Do sleeping aids work and should I be using them?
What are sleeping aids?
Your doctor may recommend that you take a sleep aid to help you to fall asleep, sleep longer during the night and/or wake up less frequently.
There are many types of natural sleeping aids as well as herbal remedies to try. Read on to discover how sleeping aids can work for you.
Why do people use sleeping aids?
Sleeping aids are used by those who have trouble with sleep. There are several reasons someone might not be getting the right amount of sleep, including insomnia, mood swings, hunger and anxiety. Even the glow from your alarm clock could be keeping you away from the land of nod.
What are the best natural sleeping aids?
Before heading to the shops for sleeping tablets, try some natural sleep remedies.
1. Sleep app
One good thing to try is an app that monitors your sleep and wakes you up during the shallowest part of your sleep. Sleep Cycle is like an intelligent alarm clock that uses the iPhone’s built-in motion tracker to monitor your body’s movements while you sleep. Place your phone under your sheets and the app will wake you up when you start to stir during a pre-determined time-frame.
2. Light alarm clocks
These devices promise a non-jarring wake-up experience. Before your alarm is due to ring, the device emits warm-coloured lights which change to slowly stimulate your body to get up. You can also get these clocks with natural sounds such as waves, to complete the waking-up experience.
3. Lighten up your life
During winter, the lack of light tells your body to stop making melatonin – a hormone which helps control your sleep and wake cycles. As a result, you can experience mood changes or be zapped of energy. Foods like strawberries, tomatoes and olives contain melatonin, which your body can absorb to help you feel sleepier. You can also buy melatonin supplements. however, some people have found they cause grogginess during waking hours.
Herbal sleeping aids
Valerian is a herbal remedy used to aid sleep and as a temporary measure to relieve stress. Studies suggest that Valerian can help with insomnia and give you a better quality of sleep. Valerian may cause side effects including headaches, upset stomach or rapid heartbeat. It is not recommended for children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine that can be used to induce sleep. It can reduce alertness and promote the first drowsy stage of sleep. Side effects can include dizziness and disturbed co-ordination.
Tips to get a good night’s sleep
There’s nothing worse than waking up and feeling like you haven’t slept. To help you battle those blues, you can make some small lifestyle changes. Try some of our top tips over the next few weeks:
- Daily exercise – 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity such as running or swimming will help you feel more tired when it is time for bed
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine – take a bath and listen to soft music to help cause drowsiness.
- Avoid clock-watching – this will only make you stress out about how little time you have been asleep or awake.
- Make sure you have a comfortable mattress, as well as adequate bedding for the season.
For more help on finding the perfect mattress for a restful night sleep, contact our team of experts.