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4 Supplements to Help Your Sleep

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4 Supplements to Help Your Sleep

When you can’t sleep, the temptation to pop a sleeping pill is strong. But there’s a large body of research indicating that sleeping pills may contribute to as many as 500,000 deaths each year in the United States. Most sleeping pills are “sedative hypnotics”— a class of drugs used to treat anxiety. Examples include Xanax, Valium, Lunesta, and Ambien. Most of these drugs are highly addictive and come with a range of side effects, such as dizziness, drowsiness, and impaired coordination.

Here are four natural products that can help improve sleep quality—without the deleterious side effects.


The most popular natural aid for sleep is melatonin. Supplementation with melatonin has been shown in several studies to be very effective in helping induce and maintain sleep in both children and adults, and in both people with normal sleep patterns and those with insomnia. However, the sleep-promoting effects of melatonin are most apparent if melatonin levels in the body are low. In other words, using melatonin is not like taking a sleeping pill. It has a sedative effect only when one’s melatonin levels are low.

Melatonin supplementation appears to be most effective in treating insomnia in the elderly, in whom low melatonin levels are quite common. A dose of 3 mg at bedtime is usually enough, because doses as low as 0.1–0.3 mg have been shown to produce a sedative effect when melatonin levels are low.

Melatonin appears to have no serious side effects as long as one takes the recommended dosage.

5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan)

5-HTP is converted in the brain to serotonin—an important initiator of sleep. It is one step closer to serotonin than L-tryptophan, and has shown more consistent results in promoting and maintaining sleep, even though used at lower dosages.

One of the key benefits of 5-HTP is its ability to increase REM sleep (typically by about 25%), while increasing deep sleep stages 3 and 4 without lengthening total sleep time. The sleep stages that are reduced to compensate for the increases are non-REM stages 1 and 2—the least important stages. To take advantage of the sleep-promoting effects of 5-HTP, the recommended dosage is 50–150 mg, 30–45 minutes before retiring. Start with the lower dose for at least three days before increasing it if necessary.

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Read more: General Health, Health, Insomnia, Mental Wellness, Natural Remedies,

By Dr. Michael T. Murray

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1:02PM PST on Dec 9, 2012

Try reading a dull and pretentious dispatch from John Boehner! It works wonders.

8:02PM PST on Dec 4, 2012

Hate sleeping pills. The best way to fall asleep for me is to go to bed while watching a movie...this never fails.

8:52AM PST on Dec 3, 2012

Melatonin has just recently been exposed as a poor and somewhat dangerous sleep aide by Dr. Oz. The best sleep aide is a clear conscience, a glass of pure (probably distilled) water, a thankful prayer to Jesus for ourselves and all those that are needful and in pain, not only humans but all life forms. Who can not feel compassion for a little wolf puppy or a little veal calf that man has chosen to torment in the name of greed and the almighty dollar. Clean up your life and you will sleep like a baby without the chemical pills.

12:58PM PST on Dec 2, 2012

Nice!. I will try some of them. Thanks!!!

9:54PM PST on Nov 30, 2012

Try Stemtech. You will sleep like a baby

7:56PM PST on Nov 13, 2012

thanks for this, it was useful, I think I'll try 5-htp

11:36AM PST on Nov 8, 2012

I suffer from quite severe insomnia and have to take low dose sedating anti-depressants and benzodiazepines to sleep. I would avoid both if I could. I find 1.5 mg melatonin helps get me off to sleep and I use valerian if I wake in the night, but it only works for a couple of days.


I haven't tried L-theanine, and don't know if I can, given the other medication I am on.

I have found the following helpful:
Chamomile tea
Marjoram essential oil
Lavender es. oil
Frankinsense es. oil,
Magnesium (over 150 mg)
Lecithin 2,400mg before bed or when waking as well as a couple of times during the day
Listening to Delta sleep CD as I go to sleep
Listening to Audiobooks in bed if I cannot drift off.

9:53AM PST on Nov 8, 2012

Chamomile tea is good too.

9:50AM PST on Nov 8, 2012

There's two I've not heard of, may try, but the melatonin and valerian both made me sick to my stomach. GERD is no fun. I may give those two others a try though.

5:09AM PST on Nov 8, 2012


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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