Supplements for Insomnia

Insomnia plagues most people at one point or another, causing them to have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Some sleep problems are related to stress, tension, anxiety or excitement. Some are a result of illness, pain, discomfort or a side-affect of medication. Age is another factor that can influence one's ability to sleep soundly or not. Sometimes insomnia becomes chronic and can last for months if not years, the persistent fatigue making it difficult to perform day-to-day activities.

Not everyone wants to resort to prescription drugs for this condition, as some have side affects or may lead to a dependency. There are a few natural sleep aids that one can try before going the conventional sedative route.

In some cases, a nutrient deficiency is the root cause of the sleep disorder. Try increasing your intake of calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and niacinamide (a supplement form of niacin).

The amino acid 5-HTP (tryptophan) increases levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in inducing sleep. Consuming tryptophan-rich foods like turkey and milk may be just what it takes to help you get some shut-eye. Melatonin, a natural sleep hormone available in supplement form, can also be taken to combat insomnia and jet-lag. Several herbs are known for their sedative qualities, including valerian, chamomile and kava. They are available as pills, tinctures and teas.

The efficacy of some of these natural remedies can fade over time, so it is recommended that you rotate a combination of these approaches. Do not use more than one substance at a time, or take more than is recommended by your doctor, nutritionalist or holistic practitioner.

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