5 Natural Alternatives To Sleeping Pills
If you have trouble sleeping but are afraid of developing a dependence on prescription and over-the-counter medicines, you might want to think about using alternative ways to get the rest you need. You wont be alone. Approximately 1.6 million Americans are using alternatives to conventional sleep medicines, according to a recent study by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Bethesda, MD, one of the federal National Institutes of Health.
Herbal remedies and foods can be especially effective because they work to lessen or eliminate other issues like anxiety or digestive discomfort. Barbara L. Heller, LCSW, a psychotherapist in private practice in Binghamton, NY, and author of How to Sleep Soundly Tonight: 250 Simple and Natural Ways to Prevent Sleeplessness offers these suggestions for getting a natural nights rest:
Drink milk: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that a protein naturally found in milk may not only improve sleep quality but also boost alertness the following day. Milton Erman, M.D., president of Pacific Sleep Medicine Services in Los Angeles, says, "Milk contains a protein, alpha-lactalbumin, rich in tryptophan, which sends the brain the message to sleep."
Love lavender: David Stretch, Ph.D., of the Greenwood Institute of Child Health at the University of Leicester in England and his colleagues found lavender oil could replace drug treatment for insomnia because it encouraged drowsiness. Heller says, Relax in a warm tub with a couple of dollops of lavender or put a lavender sachet between your pillow and pillowcase.