Insomnia – Comparison of Natural Remedies and Prescription Drugs

Insomnia – The Natural Remedies

Many people choose natural sleep remedies when it comes to looking for solutions to sleep problems such as insomnia. In any drugstores, you will find many brands of natural sleep supplements as sleep remedies, though FDA does not regulate dietary supplements for safety, quality, and effectiveness. Aside from natural sleep remedies, your daily activities naturally help to improve your sleep. Here are some tips to help you naturally solve your sleep problems.

Drink Warm. As warm water gives a positive impact on your health, a warm natural herb for sleep is one best drink for people who are having sleep troubles. Warm milk, chamomile tea, tart cherry juice are recommended as a nighttime drink to improve the sleep quality you get every day. These drinks have no side effects or drug interactions. Warm milk is believed to be associated with chemicals that are involved in the sleep-wake transition. Chamomile tea, however, has no caffeine, unlike other green tea.

Do Regular Exercise. It has been proven that physical activities can help improve the quality of sleep. A moderate aerobic exercise boosts the amount of sleep you have. 

Melatonin Supplements. Melatonin is a hormone that is released in the brain. Unnatural lights from television, laptop, or a cellphone prevent the release of melatonin so it is advised not to use those electronics before bedtime. Melatonin supplements are available in a pill form and an over-the-counter supplement.  

Keep Your Place Cool. Ideal room temperature to achieve a quality of sleep is between 65 to 72 degrees. It is important to wear comfortable sleepwear, especially in the summertime.

Make Your Room Dark at Night.  Having a totally dark room will give you a restful sleep. Turn off your bedroom lights and other lights around the house to help you solve your sleep problems. If you are having a bathroom break at night, don’t flick on the lights as it will also disrupt the quality of sleep.

Natural sleep remedies also include herbal and dietary sleep supplements such as herbal teas. These include valerian, melatonin, chamomile, tryptophan, and kava.

Valerian. A sedating herb that is used to treat insomnia and anxiety. It is generally considered as safe and non-habit forming and is best when taken daily for two weeks to help improve sleep.

Chamomile. Chamomile tea has sedative properties and may cause allergic reactions to people with pollen allergies. You can take it by adding 2-3 bags with boiling water and brew for 10 minutes.

Tryptophan. A basic amino acid, tryptophan is used in the formation of the chemical messenger serotonin. Serotonin is a substance in the brain that helps you fall asleep.

Kava. For years, kava has been known to help people improve the quality of sleep especially those with stress-related insomnia.

Lemon balm, passionflower, and lavender are other herbs found as sleep solutions that as calming and sedating effects.

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Insomnia – Prescription Drugs

In some cases on sleep problems, doctors prescribe sleeping pills as treatment. They are hypnotics to treat sleep disorders including insomnia. These medicines can also cure movement disorders that can cause sleep interruption. Common movement disorders include restless syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder. These medications should only be taken in a short time or as prescribed by your doctor. Sleeping pills can best work with good sleep practices and behavioral treatments for sleep. 

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Insomnia – Risks and Side Effects of Natural Remedies for Sleep and Sleeping pills

Natural sleep remedies such as lemon balm or chamomile tea are harmless, however, others have serious side effects and can interfere or reduce the effectiveness of other medications prescribed by your doctors. Valerian can interfere if you are taking antihistamines and statins. Before taking any of the natural and herbal remedies, you can do a research first and better talk to your doctor. A personal evaluation with your doctor is necessary to make sure in case you have a pre-existing medical condition where natural remedies can affect your medications.  

However, in comparison, all prescription sleeping pills are known to their side effects and these vary depending on the dosage, type of drug, and how it lasts in your system. The common side effects of sleeping pills are drowsiness, headache, muscle aches, constipation, dry mouth, trouble concentrating, dizziness, unsteadiness, and rebound insomnia.

Compared to natural remedies in attaining a good and quality sleep, sleeping pills have more side effects and it is always advised to talk to your doctor before taking any sleeping pills that are prescribed and are available on the market. Take a look at the other side effects of taking sleeping pills:

  • Drug Tolerance. You might want to have more sleep aids such as sleeping pills and take them at work and worse is experiencing more side effects.
  • Drug Dependence. You may rely on sleeping pills and be unable to sleep or make your sleep problems worse. Prescription pills may be addictive and make you difficult to stop.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms. These side effects include nausea, sweating and shaking once you stop taking a particular sleeping pill.
  • Drug Interactions. Some sleeping pills can interact with other medications that worsen he side effects.
  • Rebound Insomnia. One side effect of sleeping pills is making insomnia worse when you stop taking it.
  • Masking an Underlying Problem. Medical or mental conditions may be affected when you are taking sleeping pills and this may cause to no treatment of insomnia. That is why visiting your doctor before taking any is very important.

Insomnia – Tips for Safe Use of Natural Remedies for Sleep and Prescription Sleeping Pills

If you are planning to take either the natural remedies or the prescription drugs for insomnia, you can take some of these tips to help you.

When Taking Natural Remedies

These are general and common tips that will help you while taking natural remedies to solve sleep problems or insomnia:

  • You should eat lighter meals at night or at least two hours before you go to bed.
  • Taking a hot shower before bedtime helps you to have a refreshing mood during sleep.
  • Do not intake food with chemicals such as nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Have a regular exercise every day.
  • Do not use your electronic gadgets and watch TV two hours before bedtime.
  • Make your room comfortable to sleep like having it dark and cool. Use your room only for sleeping.
  • Go to your bed only if you feel tired from the whole day’s work.
  • Within 20 minutes of not being able to sleep, go out of your bed.

When Taking Sleeping Pills

  • Do not mix sedative drugs with alcohol
  • Take sleeping pills if you have around 7 to 8 hours for sleeping.
  • You can start with the lowest dose as advised by your doctor.
  • Reserve your sleeping pills for an emergency, do not use it frequently so you won’t be dependent on it.
  • Do not drive or operate a machine at work if you are taking sleeping pills.
  • Never forget to read instructions at the product insert.

Insomnia – Always Consult Your Doctor

Remember that taking the natural remedies for insomnia or prescription drugs, consult your doctor is always important so he can evaluate you first and know that these remedies or drugs will not interfere with your existing medical conditions.