In this health video you will learn about some natural remedies that will help you to sleep
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Raena Morgan: Dr. Hajal, are there some natural remedies or supplements for improving sleep? Dr. Rizan Hajal: There are plenty of natural supplements that are being sold for benefits of sleep and I see that a lot of my patients have already tried them or are already using them before they come in to see us. The combination usually, it's related to a few vitamins. The common ones is kava kava, which is a plant that is the natural plant that you can use and this kava kava is very, very old. A treatment for hundreds of years, it's been around. Another one would be the tea products like the chamomile tea or the green tea for their benefits. And the effect is a little bit personal. Some people respond to it, some people don't. On the whole I don't think it's something that is reliable that you can say, I'm going to take that and reliably be able to fall asleep down the road. But I have had some people who respond to those things. Raena Morgan: How about melatonin? Dr. Rizan Hajal: On the natural side melatonin is the most common, that's what I see and frequently it's intermixed with the others and the melatonin is a little of its a natural hormone so it's a human hormone and it usually arises before we go to sleep and then it drops as we are sleeping. Raena Morgan: What about over-the-counter medication? Dr. Rizan Hajal: Over-the-counter is very common and so many people take Tylenol PM, Advil PM, Excedrin PM, so many out there and all of them are based on one molecule, which is the Benadryl molecule. Benadryl is designed for allergy medication. It's been around for so long that it became over-the-counter medication, just like all the other allergy medications. One of the side effects of that is that it puts you to sleep because it blocks the histamine, which is a hormone in the brain that wakes us up, so when you block it, you'll be able to fall asleep. And it's hidden so you have Tylenol PM, which is Tylenol and Benadryl. You have Advil PM, which is Advil and Benadryl. Then, you have Benadryl which you can get over-the-counter but then if you take Unisom, which is made by Pfizer, it's just Benadryl, but it's called Unisom. So if you read on it, it is purely Benadryl. So that's the component that's putting us to sleep. If you go on to other things that are promoted out there, you find frequently that it's a mixture of the Benadryl and a little bit of the kava kava and maybe they throw in a little bit of melatonin. You have so many formulations out there to help people to sleep. Again, I don't think any of them is reliable. The Benadryl is a very reliable, actually to put you to sleep. It works, but difficulty with that is that it lasts so long, which means it's an allergy medication which is supposed to last all day, so it goes on for 12 hours and that's not a good thing if you want to fall asleep. And number two, it may have some side-effects especially for the elderly, dropping their blood pressure and so if they would take it when they walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night they might feel a little bit dizzy and may fall, actually because of that medication. Raena Morgan: Well thank you for that information.