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    Alternative Solutions for Sleep Problems


    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that about 30 percent of the population experiences difficulty sleeping. Some people have difficulty falling asleep, while others have difficulty staying asleep.


    Trouble sleeping may be acute, due to travel, stress, or receiving bad news, or chronic, due to pain, depression, anxiety, and other health problems.  


    If you have established a good sleep routine, cut out late-night caffeine, and are still having difficulty falling asleep, the following suggestions may help:


    • Dietary supplements such as melatonin, valerian, or lemon balm may reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and improve sleep quality.  Before adding anything new to your regimen, remember to check with your doctor or pharmacist to confirm that the supplement you choose is safe, especially if you take any other medications or have any health conditions.
    • Aromatherapy – inhaling the scent of lavender essential oil while sleeping may help promote deep sleep and decrease the feeling of tiredness in the morning.  Lavender oil may be placed in a diffuser or mixed with water, as directed by the manufacturer, and sprayed on a pillowcase to create a calming environment. 

    • Sound machines - use soothing sounds such as rainfall, a crackling fire or white noise to help people sleep. 


    If lifestyle changes and over-the-counter remedies are not helping, or if you experience sleep problems on a regular basis, contact your physician for further guidance.




    1. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/what-are-facts-about-insomnia
    2. Merck Manual consumer version. Insomnia and Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS). https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders/sleep-disorders/insomnia-and-excessive-daytime-sleepiness-eds. Last reviewed June 2020.  Accessed June 24, 2020.
    3. PL Detail-Document, Comparison of Insomnia Treatments. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter. July 2014.
    4. TRC, Natural Medicines. Tools, Effectiveness Checker, Insomnia. Accessed June 17, 2020.
    5. TRC, Natural Medicines. Natural Medicines in the Clinical Management of Insomnia Disorder. Accessed June 17, 2020.