Better Sleep; Tips and Herbal Remedies for a Good night's Sleep Tonight

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Being a family physician, one of the biggest complaints I hear today is problems with sleeping. As you all know, it is a huge problem which has blossomed into a multi million dollar industry for the pharmaceutical companies with such prescription medications as Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta and Rozerem, to name a few.

What a practitioner should stress to patients is to first make sure that they are practicing good sleep hygiene habits such as not watching television in bed, not drinking caffeine or alcohol in the evening too close to bedtime, not eating a large meal or exercising too close to bedtime, and unwinding prior to hitting the bed. Easier said than done I realize. Eating a healthy diet and establishing a regular daily exercise regime can make a world of difference in enabling one to get a proper night's rest.

The most popular over-the-counter sleep aids all contain diphenhydramine, an anti-histamine most commonly known as the brand name Benadryl. Whether it is Sominex, Nytol, Tylenol PM, or any other sleep formulation you see on the shelves, most contain this ingredient. One of the unwanted side effects of this medication is that it IS an anti-histamine and will not only dry you out, but can cause urinary retention and make you feel very groggy the following morning because of its fairly long half life.

Before I prescribe one of the prescription sleeping medications, I like to recommend some other herbals which you can purchase over-the-counter and are safer and seem to work without all of the side effects associated with diphenhydramine and the prescription medications.

You may want to try one or all of the following if you haven't. An inexpensive and healthy way I use commonly to calm down before going to bed is a tea with chamomile in it. The particular brand I commonly drink is Sweet Dreams by Bigelow which is a nice combination of chamomile and mint. It works. It is also good at relieving gastrointestinal distress as well.

Another herb which I have found helpful is valerian (Valeriana officinalis). 400-900 milligrams by mouth about 30 minutes prior to going to bed is the suggested dosage. One of the brand names is Alluna which is two tablets about an hour prior to bedtime.

One herb sometimes recommended as an anxiolytic or sleep aid is Kava which I would AVOID. It IS hepatotoxic (damages the liver).

Hopefully you do not experience any problems going to sleep or staying asleep, but so many of us do and it is nice to not have to rely on the prescription "big guns" as I refer to them as for getting the sleep we need.

May this help assist in you getting a wonderful night's sleep tonight!

Copyright (c) 2007 Ted Crawford

About the Author:

Dr. Ted Crawford is a family practice physican in Tucson, Arizona and has a website devoted to helping patients find reliable health information and products. His article "Better Sleep; Tips and Remedies for a Better Night's Sleep Tonight" can also be found at http://www.babyboomersdoc.com

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