Overcoming insomnia is a journey – and, as you may have discovered, it can also be a matter of trial and response. Undertaken systematically overcoming insomnia and getting a good night’s sleep is an ultimately rewarding process. But, if you’ve already made basic changes to your diet and sleep routine, and you’ve tried specific techniques for reducing stress and improving the quality of your sleep, you may be tempted to turn to artificial sleep aids like sleeping pills.
While sleeping pills may promise a miracle cure for insomnia, the inherent risks of taking sleeping pills to combat insomnia are myriad. Regardless of whether you opt for short-term sleeping pills or a longer course, barbiturates, benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines alike all carry similar risks – namely the potential for over-use or, in the worst cases, the possibility of addiction.
Because sleeping pills serve to depress your body’s nervous system in order to create an artificial “sleep”, they do not facilitate the essential healing and restorative cycles and functions normally undertaken by your body during sleep. That’s why taking sleeping pills can often leave you feeling drowsy or inadequately rested in the morning.
Instead of turning to sleeping pills to overcome insomnia, try using one of the numerous natural and time-tested remedies that are widely available. Often referred to as a “natural sleeping pill”, melatonin offers one viable sleep-enhancing option.
Melatonin is the hormone naturally produced by your body to induce sleep, and many people have successfully restored their own productive sleep patterns by using melatonin to help stimulate the body’s own urge to sleep. Melatonin can be an effective natural alternative to sleeping pills, but should nonetheless be used with caution as it is not yet regulated by any government body.
Herbal remedies are another excellent alternative to sleeping pills and also to melatonin. Consumed in the form of herbal teas and supplements, or even as aromatherapy, herbs like valerian root and chamomile have been lauded as effective sleep-enhancers for centuries. Unlike melatonin or sleeping pills, chamomile does not have to be consumed over a period of time before it becomes effective. Chamomile tea can be used on an as-needed basis and many people have used its sleep-enhancing qualities to successfully combat bouts of insomnia.
Slightly stronger than chamomile and usually taken in pill form, valerian root is another well-known herbal sedative recognized for its ability to overcome insomnia and promote quality sleep. Valerian’s sleep-inducing properties are so effective that it is actually medically recognized as the herbal equivalent of Valium™. Indeed, it is said that the name Valium™ was derived from Valerian, although Valium™ itself is not otherwise connected with valerian in any way.
As with all adjustments to your sleep cycle or sleep routine, you should choose one natural sleep remedy and use it consistently for two weeks before making any other changes – this gives your body time to incorporate and respond to the sleep enhancing benefits of the remedy you have chosen.