Mayo Clinic Minute: Is melatonin the right sleep aid for me?



Natural Sleep Supplements

Nov 3, 2011
I fall asleep just fine, but I often wake up in the middle of the night. Should I consider sleeping pills or supplements?

First talk with your doctor to uncover the root of the problem. There are two general types of insomnia: acute and chronic. Acute insomnia is typically brought on by stress, jet lag, or temporary job or family worries; it lasts a few days or weeks. Chronic insomnia drags on for a month or longer and can be caused by certain medications; psychological issues such as depression and anxiety; menopause; and some physical conditions. Sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome can also make you wake up often at night.

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Before you consider sleep aids, try these natural measures for more shut-eye. You probably know some of them: Establish a bedtime routine, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed, use your bedroom for sleep and sexual activity only, and don't work out within 3 hours of bedtime.

If you've received a clean bill of health from your doctor and none of these approaches works, try valerian, an herb that's been used for centuries to help combat insomnia; take one or two capsules (350 to 450 mg each) about a half hour before bed as needed. Or try melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Take 2.5 mg in sublingual (under the tongue) form as an occasional sleep aid. Melatonin metabolizes quickly, so if you wake up in the middle of the night, you can take it without worrying about being drowsy in the morning. A lower dose of 0.25 to 0.3 mg (break tablets into smaller pieces) may be more effective for regular use.

Source:Andrew Weil, MD, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona and director of its Program in Integrative Medicine.






Video: Herbal Sleep Aids for Adults

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