Alternatives To Sleeping Pills
Are you looking for safe and natural alternatives to sleeping pills? You’re not alone. If you struggle with insomnia at one point or another you have considered the use of sleeping pills and sleeping aids. Sleeping pills may seem like the magic pills promising fast results but is it worth the side effects?
Reality is many people taking sleeping pills out of desperation but fear becoming dependent and worry about not being able to sleep without taking a sleeping pill. We will discuss the effectiveness of common OTC sleep aids and natural options available to people struggling with insomnia.
Herbal sleep aids as an alternative to sleeping pills
There are several herbs thought to help sleep, including chamomile, valerian root, kava kava, lavender, and St. John’s Wort. While there is some data showing valerian to be useful for insomnia, at high doses it can cause vivid dreams, blurred vision, changes in heart rhythm, and excitability. Many people drink chamomile tea for its gentle sedative properties. It may however cause allergic reactions in those with plant or pollen allergies.
Melatonin as a sleep aid
Some people use melatonin as a natural alternative to sleeping pills. Melatonin is triggered by darkness and its levels remain elevated throughout the night. There have been some positive results when used to help jet lag and night shift workers. Simple exposure to light at the right time might be just as effective.
Alternatives to sleeping pills: Tryptophan
Tryptophan is a basic amino acid used in the making of serotonin. Serotonin acts as a messenger between the brain and the body, letting the body know when it’s time to sleep. L-tryptophan is a common byproduct of tryptophan, which the body can change into serotonin. Some studies have shown that L-tryptophan can help people fall asleep faster. Unfortunately, the results have not been consistent.
Other alternatives to sleeping pills and sleep aid
Even if you decide to use sleeping pills as a short-term fix, experts recommend making changes in your lifestyle and bedtime behavior as a long-term strategy to address sleep problems. According to research changing your sleep environment and bedtime behaviors is one of the most effective ways to fight insomnia. Behavioral and environmental changes can have more of a positive impact on sleep than sleeping pills, and sleep aids without the risk of side effects or dependence.
The most effective alternatives to sleeping pills may surprise you
Many people complain that frustrating, negative thoughts and worries prevent them from sleeping at night. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that treats problems by modifying dysfunctional or destructive thoughts, emotions and patterns of behavior. CBT is a relatively simple treatment that can improve sleep by changing your behavior before bedtime as well as changing the ways of thinking that keep you from falling asleep. It also focuses on improving relaxation skills and changing lifestyle habits that affect sleeping patterns.
CBT Insomnia vs. sleeping pills
A recent study at Harvard Medical School found that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), including relaxation exercises and the adoption of good sleep habits, was more effective at treating chronic insomnia than prescription sleep medication. CBT produced the greatest changes in patients’ ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, and the benefits remained even a year after treatment ended.