Sleep is such a soothing aspect of our daily lives, yet it can sometimes be hard to get any. I’m one of those (millions of) people out there who have infrequent insomnia and need a quick and short-term solution for sleep deprivation. At the pharmacy I am always in search of the best solution available for this sort of thing, and because sedatives are [unfortunately] only available via prescription, I usually have to settle for the sleep-inducing antihistamine over-the-counter pills. I have had much success with antihistamine sleep aids, but my main complaint is that if you use them too often you get an unpleasant “hangover” feeling. Such a feeling makes you want to avoid such solutions, yet it seemed to be the only alternative to a prescription medicine. That is until I came across “Clinician’s – REM Sleep”, a natural herbal sleep-aid.
At first I was skeptical, so I avoided what I thought was nonsense. But then the next time I couldn’t sleep and I got a hangover from the OTC pills, I decided I should try something different. I drove to the pharmacy and asked the pharmacist about which “natural” sleeping pills I should take. He game me the Clinician’s brand that I mentioned and I decided to put them to the test the next time I became deprived of sleep.
The bottle came with 60 capsules containing the following ingredients(some of my information was retrieved from a natural meds website):
Vitamin B3 25mg (“amino acid metabolite that produces the essential feel good hormone, serotonin, in your body.”)
Vitamin B6 10mg (“required for the conversion of L-Tryptophan to serotonin.”)
5-Hydroxytryptophan 50mg (may help increase serotonin production.)
Magnesium 100mg (“responsible for the relaxation phase of muscles and therefore may relax nerves.”
Passionflower Herb 4:1 Ext. 270mg (“promotes a state of relaxation.”)
Skullcap Herb 160mb (“may have a calming effect on the central nervous system.”)
The instructions said, “Recommended Adult Dosage: 2 capsules 15-30 minutes before bedtime. Repeat dose during the night if required.”
I began with two capsules at 1:00 AM (I tried to get to sleep by 11:00am). I waited 30 minutes, and felt nothing. I waited another 30 minutes and still noticed no difference. In reaction, I popped in two more pills, which is what the instructions said to do. I waited yet another half an hour, and still no effect. I had to play MS-pinball and Pac-Man on my computer until I fell to sleep at 5:00am.
I was very disappointed. But since I had 56 capsules left, I wasn’t completely ready to give up. A little more than a week later, I found myself in the same situation. Since the only warning on these pills was “Individuals taking SSRI medication should use this product under supervision.”, and the fact that it’s herbal, and that it tells you to take more if it doesn’t work, I felt daring enough to take 10 pills at a time.
At 1:30 AM, I glugged down 10 capsules with some orange juice. I also ate some nachos, since I considered that the pills may be better absorbed with food. I waited again for 30 minutes, and still found no effect from the pills. I then took another 5 capsules, and waited an hour. I felt no effect at all! So I ended up taking some good ol’ Sominex and falling asleep about 40 minutes afterwards.
In conclusion to this small experiment, I’d suggest staying away from these “natural” or “herbal” sleep solutions. The bottle cost me $28.99, and definitely not worth it considering the results. Of course not all of the available natural solutions come with these same ingredients, but many of them do. So my suggestion is this; Avoid sleep-aids with the same ingredients listed in this review. If regular OTC sleep aids aren’t working out for you, then you could try experimenting with other kinds of natural sleep aids that have different ingredients. Or you could go to your doctor and get some more decent sleep medicine on prescription.