Alternatives to sleeping pills – your Go-To Guide

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Here is a collection of the best alternative sleep remedies. Pick your best and make sure you have them on hand when the next bout of sleeplessness attacks.

1. Hormones - The most popular hormone prescribed for sleeplessness is melatonin, however, other natural hormones such as seretonin and dopamine (found in anti-depressants) can also improve the quality of your sleep. Melatonin is said to help you feel sleepy and fall asleep quicker, however, it doesn't help keep you asleep.  If midnight waking is your trouble, then sertonin and dopamine have longer lasting effects but are only available with a doctor's prescription.

DOSAGE:  Melatonin is available at health stores. Finding the right dose takes time as there is conflictual research about its efficacy. Anti-depressants require a prescription from your doctor. You can stimulate your own production of these hormones through regular exercise, cuddling and eating chocolate.

2. Herbs - Plants have powerful healing and calming benefits. Chamomile and lavender are famous sleep aids. Chamomile is said to ease anxiety and nervousness whilst lavender is said to ease joint and muscle pain.

DOSAGE: Chamomile is easy to come by in food and health stores. It is found as a tea extract, ointment and essential oil.  Lavender is equally accessible with most homes even having a lavender bush in a pot nearby. Place sprigs of lavender in your pillow slip, add to your baking bowl or get your hands on some lavender oil. Alternatively, both chamomile and lavender oil can be used in the bath, added to other oils to be used in massage or placed in a essential oil burner.

Note: In 2013, we had a look at the use of other herbs such as valerian, hops and wild lettuce. Check out old remedies for sleep issues.

3. Handling techniques - what you think and do have a powerful effect on how you sleep. Relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation and deep pressure are fabulous ways to get to sleep faster. The best part? They are free and highly effective.

DOSAGE: These techniques can be used whenever needed. It is helpful to train the brain by adding them to your sleep routine so that your brain makes the connection between these techniques and sleep. Print out the instructions from the links and keep at your bedside.

What will your treatment be - hormone, herb or handling technique?



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