Natural Sleep Aids: Get to Sleep Fast Without a Prescription

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You toss, you turn, you can’t fall asleep.

Certainly, there are sleep medications that can be prescribed by a doctor. And with some investment of time, cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia is considered to be an effective option.

Yet, there are also a lot of healthy sleep habits and natural sleep aids that some experts believe can make a difference, too.

With more than 60 million Americans suffering from poor sleep quality, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, it seems like these easily accessible options could be worth a try when searching for the best natural sleep aid.

1. Practice good sleep hygiene


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But Dr. Sanjeev Kothare, a sleep expert and pediatric neurologist at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Queens, N.Y., suggests starting with some basics to make sleep a little easier.

Start with healthy sleep hours, Kothare recommends. For adults, that means going to bed at roughly 10 to 11 p.m. and waking up at 7 a.m., to get a good seven to eight hours of sleep. Teenagers need eight or nine hours a night.

Cut off bright light sources in the late evening, so you don’t suppress natural melatonin, which the U.S. National Institutes of Health describes as a hormone that aids in sleep. Dim, yellow light in the late evening and bright light in the morning can help regulate melatonin production.

2. Sips before sleep

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Among natural sleep aids are some recommendations for beverages that range from quite common to a bit obscure.

Warm milk is one of possibilities, an age-old comforting suggestion. It contains tryptophan, Kothare said, and that helps with sleep.

More obscure is tart cherry juice, which might raise melatonin levels and increase the availability of tryptophan, according to the Sleep Foundation.

3. Pop a supplement


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Valerian and the mineral magnesium are two supplements mentioned as sleep aids, but research on them is mixed or minimal. Some think valerian works because of several compounds in it that work together, according to the Sleep Foundation.

The option that is suggested most often is melatonin, a supplement similar to the natural hormone.

4. Source and more information

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