A good night's sleep is important for good physical and mental health. There is evidence that suggests a lack of sleep and poor sleep may be associated with an increased risk for health problems. These include heart disease and type 2 diabetes. There may also be an increased risk for colds and flu. Unfortunately, stress, worry and even too much caffeine can make it hard to get the restful sleep your body needs. When sleep is hard to come by, there are some products that may be able to help.
There are sleep aids that are formulated with antihistamines to help you relax and unwind at bedtime. They may work well for occasional insomnia, but talk to your doctor before using them. There are side effects associated with these medications and it is common for people to develop a tolerance. If you have certain medical problems like asthma, lung disease, glaucoma or problems with urinary retention, antihistamines may not be appropriate for you. These sleep aids come in a variety of easy-to-take forms including tablets, gel caps and chewable tablets.
What is Melatonin and How Does it Work?
Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by your body. Some, but not all, research shows melatonin can help you fall asleep faster and help you stay asleep longer. Melatonin supplements may work best if you have trouble falling asleep because you do shift work that keeps you on an unregulated schedule, or when you're traveling to a different time zone and experience jet lag. Since melatonin is a substance your body produces naturally, it's generally considered safe, but talk to your doctor before using it.
Herbs for Sleep
Valerian root is an herb. Some research shows valerian may improve sleep quality and make it easier to fall asleep. This plant-based supplement seems to have a calming effect that promotes sleep. It's available as a standalone supplement and as an ingredient in some natural sleep formulations. In sleep formulations, it may be combined with other "relaxing" herbs including lemon balm, passion flower and hops. Supplements formulated with valerian root appear to be safe when used short-term. However, consult your doctor before taking any supplement or natural remedy. More research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of these products and some supplements may cause side effects or an unwanted drug interaction with other medications or supplements you may already be taking.
Frequent snoring can reduce the quality of your sleep and make you feel tired the next day. Snoring has a variety of causes. It can be a sign of sleep apnea in some cases. Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition where you stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep. Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea but it's important to be aware of the possibility. See your doctor if you snore frequently to determine the cause.
If nasal congestion is causing you to snore, nasal strips may help to open up your nostrils so air can flow more easily. This may reduce snoring and improve the quality of your sleep. Nighttime nasal strips are a drug-free approach to help you breathe more easily at night. They're generally considered safe for adults and children over the age of five. Some nasal strips contain latex, something to consider if you have a latex allergy.
Enjoy More Relaxing Sleep
Which sleep aid is right for you? If you feel your sleep problem is serious enough to treat you should see your doctor so he or she can help you understand the cause and treat it appropriately. Your doctor can give you guidance and help you make the best choice. Chronic insomnia may require prescription medication.