Are you often up at all hours of the night counting sheep? You’re not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 48 percent of Americans report insomnia occasionally and 22 percent experience it almost every night. What gives? Well, there’s always our favorite culprit, stress. But there’s also depression, hectic schedules, pain, medications, diet, environmental factors, you name it.
Before you run off to the doctor and ask for a prescription sleeping pill, there are some natural options you can try at home. On a basic level, eating balanced meals, exercising and cutting caffeine are recommended. So are blackout curtains, sound machines, meditation and foods rich in B6, which enhance the body’s conversion of tryptophan. Those would include wheat germ, bananas and sunflower seeds.
If you’ve run out of options and find yourself writing “sleep” at the top of your to-do list, it may be time to consider over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids to boost your REM cycle. To get the ball rolling, we’ve tested six popular products on the market. But, like any form of medication, what works for one person may not work for another. At the end of the day, it’s best to consult your doctor and read all the warning labels before you dive in headfirst. Let’s get started, shall we?