Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Natural Alternatives to Ambien

What is Ambien?

Ambien is one of the many brand names which manufacture the drug known as Zolpidem, a medication which serves as a short term, and fast acting, solution to insomnia and brain disorders. The pill takes effect within 15 minutes of consumption and is cleansed from the body a few short hours later. While the pill can put its users to sleep it does not produce a healthy or effective long term sleep and should really only be put to use as an anticonvulsant. The drug has also been noted for having damaging effects on the memory and impairment on the overall waking process. Headaches, vomiting, hallucinations, and nausea are but a few of the other common side effects of the drug. In short, the drug doesn’t do it’s job too well and if it does chances are you won’t be any healthier taking it, not to mention the unnecessary spending that may be needed to acquire the drug. There are certainly cheaper and healthier alternative options if you are willing to take charge and change up your lifestyle.

Stick to Schedule


Keeping the time you wake up and sleep on routine will train your body and make the entire process easier. Make sure that whatever schedule is organized is stuck to even on weekends. It may be alright to stray somewhat on the first of two off days if they are one after the other though, be prepared to get extra shut eye on the second of the two days. When adapting to the new schedule it’s often recommended that 15 to 20 minute adjustments are made each day. This will slowly allow you to progressively get closer to that determined sleeping time frame without putting too much, if any, strain on the body. The same time dedication is also required in the waking hours. Be sure you wake up at the after the standard sleeping period for your age has passed. Children 5 to 12 years old are recommended on having 11 to 12 hours while teens ages 12 to 18 should receive about 8.5 to 9.30 hours. Anyone over eighteen should get 7 to 9 hours with the exception of the elderly (those roughly over 60+ years old) who require even less. Once the appropriate amount of sleep has passed make sure you don’t loiter around in bed for too long otherwise you will wake up feeling as if you had been awake for far longer the night before. Waking up with an alarm may be a necessity to some people but there are also health benefits to waking naturally. Aside from being able to appreciate blissful silence over the typical early morning blaring presented by an alarm, the body will also feel reduced stress and more alertness. As with holding to the sleeping schedule the waking schedule should also be relatively well held to in order to prevent and further sleeping issues from sprouting up.

Take Naps


Napping is usually a convenient way to catch up on any lost sleep and stay relatively healthy however if you are experiencing insomnia naps can be just as harmful as not sleeping and can easily worsen sleep. It is recommended to only nap when completely necessary and when you do nap make sure that the nap only last roughly 20-40 minutes.

Adjust Surroundings

Sun light is always great for the body and anyway you can bring more into your daytime environment will have powerful effects on your sleeping process. Remember when mom would walk into your room and open the blinds, unleashing rays of that burning sun light onto your bed to get you up and going? She was on to something, When sunlight interacts with the body the hormone Melatonin is produced, this hormone is responsible for keeping your entire sleeping process under control, and this is also partially why you usually feel more tired at night but if you are ever up long enough to see the sunrise the body will once again feel more awake. The exposure to the sun will also increase levels of vitamin D which will help the body contain calcium and keep bones from becoming soft, brittle, or thin.

While getting more sunlight is a great step in the right direction there is still more work to be done at night. Start by turning off any distractions, like the television and other media devices. Thing like the T.V. can easily disrupt the relaxation process making it difficult to fall asleep. A good alternative (assuming you don’t start rocking out to your favorite tunes) can be playing music. Classical or even ambient soundtracks are great alternatives to the standard radio fare, there are even specific ambient mixes specifically designed to help listeners fall asleep. This one might seem like a bit of a no brainer but make sure the room is dark. The darkness will also produce melatonin, just like the light, but there is one big difference. While daylight means its time to wake up causing the body to start making the hormone, the dark means it’s time to sleep and this causes the body to start releasing the hormone too. This ultimately is what results in falling asleep.

Alter Diet


There are various foods which are known for inducing and helping maintain a persistent sleep. If your diet is lacking you might already be looking at the cause of any sleep issues you may be experiencing. Diet is an extremely important aspect of staying healthy in all aspect so change may be just what is needed. Many of these foods which help with sleep management are also very healthy and may already be in your diet or at least on your counter. Possibly one of the most healthy food choices is the banana, which is not just a rich source of Potassium, which can reduce risk of stroke and assist blood pressure among a vast list of other health benefits. Vitamin B6, C, and A can also all be gained from the consumption of bananas, B6 is the most important as just like sunlight, it helps manage the production of melatonin and will help keep your sleep well managed. The greatest source of B6 comes from Rice Bran which can be found in a variety of oats, corn, and rice. Rice Bran cereal would be a good early morning choice to kick start the day feeling energized. Fish is another alternative option, specifically Tuna or Salmon again, due to their dense amounts of B6. These fish also contain an amino acid known as tryptophan which works as a sleep aid is large enough amounts. A dinner meal containing either of the two fish will work great when it comes to mellowing out just before getting ready to get to sleep.

Other foods should also be avoided as they can be prone to causing an upset stomach or increase alertness. Spicy meals, for example, should be kept out of dinner or the late night snack pellet as they will cause acid to build up in the back of the esophagus and cause heartburn. Another common cause of heartburn is coffee and not only will it cause heartburn but of course the caffeine most coffee is well known blocking the brain’s ability to sleep. This is because coffee is essentially a light adrenal drug in the sense that it does cause the adrenal gland to actually start producing adrenaline which causes the body to get pumped and alert for work. It is certainly not the thing you want in any amount just before bed. If bathroom breaks are a common issue for you any fluids in general should be cut down on prior to going to sleep. This will prevent you from having to cut a hole in your sleep just to use the bathroom and have to fall asleep all over again, as well as any sticky situation in which you find that you have wet the bed. If you must have some kind of snack before bed or after waking up in the middle of your slumber seeking food some options are better than others. The snack should be very lite, turkey works well along with grainy cereal or again a banana. While this isn’t exactly a choice of food smoking also can cause sleep issues due the nicotine found within cigarettes which works similarly to caffeine when it comes to impacting sleep performance. While smoking may seem like an easy, relaxing way to wind down they will actually have the opposite effect in the long run.

Prepare Your Body

Meditation and general unwinding are great ways to get your body prepared and in the mood for sleep. Breathing is key, take deep breaths which decrease in frequency over time slowing as much as you can comfortably achieve, this will get the body into the type of breathing rhythm which occurs during sleep. In order to relax the muscles you might choose to stretch just before bed, or if you are already in bed a simple, low energy method of stretch can occur from just tensing the body. The intensity again should only be about as much as you feel comfortable doing, remember; this is a sleep practice not a work out. Once your muscles have tensed release them and repeat the process a few times starting with the upper region of your body and progressively tightening lower areas. Counting sheep can be a bit distracting and do more harm than good but it doesn’t always hurt to try and focus your mind on something relaxing and slowly doze off using that method. Make sure to avoid over thinking things, focusing too much will just bring you out of relaxation and into a planning thought processes which isn’t going to help you sleep. If physical interaction is more preferable to you than other options range from reading to small snacks but refrain from electronic usage as screen brightness will just strain the eyes and make it difficult to fall back asleep.

Bridget Rogers
Bridget Rogers
Bridget Rogers is an independent freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Bridget's work can be found on a variety of sources in both online and print media.


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