Let’s look at some over-the-counter supplements that many people believe help with insomnia. Before taking any supplement, please be sure to check with your doctor.

Melatonin is believed to be able to help insomnia without altering the individual’s sleep pattern, unlike many prescription drugs.  Not addictive.

Valerian, like Melatonin, falls under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 while allows “medicines” such as this one to bypass the oversight of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Derived from the roots of the Valerian plant, this herbal medicine is used for a variety of purposes, one of which is treating sleep disorders. Some people find it to work well, especially when used over a period of time. Like Melatonin, the risks of using Valerian are not fully known.

Many experts believe both of these products are fairly harmless and do help many individuals with anxiety and sleep disorders. However, there are several adverse side effects that Valerian has been known to cause some people. Valerian is also not to be used at the same time as other depressants, such as alcohol. If you are using herbal supplements, make sure you do the research and understand the risks involved.

Remember Kava-kava? The popular anti-anxiety herbal pill was pulled from store shelves a few years ago when there was a proven link found between Kava and liver damage. Kava was also found to have documented adverse interactions with several prescription and non-prescription drugs. Kava is an excellent example of why we want to weed ourselves off of all types of unnecessary, unregulated supplements. With no FDA oversight, we simply don’t know the possible risks. This is why we want to learn to sleep great without the help of any aids.