Natural health advice for better sleeping

Natural health advice for better sleeping includes herbal medicine and the usual things such as avoiding over stimulation prior to bedtime.

Here is recent advice from the medical directors of the integrative medicine program at Sutter in Sacramento:

• Set a regular sleep schedule. Get into bed when you feel sleepy, but get up the same time every day, no matter what, including weekends.

• Keep your bedroom quiet and restful. Do not read or watch TV in bed. If you can't fall asleep after 15 minutes in bed, get out of bed and read something boring until you feel sleepy, then go back to bed; repeat this pattern until you fall asleep.

• Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and aerobic exercise for four to five hours before going to bed.

• Avoid daytime napping.

• Develop a restful ritual before your bedtime such as meditating, drinking chamomile tea or warm milk with honey, listening to peaceful music or taking a warm bath.

• Many alternative therapies have been touted for insomnia, including valerian, kava, St. John's wort, and melatonin. Valerian may be effective, but it can interact with prescription drugs, as can St. John's wort; talk to your doctor first. Kava has been associated with liver toxicity (and liver failure) and has been pulled off the market in a number of countries; we recommend you avoid it. Melatonin is a hormone secreted from the pineal gland in the brain; it may improve sleep quality, especially in the elderly, though it doesn't seem to help people fall asleep.

The doctors caution: "Long-term safety of these substances is unknown."

I might add: Don't go on an email frezy prior to bedtime. Interact with your loved ones and spiritual self instead of your computer.

Pull up the covers snugly, prep your astral body for travel, and then let go. Who knows what dreams may come?

Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers general corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine (also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society), a forum for exploration of legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues involved in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, massage therapy, herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. The most recent published book by Michael H. Cohen on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy pertaining to complementary, alternative and integrative medicine and related fields is Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion. This is the fourth book in a series, following Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).

Health care and corporate lawyer Michael H. Cohen has also been admitted to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing), adding to Bar membership in four U.S. states.