As you have probably discovered if you suffer from a sleep disorder, you are not alone. In fact 40 million Americans have reported suffering from some type of sleep disorder.
Furthermore, there are various types of sleep disorders – ranging from sleep apnea to insomnia – and each should be treated differently.
Many who suffer from sleep disorders are turning to complementary health approaches to help them get a more restful night’s sleep using more natural therapies, especially, as opposed to addictive prescription sleeping pills.
What’s the Bottom Line?
What do we know about the usefulness of complementary approaches for sleep disorders?
When talking about complementary health approaches to help patients get a more restful night’s sleep, the following methods are almost always brought up and their usefulness is brought into question:
- Relaxation techniques – Insomnia
- Melatonin Supplements – Shift Work/ Jet Lag
These are the two most sought after techniques; however, the full measure of their effectiveness is still under review.
What do we know about the safety of complementary approaches for sleep disorders?
As with all therapies, techniques, medicines and supplements, safety is and should be a factor in determining whether or not the usefulness outweighs the hazards associated with the practice in question.
As far as the methods discussed above, let’s take a look and see what kinds of safety health hazards they pose and whether or not these hazards are great enough to outweigh the benefits.
Relaxation techniques are considered as generally safe practices for treating insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Melatonin has not been found to create any negative affects short-term, but has yet to be studied for its long term effects.
Kava and L-tryptophan supplements have both shown highly negative side-effects (severe liver damage and eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome respectively). Additionally, they have not been proven to improve sleep.
As with all medications, supplements, and therapies; a consultation with your doctor is recommended.