Alternative Insomnia Treatments

Natural Herbal Remedies

Many chronic pain patients are interested in alternative treatments for their sleep disorders and insomnia. While there is little research to prove herbal remedies work, there are various herbal supplements available that may help you get a better night’s rest. Because these herbs are believed to have a sedating effect on the central nervous system (CNS), they all carry common warnings:

  • Don’t combine herbal remedies with alcohol or other CNS depressants.
  • Avoid taking herbal remedies for long periods of time (over a month) unless your doctor says that it is okay.
  • Avoid taking these herbal remedies prior to undergoing surgery.
  • Don’t take any herbal remedies  if you are pregnant.
  • Carefully read the instructions and warning labels for other important information before taking a herbal remedy.[image of valerian root]

Valerian Root

Valerian Root is available in many health food stores. It’s one of the most commonly recommended herbs to help induce sleep. Many herbal sleep remedies contain valerian root along with other herbs like hops, skullcap, lemon balm, chamomile, and other herbs known for inducing drowsiness and sleepiness. The problem with valerian root is that few tests have been conducted on the herb, and it isn’t recommended for long-term use, especially for longer than a month. This is because researchers are unsure if the herb is safe to be processed for long periods of time by your liver.


You’ve probably seen chamomile teas in your local grocery store. The FDA has determined that chamomile is safe and has no adverse effects, but there isn’t much research that proves it actually helps with sleep. The prevalence of chamomile teas is obvious, so this is an herbal remedy that shouldn’t be too hard to find. You can also find supplements of chamomile in pill form at health food and drug stores.


This herb is commonly included in many all-natural herbal remedies for better sleep. The plant was originally discovered in 1569 by Spanish explorers in Peru. It has been marketed as a natural remedy for a number of ailments, sleep deprivation being one of them. There is still a lack of evidence that Passionflower helps with inducing sleep. You can find this herb in pill supplements or teas.

Lemon Balm

Known by other names like Dropsy Plant, Honey Plant, Sweet Balm, and Toronjil, promoters of natural medicine claim that this herb has a calming effect on people, which can help with insomnia. It’s also commonly administered to treat digestion problems, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, Graves’ disease, swollen airways, high blood pressure, tumors, sores, and insect bites. It’s also possible that this herb could help stop the growth of some viruses.

Complementary and Alternative Treatments

There are more ways to manage insomnia. Acupuncture has been proven to relieve stress. Massage therapy works too. Music can help you relax, also doing more reading and staying away from electronic screens like your computer, phone, and TV can help as well. Yoga and hypnosis are also great ways to promote relaxation and better sleep. Aromatherapy can help you relax, but don’t use scented candles because it’s dangerous to leave candles lit when you fall asleep.

Relaxation training is another great non-pharmacologic method for treating insomnia. Relaxing your muscles, using guided imagery, and taking deep breaths from the abdomen are typical practices of relaxation therapy.


Updated on: 07/27/16
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