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Natural Sleep Aids

Updated on January 22, 2018
Sam Shepards profile image

I'm Sam. I enjoy writing about health and mental health-related topics as well as natural ways to prevent disease and stress.

Would you be shocked to hear that over 9 million Americans are currently utilizing prescription sleep aids? How about the fact that over 20 percent of the population is not getting enough sleep? That’s a staggering number that proves the public’s attachment to waking activities and occupational demands.

Because modern society is rife with a constant influx of overstimulation, the average individual rarely get’s the sleep that was once common just a couple generations ago. It’s no wonder many of us have turned to prescription sleep aids. Yet, what about those of us that prefer a more natural means for achieving better sleep? Thankfully, there are some very valuable alternatives.

Prescription sleep medication side-effects

An important note before delving into herbal sleep aids is the overwhelming side-effects of prescriptive medication. These can range from mild (stomach upset, heartburn, and unusual dreams) to dangerous (chest pain, blurred vision, throat swelling). For anyone considering the use of prescriptions it is paramount that you weigh the possible ramifications that come with their utilization. Also, not only can severe side effects occur, there have been cases of strange behavior on the part of the patient as noted by a prominent medical practitioner:

“Complex behaviors, such as sleep-driving, could be potentially dangerous to both the patients and to others,”
–Russell Katz, M.D., Director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Division of Neurology Products.

Dr. Katz also stated that severe facial swelling can occur with many of the current medications, restricting a patient’s ability to breathe and leading to a potential fatality. When we look at many of the detriments that can happen with the use of these items it’s no wonder that many of us are searching for an herbal sleep aid alternative.

Natural sleep remedies

Thankfully, the array of powerful natural sleeps aids that are readily available provide a low to no side effect option that can assist you with achieving the deep sleep that you’ve seeking.

Consider the following options:

A. Melatonin

A naturally occurring hormone produced by the body, melatonin is currently the only hormone not regulated by the FDA. It is one of the most prominently used sleep aids on the market and rightly so. For many people, just 3 milligrams can assist in falling asleep faster while also recovering from issues like anxiety and jet lag.

As a note, one controversial aspect of melatonin is the amount necessary for efficacy. It’s been recently found that even the smallest amount of this hormone should be split into fourths. This leads to the discovery that people have been consuming way too much melatonin than necessary, in turn leading to unwanted side effects in the long term.

Specialists have found that we need only around 150 micrograms to experience proper results. Because of such insight, it’s best to purchase the smallest amount of melatonin, and then split it up accordingly. Not only will this prove beneficial to your sleep patterns and a better night’s rest, but it will prove less costly as well.

B. Valerian Root

A tall grassland plant, valerian root has been used as a sleep enhancer dating back to ancient Greece and Rome. Although not as quick to work as melatonin, it provides valuable sleep support to many reported users. To get the full effects of this herbal sleep aid, it’s best to use it for up to two weeks. It’s available in different kinds of supplement forms and also as a herbal tea with valerian root.

Something to consider with the use of valerian root is the possibility of mild side effects. These issues are not as prominent as prescription medication but can entail stomach upset and dizziness; something to note when beginning your regimen. Also, it’s suggested that only the purest form be purchased. Due to lack of regulation in the industry, many supplements are misleading. Attempt to only use the processed root of valeriana officinalis. If other ingredients exist, it’s best to refrain from their purchase.

C. Chamomile

Chamomile, or Matricaria Recutita, is an herbal sleep aid that has been used for centuries. Its various abilities range from treating gastritis to lowering allergies and alleviating cold symptoms. Another great benefit of chamomile is that it is relatively safe with very few if any known side effects. Steeping it as a tea is one of the most popular forms of consumption.

Doing so will bring on a mild and gentle drowsiness that leads to comfortable sleep. The only studied side effects of this natural sleep aid are that a select few people may develop a skin rash as a reaction to its consumption. It is suggested to refrain from using this alternative if such a response occurs. Otherwise, chamomile is one of the safest and most well-known agents for achieving better sleep on the market.

Concluding on natural sleep aids

No matter which of these natural sleep aids you choose, always remain aware of any issues you may experience. Even when utilizing herbal remedies, not all bodies will react in a manner conducive to your needs. Yet, if you take proper dosages, monitor your results well, and remain aware of the effects, these powerful sleep aids can make a huge impact on your sleep schedule. Compared to the possible negative issues with prescription medication, that’s a very acceptable result indeed.

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    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      2 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Valerian Root is actually recommended as a supplement to help ween yourself off the prescription drugs. It works with no side effects from the drugs. But you are only supposed to use it for a month.

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