Prescription Sleep Aids and
Herbal Sleep Aids
Prescription Sleep Aids:
Prescription sleep aids are also used for short-term sleep problems.
Drugs like Lunesta and Ambien cause sleep, but they also create addiction if used for a long period of time.
They should only be used under a physician’s guidance.
Other prescribed medications may deal with the underlying causes of insomnia.
If one suffers from a psychological condition like depression, anti-depressants may be the best way to treat sleep problems. If sleep problems are caused by chronic pain, then using medications to control pain may result in better sleep.
Most doctors recommend an over the counter (OTC) medication if you have a temporary sleeping problem. The main ingredient in most OTC sleep aids is diphenhydramine, an antihistamine commonly known by its brand name Benadryl. Antihistamines cause drowsiness, but they may not help with sleep problems like premature waking.
Sometimes OTC sleep preparations also include a pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. While antihistamines are not addictive, they can create addiction, and people can find after a time that they cannot sleep without them. If sleeping problems continues, it is best to consult a doctor.
Whatever sleeping aids one may choose, the best long-term plan for getting quality sleep is having a good sleeping routine. Taking sleep aids should be considered as a temporary solution that gives one time to address the underlying causes of poor sleep.
Herbal Sleep Aids:
The most common herbal natural sleep aids are melatonin and valerian. Melatonin plays an important role in the sleep cycle. There may be long-lasting effects from the use of melatonin, so it is not recommended for those under 40.
Valerian is another herbal sleep aids which is derived from a root, and has been used for centuries to calm restlessness and promote sleep. It should not be used with alcohol or in patients with liver damage and it should not be taken for more than two weeks.
Due carefulness should be taken to only use valerian if you are not going to drive or operate other machinery, as it causes marked drowsiness.
Other alternative herbal preparations include ginseng, lemon, and hops. Chamomile tea is safe for both children and adults.
Alternative Sleep Aids:
Sleep aids can be treated using alternative therapies. Alternative therapies include acupuncture and different forms of meditation. Acupuncture has been clinically studied to determine its efficiency as a sleep aid, and the results suggest an overall improvement in sleeping quality.
Meditation and relaxation can also be tried as sleep aids. These techniques are educated over at least several weeks, so they will not tackle an immediate sleep need.
Tai Chi and Yoga are meditative exercise programs that can help the body relax and improve sleep over time. Specific relaxation techniques, like progressive muscle relaxation and biofeedback, have been anecdotally shown to aid in sleep.
Acupuncture or meditative techniques can be combined with herbal supplementation. Taking certain herbs or supplements alone can also improve sleep.
Before taking any herb or vitamin, be certain that it will not interact with any other medications taken. It is important to check with one's physician before beginning herb or vitamin supplementation.