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Somnatrol is a dietary supplement produced by Sterling Grant Laboratories as an alternative to prescription medications for the treatment of insomnia and related sleep disorders. Over 50 million people are estimated to suffer from sleep disorders in the U.S. and numbers are growing. Sleep disorders are said to be the root problem of an entire host of maladies including car/personal accidents, memory loss, accelerated aging, and depression. Somnatrol contains a trademarked combination of natural herbs, hormones, and vitamins that they have called Somnazide. The makers of Somnatrol purport that it alleviates sleeping disturbances in a 2-stage process that begins when taking the recommended dose 30-60 minutes before bedtime. Stage 1 of Somnatrol is stress reduction and Stage 2 of Somnatrol is producing a restful sleep. Somnatrol also claims to be 100% natural and safe, but even though they say Somnatrol was made to replace harmful prescription medications, their literature liberally advises that it a complement to doctor-supervised treatment.
Somnatrol contains natural herbs, vitamins, hormones, and other amino acids that supposedly combine to create natural sleep cycles. 500mg of valerian root is included in Somnatrol and it has shown to have anti-anxiety qualities. However, valerian root is not a proven sleep aid and sleep studies show inconclusive evidence that valerian root can be called a treatment for insomnia. Chamomile, Passion Flower, and Lavender are also included in Somnatrol and even though they have been used for thousands of years for their calming effect, they are not true treatments for insomnia, which is not always caused by being nervous or stressed. Somnatrol also contains 250mg of their trademarked Serotain, which is Griffonia sinensis leaf extract that provides 18.5% 5-HTP (45mg). 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a natural amino acid that has scientifically been proven effective in treating disorders such as fibromyalgia, chronic headache, depression, anxiety, obesity, and insomnia. 3mg of melatonin, which is a natural hormone produced in the brain, has also shown effective in creating and regulating natural sleep cycles. GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) naturally occurs in the body to suppress stimulation and help induce sleep but has not shown effective when orally administered. L-theanine is another amino acid in Somnatrol that can produce calming effects in the brain by stimulating GABA production. Somnatrol is capped by 10mg Vitamin B6.
Because of the large amount of different ingredients in Somnatrol, side effects due to the combination have not adequately been studied but can pose a real danger beyond the side effects of the individual compounds. Valerian root is extremely psychoactive and side effects include headache, heart palpitations, allergic reaction, and even can cause insomnia, excitability, and restlessness - the complete opposite reason why some people take it. In addition, the valerian root in Somnatrol can have longer-lasting effects that run well into the next day. GABA, taken orally, has not been sufficiently studied and may cause dangerous reactions including an increase in human growth hormone production. Neither valerian root nor GABA should be taken by pregnant or nursing women. Driving and operating heavy machinery is also not recommended.
Somnatrol is readily available at health food and nutrition stores but a high share of the product is purchased online. It lists at $1 per caplet but often can be found for half that and if you buy three 60-cap bottles, the fourth one is free. Other online sources skip the free product offer and instead give a $1 discount per bottle over the first. A search for information regarding Sterling Grant Laboratories provides no direct contact information, so buyers may have a difficult time contacting them and are at the mercy of the retailers.
There is no doubt that the enormous combination of compounds in Somnatrol produces sleep in some people. The real question is one of safety. When taking any drugs or supplements, a minimalist approach is always best. Somnatrol is gross overkill with ingredients that often have unpredictable results and no health studies done about the harmful effects of combining them all into one product. A supplement with 5-HTP and melatonin can provide benefits, but the other substances such as GABA and valerian root may not bode well.