Millions of people suffer from sleep disorders. Many doctors prescribe medications to help patients get to sleep, maintain a peaceful sleep or stay asleep longer. Many of these drugs are very successful for many individuals. However, some individuals, whether the reason is adverse reactions to medications, personal objections to medications or simply that medications have not been successful, seek alternative sleep treatments for their problems.
Alternative sleep treatments are as varied as sleep disorders themselves. Their success often depends on the individual. Herbs have long been used in alternative medicine and continue to be used in alternative sleep treatments. These days, body products such as lotions and creams often contain lavender. Even baby lotions contain extracts of the herb that is known to sooth and calm. Many believe lavender can calm the body and mind and lead to a peaceful night’s sleep. Valerian root and chamomile are thought to have similar alternative powers and may be prescribed as part of a sleep treatment. Valerian root can be found in tea form or even in capsule form. Chamomile is usually found in tea form. St. John’s Wart, usually recognized as an alternative treatment for depression, also show use as an alternative sleep treatment for insomnia. St. John’s Wart is often found in capsule form.
Acupuncture has long been a popular Eastern remedy for many ailments, including arthritis and other pains of the body. The ancient practice of inserting needles into certain pressure points in the body for relief is a popular form of alternative medicine, and has its place as an alternative sleep treatment. It is a common remedy in the Chinese culture for insomnia. The alternative sleep treatment is thought to increase the body’s natural functions, including sleep.
Exercise is known to cause better sleep for individuals without sleep disorders, so studies suggest the same might be true for individuals using exercise as and alternative sleep treatment.
Calming the body is key in getting to sleep, so it is no wonder that relaxation exercises along with meditation can be used as alternative sleep treatments as well. Practices such as Yoga and other relaxation or meditation activities need to be learned and practiced properly in order to be successful. Other meditation practices include rhythmic chanting or visualization. Watching a burning flame, for instance, can be calming. Other methods include listening to calming sounds, such as nature sounds, crashing waves or instrumental music.
Looking at one’s general lifestyle is another approach to solving sleep problems. While such a simple alternative sleep treatment may not work for serious sleep disorders, eliminating products such as caffeine, a common stimulant alcohol, a common depressant and sugar may help regulate the body’s natural functions as well.
Identifying symptoms and discussing them with a doctor is the first step in any sleep treatment. Once diagnosed, a patient can then discuss traditional and alternative sleep treatments with a doctor and seek other help if alternative sleep treatments are not offered. All sleep treatments should be under guidance of a physician.