Having a hard time sleeping at night? Is your work efficiency affected because of your inability to sleep the night before? In lieu of the National Sleep Foundation Sleep Awareness Week, sleep experts are trying to address issues causing insomnia and suggested natural sleep aids ways to alleviate it before trying on prescription drugs. 

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine notes that 30 percent of adults experience symptoms of insomnia. Ten percent of these adults may have felt severe symptoms of sleeping disorders in a way that it is affecting their daytime activities. Nevertheless, statistics declared that less than 10 percent of adults will experience chronic insomnia, which may have serious health repercussions.

The AASM further said that people who belong in the middle-aged and adult group are more likely to experience insomnia considering physical or mental problems of some people that may hinder them in achieving the ideal sleep cycle.

Julie A. Dopheide, PharmD, BCPP, FASHP, professor of clinical pharmacy, psychiatry, and behavioral sciences at the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy, spoke about insomnia during a session at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) 2016 Annual Meeting and Exposition. She stressed the role of technology, particularly cellphones, in delaying sleep.

"Those electronics can stimulate the brain to stay awake because of the light emitting from those electronics. ...It's good for the parents to set an example, too," she said.

Dopheide also discussed the importance of pharmacists' participation in giving sleeping pills or anti-depressants to patients. Pharmacists are advised to ask questions regarding the patient's sleeping habits. They can also recommend a sleep diary or explain the effects of their chosen antidepressant, as well as give nonpharmacological tips such as keeping a "sleep hygiene" or tips on how to reduce negative associations towards sleep and their bed. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Cathy Goldstein, a neurologist at the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center, suggested some tips to help people fight insomnia even without the use of drugs and sedatives.

Goldstein once again stressed the importance of 25 to 50 minutes of moderate exercise and its effectiveness in healing even chronic insomnia. She advised people to change their bed or move to a new bedroom just to change their negative associations towards their bed that would not let them sleep.

In case exercise and changing beds don't work, you might want to try these natural sleep aids that have been proven effective and safe. Melatonin supplements may help adults over the age of 55, as they tend to have lower melatonin levels in their body. Unwinding with the use of valerian plant, chamomile and cherries have also been proven to be helpful.