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Nearly half of us experience problems getting to sleep at some time in our lives and nothing ruins a day more than lack of sleep the night before.

The amount of sleep individuals need varies, but most people need somewhere between six and eight hours each night. Contrary to popular belief older adults need the same amount, however their sleep pattern may change with age.

Waking very early in the morning may simply mean your body is ready to get up. In fact, no matter how early it is, it is always better to get up and do something until you feel sleepy again rather than lie there frustrated.
Many thing can cause sleep problems :
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Prescription drugs
  • Changes in our work schedule
  • Travel
  • Family illness
  • Physical changes that come with getting older
Over the counter drugs may work, but the next day you may feel as groggy as the lack of sleep would have left you. To make matters worse you could suffer side effects from taking them such as constipation, urinary retention, dry mouth and vasoconstriction of the eyes, which can interfere with contact lens use.
So what's the solution?
Start by following the same routine each night. Have a regular bedtime and keep your bedroom for bedroom activities only: that means no reading, watching television or working in bed.
Make your bedroom as comfortable as possible, use room-darkening shades, lower the temperature to 65 degrees and when your are ready to sleep turn lights out. You could also try some simple relaxation techniques, such as taking a warm bath before you go to bed, even better if you add a few drops of lavender oil (hops works well too).
If following this routine fails to improve your sleep pattern within about two weeks there are several non-addictive natural remedies that you can try. They can be used on a regular basis without side effects.
Natural Sleep Remedies
Chamomile A cup of chamomile tea about half an hour before going to bed is a simple and effective sleep aid.
Lavender Try rubbing lavender oil on tense muscles. Its aroma also has a calming effect when inhaled. You could sip some lavender tea before you go to bed.
Valerian This calming sleep aid has been approved by the the German Federal Ministry of Health. It is widely recommended for treating anxiety related sleep problems.
Kava If your sleeping problems are due to muscle tension, such as back spasms, or anxiety then this herb may be the solution. It relaxes muscles and lessens feelings of anxiety allowing you to fall asleep. It is worth noting that alcohol intensifies the effects of kava and may cause sedation.
Melatonin is a hormone which occurs naturally in the body. It has been shown to be effective for short term use in resetting the body clocks of travelers and shift workers. It is also useful for the treatment of occasional insomnia.
To reduce jet lag, experts suggest taking melatonin en route. After takeoff set your watch to your destination time. Use this time from then on. Two hours before your normal bedtime (destination time) take 1.5 mg of melatonin and if possible sleep on the plane.
Take melatonin for a couple of days after you arrive and this can further help adjust your body clock to the new time zone.