Sleep Aid

There are many different reasons why people have trouble sleeping, including depression, anxiety and stress. As many as one in three people experience mild insomnia and this itself can be associated with a higher risk of developing conditions such as obesity, diabetes, depression, stroke and heart attack. Lack of sleep also affects alertness and the ability to concentrate.

It can make it more difficult to carry out simple tasks and impairs short term memory. You may be more likely to be involved in an accident if you are seriously sleep deprived.

Although some people need less sleep than others, according to the National Sleep Foundation most people should sleep for eight hours a night. Not only how long you sleep, but also how well you sleep is important and you should aim for a restful and uninterrupted night.

Over the counter sleep aids mainly rely on antihistamines to make you feel drowsy and fall asleep more easily. They can be very effective for a few nights at a time, but it is not advisable to rely on them routinely over a long period as they can become less effective over time.

You should check with your doctor before taking antihistamines if you have chest problems such as asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema. You should also check their suitability if you have an enlarged prostate that causes difficulty urinating and if you suffer from glaucoma.

These preparations may not be suitable for anyone taking other drugs, the elderly and pregnant or breast-feeding women. If you have chronic insomnia it is probably preferable to look at lifestyle changes rather than prescribed or non-prescribed sleep aids to promote good sleeping habits.

Following a regular sleeping schedule, avoiding naps in the daytime, cutting out caffeine, exercising regularly and trying to reduce stress can all help with a good night’s sleep.

Sleep aids are available with varying active ingredients, depending on the primary cause of sleeplessness and insomnia.

Sleep aids such as Kirkland Sleep Aid tablets and Tylenol Simply Sleep, rely on antihistamine medication, which causes drowsiness and therefore helps you to fall asleep more easily.

These antihistamines include doxylamine succinate or Diphenhydramine. These medications are anti-allergy and should not, therefore, be taken alongside other anti-allergy medications.

Some sleeping aids, such as Tylenol PM and Berkley Jensen extra strength, rely on a combination of medications in order to aid sleep.

These include a pain reliever element called acetaminophen, which relieves symptoms of pain and discomfort that could be the root cause of insomnia.

In addition, they contain an antihistamine such as doxylamine or diphenhydramine, which causes drowsiness.

These are suitable for people who may be suffering from either short-term or chronic health conditions where pain is the main issue affecting sleep. The dual effect of combatting pain and causing drowsiness can be effective in treating insomnia.

Where anxiety is the primary cause of insomnia, the most effective sleeping aids may be a melatonin supplement such as Puritan’s Pride.

Levels of melatonin naturally peak at around 2 hours before bedtime. We can help to reprogramme and readjust our sleep-wake cycle where necessary (such as during periods of insomnia or jetlag) by taking a melatonin supplement 2 hours before bed. During the day, our melatonin levels fall, signalling that we are awake and active.

When darkness falls, our levels of melatonin increase and help us to sleep.

A supplement can ensure that our levels are raised, providing an ideal resting hormonal state. Melatonin may also be effective in regulating and lowering blood pressure and contributing to feelings of calm and relaxation.

These supplements are available in various strengths from 1mg, 3mg, 5mg to 10mg, or as a super snooze supplement, which contains melatonin and all-natural sleep-inducing extracts such as valerian root and chamomile.

These natural herbs are renowned for their calming and sedative effect, thereby reducing feelings of stress and anxiety.

Many studies suggest that melatonin supplements may be particularly useful in those suffering from pre-operative anxiety, immediately before having surgical procedures.

Sleep aids are an ideal way to restore a healthy pattern of sleep and are intended for short-term use only.

Many people find that once the pattern of insomnia is broken and their circadian rhythm is reset and restored, they do not need to rely on for longer-term use. It is recommended that sleep aids should only be used for a maximum of 2 weeks at a time.

We can also aid our own sleep-wake schedule by taking steps to promote restful sleep and wind-down time in the evening.

We need to avoid caffeine and other stimulants before bed, take regular exercise, limit screen time before rest, and ensure that we regulate melatonin levels naturally during the day through exposure to natural light.