Prednisone is an anti-inflammatory drug available only by prescription. It is prescribed for conditions of inflammation such as severe arthritis or psoriasis or in acute conditions such as a respiratory infection. It works as a corticosteroid by blocking some of the body’s response to inflammation but can have side effects including insomnia. When faced with the inability to sleep, many will want to take a natural sleep aid. As with any other supplement or medication, tell your doctor about all medications you are taking before beginning a natural sleep aid.
Chamomile is a flowering plant that looks like a tiny daisy. It has been used as a calming agent for centuries in North America, though it is native to Europe. It may be known as Manzanilla in Central Mexico. It is a primary component in most calming teas but can also be taken as a supplement in capsule or liquid form. Though it has been recommended for children, it should not be given to children due to a slight risk of bacterial contamination but is generally considered safe for adults
Hops are the female flower of a plant of the Humulus family. It is a primary ingredient in beer brewing but can also be used as a supplement to induce calmness or help combat insomnia. It is particularly useful for insomnia which is accompanied by indigestion because it reportedly has a stomach-soothing quality. According to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a hops-valerian combination has been shown to improve sleep quality in human studies. Hops also may have phytoestrogenic activity and may improve insulin sensitivity. Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions and medicines you are taking before beginning a sleep regimen with hops.
Valerian may reduce the time required to fall asleep without resulting in morning grogginess. According to “Prescription for Herbal Healing,” it should not be taken by those who commonly experience migraine headaches. Long term use is not recommended and it may also have additive effects with prescription sleep aids and should not be taken in combination with other medications without the advice of a physician.
Kava root is native to the Hawaiian islands and Pacific Rim. It works by relaxing the skeletal muscles and sedating the central nervous system through some activity on the GABA receptors. It should not be combined with prescription sleep aids as it may have additive effects. It also should only be taken for short periods of time as the Food and Drug Administration has expressed some concern about its effects on the liver. People with liver conditions should not take Kava.
Melissa Lind holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas College of Pharmacy. She has over 20 years experience as a health-care professional, including pharmacy practice as a registered pharmacist, and experience in clinical research management and community college instruction in pharmacology and health topics. Lind has been a freelance writer and independent content provider since 2006.