Jan 252012

These days,  people are having trouble getting to sleep.  There may be some debate as to the reason for this.  It may be stress,  bad diet,  lack of exercise,  or the constant bombardment from all of our tech devices such as iphones and tablets.

And people are becoming more aware of the dangerous side effects of prescription medication.  These include sleep walking,  severe next day drowsiness,  and many others.  And who knows what will come next.

Natural Sleep Remedies Compared

I have seen a lot of discussion lately about which of the natural sleep aids is best.  3 of the most popular are valerian root,  melatonin,  and L-Trytophan.  I can’t really say which is best,  because they are all different substances and they function differently.  I will go into some of the basics of how they work,  and why they work to help relieve insomnia.  But the ultimate decision is yours.

Valerian Root

Of the 3 mentioned above,  valerian root is the only one that truly falls into the category of an herbal supplement.  Valerian root is one of the most common natural sleep aids.  It has been studied for a long time,  and has proven to be effective for the treatment of insomnia.

The mechanism by which valerian root helps you to get to sleep is unclear.  But there have been many studies done on both adults and children,  and valerian appears to be effective for insomnia.  Valerian side effects are rare and may include next day drowsiness,  stomach ache,  and rash.


Melatonin is different from valerian root and L-Tryptophan because it is a natural hormone that is made in the  brain.  This hormone is the bodies natural sleep hormone,  it tells our bodies that it is time to go to sleep.

When it gets dark out,  melatonin is released into our bodies.  This is a clear signal that it is time to go to sleep.  But the production of melatonin may be disrupted.  Maybe you watch television late at night.  Maybe you stare into a computer screen,  check your emails,  or use your smartphone.  Even having a light on is enough to disrupt your melatonin levels.

Melatonin has been proven to help with insomnia.  There have been many clinical studies done,  and it has proven to be safe for both adults and children.  But finding the correct melatonin dosage is essential.  The typical adult dosage is between 3 and 5 mg.  Melatonin is generally considered safe in children 10 or more years of age in a dosage up to 3 mg.

Melatonin side effects are usually mild and generally include next day drowsiness.  You should not take more than is needed to help you get to sleep.


L-Tryptophan is a nutrient that may help you get to sleep.  It is an amino acid.  Most people recognize L-Tryptophan as an ingredient that is present in turkey and responsible for sleepiness after Thanksgiving dinner.  But there is not enough L-Tryptophan in a serving of turkey to make you sleepy.  This effect is most likely caused by card overload.

L-Tryptophan causes an increase in the production of serotonin and melatonin,  as well as niacin.  It has been shown to be effective for helping you to get to sleep.


Valerian root,  melatonin,  and L-Tryptophan have all been shown to be effective treatments for insomnia.  They work different,  but accomplish the same thing.  They can be taken together,  but it is recommended that you consult a doctor before doing so.

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