Herbal sleep aids are effective and safe
Restful sleep is the basic requirement for health, performance and well-being. However, today's living conditions mean that more and more people are complaining about sleep problems and looking for help from a doctor or pharmacy. About five percent of the population were affected, the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) calculated in 2010. The consumption of sleeping pills is correspondingly high. Seniors particularly often take sleeping pills. However, the typical side effects of chemical sleeping pills such as dizziness and the risk of falling are especially serious for them.
Hops, lemon balm and passion flower as sleep aids There has long been sleep therapy without such risks, emphasized Prof. Dr. Martin E. Keck from the Zurich Center for Natural Sciences in Munich: Sleeping aids made from valerian extracts alone or in combination with hops, lemon balm and passion flower have proven to be an evidence-based alternative to the risky synthetic hypnotics and sedatives in a large number of well-controlled and randomized clinical studies .
Prof. Keck explained the mode of action of the phytosedativa using the example of a combination of valerian root and hop cone extract. The natural regulation of sleep takes place via two different regulatory mechanisms - adenosine and melatonin. The longer wakefulness lasts, the higher the adenosine level rises, which increases sleep pressure and leads to sleep. In the dark, melatonin is released, a substance that is responsible for controlling the “internal clock”.
The herbal combination has a similar synergistic effect as the body: valerian activates the adenosine receptors, while hops act as "herbal melatonin" and control the nightly sleep window. After just two weeks of treatment with the phytosedative, sleep quality can be significantly improved. The previously disturbed sleep architecture normalizes, the patient wakes up less frequently at night, experiences pronounced dream phases and often goes through relaxing deep sleep phases. "The comparison with synthetic sleeping pills shows," summarizes the Zurich expert, "that phytopharmaceuticals are an evidence-based, well-tolerated and well-accepted alternative for classic, synthetic drugs." (kfr)