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sleep remedies

These Sleep Remedies Are Science Backed; Will They Work For You?

Sleeping pills are big business: About 1 in 25 adults has taken a prescription sleep medicine in the last month, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. And according to Consumer Reports, Americans spent $41 billion on sleep aids and remedies in 2015—a number that’s expected to reach $52 billion by 2020.

But plenty of people are looking for natural solutions, too. Use of melatonin supplements, for instance, more than doubled in the United States from 2007 to 2012. And while scientific evidence for many herbal and alternative insomnia treatments is thin at best, there are some drug-free remedies that have been well studied by scientists.

If getting to sleep or staying asleep is an ongoing problem, it’s important to figure out and address the underlying cause, says Dr. Daniel Barone, neurologist at New York-Presbyterian and Weill-Cornell Medicine. In the meantime, these alternative remedies may help you get back to sleep sooner.

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A sleep scientist doesn't recommend sleeping pills

A sleep scientist doesn’t recommend sleeping pills

Sleeping pills? Not so fast

For millions of Americans, one of the biggest obstacles of the day (or in this case, the night) is getting a good sleep.

Many are tempted by the quick-fix of taking sedatives or hypnotic medications — fancy words for sleeping pills. If you do this often, you’re not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in 2013 that about 4% of US adults older than 20 used a prescription sleep aid in the past month of their study.

But unless you have a diagnosible sleep disorder such as insomnia — which actually isn’t as common as many think — sleeping pills are a bad way to go, according to sleep scientist Patrick Fuller, a neurologist at Harvard Medical School.

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