Let’s look at conventional and alternative methods.
Conventional prescription medications include Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata or
Rozerem. These medications are generally
recommended for a short period of time, usually not more than a few weeks. Some of the newer medications have been
recommended for indefinite use however some may be habit-forming.
Side effects of these medications include extreme
drowsiness, impaired thinking, agitation, and wandering during the night. Over-the-counter medications contain
antihistamines that make people drowsy. These also have side effects that can cause daytime sleepiness, dry mouth
or blurred vision.
Alternative medicine or natural methods include behavioral
changes or supplementations. Behavioral
changes, or sleep hygiene, can make improve the quality of sleep.
One of the biggest culprits is technology -- computers, cell
phones and TV all have bright lights that impede the production of melatonin,
which causes sleep in the brain. Technology needs to be turned off at least one hour before sleep.
The bed should be used for sleep and sex and nothing
else. The bedroom needs to be
comfortable and cool, which promotes sleep as well.
Studies have shown that 20-30 minutes of consistent exercise
improves the quality of sleep. Avoid
heavy meals, strenuous exercise, nicotine, or caffeine before bed.
Common supplements that I have been studied for insomnia are
niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, 5-HTP, melatonin, valerian root or
It is always important to look at the underlying causes of
insomnia in order to treat it correctly. Hormonal issues in women can also play a role in insomnia. If you are having other medical problems or
taking medications for another condition check to make sure that these are not
the source of your insomnia.