About 30 percent of us have occasional insomnia, meaning we have trouble falling or staying asleep. And as a nation we annually fill more than 53 million prescriptions for sleep aids. Here's what you can do to get a healthy, natural night of sleep.
3 sleep supplements
|How it works||Dose|
|Valerian||Shortens the time it takes to fall asleep and improves sleep quality. Research suggests it works by binding to the same receptors in the brain as the sedative Valium.||300-400 mg of extract or capsules, one hour before bedtime.|
|Kava||Calms the mind to reduce anxiety-driven insomnia. Note: In 2002, the FDA issued a warning after several people suffered severe liver toxicity after taking kava. Brigitte Mars, author of the Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine (Basic Health, 2007), says those people took leaf and vine extracts instead of the safer root.||Follow directions on bottle; potency may vary. Not recommended for pregnant women, children, or people with liver disorders.|
|Melatonin||Helps regulate sleep cycles. Commonly prescribed for people whose sleep-wake cycle is out of sync due to light deprivation, such as those who suffer jet lag or work the night shift. Also recommended for those who fall asleep too early and wake up in the middle of the night. Note: Prolonged use may interfere with natural melatonin production.||Amount and timing vary widely, depending on reason for use.|
|Consult your health care practitioner for advice before taking any sleep supplement.|