Sleep has become very precious to many. Unfortunately, most individuals do not get enough ZZZs nightly, and this, in turn, can cause a number of unhealthy conditions to develop over time. Everywhere you look, there are sleep aids to help you get a good night’s rest, but do they all work and are any of them dangerous for the body? Sleep experts have some sound advice on what you can choose.
The human body naturally makes melatonin, a hormone that is in charge of your sleep patterns. However, as people age, their levels of melatonin can diminish due to a variety of circumstances. For example, those who have prolonged use of blue-light devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones before bedtime can see a negative impact on circadian rhythms, melatonin secretion and sleep.
Melatonin supplements are made in a lab and have been known to be helpful in getting folks their ZZZs. The pill or capsule allows you to fall asleep quicker, and you’re less likely to wake up during the night.
A note of caution, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate melatonin, so you cannot always be assured of what amount you’re getting in a supplement. A 2017 study makes you wonder about melatonin’s safety.
Another sleep aid that some people find helpful is light therapy. It’s not considered a cure for insomnia, but it has been shown to help you reset your body’s natural clock or circadian rhythm.
The treatment involves sitting at home in front of a special lightbox or visor, which is designed specifically for light therapy, for about 20 to 40-minute daily sessions. It appears to be a convenient therapy because while you’re sitting in front of the lightbox, you can also cook, work on your computer, write, read, talk on the phone, etc. The lightboxes come in all sizes and shapes, such as floor lamps, wearable visors and more.
This method doesn’t work for everyone and can sometimes cause eye strain, nausea, headaches, etc.
Here’s a modern solution that doesn’t involve pills and is engineered to promote your natural sleep patterns. A sleep monitoring device has unique technology behind it and has revolutionized the way that individuals can fall asleep safely and non-invasively.
The sleep tracker has been designed to promote relaxation and facilitate sleep management, and you wear a sleep lab on your wrist. That way, you can measure, analyze and keep track of your sleep quality wherever you may be.
The system collects your sleeping data and analyzes it, and delivers the ideal magnetic frequencies to reach delta sleep or deep sleep.
Prescription Sleeping Pills
Your doctor can give you a medical evaluation and help you find the right prescription sleeping pill for your needs. There are a variety of pills available that can assist you in falling asleep and staying asleep, but some of these come with a risk of dependency and possible unwanted side effects.
Some of the popular sleeping pill brands include Ambien, Sonata, Halcion, Lunesta and Belsomra.
You can also find plenty of non-prescription sleep aids at the drugstore that involve popping a pill or capsule filled with diphenhydramine, a sedating antihistamine. One of the well-known brands is Benadryl, which is generally taken for relief from hay fever, allergies and the common cold. Those over age 65 are advised to avoid Benadryl because it raises the risk of dementia.
Unisom or doxylamine is also a sedating antihistamine and works similarly to diphenhydramine.
There is also the herb known as valerian root. It has a distinct, sharp smell that some people find off-putting, but the supplement in pill form can reduce anxiety and usher in a good night of quality sleep.
Some report that it’s hard to get off valerian root pills if you’ve been a longtime user. The advice here is to lower your dose gradually rather than stopping it all at once.
Most folks aren’t getting adequate sleep these days. The good news is there are excellent options for sleep aids. Look over the expert list above, and here’s to a good night!