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Passion Flower: Natural Remedy For Insomnia And Stress

Passion Flower: Natural Remedy For Insomnia And Stress

Insomnia and stress are two of the most common problems we face in the developed world today. Insomnia can be a mere nuisance for some, but for others it can represent a chronic struggle against sleeplessness. It often goes hand-in-hand with stress, which over time can trigger anxiety, burnout, and even physical illness if allowed to go untreated. Stress and insomnia cause fatigue, difficulty in concentrating, and impair performance at work and school. They also lower immune functioning, which in turn increases vulnerability to all kinds of maladies from the common cold up to serious and chronic illnesses. In other words, if you’re stressed out and can’t sleep, you need to find a solution. The best approach for long-term success is to change whatever life situation is making you anxious or sleepless, but sometimes this isn’t possible and a short-term solution is needed.

Passion Flower – A Simple, Natural Remedy

Antidepressants and sleeping aids are available from medical practitioners on prescription. However, some medications can trigger dependency and come with unpleasant side effects. For example, antidepressants can suppress libido and lead to gastrointestinal problems. Therefore, it is unsurprising that people often turn to more natural remedies when suffering insomnia and stress.

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Over the centuries, numerous plant-based medicines have been used to treat nervous mood states and sleeplessness. Contemporary research suggests that these ancient ideas have merit. For instance, a study published in the ‘Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics’ demonstrated that 45 daily drops of passion flower extract had a similar anti-anxiety effect compared with a daily 30mg dose of a common anti-anxiety drug. These findings are exciting not only because they show that passion flower can be almost as effective as prescription anti-anxiety medication, but because compared with the drug, passion flower caused no significant side effects.

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How Exactly Does Passion Flower Work?

At the moment, there is no absolute agreement on how passion flower works to alleviate stress and anxiety. However, one possible explanation is that passion flower contains natural chemicals common to many plants – flavonoids and alkaloids – that help regulate the brain’s neurotransmitters. These chemicals are responsible for mood regulation, sleep regulation, and much more besides – in fact, all human functions are reliant on appropriate neurotransmitter functionality. Re-balancing them is key to regaining a normal, relaxed mood and normal sleep/wake cycle. According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, passion flower increases levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which triggers feelings of relaxation.

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How To Use Passion Flower

Passion flower is safe for most people to use. However, if you have an existing medical condition or you are taking any kind of medication, check with a suitably-qualified professional first before taking supplements of any kind. This is because although passion flower is a completely natural product, it may interact with some medications. For example, passion flower may interact with sedatives, greatly increasing their effects. This could be dangerous if you are driving, operating machinery, or are in any other situation in which it would be hazardous for you to suddenly feel tired or sleepy. Passion flower may also interact with blood thinning medications, amongst others, so always check with your doctor first.

Passion flower is available in several forms. Always follow the instructions printed on the packaging, but the following are general guidelines from the University of Maryland Medical Centre. If you are taking passion flower as a tincture, use approximately 20 drops 3 times a day. If you would prefer to take it as a tea, you can brew a teaspoon of the dried herb in a cup of freshly-boiled water for a few minutes before drinking. Take 3 cups per day. If you are using passion flower with the intention of treating insomnia, take one cup just before going to bed.

Featured photo credit: muratart via shutterstock.com

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Jay Hill

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on December 13, 2018

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of people not only tend to ruin their usual diets, but they also gain a few extra pounds. Based on studies, the majority of people tend to gain additional weight during the holiday season that starts at the Thanksgiving Day and ends with the New Year celebrations. Excessive eating is claimed to be the main cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise.

A lot of individuals out there tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts. And because they feel guilty after the holiday season, most of the gyms and fitness centers are packed with fresh members. Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. If you want to stay fit during the holiday season, especially during Christmas and the New Year’s Eve, here are some useful tips that might help you:

1. Eat Before Heading Out

First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be forced to eat more later.

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2. Select The Treats

Make sure to select the treats that you eat in a wise manner. You should choose something that you can only enjoy during the holiday season and not something that is readily available all the time.

3. Avoid Skipping Meals

Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Even though it can be tempting to skip on certain meals, believing that it will make up for the treats you consumed in the previous day, don’t do it because it will only lead to counterproductive results.

4. Drink With Moderation

It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, coke or other juices will only add more calories to the ones you already eaten!

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5. Be Active

You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible and if you can’t do that, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the store or just use the stairs!

6. Get Out Of The House

Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved. Even a snowball fight in the backyard will burn a lot of calories and will keep the children entertained.

7. Don’t Skip Your Strength Workouts

Always remember to perform your strength training in order to maintain that muscle mass you worked hard to get. You might be tempted to use lightweights and just do some cardio, but you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights. And with all of those extra stakes you had on the holiday meals, you might even gain some extra muscle. And this is much better than gaining some extra fat.

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8. Set Realistic Goals

You should set realistic exercise objectives. Aim for at least half an hour per day and you will be very happy when you will achieve that. If you plan one hour or more and not achieve it, you will only end up disappointed.

9. Enjoy Yourself

Also make sure to set realistic diet plans! Trying to restrain yourself totally from some foods will only make you eat more. Feel free to enjoy the treats that you really love, but in small portions.

10. Drink A Lot Of Water

This can satiate your appetite as well as keep you hydrated at all times. And it will also prevent a possible hangover if you overdo it with alcohol.

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11. Eat Less And More Often

Distribute your meals evenly throughout the day, and do not eat everything at once.  Instead of having 2 enormous meals, have 5 small ones.  Eat your dinner earlier and have a nice walk before going to bed.

12. Prioritize Your Workouts

Try to do them early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. This way you will also avoid remarks like “Oh, come on! It’s Christmas…”

So there you go! Twelve simple tips that will help you avoid gaining weight during the winter holidays, but will also allow you to enjoy yourself and have a great time with your loved ones.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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