Are you having trouble sleeping? If so, you’re not alone. According to the CDC, 14.5% of adults faced challenges falling asleep for most days in the past 30 days in 2020. Moreover, some people even face problems sleeping every day. Fortunately, there are many safe and effective ways to treat insomnia. This article lists some sleep aids you can rely on to cure insomnia and have a good night’s sleep.
Dietary supplements are a popular option for people looking to help themselves sleep. Among the most commonly used supplements are melatonin and valerian root, found in most health food stores.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by your body, but some people may have low levels of melatonin production, resulting in trouble sleeping. A recent study indicates that melatonin increases total sleep time compared to a placebo. Valerian root works as a sedative and has been used by many cultures throughout history to help induce sleep.
Some herbs can be taken as dietary supplements to promote restfulness. Kava, a type of pepper, has been shown to reduce anxiety while promoting relaxation before bedtime. L-tryptophan has also been used successfully to get good sleep because it helps create serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for positive moods like happiness and relaxation.
Cannabis, aka marijuana, is a natural sleep aid that can help you fall asleep. It contains two chemicals that affect the brain and make you sleepy, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC decreases your body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol, while CBD increases activity in the adenosine receptors in your brain’s basal ganglia region. This causes a calming effect. Hence, CBD, THC, and sleep are closely associated. The combination of these two chemicals can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Many studies have concluded the same. A randomized trial concluded that the administration of cannabis extract improves insomnia symptoms and sleep quality in individuals with chronic insomnia symptoms.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is a type of psychotherapy that aims to help people understand and change their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to sleep.
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is a set of structured sleep therapy techniques. CBT-I can teach you how to think positively about sleep. As such, it has been shown effective in treating both short-term and long-term cases of insomnia.
Technological advancement has further made CBT therapy access easier for patients. Since the advent of telemedicine, patients can get CBT remotely from anywhere in the world. This is beneficial, especially for people living in remote areas. The good thing is that CBT for insomnia taken via telemedicine is not inferior to that taken in person.
Meditation is probably the most popular relaxation technique around. It can be performed in various ways, from traditional meditation to guided audio meditations that are free online.
Meditation helps people relax and focus on their breathing, which in turn helps them reduce stress levels. When you’re less stressed, it’s easier to fall asleep at night. Many studies concluded the effect of medication on sleeping patterns. Meditation can help to improve sleep among people with chronic insomnia. It can facilitate the cessation of sedative hypnotics in individuals with chronic insomnia.
Chamomile tea is one of the most popular herbal supplements used to treat insomnia, and with good reason. It has a calming effect on your body and mind, which can help you relax enough to drift off into sleep.
It is believed that chamomile tea helps people fall asleep because of its sedative properties. The active ingredient in chamomile is apigenin, which has been found to have an anti-anxiety effect on some people. You get a natural sedative when you add this plant’s mild sedative properties and anti-anxiety effects.
You can make sweet or unsweetened tea from dried or fresh blooms and leaves of chamomiles (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomiles (Chamaemelum Nobile).
Benzodiazepines increase the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which helps to calm your brain and body down after an eventful day. Some benzodiazepines are also known as sedatives because they have a calming effect on people.
It’s important to note that long-term use of benzodiazepines can cause dependence or addiction, so it’s essential not to take them for more than four weeks at most. You may find yourself having trouble sleeping without them over time if you do decide to take them regularly.
These medications’ most common side effects include dizziness, tiredness, and confusion. They could also cause memory loss if taken frequently over a long period. Hence, you must be careful with what you tell yourself while taking these drugs.
Besides insomnia, benzodiazepines are also used for anxiety. In fact, a recent study shows that benzodiazepines are helpful for people suffering from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Similarly, there are many other medical conditions and states of mind when these tranquilizers can prove beneficial.
Non-benzodiazepines are a class of drugs used to treat insomnia and anxiety. While non-benzodiazepines can be habit-forming, the risk for this is less than benzodiazepines. This means that if you take a non-benzodiazepine to help with sleep, there’s less chance that you will become dependent on it or experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop taking it.
Non-benzodiazepines may cause severe withdrawal symptoms if stopped suddenly, which means you cannot take them as needed during the day for short periods. You must only take them at night as part of ongoing treatment for insomnia or anxiety.
Non-benzodiazepines can cause memory loss; this is why they should never be taken unless necessary because they may interfere with your ability to learn new information while under their influence.
Orexin Receptor Antagonists
Orexin receptors are located in brain areas that control appetite, arousal, and wakefulness. Orexin receptor antagonists interact with these receptors to reduce day-to-day sleepiness, improve concentration, and increase energy levels.
They treat narcolepsy and other sleep disorders related to a lack of orexins in the brain. They work by increasing your sleep time without changing your REM sleep patterns. These medications also reduce daytime fatigue caused by lack of sleep at night.
Orexin receptor antagonists have side effects like nausea, vomiting, depression, or anxiety due to reduced daytime alertness. However, they’re generally well tolerated if taken as recommended daily for short periods only (no more than two weeks).
So, now you know about the top 10 sleep aids. If you have trouble sleeping at night, choose one of these and see if it helps. Maybe one of them will work for you. Whatever happens, don’t give up. Keep trying new things until you find what works for your body and mind.