One of the most common reasons people go to a doctor is because they’re having problems sleeping. However, many of us just don’t want to take this step. Sleeping pills often have negative side effects and you may form a chemical dependency. If you’d like to take a more natural approach before resorting to a doctor’s visit, here are some at home remedies you can try.

There are many herbs and natural ingredients that have been used for hundreds of years to help ease people to sleep at night. Here are a few of the most popular:

* Valerian root. This is probably the most popular herbal remedy for insomnia. It helps to calm nerves and ease anxiety so you can sleep. It also has no known side effects or dependency issues.

* Lavender. There’s a reason relaxation products are often lavender scented. You can use fresh lavender, or simply buy a product that’s lavender scented or woven from the fibers (these keep their soothing powers for years).

* Kava kava. Taken a few hours before bedtime, this herb can help calm and soother you to sleep. It is especially powerful in higher doses.

Just remember that just because a product is natural, does not make it entirely safe. Always research trusted products before taking anything.

Most people know that there are drinks like herbal teas that will help you fall asleep faster, but there are certain foods that will help you get some rest as well. Tryptophan is a chemical found in foods with high amounts of protein like poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts that helps relax you and help you sleep. It got a lot of press a few years back because it’s why you often feel tired after a big turkey dinner, but moms have known the effects of this chemical for years. It’s why she always gave you a glass of warm milk to help you sleep.

If you want the full effects of tryptophan from your food, try to eat it with a small amount of complex carbohydrates to counteract other chemicals in the food that wake you up, and include some calcium to improve absorption.

While you may be helped by adding a soothing remedy to your late night routine, your sleep schedule might be better helped by taking something out. Stimulants like caffeine can keep you up at night and affect how well you sleep. Your sleep schedule can also be affected by drinking alcohol at night before you go to bed.

While food, drinks and supplements may help, there’s no substitute for a regular sleep schedule. If you don’t go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, it makes it much harder to sleep when you need to because your body isn’t properly trained. Try to set a schedule and stick to it if possible, weekdays and weekends. This will let your body know when the best time to sleep is. You’ll not only fall asleep faster, you will also get a more restful night’s sleep and be more refreshed in the morning.