Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

A Guide to Herbal Sleep Aids


Difficulty sleeping can affect many aspects of life. People who don't get the recommended amount of sleep for their age groups can have a myriad of negative affects.

Daytime crankiness, difficulty concentrating, frequent illness, depression, and accidents are all common problems associated with poor sleep habits.

For some people, getting more sleep is not as easy as going to bed earlier. If you suffer from insomnia, you know how wearisome it can be to lie in bed, unable to sleep.

Doctors can prescribe medication to help, but these medications have undesirable side effects. Stomach problems, dizziness, daytime drowsiness, difficulty awakening, accidents, and poor coordination are all common.

Not only do prescription sleep medications have negative side effects, they also don't cause healthy sleep. They cause sedation or unconsiousness--not the restful, healing sleep you need.

But you don't have to choose between sleep deprivation and unwanted medication--nature has provided us with many natural remedies for sleeplessness.

Whether you want a little help falling asleep occasionally or a long-term supplement that will help restore your body's natural sleep rhythms, you should be able to find an herbal sleep aid that will work for you.

Chamomile

Chamomile is one of nature's oldest and gentlest herbal sleep aids. It is most often drunk as a tea, which has a mild and pleasant taste. In addition to promoting calm and restfulness, chamomile is also used in cases of stomach irritation.

The benefits of chamomile works when taken occasionally, and is mild enough that it can be used daily for extended periods of time. It doesn't cause dependency, and has no side effects. It may, though, be an allergen for people who are allergic to daisies.

Experts are not sure how chamomile works to induce sleep. US Pharmacist reports that apigenin, a flavonoid in chamomile, may help to promote sleep, but that other components are probably also involved.

Valerian

Valerian is a root that has long been used as an herbal sleep aid. It has a characteristic smell, like old socks, which comes from isovaleric acid. Valerian can be used to help occasional sleeplessness, but is also particularly helpful taken long-term.

Many studies have shown valerian root to be an extremely safe and effective way to promote sleep. Patients who take valerian report that they feel less anxious and nervous, and have better rest at night.

Clearly, there are many benefits of valerian, and it causes none of the negative effects on concentration and alertness that prescription medications, thereby making it an excellent choice for people who suffer from chronic insomnia. Very high doses may cause certain side effects such as nausea, headaches, and dizziness.

Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that the body produces at night. It is sometimes called the "sleep hormone" because it is so important to healthy sleep. People who are blind, who suffer from jet lag, or who live in places with extended sunlight hours may have trouble sleeping because their bodies do not produce enough melatonin.

Patients looking for a short-term sleep solution may be helped by taking melatonin supplements, as will persons whose natural wake/sleep cycles have been disturbed. Melatonin is also helpful to people who are trying to wean themselves off of sleep medications.

SAMe

SAMe (S-adenosyl-methionine) is an amino acid derivative, and is found normally in the body. It is typically used as an antidepressant, but is also commonly used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome or as an herbal sleep aid. Its actions in the body help to promote healthy sleep cycles, especially when taken daily for several weeks.

Mario Kyriazis, M.D, author of The Anti-Aging Plan (Element, 2000) explains that SAMe helps to promote sleep by increasing serotonin, a nerotransmitter important to sleep and mood. SAMe also works with the hormone melatonin to harmonize the body's natural day/night rhythms. SAMe is extremely safe, with no known serious side effects. Minor possible side effects in high dosages may include nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort.

Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid that is a precursor to seratonin. Low seratonin levels can cause irritability, anxiety, and sleeplessness, so adding more tryptophan to your diet can help you relax and will promote healthier sleep patterns.

Many foods naturally contain tryptophan. Increasing the amount of turkey, cottage cheese, peanuts, soy, brown rice, or milk in your diet will help your body to manufacture seratonin. Tryptophan supplements are also available.

Choosing your supplement

With all of the natural and herbal sleep aids available, it can seem tough to choose one. The choices don't have to be overwhelming, though.

