Natural sleep aids –What is safe and what is not?
Sleepless nights can leave you cranky, lethargic, and feeling out of sorts in the morning. When those wide-awake nights start happening more and more frequent, the idea of taking natural sleep aid may seem like a reasonable way to cope. But while these natural sleeping aids often promote safe, effective ways to treat insomnia, they may not be the best choice for everyone. Talking to your doctor before taking any natural sleep aids is a must for these four reasons.
Natural sleep aids – consider these main factors before you take natural sleeping aids
- Natural sleep aids are unregulated – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements such as natural sleep aids which include natural sleeping aids such as Valerian and Melatonin for safety, quality, effectiveness, or truth in marketing claims.
- They are not OK for everyone – it is a misconception that because natural sleep aids are labeled as natural, they are safe for everyone to take. Certain groups of people need to be cautious. For example, Melatonin may have an effect on an adolescent’s developing reproductive, cardiovascular, immune, and metabolic systems. Women who are pregnant or trying to be pregnant should avoid melatonin because there have been no long-term studies on its effect on mothers and developing fetus.
- Natural sleep aids don’t cure insomnia – Sleeplessness is sometimes a short-term problem with an identifiable cause, such as jet lag or physical injury that is keeping you awake. In those cases, your doctor may feel a natural sleep aids is worth a try. However, for those suffering from long-term sleep problems, it is important to get to the root of the situation.
Natural sleep aids – Try these home remedies first
Disturbed sleep is more than an inconvenience that leaves you dragging the next day, it can affect your emotional and physical health. It negatively affects your memory. Concentration, and mood. It also boosts risks for depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Here are 5 tips to try at home before you pop those sleeping pills.
Natural sleep aids tip #1
Drink lots of fluid which can be milk, chamomile tea, and tart tea, however, avoid caffeine late in the afternoon, as well as other sugary drinks.
Warm milk has long been associated with chemicals that stimulate the effects of tryptophan on the brain. This is a chemical building block for the substance serotonin, which is involved in the sleep-wake transition.
Chamomile tea can also be helpful, it is believed to have flavonoids that may interact with benzodiazepine receptors in the brain that are also involved with the sleep-wake transition. Below is the list of a trusted brand that offers Chamomile in tea form and supplements.
Chamomile Whole Flowers for Tea, Baking, Crafts, Sachets, Baths, Yoni Steam, Oil Infusions, Tinctures - 4oz in...
Natural sleep aids tip #2
Exercise is the best remedy for sleepless nights, however, this should be done at least 5 hours before sleep. Physical activity can improve sleep, though researchers aren’t completely sure why. It is known that moderate aerobic exercise boosts the amount of nourishing slow-wave sleep you get.
Yoga is one of the most effective ways to calm down and relax your mind and body before bedtime, listing to sleep music while doing yoga is also very effective.
However, physical exercise should be done at the right time, exercise releases endorphins, chemicals that keep people awake or energized. It can also raise body core temperature, this spike signals the body that it is time to get up and get going. If you are having trouble sleeping, try to avoid within 2 hours of exercise before bedtime.
Below are lists of sleep music and yoga books and dvd you can try.
101 Healing Sleep Songs with Sounds of Nature: 101 Healing Sleeping Songs to Help You Relax, Sleep and Meditate. New...
Sleep Music Relaxation Binaural Beats and Lullabies: Delta Waves and Theta Binaural Beats to Help you Relax and...
Natural sleep aids tip #3
Use natural sleep aids supplements such as melatonin, melatonin is a hormone that is naturally released in the brain four hours before we feel a sense of sleepiness. It is triggered by the body’s response to reduced light exposure, which should naturally happen at night.
These days with all the gadgets at our reach, you can get blue light from your phone, laptop or TV. This exposure to unnatural light prevents Melatonin release, which can make it hard to fall asleep. Luckily, melatonin is available in pill form at your local pharmacy as an OTC supplement.
However, you need to make sure that you consistently buy the same brand. Melatonin sleep supplements are unregulated by the FDA, the per-pill dosages and ingredients may differ from the manufacturer. Stick to one brand, and don’t buy from unknown sources.
Here is a list of trusted brands that offer Melatonin
Natrol Melatonin Fast Dissolve Tablets, Helps You Fall Asleep Faster, Stay Asleep Longer, Easy to Take, Dissolves in...
Natural sleep aids tip #4
Check your room temperature the ideal temperature for your thermostat is between 65 and 75 degrees F. Women who are going through menopause and experiencing hot flashes should keep the room as cools as possible and wear cotton or breathable fabrics to bed.
Fortunately, we live in a world where smart devices are more attainable and accessible to everyone. Getting a smart mattress with temperature control would be a great idea, to make sure that your bed has the right temperature all through the night.
Eight Sleep Tracker, Smart Mattress Cover for Sleep Monitoring, Temperature Control & Alexa Integration, Fits Any...
Sweetnight Queen Mattress in a Box - 12 Inch Plush Pillow Top Hybrid Mattress, Gel Memory Foam for Sleep Cool, Motion...
Natural sleep aids tip #5
Make sure that your room has the right darkness, if you don’t like to have a pitch dark room, you can choose to purchase a night light with the right amount of light. It is also known the light from a smartphone interferes with sleep. But watch about bathroom light? If you have the urge to go at night, don’t flick on the lights. The latest recommendation is to use either a flashlight or night light, because it offers less visual disruption, and remember if you do wake up for a bathroom break, it might take up to 30 minutes to drift back off. This is completely normal. Keep a night light for these mid-night breaks.
Here is a list of available night light in the market
GE Plug-in LED Night, 2 Pack, Automatic, Light Sensing, Auto On/Off, Soft White, Energy Efficient, Ideal for...
Night Light, UNIFUN Touch Lamp for Bedrooms Living Room Portable Table Bedside Lamps with Rechargeable Internal...
Natural sleep aids – Practice good sleep hygiene
The rituals, behaviors, and norms you follow around sleep are referred to as sleep hygiene. Regularly pulling all-nighters, or sleeping in on the weekends so you can make up for lost sleep are both examples of poor sleep hygiene. While natural sleep aids may help for a while, it is important to check your sleep hygiene as well. Following regular sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine late at night are good sleep hygiene practices.
Keep your sleep and wake times consistent throughout the week, even on weekends. Otherwise, you will find yourself experiencing an uncomfortable rebound effect. Natural sleep aids like Melatonin should be a short-term solution to help you regulate back to your natural sleep routine.