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Shift Work Disrupts Sleep

Q. I have a question about natural herbal supplements to help me sleep. I am in law enforcement and work shifts, so I don’t have a regular pattern of sleep.
Is there anything that can help me get better sleep under these conditions? I really don’t want to take sleeping pills because they leave me groggy and I need to be able to move fast when I awake.

A. We understand your skepticism about sleeping pills, since a morning hangover is not uncommon. You might want to consider relaxing herbs such as valerian, lemon balm or passionflower. Other natural supplements that can be helpful include melatonin, which seems to be especially helpful for jet lag and shift work, and magnesium. Some people are quite enthusiastic about acupressure wristbands to promote sleep.
We are sending you our Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep for more details on these non-drug approaches as well as the pros and cons of many sleeping pills.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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