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Natural Sleep Aids List

Updated on January 22, 2011

How many of us have resorted to using sleep aids now and then? Probably most of us. However the problem with sleep disorders is the fact that there’s so many products - things can get confusing. Which sleeping aids to choose can become as difficult as knowing what's actually causing your sleep problem - never mind trying to work out how to combat it.

When it comes to sleeping, many individuals prefer to avoid anything that comes in a prescribed tablet form. However, if that’s the case, at least a sleep disorder specialist can point you towards what works best - for you - at the time that you need it the most.

Natural sleep aids, on the other hand, are something else entirely. And what do you class as a ‘natural’ sleep aid anyway? Herbal remedies? Natural methods? You'd be surprised at the amount of sleep aids that are closer to home, in your cupboard and all are easy to implement.

Or at least they're worth a try.

Sleep Aids


Natural Sleep Aids

Sleep aids can be classed as one of two things: something you can physically take to help you fall asleep or something that you can do, change - alter, in order to aid sleep. Although you may be unaware, there are many things you can try or put into practice that won't cost you much time or effort.

You can adjust your diet, to include foods that contain higher tryptophan levels. Tryptophan converts to seratonin - and seratonin is a sleep hormone. A lack of seratonin is detrimental with regard to your ability to fall asleep and/ or stay asleep. The link at the bottom of this article takes you to a more detailed explanation regarding foods that are tryptophan rich.

Alternatively, you could consider some of the readily available over-the-counter sleep aids that are currently on the market. That said - it's not a bad idea to at least attempt to right your sleep cycle before you resort to medication. Just because it's readily available doesn't mean that it's the choice.

And so, here's a list of sleep aids that come under the 'easy to implement' umbrella.

  • creating and maintaining a sleep habit

  • warm drinks and foods rich in tryptophan

  • the right mattress

  • a relaxing, stress busting bath

  • having the right temperature setting

  • no ticking clock

  • a calm sleeping environment

Sleeping Tablets

Over The Counter Sleep Aids

And so to natural over-the-counter sleep aids. Just how natural are they? The way a lot of them work goes sommething like this: they contain an antihistamine, chiefly Diphenhydramine. In short they cause of drowsiness because they’re the opposite of histamine – a chemical found in our brain that encourages alertness. Pretty straightfoward and not all that complicated.

Think allergy tablets. The ones you buy when you're struck with an allergic reaction to hayfever or a rash you've developed because you've changed your washing powder. Some people experience side effects – falling asleep or being sleepy during the day for example.

The falling asleep bit's great, providing you're home in bed - and not at work in the office. Other side affects are a dry mouth and/or throat. And anti-histamines are hardly natural.

Sleep aids that contain antihistamines:

  • Nytol

  • Sleepinal

  • Twilite

  • Simply Sleep

  • Sominex

Do You Need To Rely On Sleep Aids?

Relax

Sleep aids can and do work for many people. However, do you really need them? Are you aware that you can, with time, learn how to relax, wind down, alter your surroundings and lifestyle, in order to achieve a healthy sleep cycle? Not that you should rule out the choice to make use of over-the-counter sleep remedies - only that you may not have factored in that your lifestyle may be the problem.

That said, it goes back to trial and error - what suits one etc etc. And of course I’d ask for advice prior to buying an over the counter sleep remedy. Having said that, talking about anti-histamines reminds me of the time when I was struck with a terrible allergic reaction a few years ago. I was precribed allergy tablets by the bucket load. And I was badly in need of them.

I remember (now) feeling incredibly drowsy, morning noon and night. Now I know why. I was actually on holiday and I spent most of it dropping asleep at the slightest opportunity. Maybe there is something in over the counter sleep aids after all ...

Know Of Any Great Sleep Aids?

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    • tatumcapital profile image

      tatumcapital 6 years ago

      Great hub post! Antihistamines are a real drag. I never knew about the bananas and warm milk. Gotta try that one. Recently found out that too much melatonin is actually a bad thing.

      Keep up the good work Bravo.

    • profile image

      Andy Johnston 7 years ago

      Good info and comments. I am a big proponent of seeking natural ways to solve issues like insomnia. I've also heard interesting things about melatonin, although I've never tried it. For me, anything I can do to calm my mind and relax my body before bedtime is helpful.

    • frogdropping profile image
      Author

      Andria 8 years ago

      Stars - if you have a sleep problem, I hope it helps!

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 8 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      I like this important Hub. Is Very helpful. GBY

    • profile image

      Haymish 8 years ago

      There is a new sleep aid. Alteril. I buy it at Walmart. It's tryp, melatonin and velorian combined. Works great. no side effects. It's over the counter.

    • frogdropping profile image
      Author

      Andria 8 years ago

      AIM - Well done to you. It's not easy coming off any tablet that you've become used to or reliant on. I've never used anything as a sleep aid other than milk or similar at night. Which as I've said before - I have turned to on occasion.

      That said, if ever I started with a sleep disorder then I'd be in a different position and never say never. I know it can't be easy due to the hiccup I suffered last year. And yes, many many good folks are affected - and it must be a terrible infliction if it's long term.

