Melatonin is a natural sleep aid that might help you if you suffer from insomnia.

Insomnia means you are having a hard time going to sleep. It also can mean that you are having a hard time staying asleep. Most people who suffer from insomnia say that they remember turning and tossing all night long or remember being awake at night. Nights when I have insomnia I just can’t seem to turn my mind off and often can’t even close my eyes.

Some individuals with sleep problems find that they experience temporary relief when sleeping on the side, rather than the back. Also irregular sleep hours can throw off your sleep cycles and lead to breathing problems during the most important sleep stages.

There are behavioral or natural treatments for insomnia. One relaxation techniques is practiced by tensing different muscle groups and then relaxing them. Another method calls for repeating a set of visualizations to produce a state of relaxation. My favorite visualization is lying in the sun on a beach in the Bahamas.

It is also good to be able to manage the stress in your life as this can allow you to more easily relax at night or when it’s time to sleep. Another helpful method is to associate the bedroom with sleeping by limiting the time spent in the bedroom for non-sleep activities. So take your television, computer and office out of the bedroom. Also reduce the use of stimulants such as caffeine and avoid large meals just before bed as this can help reduce insomnia. A person can also try soaking in a hot bath to relax or listening to some soft music before going to bed. And nothing helps like a glass of warm milk.

Other common over-the-counter or OTC sleep aids such as Nytol or Sominex can also be tried but, again, a person should discuss with their doctor before taking any of these sleep aids especially if you suffers from or are being treated for depression, or other mental health problems as well as Parkinson’s disease.

If you believe you are not getting enough sleep or that you are suffering from insomnia, talk to your family doctor. If your family physician feels that you may suffer from insomnia and helpful tips for dealing with insomnia are not helping, he may ask that you keep a sleep diary, or even have you stay overnight at a sleep center so your sleep patterns can be monitored.

Melatonin is an aid that has helped many people fall asleep. It is especially helpful for people who suffer from insomnia caused by jet lag or shift work. Melatonin occurs naturally in the body when serotonin is exposed to decreased light.

Since melatonin is a natural hormone, then it is probably the first over the counter sleep aid that you should try.