Insomnia – Alcohol, Melatonin or Herbal Products?

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ALCOHOL  Does alcohol help with sleep?  Not really.  At first it causes central nervous depression but  is usually followed by a rebound excitation.  This causes disrupted sleep.

MELATONIN  If taken 3-5 hours before bedtime, melatonin may help with sleep onset.  It does not seem to work if taken at bedtime.

HERBAL PRODUCTS AND CANNABIS  Valerian Root, Kava and lavender are natural remedies used by some for insomnia.  There is no objective evidence that these substances are effective.

So are there alternative insomnia treatments?

BEHAVIORAL THERAPY  This is considered first line choice for chronic insomnia.  For more detailed information here is a link from the Mayo Clinic

MEDICATIONS – In addition to cognitive therapy, some MDs add medications.  These include short acting drugs such as zalepion or zolpidem for help with sleep onset, intermediate or long acting drugs such as eszopiclone, extended release zolpidem, low dose doxepin or suvorexant can help with sleep maintenance.  Long term use can result in dependence.  Additionally next day driving, memory and coordination may be impaired.




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