      Haunty - good evening :) Fresh air ... top sleeping tip. A good dose of fresh air is never a bad thing. One thing - a lot of people don't think to open a window at night, winter and summer alike. You should ALWAYS sleep with a window open to circulate the air! And ... thankyou :)

      A.M. - that can't be easy for you. I empathise. I can't imagine how much of a problem you must have. Melatonin may be something you can consider. I hope something works for you. Chronic insomnia --- all I can say is 'phew'!

    • profile image

      A.M. Gwynn 8 years ago

      What if you are a certified incurable chronic insomniac? Or at least have gotten used to it because nothing has ever worked? ;0 I am loathe to use any prescription aid because I may (or may not) have some deep seated addictive personality. Ha! But I keep hearing about this melatonin. I may check that out.

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 8 years ago from Hungary

      I can sleep well at night. I think I've figured out the answer for myself. I'm taking a combination of Valeriana, Acetyl-L-carnitine and fresh air. Air is the most important though. I'd recommend it anyone.

      What struck me is you said fast food. Now that does it! Well done, frog! :) Thanks for the good hub.

    • Army Infantry Mom profile image

      Army Infantry Mom 8 years ago

      Well when JB was in Afghanistan I pretty much relied on sleeping pills,...I found at the local GNC store, Melatonin tablets. They worked great concidering the nightmares I was plagued with and the best thing was, after being on it for a year, I recently stopped taking them, last week infact and I was able to fall asleep naturaly, so I must of not gotten addicted to them and I had no side effects as I had with other sleep aids. This is a good subject to be hubbing about because so many people are affected with sleeping disorders,..hats off to you !!! HOOAH LOL

    • frogdropping profile image
      Author

      Andria 8 years ago

      Hawke - My granny had a thing for a drop of whisky in coffee. Now why that would work I've no idea. Caffiene and all that.

    • Hawkesdream profile image

      Hawkesdream 8 years ago from Cornwall

      My father swore by 'arnica' and a drop of scotch.

    • frogdropping profile image
      Author

      Andria 8 years ago

      Iphi - yes and yes. And I'm with you on the snoring. Though guilty of it myself. Still - he snores louder than me so ...

    • profile image

      Iphigenia 8 years ago

      Valerian extract. Or sex. The first leads me slowly into a deep sleep. The second just leaves me nicely heavy and sinking into the mattress (so long as 'whoever' isn't snoring then I have to move my legs in order to kick him out)

    • frogdropping profile image
      Author

      Andria 8 years ago

      goldentoad - now legal in the UK, providing it's personal use. If that's changed it's because it's happened recently and I've missed it through not living there anymore.

      k@ri - fortune has nicely answered your question. Just to add - it's a hormone, as is seratonin and naturally occuring.

      AAzwan - thankyou :)

      Janetta - why thankyou SuperMommy :)

      fortune - thanks for that. Big help and cleared up k@ris' question :)

      giantsteps - nice one, hops. And why not? We all need to sleep right?!

    • giantsteps profile image

      giantsteps 8 years ago

      I'd like to add hops to fortunerep's list of natural sleep remedies. This looks like it could turn into idea for another hub, "Natural Sleep Remedies." How 'bout it, frogdropping? Are you going to give it a go?

    • fortunerep profile image

      fortunerep 8 years ago from North Carolina

      Melatonin does work great. You can only use this after dark.  You are not suppposed to  be in the sunlight while taking it.  Valerian Root is great and so is Kava Kava.  I personally wouldn't use anything with diphenhydramine in it for it can mess with the sinuses. Inositol combined with Gaba produces a valium like effect

      dori

      dori

    • profile image

      Janetta 8 years ago

      good job froggy:) your kickin' out some great hubs! hehe get it? *kickin* lol

    • AAzwan profile image

      AAzwan 8 years ago

      nice hub

    • goldentoad profile image

      goldentoad 8 years ago from Free and running....

      pot.

    • frogdropping profile image
      Author

      Andria 8 years ago

      Candie - I think you're right about 2/3 of the worlds population! So many seem to struggle with sleeping. And I'm damn sorry they are. We all have times where we lack sleep, I mean ... babies for one! But things usually right themselves.

      However - I think a fast paced lifestyle, coupled with little attention to our diets + the environment within which we sleep is a lot to do with it. Maybe somehow we're actually our own worst enemies.

      I blame the fast food guys. For making it too damn easy to eat on the hoof. Oh and let's give a shout out to our employers - always cracking the damn whip!

      Can't fault the cat by the way. A fine excuse to be kept awake at night ;)

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      Diphenhydramine, otherwise known as Benadryl is a great sleep aid. However, like so many others it may leave you feeling sleepy still in the morning. What do you know about Melatonin? Is that any good? I have heard from people it works wonders.

      I love these hubs on sleeping, being I can use all the help I can get! LOL (although it is truthful!)

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 8 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      Frog, a lot of hubbers struggle with the things you are righting about..Good job! My inability to fall asleep has more to do with a very happy loving cat than anything internal.. he thinks I require a nightly 10 minute neck massage and drool bath. bless his heart!