How to sleep well without pills?

Falling asleep — and staying asleep — gets tough as you age.

At 65, you have less melatonin than a newborn. Your body’s production of the sleep hormone just dries up.

I usually sleep fine. Regular exercise helps. But when I’m having trouble, I follow Dr. Sears’s advice. He says to take a melatonin supplement. But not a pill. You get only about 1 percent of the dose on the label because your stomach acid destroys the rest.

Instead, you should take liquid melatonin in spray form. This way, it can be absorbed by your mouth’s blood vessels.

Never take prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids. Aside from the risk of addiction and serious side effects, they don’t even work. A recent National Institutes of Health study found that sleeping pills only give you an average of 11 more minutes of sleep a night. And do you really want to feel “foggy” the whole next day?

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