Some supplements are meant to be used only occasionally, while others work better when used long-term. Many supplements have additional benefits, so it's often easy to pick one supplement to meet several needs. Naturopathic physicians, dieticians, and herbalists can help you choose the best herbal sleep aid for you.

References:

Cauffield, Jacintha S., Pharm.D., BCPS. "Supplements Used to Treat Sleep Disorders." http://www.uspharmacist.com/oldformat.asp?url=newlook/files/Comp/sleep.htm&pub_id=8&article_id=729

Kyriazis, Marios, M.D. "Depression and SAMe." http://www.smart-drugs.com/depression-SAMe.htm.

Dan Ho is chief editor of Nutritional Supplement Info Spotlight, which offers unconventional and unique solutions for common health issues. Claim your FREE subscription to his newsletter now at his Nutritional Supplement and Herbal Supplement Guide Site


MORE RESOURCES:

Medical News Today

Vitamin D supplements 'do not reduce risk of heart attack or stroke'
Medical News Today
Past research has suggested that individuals with low levels of vitamin D are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Now, a new study led by researchers from the University of East Anglia in the UK claims that taking vitamin D supplements will not ...



CBS News

FDA warns consumers: Dietary supplements cannot treat concussions
CBS News
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers about dietary supplements that falsely claim to prevent or cure concussions or other traumatic brain injuries. The FDA says supplements with labels that make these claims are not backed up by ...
Steer Clear of Dietary Supplements for Concussions: FDAHealthDay

all 21 news articles »


Beware Of Dietary Supplements Claiming To Treat Concussion, FDA Says
Huffington Post
Dietary supplements are not subject to the same regulations that medications are, which means that supplements can enter the market without undergoing the rigorous testing that medicines do. After a supplement is on the market, the FDA can send warning ...

and more »


New Scientist

A to zinc: What supplements are worth taking?
New Scientist
Vitamins, minerals, fish oils… the list of nutritional supplements you can buy keeps growing. Some are worth it, some aren't. We sift the evidence for you. IN 1911, Polish chemist Casimir Funk made one of the most influential biomedical discoveries of ...



5 Supplements That May Help With Depression
The Epoch Times
Over two-thirds of Australians are thought to use complementary medicines ranging from vitamin and mineral supplements to herbal to aromatherapy and homeopathic products. Mental health concerns are one of the reasons why people use supplements, but ...

and more »


Fox News

Beware Of Fake Ebola Supplements
Forbes
The FDA is warning consumers today to be aware of supplements and other products sold online that are fraudulently marketed to treat or prevent Ebola virus infection. We currently have no agents – drug, dietary supplement, herbal supplement – that can ...
Beware of Ebola Supplements Sold Online, Warns FDAMonthly Prescribing Reference
Fake Ebola Treatments Are Popping Up On The Internet: The FDA Warns ...Medical Daily
FDA warns consumers about fraudulent Ebola treatment productsFDA.gov

all 407 news articles »


Fox News

The supplements that could slash your risk of sun damage
Fox News
After 85 days of treatment, the combined supplements increased the amount of UV exposure needed to cause sunburn by 56 percent. In the second, a group of 20 volunteers took a blood orange supplement and saw protective effects after only 15 days. By the ...



NJSIAA offering help in determining if ingredients in supplements are approved
The Jersey Journal - NJ.com
It can be confusing to parents, coaches and student-athletes throughout the state just what athletic supplements contain steroids or other ingredients that haven't been approved by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).



Should I Be Taking a Calcium Supplement?
Huffington Post
Therefore, it's no wonder that more and more people turn to supplements in the form of pills, powders and tinctures rather than eat whole food to obtain necessary nutrients. It's not unusual to hear a busy businessman say, "I take a handful of pills ...



PLoS Blogs (blog)

Do multivitamin supplements increase mortality risk?
PLoS Blogs (blog)
The top headline on the 'Most Read' side panel instantly caught my eye: 'Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women'. Reading, I was amazed to find that taking multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, copper, and in particular ...


Google News


Advertisement



Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.