While there are many kinds of sleep aids available, finding the right solution that matches your lifestyle is worth investing in.
Sleeping pills can be sufficient for those who suffer from chronic or severe sleep issues. But for the lasting side effects and risk of growing a dependence on the medication, this is not always the first option to consider.
There are dozens of alternatives available before deciding to consult with your physician about taking medication. Here are our top five sleep aid choices that we’ve found to be both efficient and easy to incorporate into a healthy lifestyle.
This naturally occurring hormone is produced in your brain’s pineal gland and regulates your sleep-wake cycle. Your body’s melatonin production is closely tied to light exposure- during the day, melatonin production is suppressed, while it peaks in the evenings, thereby onsetting sleep. Melatonin plays other important roles, including regulating your circadian rhythm in your body.
Melatonin supplements are a natural and drug-free option that’s used by many because of its wide availability, safety, and easy use. Melatonin supplements are common and there are hundreds of varieties you can browse, ranging from oral supplements, diffusers, lotions, and even nasal options. Ascent Instant Sleep nasal spray melatonin is one such supplement that's quick-acting, effective, and easy to use.
Melatonin supplements are safe for most healthy adults, but it’s still recommended to use it responsibly as one would any other supplement or medication.
Start with the lowest dosage first before you adjust to a higher dosage. Melatonin might be taken by children, but it’s not advised to do so unless you speak with your child’s physician.
2. Weighted blankets
Weighted blankets are aptly named; it’s a heavy blanket that’s weighed down so that it puts pressure over points on your body while you sleep. The sensation is intended to have similar benefits as deep pressure stimulation therapy, in which the nervous system relaxes and induces feelings of calm and lessened anxiety, which might help people sleep.
Weighted blankets are an expensive option, but can be used for a very long time. Now they come in various sizes and designs to suit different body types. There’re even cooling variations, for those who want to use it even when it gets too hot to use a blanket at night.
Studies have looked into using weighted blankets for sleep, where the results show some general improvement in sleep quality. While weighted blankets are typically safe and come in various sizes depending on body size and weight, it’s cautioned against people who might be claustrophobic or have respiratory, blood pressure, or circulatory conditions.
Chamomile is a flower that's been used for thousands of years in teas and herbal therapies. Using chamomile has been extensively explored for its potential to promote general health and also for its relaxing properties.
Chamomile can be taken as a hot tea before bedtime, and it doesn’t have any caffeine. Other people use chamomile in essential oils and for aromatherapy, which might have a relaxing effect before bedtime. There are also chamomile capsules that can be consumed as a supplement.
A study found that chamomile also improved sleep quality; another study supported this, finding similar results in women who had just given birth. Research is continuing to support this, in addition to trying to see if chamomile might have a significant therapeutic impact on anxiety and insomnia.
Magnesium has also been included as a helpful sleep aid. Although it can be taken as a supplement, magnesium can be found naturally in foods like pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, chard, fish, and more.
Low levels of magnesium have been correlated to poor sleep quality, and supplementing magnesium has been found to have potential benefits to treating insomnia. In addition, magnesium had a beneficial result in this study to improve sleep when used alongside melatonin and zinc.
5. Healthy sleep hygiene
You can’t buy this one off the shelf, but it might be the easiest to try first. Over pills or special brews, sometimes it's good to go back to the basics of getting good sleep. Not only will practicing good sleep habits help you fall asleep and stay asleep, it will make it easier for you to find out what works and what doesn’t.
Some of our best sleep hygiene tips are:
- Keep your room dark and cool; this study found that people woke up more often when exposed to heat than cold.
- Be in a quiet environment. You might also invest in noise-canceling headphones or earplugs if your environment is naturally loud due to traffic or roommates.
- Don’t use your phone before bed. Blue light exposure tricks your brain into suppressing your body’s melatonin production, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Limit your digital screen exposure as much as possible before bedtime.
- Limit caffeine and other stimulants before bed. Also don’t drink alcohol, as that makes it harder to get restful sleep.
- Do light exercise thirty minutes before bed. If you have extra trouble falling asleep, light exercise can help
Finding the best sleep aid for you
Choosing the best sleep aid for you depends on your lifestyle and your personal needs. Those who have conditions like anxiety that could affect your ability to sleep might require different methods to someone who doesn’t. In addition to speaking with your physician about the best method for your lifestyle, it will be well worth finding out exactly what works for you so that you can get better sleep.
Melatonin supplements like Ascent Instant Sleep start at even lower doses, but maintain their effectiveness due to the way it is absorbed by your body.