Lack of sleep can have terrible effects on your overall health and wellbeing. Whether you have insomnia or you just can’t sleep well, there are some nights when you feel you just have to take something to help you sleep. But, what can you take that’s safe and effective?
When it comes to sleep aids, you do have a lot of options. There are over the counter and prescription drugs that can all help you sleep, natural supplements, and herbal remedies that have all shown useful results. So, what is best for you to take to help you sleep?
What Sleep Aids Can I Take?
As far as prescription and over the counter drugs are concerned there are a few main types of sleep aiding drugs. Be warned: these can have a lot of side effects and are only intended to be used for very short periods of time when you can’t sleep. If used in a long term manner, sleep aid drugs might cause your body to become dependent.
With that warning being known, there are still some benefits you can get from sleep aid drugs. These are the main types available:
Examples of this type include Nytol, Sominex, Sleepinal, and Compoz. These are over the counter medications.
Examples include Unisom and Nighttime Sleep Aid. These are also over the counter medications.
Examples of antihistamine medications include Nyquil, Tylenol PM, and Aspirin-Free Anacin PM. These usually mix antihistamines with something else to induce a sleep state. They are over the counter medications.
These are sedative-based sleeping pills that have been used for the longest amount of time. They can sometimes help you to treat insomnia. This is a prescription drug only.
- Melatonin Receptors
Melatonin is the sleep inducing hormone your body naturally produces. These prescription drugs can amplify your Melatonin levels to make you fall asleep, although they won’t help you stay asleep.
Though not a traditional sleep aid, some doctors prescribe antidepressants to aid in sleeping.
DISCLAIMER: ALWAYS TALK WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING ANY SLEEP AID DRUGS. These drugs can have serious side effects if you mix them with other substances and may react differently for every person.
Are There Any Dietary Supplements That Will Help Me Sleep?
Rather than taking sleep aiding drugs, you can add some natural and herbal supplements to your diet to help you fall asleep. These also can have side effects, but they are usually more mild and less dangerous than the side effects of sleep aiding drugs.
Here are some of the most commonly used sleep aid supplements and herbal supplements:
This herb is used as a mild sedative and can help you fall asleep more easily.
Used in lower doses in its naturally occurring form, Melatonin supplements can also be helpful for falling asleep.
This herbal can have a calming effect on the body that will help you feel more relaxed and ready for sleep.
Though this herb isn’t as well proven as a sleep aid, it has shown some positive signs of helping you fall asleep by activating the sleep hormones in your body.
Kava is only effective for stress-related sleep loss. It’s not a safe herb to use long term and you should talk to a doctor about the risks and benefits before considering its use.
- Holy Basin
This herbal supplement isn’t for those who have trouble falling asleep, but more for those who often wake up in the middle of the night. It’s said to help you stay asleep until the proper times in the morning.
- Magnesium and Calcium
When these two natural nutrients are combined they can be a strong sleep aid for you. Don’t take them separately, but make sure you are combining them at the right doses for the best effect.
Hops have a calming effect on your body. Eating hops or taking hop supplements before bed may help you to sleep better.
DISCLAIMER: NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS ARE NOT ALWAYS SAFE ALTERNATIVES. Just because something is natural you shouldn’t assume it’s safe for you to take. Always check with a physician before adding a sleep aid supplement to your diet.
Are Sleeps Aids Safe to Take Consistently?
Most natural supplements can be taken in the long term, as they are usually relatively low doses of whatever is helping you to sleep. This all depends on the rest of your diet, your overall health, and how effective they are. If something you’re taking isn’t helping you sleep, don’t continue using it. If you are experiencing any negative side effects, stop using the supplement and contact a doctor.
Sleep aid drugs can have more serious side effects. The most common is a dependency disorder where your body relies on the sleep drug to make you fall asleep and is unable to sleep normally. There can also be dangerous side effects for sleep aiding drugs taken long term.
Consult a doctor before changing anything in your diet, as a problem sleeping might also indicate a larger problem within your body that you should be treating instead.
How Can I Improve My Sleep Without Sleep Aids?
If you don’t want to take a sleep aid pill or supplement, you can do other things to improve your sleep.
Here are a few ways to help improve your sleep without sleep aids:
Losing sleep and not being able to sleep are absolutely awful! It’s easy to see why you would want to some help falling asleep. It’s not bad to look for some help every once in a while, but if you have continued problems sleeping it might be a good idea to check with a doctor to make sure there isn’t some other underlying problem that needs to be treated.
What do you use to help you sleep? Have you tried any of these methods before? Let me know your experience with sleep aids in the comments below!