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There are countless synthetic sleeping aids to choose from, available both over the counter and also through prescription. However, if a person takes an artificial sleep aid on a frequent basis, they may begin to notice some side effects. Over-the-counter sleep aids and sleeping pills frequently contain Diphenhydramine, (Compoz, Nytol, Sleepinal, Sominex), as well as Doxylamine (Nighttime Sleep Aid and Unisom), both antihistamines, while some of the more classic brands contain benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepine, which can cause allergic reactions, dependency, memory lapses, hallucinations, and more. These and many other side effects not listed here, present a great argument for switching over to natural sleeping aids.

Valerian, Chamomile, Melatonin, and Chinese Medicine
So what are the choices? Valerian is an herbal supplement used for insomnia and nervousness. Though it is quite popular and widely used as a sleep aid, it has not been medically proven to be effective. Furthermore, sleep medicine specialists debate the consistency in quality of the Valerian on the market. At the same time, it is strong enough to avoid combining Valerian with other supplements. Chamomile, has reportedly been tested on animals where it was proven to be a safe and effective sleep aid. It can be taken as a supplement, tea, or applied as an ointment. Melatonin is a synthetic form of a hormone produced by the pineal gland, which functions as an antioxidant and sleep aid. Natural Melatonin is derived from animals and is not recommended by doctors due to the risk of contamination. Chinese Medicine, Chinese herb supplements, on the other hand,  have been used successfully for thousands of years, many of them proven effective in modern research. These are taken in the form of a botanical sleep aid that’s been derived from an herbal recipe. One of the most popular Chinese Medicine sleep aids is called Zizyphus Jujube, which is known to prevent night sweats and to soothe anxious minds. 

Making the Choice

Dr. Trevor Erikson states that natural medicine is superior to synthetic drugs for many reasons. That first of all, herbs are safer – there are drastically fewer reported incidences of ill-effects and sickness related to natural medicines; Secondly, natural medicines introduce the body to the finer qualities of an herb as opposed to a synthesized version of one; and that though there isn’t as much empirical research available about natural medicines, they have been used successfully for thousands, rather than hundreds, of years. 

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