Insomnia: Toss the Sleeping Pills and Go Natural

Most of us have had more than a few nights of flipping side to side, reading, counting sheep, trying to clear our minds of daily stresses, only to finally resort to that old prescription for sleeping pills.

It seems harmless enough, I mean it’s not like we take them every night. Although some do, it seems that even an occasional plunge into rest with the help of medication can be just as harmful as being hooked.

A study published last year in the British Medical Journal has found that adults, who take sleeping pills, even in small doses over their lifetimes, may be up to four times more likely to die earlier than their non-sleeping-pill counterparts. Plus, those who take sleeping tablets may also be more likely to be diagnosed with cancer. The study found that those who took fewer than 18 sleeping tablets a year were at a greater risk than those who took none.

An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from insomnia and other sleep disorders, which in turn inhibits daily functioning. And, research shows that untreated sleep disorders can lead to lifestyle conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke – all of which is resulting in an increase in the use of sleeping tablets.

Ideally, you should exhaust all natural avenues before turning to sleeping pills. These can include nutritional supplements, homeopathic and herbal remedies, and aromatherapy. Make sure you talk to your doctor to see if you might have an underlying medical condition that may be causing you insomnia. Your doctor should also know which natural sleeping aids you are considering trying.

Here’s a site with some top-rated natural sleeping aids and their ingredients:

Tips for better sleep:

  • Keep regular bedtimes.
  • Avoid daytime napping.
  • Do not go to bed if you are not sleepy.
  • If you are unable to fall asleep within 15 to 20 minutes, rather get up and do something relaxing and non-stimulating (like reading).
  • Only sleep long enough to be refreshed.
  • Homeopathic remedies may work. These include passiflora (calms and relieves stress), hops (for insomnia and tiredness), camomile (to soothe and calm), valerian (to assist with sleep).
  • Aromatherapy can be an effective treatment for anxiety, stress and fatigue. Add a few drops of aromatherapy oil to your pillow before you sleep or pour four to six drops into a warm bath.
  • Try a relaxing massage. Recommended oils include lavender, camomile, neroli, benzoin, bergamot, clary sage and marjoram.

 By M. Wally

SleepWorks Medical in Vancouver:



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