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Types of Sleep Aids

For many people, getting a good night’s sleep is impossible.  While some individuals have insomnia or sleep apnea, something that needs some type of treatment or intervention, most people lack sleep due to stress.  The good news is that because there are so many people who do not sleep well, the possibilities for sleep aids is on the rise.  As you will discover, you have some great choices to help you fall asleep and then stay asleep so you wake feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Alternative Therapy

Many people are steering away from medications, interested in a more natural approach for getting a good night’s sleep.  A few excellent alternative therapies that can help include acupuncture, meditation, yoga, visualization, and biofeedback.

• Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, originating in Asia.  Today, this form of therapy is popular around the world; brining people much needed relief from pain, helps people stop smoking, and is great for encouraging restful sleep.  Using very tiny need needles that are placed strategically on various parts of the body, different nerves are stimulated, making this one of the best sleep aids for alternative therapy.

• Meditation comes in many forms to include relaxation and focus, as well as prayer.  With this, the focus is to allow the mind to relax, eliminating stressful events from the day that help with sleep.

• Yoga is another one of the sleep aids that works quite well.  Yoga uses specific positions of the body that help bring body and mind in balance.  When done properly, Yoga can be extremely beneficial for helping people sleep.

• Visualization has been another favorite of the sleep aids, which allows a person to visualize themselves in another place of situation.  For instance, while sitting quietly, the person needing to sleep would visualize lying on a warm sandy beach, listening to the sound of the waves crashing in the background.  As the mind becomes relaxed, the body follows.

• Biofeedback can also be used to teach the body’s muscles to relax.  By learning when the muscles are being tensed, the person can begin to focus on relaxing during those times, one of the sleep aids that has been proven highly successful in the area of sleep.

Herbal Supplements

While there are many different types of herbal supplements now available on the market, the two best sleep aids include valerian and melatonin.  Valerian comes from a root plant, an herb used for centuries to help produce rest and promote sleep.  This particular supplement should not be taken longer than two weeks and does have some restrictions as far as no driving and longer use could cause liver damage.  Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain.  When the levels of melatonin are low, a person could struggle with sleep.  However, by taking herbal supplements as sleep aids, melatonin boosts the levels within the brain, thus encouraging sleep.

Hot Tea
Over the past 10 years, people in America have discovered the many benefits some teas provide, although these tea options have been used as sleep aids for many, many years in other countries, especially Asia.  The most effective include chamomile and ginseng.  Both types of tea can be consumed by children and adults alike, being completely safe.  A cup of hot tea approximately 30 minutes prior to bed can create relaxation, allowing a person to fall asleep faster and get a more beneficial sleep.


Another of the sleep aids that works for many people is aromatherapy.  For instance, the fragrance of lavender in the form of essential oils has long been used to help promote sleep.  You could purchase an aromatherapy device that burns essential oils throughout the night to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.  Of course, there are a number of aromatherapy candles that also work but always be careful when sleeping with lit candles.

Although we typically do not think of food as being sleep aids, studies have proven that some foods do in fact promote sleep.  For instance, turkey, bananas, and milk all contain L-tryptophan.  This substance causes drowsiness, thus being one of the sleep aids preferred.  Think of Thanksgiving when people eat turkey and within 30 minutes, you have a roomful of people, all asleep.  The L-tryptophan found in these foods does just that, it creates sleepiness, which can be highly effective in helping people fall asleep.

Prescription and Over-The-Counter Medication

After trying all of the above sleep aids with no lasting results, you may need to talk to your doctor about a prescription or over-the-counter medication.  Many pain medications, to include Ibuprofen and Tylenol have now come out with formulas that can be used as sleep aids.  These over-the-counter options are not addictive and work.  However, it is important to read the labels in that they are not intended to be used as long-term sleep aids.

For prescription medication, doctors will often recommend something for people who have tried other options but without success.  For instance, Ambien and Lunesta are two of the more popular types of prescription medication but while they do promote sleep, if taken long-term, they can become addictive.  Obviously, it is imperative that any prescription medication be under the care of a doctor and followed as ordered.
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