A writer for Wired tries out home remedies from valerian root to lemon balm.
I asked Dr. Shanon Makekau, medical director of the sleep laboratory at the Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, about supplements like valerian root, melatonin, and tryptophan, and whether they have any legitimate medical value. She’s pragmatic. “The bottom line is that the available alternatives are not really rooted in science,” she says. “The studies that are out there, particularly on valerian and chamomile, are limited and small in number, and the results are inconclusive. That being said, I generally tell my patients that if they find a sleep aid anecdotally to be helpful and not harmful, I don’t see anything wrong with it.”