Several different natural sleep supplements, including herbal sleep aids, homeopathic sleeping pills, and other alternative sleep aids, are available for people who abstain from traditional drugs. Hormones that are located in the body can also be used as natural sleep supplements. Some sleep aids that require no medication are also available.
A naturally occurring hormone in the body known as melatonin can be used to induce sleep. This insomnia treatment works best for people with disrupted sleep cycles. Melatonin supplements are not considered safe for youth, pregnant women, or people with kidney conditions.
Different vitamins and minerals can also be used to help people sleep. Calcium, B vitamins, magnesium, and chromium can all be effective as natural sleep supplements when used appropriately. A physician should be consulted prior to using these solutions in order to ascertain which vitamins correlate to the patient's condition as well as to advise proper dosage recommendations to prevent toxicity.
Herbal remedies such as kava and Valerian are often used as natural sleep supplements. Valerian is considered the most popular of the two herbs, and is more widely prescribed, especially in Europe. Both supplements can induce relaxation. A physician should be consulted prior to using either of these remedies, however, as both can produce harmful side effects if not used properly, and may interact with some medications.
Many other alternative sleep aids that do not involve a supplement are also suggested for people who seek natural sleep supplements. These aids, known as cognitive behavior therapy, work by eliminating lifestyle factors that contribute to sleeplessness. Refraining from napping or sleeping during the day, for example, can help one sleep at night. People who practice yoga or other relaxation techniques regularly often report that they are able to sleep more soundly due to these lifestyle additions as well.
Eliminating caffeine and sugar, particularly in beverages, is often cited as good cognitive behavior therapy for promoting healthful sleep. Maintaining a cool, quiet, and dark sleeping environment is also often recommended. People who have to work at night are often advised to utilize dark curtains or other window coverings in order to keep their bedrooms dark during daytime.
Two other non-medical, non-supplemental sleep aids are also suggested for people who have trouble sleeping. Progressive muscle relaxation, or alternatively tightening and relaxing muscles in the body, is said to help many people achieve sleep. Engaging in visualization prior to sleeping, such as counting items or imagining a relaxing scene, may also be helpful.