Melatonin is referred to as the “hormone of darkness” due to the fact that our bodies only produce this hormone at night. Melatonin has been used as one of a number of natural sleep remedies for some time with success. This hormone has many beneficial qualities and it is believed to help people fall asleep, it is one of the best sleep aid options for short term usage. Several studies conducted have found that most people suffer no ill side effects from taking small doses (less than three mg per day) in the short term. Melatonin causes drowsiness in most who take it, which is great for people who want to get to sleep, but this must be taken into consideration when needing to drive or operate heavy machinery. Melatonin should be taken about thirty minutes before bedtime.
Valerian is a herb native to Europe and Asia, the root has been used extensively for centuries in these countries as a mild tranquilizer and for its natural sleep remedies properties. Clinical studies have been inconclusive as to the benefit of taking valerian before sleep, but individual accounts claim that this herb has helped many suffering from sleeplessness. Valerian root can be brewed as a tea and is also available in capsule form, this herb has a rather strong earthy aroma when brewed which is why many prefer valerian capsules over tea. Valerian root works as a tranquilizer on the nervous system which makes sleep easier to attain, so it is not recommended that it be taken with any other forms of tranquilizers such as alcohol, barbiturates, or opiates. Valerian should be taken an hour before bedtime, the effects of this herb on sleep patterns have been found to be cumulative with many people needing to take it regularly for a couple of weeks. It is not recommended that valerian root be taken for more than three to four months at a time as the long term side effects have yet to be determined.
This herb has a relaxing, sedative effect that leads to sleep without dulling the mind as many other tranquilizers do. The Kava root has been used and brewed into a tea by the native peoples of the Pacific for countless years where it is used to treat mild insomnia and produce sleep. Lately concerns have been raised as to the safety of kava so it should not be taken in excess. As usual, always consult your physician before adding new natural sleep remedies to your nightly routine.
Most herbal remedies are safe to use but some do have harmful side effects, especially if taken in conjunction with other medicines. Please consult your doctor and discuss both the potential risks and benefits before making a final decision.