Did you know that between 10 and 30 % of adults in the United States suffer from sleeping problems? What is insomnia? Insomnia is the non-ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. That can have severe consequences for your physical and mental health. How? Well, if you suffer from sleep deprivation, your body does not get the chance to rest and recuperate. Likewise, being tired during the day can cause sleepiness, slow thinking, and other impairments that do not allow you to function to your full potential.
To deal with insomnia, many folks will turn to take sleeping aids.
Which Are the Best Sleeping Aids for You?
If you are having difficulty falling or staying asleep, you may be considering some sleeping aids.
There are three types of sleeping aids: over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications, and dietary supplements. All these sleeping aids have their pros and cons. You need to research treatment options and talk to your doctor for a personalized sleeping treatment.
Over-the-counter drugs are medications that can be bought without a doctor’s prescription. These tablets must still meet FDA review standards, although not as strictly as prescription sleep aids.
Most over-the-counter sleep aids contain antihistamines. Antihistamines are the most common medication to treat allergies. But, because of their sedative effect, they are used as sleeping tablets.
Some antihistamine sleep tablets have added ingredients to help with fever, congestion, and coughs. When these ingredients are added, they are specified to be taken at night as they cause drowsiness.
Prescription drugs have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has strict rules and regulations before a prescription drug is made safe for selling. Once the drug is approved, a doctor has to give you a prescription before consumption.
Based on their chemical composition, different classes of drugs cause different levels of sleepiness. For sleeping disorders, here are some drugs approved by the FDA:
- Z Drugs cause a slowing down in brain activity that causes the brain to relax.
- Orexin receptor antagonists. Orexin is a chemical in the brain that makes you alert. This medication diminishes the production of orexin.
- Benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are like Z drugs.
- Melatonin receptor agonists. This medication promotes sleep by increasing the hormone melatonin in the body.
- This medication was first for the treatment of depression but, were later found to have a sedative effect.
- Doctors will assess what is causing your sleep deprivation and treat you accordingly.
Vitamin Supplements to Help You Sleep
The sunshine vitamin! Studies have shown that a lack of vitamin D affects sleep patterns.
While sunshine is the primary source of our vitamin D intake, you can supplement it with dietary food such as oily fish, eggs, and fortified foods.
A study has shown that being deficient in iron can cause restless leg syndrome. That is when people move their legs continuously when they go to bed. Of course, this will make you nervous and make it hard for you to fall asleep. Iron deficient women tend to be affected more often than men.
Foods rich in iron are liver, dark chocolate, meat, beans, grains, and dark leafy greens. Alternatively, you can take iron tablets.
Magnesium is known for the relief it gives for sleeping disorders. It helps release stress and makes you relax. That prepares your body for sleep by relaxing it.
Foods that contain magnesium are dark leafy greens, seeds, fish, and nuts that help decrease the production of the stress hormone cortisol.
Our bodies naturally produce a hormone called melatonin. It clocks the routine of sleeping and waking cycles of the body. Light helps the production of melatonin. That is why we have higher levels of melatonin in the evenings. These levels drop in the early hours of the morning. There are tiny amounts of melatonin found in grains, fruit, vegetables, and meat.