The Cleveland Clinic

Sleep Disorders: Alternative Therapy

A health treatment that is not classified as standard western medical practice is referred to as "alternative." Alternative therapy encompasses a variety of disciplines that include everything from diet and exercise to mental conditioning and lifestyle changes. Examples of alternative therapies include acupuncture, guided imagery, yoga, hypnosis, biofeedback, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbal remedies, massage and many others.

Complementary medicine is essentially alternative medicine that is taken along with conventional treatments.

Some complementary and alternative therapies used to treat insomnia include supplements, acupuncture, relaxation and meditation, and exercise.



The effects of the root of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) on sleep have been examined in people with sleep problems. Some studies have suggested that valerian helps with the onset of sleep and with sleep maintenance. In one study, valerian extract was found to be as effective as the antianxiety drug Serax in patients with insomnia. However, more research is needed before a final conclusion can be made about the safety and effectiveness of valerian for insomnia.

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