Does this person sound like you? Less sleep means less patience, less energy, and reduced clarity at work. That’s a challenge. If you are home with children, it is also true because little ones demand your attention and may not interact well with a crabby parent.
Seven to nine hours of sleep is recommended for adults—but the average American gets less than seven hours. Our sleeping woes are typically caused by crazy schedules, high-level stress, worry, and being exhausted all the time.
For many people, lack of sleep leads them to visit their doctor, then to the pharmacy for some over-the-counter sleep aids or even a prescription medicine. When the annoying alarm rings at 6 a.m., will their alertness be numbed by the contents of the medication?
For those who want to avoid sleep medications, “natural” sleep aids may be the answer to helping with:
- Feeling Exhausted
- Day-long Sleepiness
- Excessive Yawning
When using natural sleep aids, be sure the natural supplements do not interact negatively with other medications.
A common natural sleep supplement is melatonin. The pineal gland in your brain produces this important hormone, which helps regulate sleep and circadian rhythms. Your biological clock controls your well-defined internal clock covering roughly a 24-hour cycle, the rhythms responding to light and darkness. The levels of melatonin in the blood are highest prior to bedtime.
So, if your brain does not produce enough of your own melatonin, you may supplement it to help stabilize your sleep patterns, possibly eliminating that aggravating 3 a.m. wake-up time—when you worry, fret, write to-do lists, and unintentionally wake your partner.
Scientific findings show that melatonin may decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and may increase the duration of sleep. Studies show that melatonin is safe with short-term use up to two months.
Lisa Shives, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine stated, “The research has not been robust,” but some of her patients still find using a natural sleep aid to be effective, maybe because they like to feel they are “doing something.”
Valerian is an herbal extract and is a leading natural supplement for remedying sleep problems. Valerian has been used as a sedative and anti-anxiety treatment for over 2,000 years. Studies suggest that taking Valerian before bed may improve your overall quality of sleep as well as the speed of falling asleep. Valerian becomes more effective over time, so it's best to take it every night for a short period of time. Valerian is considered safe for up to six weeks.
Chamomile is a popular herbal sleep remedy that's been used for centuries. This herb also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
German chamomile is best taken as a tea, whereas Roman chamomile may be taken as a tincture. Both types may have a calming effect, which may help you feel relaxed and more prepared for sleep.
In conclusion, restful, restorative sleep is fundamental to health and happiness. If you have tried natural sleep remedies and still find yourself suffering with sleep problems, consult with your doctor.
Chronic insomnia can be a symptom of another condition, such as depression, heart disease, sleep apnea, lung disease, hot flashes, or diabetes, so it's important to see a doctor if you're having trouble sleeping.