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When Does Melatonin Work?

Presents question and answer about sleep problems. Effective solution to insomnia; How to use melatonin; Importance of the herbs valerian and passion flower.

Q: I haven't been sleeping well for the last few months, ever since Ireturned from a trip to Asia. It seems to take me several hours to nod off, and then I have a hard time waking up. Can you help?

A: It sounds like your sleep-clock is off kilter. This is known as circadian insomnia. An effective solution to this may be melatonin, the hormone your body produces at night. One milligram at bedtime is more than adequate, and the hormone should not be taken for more than a month at a time, since we have no knowledge yet about consequences of long-term use. If anxiety and stress are keeping you awake, the herbs valerian and passion flower can enhance sleep, along with kava-kava, an herb that gives a mild sense of well-being.