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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Benefits of Herbal Sleep Supplements vs Chemical OTCs

Across the board, sleeping pills are most effective when used for a short period of time, such as recovering from a medical procedure. Sleeping pills used over a long period of time should only be used on a "as needed" basis.  Many people will lean toward over-the-counter sleep aids vs prescriptions believing that over-the-counter aids are less harmful with a lower risk of addiction.
This is not necessarily true, there are concerns that must be considered with both over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids:
Some of the side effects range from prolonged drowsiness, dry mouth, forgetfulness, confusion, severe headaches, muscle pain, dizziness, rebound insomnia and daytime sleepiness. The tolerance to these drugs can increase over a period of time, leading to taking higher dosages and more side effects. Not only are you at risk for more side effects but also becoming completely dependent on the sleeping pills. Interaction with other medications could lead to a very dangerous situation when combining them with sleep aids.

The Advantages of Herbal Sleeping Aids:

Many people have chosen to stay away from chemical aids due to the side effects and risk factors, and they are leaning toward Natural Herbal SleepAids. Herbal sleeping aids can give you the same results as prescriptions or OTCs without the harmful side effects.

As with any alternative medication, always check with your doctor before proceeding with their use. Some people have allergies to plants and pollens and therefore should steer clear of certain herbals. There are several herbs that are helpful in aiding those who suffer from sleep deprivation:

Melatonin:
Melatonin is a natural hormone that increases at night. These levels remain high during the night and alleviate with the morning light. Some studies, however, believe melatonin is no more than a placebo. While others believe it is a natural aid with few to no side effects. 

Valerian Root:
Valerian root is a natural source of valium and has been used for thousands of years to treat insomnia. Valerian is extremely popular because it does not have side effects, besides drowsiness, or addiction issues. 

St John's Wort:
St John's Wort is used a great deal for treatment of depression and anxiety.  It's calming effects also means it is quite effectual in treating sleeping disorders.  St John's Wort is also found in many over-the-counter sleep aides.  It can cause an increase in sensitivity to sunlight and should not be taken with prescription medications for depression.

Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family and has a calming effect when taken as a tea. When combined with other herbs such as valerian and chamomile can create a really good treatment for insomnia. Lemon balm tea and capsule forms can be found in most health food stores.

Chamomile:
Chamomile offers a calming effect for sleeping disorders and is usually taken as a tea in order to relax before going to sleep. Chamomile does not actually make you sleep, but relaxes you so you can sleep.  The great advantage to Chamomile is it has no addictive properties whatsoever.

Herbal supplements are becoming more and more popular due to the lower risk of side effects and addition. Even though these herbs are all natural, always check with your doctor before taking them.

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