If I Often Have Trouble Sleeping, Is There A Natural Remedy I Can Try Instead Of Sleeping Pills?

Daniel Monti, M.D., JeffersonABCNEWS.com

Question: If I often have trouble sleeping, is there a natural remedy I can try instead of sleeping pills?

Answer: Sleep is a big problem in this country. Many Americans suffer with sleep difficulties, and as a whole we are getting about 20 percent less sleep than our ancestors of a hundred years ago. This is a problem because sleep is important for our restoration, immune system, mood, ability to navigate stress and virtually everything else. A couple of natural and simple approaches can make a big difference. It is important to have your bedroom be as dark as possible and as quiet as possible. The darkness is particularly important for the production of melatonin -- the hormone that regulates sleep. Melatonin can be purchased at most pharmacies and health food stores and it is a first line natural remedy we try with insomnic patients. We also encourage people to not eat heavy or sugary foods late at night and to try a cup of chamomile tea before bed.