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Natural Sleep Aids – Do They Do Any Good?

If you suffer from difficulty in sleeping - whether from insomnia or snoring or just restless sleep - you might try some natural sleep aids that have been known to remedy or at least alleviate sleeplessness. The question is: Do they really work?

Some Natural Sleep Aids

Some of the common types of natural sleep aids include:

  • Relaxation techniques are known to work effectively but you need approximately twenty minutes before going to bed to allow them to work. Some of the most well known techniques are yoga, which is a centuries old technique that involves meditation, deep breathing and stretching and it also has a relaxation response that is based on the principles of meditation that uses mind and body techniques to relax you. Another is progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Melatonin is often used for jet lag or for those who work night shifts and it is also taken approximately thirty minutes before bed. It is a hormone that is already found in the body naturally in the pineal gland of the brain. It produces serotonin that changes into melatonin when exposure to light decreases.
  • Valerian is an herb that has long been used throughout the world as a remedy for insomnia and should be taken approximately one hour before going to bed. It has some known side effects such as headache, indigestion or dizziness although it does not cause grogginess in the morning, but it should be taken with caution.
  • Kava is an herb that is commonly used for insomnia that is related to stress, however, the Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings of adverse effects to the liver with continued use - so it should be taken with caution.
  • Diet has a large effect on sleep so it is important to avoid certain foods before bedtime like caffeine that includes coffee, tea or soft drinks and sweets like chocolate. If you need to eat before bed you should eat magnesium rich foods as they are a natural sedative and include green vegetables, almonds, cashews and seeds.