Natural Sleep Aids: The Safer Choice
Natural sleep aids are gaining popularity among insomniacs or those who suffer from sleep difficulty, primarily due to less side effects that these types of medication brings. Natural sleep aids also most importantly do not form dependency or addiction in its users. While it may be argued that the effectiveness or consistency of these medicines have not been successfully established yet through medical studies or data, many users believe that there is no harm in taking these supplements because they do not bring negative side effects at any rate.
Common alternatives include herbal sleep aids, which are a mixture of botanicals and substances derived from plants, such as chamomile (also used in healing and soothing teas), lemon balm, lavender, valerian root and St. John’s Wort. There are also some amino acid-based supplements that reportedly help in conditioning the body to achieve more frequent and more restful snoozing. One can also research on foods that help you sleep as simple home remedies.
Over-the-counter or OTC sleep aids include diphenhydramine, which is actually an allergy remedy. Arguably one of the most popular and well-patronized natural sleep aids in the market today is melatonin, a hormone that is naturally found in the human body system. It has been found that levels of this hormone peaks during nighttime and is therefore correlated to the conditioning of the body toward sleep. It is among the most commonly used natural sleep remedies among insomniacs these days. It is also safe enough to be considered among popular natural sleep aids for children.
However, some may argue that the effectiveness of melatonin has not been clearly proven or substantiated by medical research. Also, it does not seem to exhibit any side effects but this hasn’t been proven in the long term. There are natural sleep aids such as the herbal supplements mentioned above that may have adverse effects on some individuals, such as allergic reactions.
Patients who have been used to prescription sleeping pills may have a very difficult time switching to other methods of natural sleep aids. This is because they would have most likely developed a dependency already on the chemicals of these prescription medications. Addiction or dependency on benzodiazapenes is very common. This type of drug is one of the earliest types of prescription drug to be developed to help insomniacs by acting directly on the body’s nervous system. It is very effective compared to natural sleep aids but it is also highly addictive.
In recent years, drug companies have successfully developed a non-benzodiazapene based drug that still influences the same parts of the brain and nervous system but produces less side effects and dependency. However, this is still considered as prescription medication and should be dispensed under a physician’s care only.
Alternative sleep help does not only pertain to medication but psychotherapy as well. Cognitive behavioral therapy, which is also used to treat a lot of other anxiety disorders, is a completely medication-free course of treatment. Patients have reported great help from this form of treatment. Whatever natural sleep aids a patient may choose to take, these would be more preferable options compared to the side effects of prescription medication.