Alternative Drug Therapies For Sleep

There are many natural alternatives recently tried to replace the conventional medicines for insomnia. Three touted alternatives include: Melatonin, Valerian and Hydroxytryptophan (5 HTP), can be purchased over the counter and has shown to be effective in treating insomnia.

Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain by the pineal gland, from the amino acid tryptophan. The synthesis and release of melatonin are stimulated by darkness and suppressed by light, suggesting the involvement of melatonin in circadian rhythm and regulation of diverse body functions.

Levels of melatonin in the blood are highest prior to bedtime. Synthetic melatonin supplements have been used for a variety of medical conditions, most notably for disorders related to sleep. Several studies suggest that melatonin induces sleep without suppressing REM (dream) sleep, as sedatives and other artificial sleep aids do.

Travelers have started using melatonin to “reset their clocks” after flying across one or more time zones, and some studies seem to confirm melatonin’s efficacy in combating jet lag and restoring restful sleep patterns. Melatonin appears to be most effective in treating insomnia in the elderly, as low melatonin levels are common in this age group. (The efficiency of the melatonin system tends to decline with age.)

If you have normal or high levels of melatonin, taking melatonin supplementation will not help in getting better sleep. Studies of melatonin’s safety are limited.

Valerian is an herb sold as a dietary supplement in the United States to calm nerves. Valerian is a common ingredient in products promoted as mild sedatives and sleep aids for nervous tension and insomnia. Evidence from clinical studies of the efficacy of valerian in treating sleep disorders such as insomnia is inconclusive.

Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid used to increase the serontonin level in the brain. The body makes 5-HTP from tryptophan (an essential amino acid) and converts it to an important brain chemical known as serotonin. Tryptophan and 5-HTP dietary supplements help raise serotonin levels in the brain, which may have a positive effect on sleep.

Celedrin is one of the newest natural remedies used as an anti-inflammatory for Fibromyalgia and Arthritis. This patented blend of special fatty acids has shown remarkable results in reducing pain and swelling of joints, thus increasing opportunity for better sleep.