The EclecticPhysician

The Eclectic Physician
Natural Health Care
by Beth Burch N.D.


Insomnia affects one out of three Americans each year, around 3% of people rely on prescription sleep medications. All over the counter and prescription sleep medications will produce drowsiness, but they also interfere with normal sleep patterns which can leave you feeling tired in the morning and requiring a caffeine stimulant to wake up. The main causes of insomnia are depression, anxiety and tension. Caffeine, alcohol and some medications can also cause insomnia. Low blood sugar at night may also be responsible. Other problems that can disturb sleep include sleep apnea, nocturnal myoclonus and restless legs syndrome. Of course, there are environmental factors that can interfere with sleep including uncomfortable bedding, poor ventilation, too much light and noise, too much heat or cold, irregular sleep schedule and excess stimulation before bedtime.

Natural treatments for insomnia include elimination of caffeine and alcohol, particularly in the evening, regular exercise, progressive relaxation training, and the use of supplements such as 5-hydroxy-tryptophan or melatonin.

Herb of choice-
Valerian-a safe and effective herb for promoting sleep. On the FDAs generally recognized as safe list. It has been shown to improve sleep without producing daytime sleepiness, dependence or impaired concentration.
Liquid extract- 1-1 1/2 teaspoons 45 minutes before bedtime
Dry herb in capsules-1000-1500 mg 45 minutes before bedtime
Standardized extract (0.8% valeric acid)-150-300 mg 45 minutes before bedtime
Other herbs- Passionflower, Hops, Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Skullcap

* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate. It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

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