Sleep is perhaps the most important of our bodily processes. It allows our muscles, nerves and organs to rest, lets our memories sink in and greatly facilitates in the learning of new information, however for some people a healthy, eight-to-nine hour dose of sleep is often unattainable. Counting sheep, listening to soft music and wearing sleeping masks and ear plugs may work for some, but the allure of a medicated solution often feels like the only option for many. If you’re a poor sleeper, there are a few things you should try before taking the pill-bound route to Slumberville. Don’t eat at least three hours before you hit the hay, and avoid consuming cheese, coffee and alcohol, as these will definitely impact your sleep rhythms. Also, it’s a really good idea to ensure your mattress is letting you enjoy quality sleep. If money is an issue, get a bed online at a site like Bedstar; these sites are far cheaper than high street retailers, and you’ll save loads of money in the process, which might also have the effect of easing you to sleep! So you’ve tried all of the above, and you still can’t sleep - pills must be the answer! Wrong. Sleeping pills, whilst effective, have been shown to exert all manner of deleterious effects on the body, many of which exceed the danger of a lack of sleep. Experts recently stated that popular tablets can triple the risk of cancer in users within the nose, mouth and windpipe. The more pills taken, the greater the risk to the body. Ambien, one of the more popular pills available, has also been shown to increase the brain’s ability to recall negative memories, thanks to the pills’ ability to increase the density of memory-related electrical waves that course through the brain during sleep. It’s also important to remember than many sleeping pills are highly addictive. But what about natural remedies? Well, the jury is very much out on these herbal cures. Many scientists and doctors rue their existence, particularly due to the fact that homeopathic remedies, by definition, contain a miniscule amount of active ingredient. Lemon balm, chamomile tea and the like are perfectly fine, but when potentially toxic remedies such as St. John’s Wort are thrown in to the mix, one could be putting the body at risk. It’s important to bear in mind that many sleep problems have a psychological basis. This mind sound scary, but all too many people view their brains and, consequently, minds, as sacrosanct, when in reality they are just as open to illness as any other organ, except mental illnesses are treated with therapy and counseling, not medicine. Cognitive-behavioural therapy, mindfullness therapy and relaxation techniques can all work just as well as pills, and will leave you feeling happier and healthier as a result!