As my other article discussed, there are a variety of natural treatments for insomnia and sleeping problems, but the research is very limited. Several studies show natural treatments to be ineffective, though some people swear by them.
For example, many people say to drink warm milk to fall asleep. There is some research to support this: some ingredients in milk, like magnesium and calcium, have been found to help in sleep. However, there seems to be more recent research focusing on breast milk and infant sleep and a limited amount of studies actually discussing milk and sleep directly for adults.
One study focusing on the evolution and development of insomnia treatments stated that “dietary supplements, herbal compounds, and homeopathic preparations often are promoted as sleep aids” and that they are unregulated by the FDA. Therefore, it is not really known how effective and safe they are. Also, “few efficacy studies have been performed with these substances and none has demonstrated convincing benefits in improving sleep.”
In the 2010 Sleep in America poll by the National Sleep Foundation, whites were found to use herbal and alternative therapies more often than Asians, Hispanics and Blacks. However, they also had the highest rate of insomnia, and Blacks had the highest rate of sleep apnea.
Passion flower has been cited by a few sources to possibly help with sleep. However, more research is needed, like for most natural therapeutics. According to MedlinePlus, it has been used as a sedative and hypnotic, and it’s said to be calming.
St.John’s Wort is more commonly associated with treating depression, and even then studies are conflicting, but it has also been suggested to treat sleeping disorders. It’s said to have fewer side effects than antidepressants when it’s used as an alternative to treat depression. One recent study review found that it doesn't effectively treat anxiety.