Many people are averse to using homeopathic remedies in the 21st century, conveniently forgetting that familiar medicine cabinet staples like aspirin have their – literal – roots in the natural world, not a lab. If you’re struggling to sleep, but don’t want to invest the time or money in a physician-prescribed sleep aid, or are afraid of the risks of addiction, homeopathic medicine may be for you. Valerian, chamomile, and melatonin are three of the most popular natural supplements used to treat sleep disorders and general insomnia.
ValerianYou would certainly not be the first person to try valerian, as it’s first use was recorded around the times ancient Greece. Hippocrates himself was a fan of the root and was among the first chroniclers of its usages. More recently, the herb was used as a stress reliever for the English during the World War II air raids.
Nowadays, you can easily find it in the dietary supplement section of your local drug store. If you’re not a pill-taker, valerian is also commonly added to teas intended to help you relax and sleep, or as a component of bath oils for its aromatherapeutic effects.
Studies show that valerian is one of the most effective herbs for reducing insomnia after sleeping pill withdrawal. If your anxiety keeps you up at night, you might consider valerian root as one alternative to benzodiazepines or other sedatives that comes with the risk of addiction. Strangely enough, valerian can also be used as a sedative for animals as well, and has chemical structures similar to those found in catnip.
Chamomile is a great, all-purpose soothing aid. Throughout history, the herb has been used to help with conditions ranging from an upset stomach to chronic insomnia, frequently administered through a tea. One Japanese study on rats showed that an extract of chamomile was as effective as traditional sleeping pills in promoting sleep.
In order to get reap the most benefits, you should be careful with your preparation – if you drink chamomile tea, choose a brand that does not add any caffeinated agents, use multiple tea bags, and keep the water covered while hot to prevent the loss of any chamomile oils, which are responsible for chamomile’s medical benefits.
Chamomile Our bodies naturally produce melatonin, but for many people, it may not be enough. This hormone helps our bodies recognize circadian cycles – waking up when it’s light, going to sleep when it’s dark.
If you want to maximize the effectiveness of your melatonin symptoms, take a pill right before you go to bed. Extended release formulas are best for those who struggle with sleeping through the night while immediate release formulas work well for those who have problems falling asleep.
Melatonin is not completely without dangers however. Though it is a powerful sleep agent, it comes with the risk of bleeding and an increased incidence of seizures in young people who have preexisting brain disorders. Regardless of your age, you should only take melatonin for short periods in order to reduce your risk of these problems.