You know there are times when you just can’t get enough sleep. You lie in bed for hours, tossing and turning, and then you watch the clock slowly tick away the minutes until dawn. No matter how many different positions you try, nothing works.
So, what do you do when insomnia strikes? You can take sleep medication or some natural sleep aid. But what’s the science behind these remedies? How do they work? Will they help you fall asleep faster?
Here’s what you need to learn about some of the most common ways people use to get better shut-eye:
Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early. It can be caused by stress and anxiety, medical conditions or medication, lifestyle factors such as shift work and jet lag, or a combination.
The best way to treat insomnia is to figure out what’s causing it first and then work on addressing those things directly. Once this has been done successfully for several weeks, consider exploring options for sleeping aids. However, aim to do so without relying on medications alone.
Prescription Sleep Medications as a Sleep Aid
Prescription sleep medications are a good option for short-term use. In 2020, 8.4% of adults used sleep medication daily or on most days. However, they can cause side effects and should be used under the supervision of your doctor. If you have insomnia that lasts longer than two weeks, it’s important to investigate the cause. In such cases, prescription sleep medication may not be necessary.
If you decide to try out prescription sleep aids as a solution, try not to take them more than once every few weeks. This can lead to dependency issues. If you need help falling asleep regularly, talk with a doctor about other options.
Supplements for Better Sleep
Sleep supplements help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling refreshed. They’re often made of natural ingredients that are safe for most people. Supplements increase melatonin production in your brain, which regulates your circadian rhythm and helps regulate other hormones related to sleep quality.
Most supplements contain either melatonin or 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), a chemical found naturally in plants like bananas and papayas. Both have been shown to improve sleep quality at night before bedtime. However, melatonin is the most preferred option by the users.
Many Americans have turned to melatonin for better sleep. Hence, its sales figures were $820,885,850 in 2020. That’s because melatonin is one of the best supplements that can help promote better sleep. Moreover, it has no significant side effects, making it a better option than prescribed medicines.
There are also several other supplements you can use to improve sleep quality. According to Mattress Verdict, theanine, magnesium, and valerian are excellent supplements for better sleep. However, your body naturally secretes the hormones required for sleep. Hence, practicing some lifestyle changes for sleeping before taking any supplements is vital.
Natural and Alternative Remedies for Sleep Aids
Sleep aids are a great way to help you get the rest you need to function optimally during the day. Finding the right product for you can be challenging, but many options exist.
Chamomile tea, for example, has been shown to reduce anxiety before bedtime and improve overall sleep quality. Other herbs like valerian root have also been shown in studies done on mice models and humans who suffer from insomnia. Several studies have shown that sleep improves if one takes valerian in quantities ranging from 160 to 600 mg daily.
Choosing the Right Sleep Aid
Sleep aids come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s essential to research before choosing one. Here are some things to consider:
- Consult with your doctor before taking any sleep aid. Make sure the sleep aid is safe to take and effective at helping you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
- Be aware of potential side effects that can arise from certain sleep medications. Almost 8 out of 10 people experience a hangover effect. Try a lower dose first to gauge its effectiveness without feeling overly tired during daytime hours. If this does happen, you might want to consider switching to another option that doesn’t contain those ingredients.
- Consider how much money you spend on self-care items like moisturizers or face creams. Many people find that these cost much less than some medications prescribed by doctors, which often run hundreds per month.
The Science Behind Sleep Aids
Sleep aids are medications and natural remedies that help you fall asleep. They’re often combined with other insomnia treatments, like cognitive behavioral therapy or relaxation techniques.
There are many types of sleep aids, prescription medications, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, herbal remedies, and supplements. Even certain foods can act as sleep aids if they contain melatonin. Some people prefer to use one type of treatment, while others find that combining several methods works best for them.
Lifestyle Factors and Sleep
Many lifestyle factors can affect how well you sleep. Some of these include:
- Exercise. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to improve sleep quality and reduce stress. This, in turn, will help you get more restful rest at night. Even if you’re not an athlete or don’t have time for an entire workout routine, keep active throughout the day. You can do this by taking walks or doing light stretching at home.
- Diet. Foods high in sugar and caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep at night because they energize the body. You may find yourself tossing and turning instead of sleeping peacefully. If possible, avoid foods like chocolate bars before bedtime. Instead, opt for something like yogurt with fruit or oatmeal with nuts. Ensure that this is part of a balanced diet with plenty of protein-rich foods such as eggs or fish.
Sleep can be a frustrating problem for many people. Sleep is essential to our overall well-being. The pursuit of effective sleep aid solutions is a testament to our dedication to leading healthier, more fulfilling lives.
It’s important to understand that there are many different types of sleep aids available, and each one will work differently for each person. The key is finding what works best for you and sticking with it.
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