Q. My husband and I are in our late 50s. Recently we’ve both had trouble sleeping and have tried melatonin. We take half of a 3 mg pill. Is it a problem to take this regularly? Are there other good natural sleep aids?
A. Melatonin is a popular supplement to help people get to sleep. In one small study, melatonin helped patients in an intensive care unit sleep better (Critical Care, online April 18, 2008). Unfortunately, there is very little research on the pros and cons of regular use of melatonin.
A number of other dietary supplements may be used as natural sleep aids. One reader wrote: “I used to toss and turn, going over the day’s events in my mind. I finally found a product that works for me. It contains valerian, passionflower and magnesium. It’s natural and non-addictive.”
We discuss a number of natural approaches to overcoming insomnia in our Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep, including melatonin, valerian and magnesium.