About 85 percent of people who have insomnia can be cured with a combination of treating the underlying cause, behavioral therapy, and medicine (see Insomnia Treatment for more information).
Some people use alternative therapies as an insomnia cure. Alternative therapies that are commonly used include:
- Dietary supplements (such as melatonin or valerian)
- Approaches that emphasize the interaction between the mind and the body (such as meditation)
- Therapies (such as acupuncture and yoga) that are part of non-Western traditional medical systems.
Many people say that such approaches help them sleep better. However, with few exceptions, the effectiveness of these treatments has not been evaluated in controlled trials or compared to other treatments for insomnia. There is little knowledge about whether alternative therapies for sleep disorders work and, if they do, how they work.
Also, contrary to common belief, the "natural" origin of a product does not ensure safety. Dietary supplements and herbal preparations can have potentially serious side effects, and some can interfere or interact with prescription medications.
Before trying any type of alternative therapies for insomnia, you should discuss the possible benefits and harmful effects with your doctor.
(Click Valerian and Sleep for more information.)