DENVER, Colo. -- A report released last month shows that all Americans are not getting enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation says only about four in 10 people in the U.S. say they get a good night's sleep on most nights.
Because of that, many people turn to many types of aids to help them get their rest.
Natural herb supplements like melatonin and valerian have been around for a very long time. They alter brain chemistry to help people sleep, but are not like regular sleeping pills. Experts say it usually takes a few weeks of use before a person can start to see results.
But doctors say you should be careful with sleep aids. According to experts, valerian should not be used for more than a month or a month and a half.
Even though they are natural, they are still a type of medication, so it is recommended that anyone who uses them is encouraged to let their doctor know.
These natural sleep aids are different than drugs like Lunesta and Ambien. These are drugs that were specifically designed to release chemicals in the brain so a person can fall asleep that night.
They are supposed to keep the user from being groggy the next morning, but experts say that does not always work.
Doctors say Ambien and Lunesta are usually better for short-term relief because, while they are not as addictive as drugs like Valium or Xanax, people can still develop a dependence on them.
According to experts, melatonin or valerian can be better for long-term sleep help.
Doctors say there are side effects with both types of sleep aids, so it is recommended a person talk to their doctor before using either of them.