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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

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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