Do you seem to spend more time trying to go to sleep than actually getting a good night's rest? Or do you waken numerous times during the night, unable to go back to sleep? Insomnia is a problem that a significant number of Americans face on a regular basis. It has been reported that 4% (8.5 million) of adult Americans regularly take sleep aid medication due to insomnia. If this describes you and you are often tired, lack concentration are irritable due to lack of sleep then your insomnia is ruining the quality of your life.
First of all you should be evaluated by your physician who may refer you to a specialist for a sleep study--sleep apnea (a condition where one stops breathing at times during sleep) is a possible cause and may need attention. All causes of insomnia are not related to sleep apnea of course, but since sleep apnea is a serious problem, it needs investigating by proper healthcare providers. After an emotional disaster such as loss of a spouse or close family member, it is not uncommon to suffer lack of sleep; this is referred to as acute insomnia and may need time and perhaps a physicians assistance temporarily to return to a normal sleep pattern.
If a person continually battles insomnia, it is referred to as chronic insomnia. Chronic insomnia can also be called primary chronic insomnia when it is not apparently associated with any other health disease. If your insomnia is connected with disease, interactions with meds or other substances will be necessary.
Of course the substances we ingest, the stress and emotions we are under and health limitations may all play a part in having insomnia but when this persists it is important to do something about it; just taking over the counter sleep aids may not suffice, and possibly could do more harm, causing dependency.
Herbal supplements is another route to take. Valerian is a well documented herbal sleep aid which helps you go to sleep faster and improves quality of sleep. Recommended dosage is between 150-300mg., taken a half hour before sleep. Kava kava is a herb associated with helping those with anxiety rest well and relax muscles and emotions in the brain. This should be taken about one hour before bed at 400-500mg. Chamomile which is often taken as a tea, promotes relaxing and calms nerves too.
Melatonin, natural hormone of our bodies is also used as a supplement to promote sleep. It often helps those who are adjusting to work shift changes, jet lag, as well as those whose bodies do not produce enough melatonin to aid their sleeping well. Products of a low dose of 3mg of Melatonin should be safe for most people. Always check for interactions with meds or other supplements you may take to make sure any supplement is safe and does not either increase or decrease the effect of medications you are already taking. A couple other practical tips to sleep better--read books or watch TV in another room, making your bed your place of sleep primarily.