Can’t sleep? Beeswax can help, study shows
12/21/2021 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
Can’t sleep? Beeswax can help, study shows

If you can’t fall asleep easily, try beeswax. According to a recent study by researchers from Japan, a compound in beeswax can help reduce stress and promote good-quality sleep. This naturally occurring chemical, which is also found in sugar cane, rice bran and wheat germ oil, was found to lower levels of a major stress hormone in mice.

The compound, called octacosanol, is typically used as a supplement for lowering cholesterol. But the study suggests that it could also be used as a treatment for stress-induced insomnia.

Beeswax for better sleep

For their study, the researchers examined the effects of octacosanol on sleep regulation in mildly stressed mice. The mice also had disturbed sleep patterns. After giving the mice octacosanol orally, they found that it reduced levels of corticosterone in the mice’s blood. The mice also had better sleep patterns as a result.

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Corticosterone is a glucocorticoid (steroid hormone) secreted by our adrenal glands in response to stress. It is a major indicator of stress. In addition to stress levels, corticosterone is also believed to play a decisive role in sleep-wake patterns.

The researchers said that sleep induced by octacosanol was similar to natural sleep and that it was physiological. However, they noted that octacosanol did not affect sleep patterns or sleep quality in unstressed mice.

Given their findings, the researchers said octacosanol could be used as a therapy for stress-induced insomnia, a sleep disorder in which people have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. They also said octacosanol is safe for humans because it is a food-based compound. And because octacosanol occurs in nature, it should have no side effects.

That said, further studies are needed to fully analyze octacosanol’s effects on stress-induced insomnia in humans. Future studies will shed light on the target brain area of octacosanol and the mechanism by which it reduces stress.

Tips for better sleep

Insomnia is thought to affect one in three people and is particularly common among older adults. But if you only get a few hours of sleep every night — even if you don’t have insomnia — you could still develop many health issues. Studies have shown that poor sleep is linked to an increased risk of obesity, depression and stroke.

In fact, regularly getting less than six hours of sleep at night could cause the same damage as alcohol abuse in the long run, according to a recent study. It found that being awake for 18 hours causes the same cognitive impairment people get from being drunk. This is so severe that driving while sleep-deprived could be as dangerous as driving while drunk. Being sleep-deprived can also increase appetite and lead to weight gain.

While the health effects of poor sleep are troubling, you can avoid them just by practicing good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene encompasses both your environment and habits. Improving your sleep hygiene can pave the way for better-quality sleep and better overall health. It also costs very little and practically comes with no health risks.

Here are some tips on how to improve your sleep hygiene and get better-quality sleep:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule – Aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night, and make sure to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Limit the difference in your sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour. Being consistent reinforces your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
  • Don’t go to bed hungry or stuffed – Pay attention to what you eat and drink in the hours before your bedtime. Being hungry or full can cause some discomfort, which might keep you up.
  • Avoid chemicals that interfere with sleep – Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine before bed. They have stimulating effects that can take hours to wear off and reduce sleep quality. Even though alcohol can make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt your sleep later in the night.
  • Create a restful environment – Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Remove electronic devices, such as computers and televisions, from the bedroom, and do not use smartphones before bed.
  • Avoid or limit naps – Napping for more than 30 minutes during the day can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you must nap, limit yourself to only 30-minute naps and avoid doing so late in the day.
  • Exercise – Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.
  • Manage worries – Worries or concerns can keep you from falling asleep easily. Stress management can help. Start with the basics, like getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Write down what’s on your mind and set them aside for tomorrow. Meditation can also ease anxiety.

Sleep directly affects your physical and mental health. Not getting enough sleep can take a serious toll on your energy, productivity and even your weight. Make sure to practice good sleep hygiene for good-quality sleep.

Sources:

DailyMail.co.uk

MayoClinic.org

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