If you struggle with occasional or chronic insomnia but are wary of the possible side effects of prescription sleep aids like Ambien, you may wonder if herbal sleeping tablets are an effective solution. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best-known natural sleep remedies and their potential pros and cons.
Natural Sleeping Aids
When browsing the products at your favorite drugstore, you may see natural sleeping supplements sold as tablets, tinctures or gummies. Some popular ingredients in herbal sleep aids include chamomile, valerian, hops and passionflower. Melatonin, also known as the sleep hormone, is another sleep aid many people swear by.
All-natural supplements promise to help people fall asleep quickly and get a full, restful night’s sleep, but it’s crucial to consider that the FDA does not regulate these products under the same standards as prescription and over-the-counter medications. Since supplement manufacturers have no obligation to prove their products are safe or effective before putting them on the market, some herbal sleeping tablets may not live up to their claims.
Other Insomnia Remedies to Try
Like all supplements, herbal sleeping remedies can have side effects and risks. The brand you buy may have inappropriate dosing instructions on the label, which could cause unpredictable results. Additionally, since the FDA does not hold supplements to the same stringent standards as medications, these sleep aids might prove to be ineffective treatments for your insomnia, and it could take a bit of trial and error to find something that works for you.
If you routinely struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, talk with your doctor about the potential risks and benefits of all-natural sleeping remedies. A physician will ask you questions about how often you experience insomnia and may screen you for various health conditions that can impact your sleep quality, like sleep apnea, gastric reflux, hormonal imbalances, anxiety and depression.
Some simple lifestyle changes can help improve your sleep hygiene, including the following.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Create a consistent sleep schedule and stick to it.
- Make your bedroom a tech-free zone.
- Get more physical activity in your daily schedule to ensure you feel sleepy at bedtime.
- Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature – not too hot or too cold. If necessary, buy heavy curtains to block out light and a white noise machine to limit sounds that can awaken you.
- If you have anxiety, a weighted blanket can help put your overactive nervous system into “rest mode” and keep you from tossing and turning all night.
- Try preparing your body and mind for bed by dimming the lights, meditating and doing some gentle stretches.
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