with busy work schedules.

Also, another study found that insomnia increases the risk of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, etc.

Methods to treat insomnia

A good night’s sleep is very important for your health. However, prolonged addiction to sleeping pills can increase the risk of dementia. If you suffer from insomnia, you may want to consider an integrative medicine approach.

  1. Behavioral therapy: Treat insomnia by changing your sleep habits, creating an environment conducive to sleep, and controlling sleep interruptions.
  2. Psychotherapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, etc., can help patients clarify their thinking and emotional issues, thereby improving their ability to sleep.
  3. Biofeedback therapy: By sensing physiological indicators, such as heart rate and respiration, patients learn to master self-regulation techniques to improve insomnia.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) regards insomnia as a disease caused by mental disorders, spleen deficiency, qi stagnation and liver fire.

TCM treatments for insomnia:

Food therapies: A Chinese medicinal diet is nutritious and delicious and helps regulate body functions. Choose foods based on different physical conditions. Foods commonly used for insomnia include:

  1. Black sesame paste: black sesame is warm in nature, nourishes the liver and kidneys, is moisturizing and has a laxative effect, and can specifically improve insomnia. Black sesame seeds can be ground into a powder, added water and sugar, and cooked to serve.
  2. Corn silk tea: Corn silk is cool in nature, can eliminate heat, is a diuretic, soothing and tranquilizing. Clean fresh corn silk; dry it; soak it in water; then boil it into a tea.
  3. Banana porridge: bananas are rich in magnesium, which helps relax and soothe the nervous system and improve symptoms of insomnia. Bananas can be chopped and added to rice porridge.
  4. Lotus and lily seed porridge: Lotus seeds are sweet in nature, sweet in taste, and can calm the mind and nourish the heart and spleen; lilies are soft and slightly cold in nature, and can brighten and calm the mind. You can cook lotus seeds, lilies and rice together to make a porridge that will help you with insomnia.

Diet therapy: TCM believes diet can also affect sleep quality. For example, dinner should be light – avoid spicy, fatty and stimulating foods.

Phytotherapy: Chinese medicine is commonly used to treat insomnia, such as coptis rhizome, salvia root and gastrodia tuber. TCM believes that Chinese medicine can regulate the body’s qi and blood, reduce emotional stress and thus improve symptoms of insomnia.

Massage and acupuncture therapy: Acupuncture therapy in TCM can regulate the movement of qi and blood in the body to improve symptoms of insomnia. Massaging the following points can also improve insomnia.

Epoch Times Photo
Taiyang acupuncture point. (The Epoch Times)
Epoch Times Photo
Shu acupuncture point of the heart. (The Epoch Times)
Epoch Times Photo
Spirit Gate acupuncture point. (The Epoch Times)

TCM treatment for insomnia emphasizes complete conditioning. It includes adjustment of diet, lifestyle, Chinese medicine treatment and acupuncture therapy, to adjust the body’s yin and yang balance, qi and blood circulation. If insomnia is seriously affecting your daily life, you should seek help from a professional doctor.

*Some of the herbs mentioned in this article may not be familiar to you, but they are usually available in Asian supermarkets.

Note: Because different people have different physiques, it is recommended to consult your doctor or TCM experts.

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