Insomnia is a very common problem, especially after a certain age and is characterized by difficulty in falling asleep, frequent awakenings during the night with difficulty returning to sleep and a poor quality of sleep.
People suffering from sleep disorders also experience daytime sleepiness , widespread fatigue , irritability , problems with concentration and memory.
Anxiety and stress are the main suspects among the causes of insomnia, but they can affect pathologies and traumas that cause physical pain, too much dinners, the abuse of exciting drinks, alcohol and drugs.
What remedies for insomnia?
In the pharmacological field, the most prescribed are certainly hypnotic drugs and anxiolytics with hypnotic function (such as benzodiazepines). Medicines, however, is not recommended for a prolonged period of time, as it can lead to numerous side effects, such as daytime sleepiness and dizziness, as well as addiction and reduction of the effectiveness of the drug itself.
In the natural environment, the best known remedies are matricaria chamomile, passionflower and lemon balm . They are herbs that help relax a little, but they are not always effective.
Fortunately, nature offers us a wide choice of herbs capable of modulating mood and improving the quality of sleep.
In particular these three that we are going to see, seem to give very good results.
L ‘ St. John’s Wort ( Hypericum perforatum ), also known as “St. John’s wort,” is a small perennial seedling of the family Hypericaceae , very common in almost all the Italian peninsula and much of Europe.
The flowering tops of this plant are used, rich in flavonoids, hypericin and hyperforin, all substances that together seem to be effective in regulating the mood, so much so that in several European countries, in particular in Germany, but from a few years even in Italy, hypericum is prescribed instead of drugs to treat mild depressions.
Similarly, St. John’s wort can also be used to mitigate anxiety and improve sleep quality.
How is it taken?
The flowers of St. John’s wort are used, fresh or dried, to be infused in hot water. Add a teaspoon of dried St. John’s wort flowers to a cup of hot water and leave to rest for about 10 minutes. After that it is filtered and drunk hot or lukewarm in the evening, just before going to bed.
Contraindications and side effects
The main contraindication of St. John’s wort is the fact that it makes the skin photosensitive . This means that after taking this plant, it is best not to expose yourself to sunlight, especially during peak hours and in summer. The risk is to burn yourself.
It also seems that hypericum interferes with numerous medications, so if you are taking one or more drugs, it is advisable to consult with your primary care physician before taking hypericum.
Klamath is a cyanobacterial microalgae that grows only in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon (USA) . It is a natural product of the same family as Spirulina, but with a clearly superior nutraceutical profile.
In addition to being extremely rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins, in the circumstances of the subject under consideration this microalgae is interesting, because it contains phenylethylamine (PEA), a particular substance also known as ” the love molecule “. In fact, our body produces it in large quantities when we are in love.
Phenylethylamine is a general neuromodulator , because it is able to activate or even alternatively inhibit various neurotransmitters, dopamine but also in certain conditions serotonin. This allows it to perform an action of revitalization and balance of the nervous system, counteracting depression but, if necessary, also anxiety; promoting energy through its activation of adrenaline, but also sleep and rest through the activation of serotonin and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis.
In this regard, it is interesting to study  conducted by Dr. Stefano Scoglio , on a group of 30 menopausal women. The women were divided into two groups of 15 and for a period of 2 months, one group was given a Klamath seaweed extract every day, while the other a placebo.
Both patient groups were similar in baseline conditions but significant changes were observed after the treatment interval in the group administered with Klamath seaweed extracts.
Although no hormonal changes occurred after the treatment interval in either group, only patients undergoing administration of Klamath extracts showed that both the SRT and Zung scales improved significantly, thus reporting a constant change in their quality. of life, for mood, anxiety and depressive attitude .
How is it taken?
Klamath is available as a dried powder and is generally used by diluting a teaspoon of this microalgae in water or other beverages at room temperature. 1 to 2 teaspoons per day.
As well as Spirulina, Klamath algae is also a safe product that has no contraindications or health risks, so much so that it can also be taken during pregnancy, or breastfeeding, although we always recommend hearing the opinion of a doctor first.
3. Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi)
A very effective class of remedies in the fight against stress, anxiety and insomnia is the group of herbs and mushrooms with adaptogenic properties. These natural products help the body to better suit situations of strong physical and mental stress .
In this category stands a medicinal mushroom of ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Ganoderma lucidum, also known as ” Reishi “.
It is a mushroom with interesting beneficial properties for the body, so much so that in the East, where this mushroom is widely used, it is considered a sort of natural panacea for many ailments, so much so that it has been renamed “the mushroom of Immortality. “(for more info you can read here ).
In the case in question, however, we are interested in knowing how the Reishi mushroom can affect the quality of sleep. We see.
Stress is sensed by the nervous system and the signal is transmitted to the brain’s command center (the hypothalamus), which in turn carries the message to the adrenal glands by stimulating the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline (aka adrenaline). Targets for modulation of the stress response, therefore, include the nervous system as well as HPA or the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis.
Reishi mushroom is a nerve tonic to facilitate the alarm signal that reaches the brain. In particular, reishi can improve the quality of sleep  , especially when the sleep disturbance comes from an overly active and thoughtful mind, which “never goes out”. The same mental agitation that interferes with nighttime sleep triggers anxiety during the waking hours, making this medicinal mushroom useful throughout the day.
Relief from anxiety
Reishi also appears to work on HPA by improving the function of the adrenal glands themselves. This makes reishi an excellent herbal choice for calming the mind, relieving anxiety, promoting sleep, grounding and centering us, and promoting greater resilience to stress over time. 
How is it taken?
It can be found commercially as a dried mushroom in powder form, or as an extract. In powder form it is taken by diluting it in a little water, or in herbal teas. About 1-2 teaspoons per day. To improve sleep, it should be taken in the evening after dinner.
To enhance its effects, it is advisable to combine it with a little lemon / grapefruit juice or with vitamin C. In fact, vitamin C improves the assimilation of beta-glucans, polysaccharides contained in the mushroom with an important adaptogenic and immunomodulating action.
No major side effects have been identified in the use of Ganoderma lucidum. At the suggested dosages, it is a safe natural product.
With regard to contraindications, it is not recommended for people allergic to fungi and / or yeasts and those who have recently undergone an organ transplant or .
Although there are no studies proving its toxicity, as a precaution it is not recommended for use by pregnant and lactating women.
The main possible interactions with drugs concern :
- anticoagulant medicines;
- antiplatelet drugs;
- immunosuppressive drugs.
- [ 1 ] Effects of Klamath Algae extract on psychological disorders and depression in menopausal women: a pilot study
- [ 2 ] Winston D, S Maimes. Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. Healing Arts Press, 2007.
NB : All information published on this site is informative and should not be considered as advice, or medical prescriptions, or other.