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Natural and Prescription Sleep Aids for Help with Adrenal Fatigue

One of the biggest problems that someone with adrenal fatigue has is getting a good night's sleep. Here are some supplements you can take to help you rest:

  • Melatonin: Your body normally secretes the hormone melatonin at night as part of your sleep-wake cycle. If you have adrenal fatigue, your body likely produces less melatonin than it should at night. Supplementation with melatonin may improve your quality of sleep.

    Start at low doses of 1 to 2 milligrams of melatonin each night before going to sleep (or trying to go to sleep) and increase slowly.

  • Valerian root: Valerian is an herb. In one insomnia study, researchers noted that although further study was needed, valerian root seemed to improve the quality of sleep without causing any significant side effects.

    Although different brands vary, an average dosage of valerian root is 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams. The capsule form is very easy to swallow and well-tolerated. You can take it approximately 1 hour prior to going to bed.

  • L-theanine: L-theanine is an amino acid that inhibits the action of glutamate (a very toxic substance) in the brain. A few studies have demonstrated its efficacy in helping people get a good night's sleep. It'salso a great stress reliever. You can start doses of L-theanine at 50 to100 milligrams a night.

Of course, before taking any of these supplements, speak with your healthcare provider to see whether they're appropriate for you.

In the case that these treatments don’t work for you, you can always consider prescription sleep aids. With adrenal fatigue, getting a good night’s sleep is often a struggle, so people often ask whether they should consider prescription sleep aids.

The answer is yes, if needed. The key is to discuss some of the side effects of sleep medication with your healthcare provider. The most common prescription sleep aids include a class of medications called benzodiazepines; this class includes diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax). Another commonly prescribed medication is zolpidem (Ambien).

Benzodiazepines are effective in helping someone get a good night’s sleep, but be aware of potential side effects:

  • Paradoxical excitation: Instead of causing someone to go asleep, they can cause the opposite: The person may become excitable and unable to sleep.

  • Confusion and lethargy: These side effects are more common in the elderly, it’s best to minimize the use of the benzodiazepines in the elderly population.

Be aware that many of the benzodiazepines depend on having the liver process them. If you have liver disease or cirrhosis, the benzodiazepine doses need to be substantially reduced, or another medication needs to be chosen, because reduced liver function means these medications can stay in the body for a long period of time.

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