Getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night seems harder and harder these days. With all of us working later hours, managing our children's evenings activities, having longer commutes and trying to find time for ourselves, it is often 11pm or later before most of us are able to get to bed. And it seems as though the alarm in the morning goes off earlier and earlier every day. Not only are we getting to bed later and later, we are also having problems falling asleep. With our minds racing about all the things we did not do that day, the caffeine from the cup of coffee on our commute home, or any number of other reasons, something is keeping us awake at night. Insomnia is a common issue, affecting not only adults but also children.

Television commercials give us many drug options to help us sleep, from Lunesta to Ambein CR. In the last few seconds of the commercial all the side effects or symptoms reported by people taking the drugs are given so fast it is difficult to make sense of what they are. Sleepwalking, event amnesia, hallucinations, worsening of depression, headaches, dizziness, next-day somnolence... The list goes on and on of reported side-effects.

There are many safe, non-toxic, natural options for insomnia once the root cause is determined. Are you staying awake because your cortisol levels are out of whack? Are you staying awake because you try to go to sleep with the TV on and your body is having a difficult time realizing it is dark outside? Are you staying awake because your mind is processing the day's events? What is keeping you up at night?

Melatonin is a natural hormone which helps to regulate our circadian rhythm produced by the pineal gland in darkness. Therefore, if we try to sleep with the TV on or we keep the lights on in the house until we fall into bed our bodies have trouble producing the correct amount of melatonin. Herbs such as Hypericum, Piper Methysticum, Valerian, Avena are helpful in getting a good night sleep.

Figuring out the root cause of your insomnia is the key to the best treatment. Insomnia is something that you do not want to just put a quick patch on; sleep is essential to good health, stress management and even weight loss.