Ah sleep a sometimes-illusive state for all of us. Lying awake, peering at the illuminated red of the alarm clock, wondering how could I be 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, or 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 never discriminating against age or sex. Studies done by corporate America  show that job error, increased illness and lost productivity  due to lost sleep does not come cheap. Another study done by The National Institutes of Health, and the Sleep Foundation’s Omnibus Sleep in America Poll (OSAP) show that at least one third to one half of all Americans suffer insomnia.


Most of feel that lost sleep won’t kill  us yet The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that an annual 200,000 auto accidents with l500 deaths are  related to fatigue and bursts of micro sleep.


Each year an estimated 9 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.


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


Melatonin although not for everyone, is very popular. It is one of the best supplements to come along in years for those suffering from insomnia. Melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone excreted by the pineal gland helps regulate our circadian rhythms, so we achieve a state of deep restful sleep more naturally.


Valerian, the plant equivalent of Valium has been used for hundreds of years safely as a sleep aid and sedative in European countries. It has wonderful sedative properties that will give you a gentle feeling of relaxation allowing sleep to come naturally.


Chamomile has a reputation for soothing both nerves and stomach. Its wonderfully calming effect can help bring about restful sleep. Experts agree it is gentle enough to be used in young children.


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


Some surprising sleeper robbers, alcohol, high carbohydrate foods, eating heavy meals late, late night snacking, naps, evening exercise programs, medications, body aches, and an overly active mind. Each individual needs to identify and deal with individual problems, schedules and make life style changes that will enhance and promote restful sleep. 


Been there, done all that, 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.