Ah sleep, sometimes it’s such an illusive state. Lying awake, while minutes turn into hours wondering how could I be so so tired yet not sleep?

We all go through periods in our lives where our sleep patterns are disrupted. The emotional stress of new jobs, new relationships, the loss of a loved one can severely interrupt our sleep leaving us feeling sad, flat, and drained of energy.

Insomnia, is truly the equal opportunity nuisance with no discrimination against age, race or sex. Corporate America will tell you keeping America awake doesn’t come cheap in terms of lost productivity, job error or increased illness related to sleep deprivation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that an annual 200,000 auto accidents with 1,500 deaths are fatigue related. And, according to the National Institutes of Health, and The Sleep Foundation’s Omnibus Sleep in America Poll (OSAP) at least one third to one half of all Americans suffer insomnia.

Each year an estimated nine million Americans turn to pharmaceutical sleep aids in an effort to cope. What else can we do?

Here are some of the more popular natural sleep aids available-

Magnesium- 400mg taken an hour before sleep helps calm the mind, relax the muscles and induces drowsiness. Magnesium keeps calcium in solution which is an absolute for a good nights rest.

Melatonin- although not for everyone it is very popular and seems to be one of the best things to come along in years for those who suffer insomnia. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone excreted by the pineal gland that helps regulate our circadian rhythms so sleep is achieved more naturally.

Valerian- an herb with a similar composition to Valium has been used for thousands of years in European countries safely as a sleep aid and sedative. It has wonderful sedative properties that produce a gentle feeling of relaxation allowing sleep to come naturally.

Chamomile- has a reputation for soothing both nerves and stomach. Its wonderfully claming effect can bring restful sleep. Chamomile tea is considered by experts to be gentle enough for use with children.

Passion flower- acts as a minor tranquilizer that produces sleep for those who just can’t seem to close down the mind.

Some surprising sleeper robbers- alcohol, high carbohydrate foods, eating late, naps evening exercise programs and medications. The biggest robbers of all besides caffeine use and an overly active mind are aches and pains, illness and a pillow that doesn’t work for you.

Been there, done all that and still can’t sleep? Seek professional help. Start with your family doctor or consult a sleep specialist regarding a sleep study. Till next time, Rebecca