Most experts estimate that anywhere from 30 to 60 million people experience some level of chronic sleep disturbance in their lifetime. It’s natural and normal to have trouble sleeping when things are stressful, difficult, and you have a lot of anxiety. Add in disruptions to light, temperature, and even what we eat and drink before bed, and there are any number of different factors that can keep us from getting a restful night’s sleep.
While more serious sleep problems should be addressed by a medical doctor who might be able to prescribe well-known sleep medications like Ambien and Ativan, these medications can and often do have serious and significant side effects that can cause a multitude of other problems. In some cases, these drugs can be a lot like using a sledgehammer to fix a watch.
As a result, many people turn to natural alternatives to help them rest. The good news is that you aren’t alone when it comes to seeking natural ways to ease sleep problems. According to a 2019 Consumer Reports survey of more than 1,700 people, 20 percent had tried some form of natural remedy to help improve sleep.RELATED STORIESThe Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before BedIs Your Pillow Disrupting Your Sleep?
Dr. Abhinav Singh is a sleep doctor, the medical director at the Indiana Sleep Center, and a clinical assistant professor at Marian University. He is also one of the medical-review panelists at sleepfoundation.org. He says that there’s a common misconception around natural sleep remedies in that most people think that these alternatives are totally harmless. Taking natural remedies to help you rest can be okay as long as they are used intermittently. “Chronic use may signal more underlying problems that need to be assessed by a qualified professional,” he says. “Also, these supplements are not all that benign — they can interact with other medications as well.”