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Have sleeping difficulty. Is there any vitamin supplement?

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Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 2189 Questions
hi doc!cause i haven't been sleeping well lately,is there any vitamins or supplements i can use to help me sleep?i don't want to take sleeping pills.some days i sleep fine,some days i sleep but wake up every hour and some days have no sleep at all.i am
So worried at times that when its almost night time i am afraid i might not sleep!
Posted Fri, 1 Feb 2013 in Sleep Disorders
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 42 minutes later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

I understand that you are going through an anxious time due to your inability to sleep properly. Now, difficulty in sleeping (known as "insomnia" ) can be due to a variety of causes. Some of the problems causing insomnia are:
- Stress
- Anxiety
- Depression
- Poor sleep habits
- Other medical problems, chronic pain, etc.

Very often, insomnia becomes a self-perpetuating cascade - that is, when a person develops some difficulty in sleeping (for whatever reason) this soon results in the person developing anxiety about sleep. Thereafter, this anxiety itself becomes a cause for further insomnia.

If you are wary about taking sleeping pills, then you can try the folowing natural supplements:
- Valerian
- Melatonin
- Tryptophan

My opinion is that these are safer than the over-the-counter sleep formulas or syrups which may have a slight addictive potential.

In addition, there are certain sleep hygiene techniques which can be helpful in improving sleep irrespective of the cause of insomnia:
- Fix a specific bedtime and an awakening time. Do not allow bedtime and awakening time to drift.
- Avoid napping during the day.
- Avoid coffee, tea or any caffeinated drinks or alcohol 4 hours before bedtime.
- Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods for dinner. Have a gap of at least 1 hour between dinner and bedtime.
- Exercise regularly, preferably in the early evening, at least 4 hours before bedtime.
- Set up a comfortable environment which is dark, quiet and disturbance-free. Block out all distracting noise, and eliminate as much light as possible.
- Reserve the bed for sleep only. Don't use the bed for studying, working or for other rectreational activities.
- Try a light snack before bed. Warm milk and foods high in the amino acid tryptophan, such as bananas, may help you to sleep.
- Practice relaxation techniques before bed. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, XXXXXXX breathing and others may help relieve anxiety and reduce muscle tension.
- Don't take your worries to bed. Leave your worries about studies, work, daily life, etc., behind when you go to bed. Some people find it useful to assign a "worry period" during the evening or late afternoon to deal with these issues.
- Establish a pre-sleep ritual. Pre-sleep rituals, such as a warm bath or a few minutes of reading, can help you sleep.

Wish you all the best.

- Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have sleeping difficulty. Is there any vitamin supplement? 20 minutes later
just wondering doc,this sleeping problems only happen during the winter months,last summer i am sleeping so perfectly..sometimes doc when worry strikes me i don't even know how to relax all i do is worry specially wen its getting later and later..thank u so much doc!i'll follow your advice and hope i will be sleeping well again..Hod bless!
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 25 hours later
Hello again,

It could be possible that you could be stressed out more during certain times of the year or maybe some minor physical ailments like respiratory infections, nasal blocks, etc. could be happening more during winter months, causing disturbances in sleep or this could just be coincidental. Irrespective of which factor may be triggering the initial sleep problem, the subsequent anxiety and worry regarding the disturbed sleep, appear to be a major factor in perpetuating the insomnia.

So, even if you have difficulty in sleeping, don't get become too worried or obsessed about it. Don't keep "monitoring" yourself whether you are sleeping enough or not. Simply follow the sleep hygiene techniques strictly and soon the body's natural mechanisms will kick in to reset your sleep rythms back to normal.

Wish you all the best.

Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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