The Eclectic Physician
Natural Health Care
by Beth Burch N.D.
Insomnia affects one out of three Americans each year, around 3% of people
rely on prescription sleep medications. All over the counter and prescription
sleep medications will produce drowsiness, but they also interfere with
normal sleep patterns which can leave you feeling tired in the morning
and requiring a caffeine stimulant to wake up. The main causes of insomnia
are depression, anxiety and tension. Caffeine, alcohol and some medications
can also cause insomnia. Low blood sugar at night may also be responsible.
Other problems that can disturb sleep include sleep apnea, nocturnal myoclonus
and restless legs syndrome. Of course, there are environmental factors
that can interfere with sleep including uncomfortable bedding, poor ventilation,
too much light and noise, too much heat or cold, irregular sleep schedule
and excess stimulation before bedtime.
Natural treatments for insomnia include elimination of caffeine and
alcohol, particularly in the evening, regular exercise, progressive relaxation
training, and the use of supplements such as 5-hydroxy-tryptophan or melatonin.
Herb of choice-
Valerian-a safe and
effective herb for promoting sleep. On the FDAís generally recognized as
safe list. It has been shown to improve sleep without producing daytime
sleepiness, dependence or impaired concentration.
Liquid extract- 1-1 1/2 teaspoons 45 minutes before bedtime
Dry herb in capsules-1000-1500 mg 45 minutes before bedtime
Standardized extract (0.8% valeric acid)-150-300 mg 45 minutes before
Other herbs- Passionflower, Hops, Lemon Balm, Chamomile,
* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate.
It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.