It’s always good to check with a health professional before undertaking any regimen,
especially if it involves ingesting herbs or other supplements, to help with your sleep
issues. In fact, it’s doubtlessly best if you have a long history of sleep issues to seek
professional evaluation and advice first and foremost.
That being said, many people who face insomnia — which involves difficulty both falling and staying asleep for proper rest — do embark on alternative paths to try to fix the
problem for themselves. And many swear by the results.
These alternative methods, in addition to taking hormones like Melatonin and other
natural supplements, include exercise, acupuncture, yoga, hypnosis, massage and
aromatherapy. Let’s briefly examine each one.
Exercise and Yoga: Studies have shown that exercise definitely helps younger adults
sleep better even if they have no sleep disorder, and there are signs that it helps
older adults as well. In older adults, tai chi and certain yoga practices help with
sleep issues. Any exercise, though, like food and drink, should be finished four or
five hours before going to bed.
Acupuncture: This has long been utilized in traditional Chinese medicine to treat
insomnia and other sleep problems. Recent western studies have confirmed that this
method can indeed improve sleep. If you’re wary of having needles inserted in to your
skin at certain acupuncture points to influence your body’s functioning, you may want
to consider another course.
Hypnosis: Not everyone can be hypnotized, but for some the power of suggestion and
resolution of stressful issues through such technique can be helpful for sleep.
Massage: Massage can indeed help you feel better as it releases tensions from your
body and muscles and helps put your stress behind you, but this is not a one-time fix and would need to be repeated to work properly.
Aromatherapy: Studies have shown that the Lavender plant with its aroma can help induce sleep, and you can either set up an aromatherapy dispenser by your bed at night or take Lavender in a pill form.
Supplements: Many of the natural and herbal supplements people with sleep issues
consume need further study, but for centuries Valerian root has been used to help
induce sleep. Chamomile, which can be drunk as a tea, has much the same effect and has the added benefit of being FDA vetted. Melatonin, the body’s sleep hormone, can also be
ingested as a supplement, but research has yet to fully confirm that Melatonin
supplements can enhance or replace the body’s own sleep hormone.
Again, most of these techniques have neither been studied nor endorsed by the FDA, so
you need to proceed with caution. Remember, the best course if you have sleep issues is to
seek professional evaluation and advice. Many times simple, quick, noninvasive and
painless office procedures can turn the corner for you. That’s where the sleep professionals come in.