Why Is Sleep So Important
We need sleep for our body to recover from the rigours of the day. It is during sleep that our muscles recover from exercise, our hormones are maximally released , and fatigue is banished.
A good nights sleep can help to regulate appetite, helping you while dieting. The process behind this is quite complicated. We have two main hormones that regulate appetite , these are leptin and ghrelin.
Leptin is the hormone that tells your body when you are full so the more leptin you have the easier it will be to feel full after a meal. The less leptin you have, the more food youll need to eat before you feel full. Ghrelin is the opposite of leptin it works by telling your body you are hungry.
A bad nights sleep can increase the levels of ghrelin in your body and reduce the levels of leptin. Leaving you hungrier than usual and making it harder to feel full. As you can imagine, a few bad nights in a row and youre likely to start gaining weight.
Improving your sleep quality can reverse this, ensuring that your leptin and ghrelin levels are properly regulated. Sleep can also help to reduce stress, improve mood, and help you focus and think clearer during the day.
Studies have shown that extended sleep can help athletes to perform better during training and in game situations . Great news if you play a sport, but also useful for anyone who goes to the gym regularly.
The Dangers Of Synthetic Sleeping Pills
Lack of sleep can be hazardous to our health
OK, so you know you have a problem getting a decent nights sleep and you turn to synthetic sleeping pills thats ok, isnt it? Well, actually, you might want to think again.
Thats because studies demonstrate that taking synthetic sleeping pills doesnt give you genuine sleep your brainwaves are different when taking a synthetic pill compared to when youre sleeping normally. Youre effectively just sedated, which means youre not enjoying the benefits that genuine sleep can bring.
Traditional sleeping pills can also leave you groggy, and have been linked to addiction one reason why your GP is unlikely to prescribe them. And, heres the kicker, once you stop taking them, youll likely just revert back to the poor sleeper you already were.
All of which are great reasons to look for something different a natural form of over-the-counter sleeping pill that doesnt cause any of the above.
Can I Take A Sleep Aid Every Night
Sleeping pills can cause side effects, and certain medications, such as antihistamines may not be suitable for long-term use.
A person should work with a doctor to determine what is causing their insomnia before taking sleep medications every night. A doctor will be able to advise on the best and most sustainable way to treat insomnia.
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What Are The Different Types Of Sleep Aids Available Over The Counter
The two main types of sleep aids youll find on the market are sedating antihistamines and melatonin. Sedating antihistamines can be diphenhydramine or doxylamine succinate , Dr. Williams says. If allergies, headaches, or minor pains are disrupting your sleep, diphenhydramine can be helpful. Doxylamine succinate is for people who can’t fall asleep but not because of any other complaints.
Antihistamines work by blocking the action of histamine, a substance associated with allergy symptoms, Dr. Williams says. In addition to clearing up congestion, it also causes drowsiness, hence the reason for it being used as a sleep aid. But there are some unpleasant side effects from using antihistamines on the reg, including headaches, drowsiness, blurred vision, and constipation.
On the other hand, melatonin is considered a more natural option since its a hormone that your body produces naturally. Your bodys melatonin level tends to be at its highest at night and lowest in the morning, Dr. Williams says. Melatonin helps your body know that it’s the time to relax and sleep. It doesnt, therefore, knock you out, like antihistamines. And youre unlikely to become dependent on melatonin, nor are there many side effects.
Who Can And Can’t Take Zolpidem
Zolpidem can be taken by most adults aged 18 and over.
It’s not suitable for some people. To make sure zolpidem is safe for you, tell a doctor if you:
- have had an allergic reaction to zolpidem or any other medicines in the past
- have liver or kidney problems
- have myasthenia gravis, an illness that causes muscle weakness
- have breathing problems or sleep apnoea
- have ever had mental health problems
- have ever had issues with alcohol or drugs
- are trying to get pregnant, already pregnant, or breastfeeding
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Melatonin For Flying Anxiety
When it comes to natural sleep aids, this is usually top of the listand theres a good reason for it Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that the produced in response to darkness.
Studies show that exogenous supplementation might positively affects sleep propensity , duration, quality, and amount of REM sleep . And although melatonin doesnt appear to be particularly effective for improving sleep disorders, it does elicit a beneficial effect for sleep issues caused by jet lag and shift work.
Is It Ok To Take A Sleep Aid Every Night
TBH, its not recommended.
Ideally, sleep aids should be a temporary solution and youd be able to quickly wean yourself off of them and fall asleep flying solo.
According to Anderson, taking sleep medications daily can be problematic, particularly in older people. The bodys ability to process drugs decreases as we age, she explains, which can lead to toxic buildup of medications or unintentional overdoses. Its better to use the medications sparingly and focus on good habits, particularly the older you get.
And if you just need the ritual of taking a sleep aid, try substituting your sleep aid with a warm mug of a calming tea like chamomile or honey lavender.
If youve reached a point where you cant fall asleep without a sleep aid, its time to make an appointment with your healthcare professional so they can help you get to the bottom of it or refer you to a specialist who can.
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Are Sleeping Pills Safe For Children
Some parents give over-the-counter antihistamine medications to children to help them sleep. These medicines arent approved for sleep purposes. Theres a risk of overdosing a child.
Dont give a child supplements like melatonin. Theres no research on their safety in children.
Currently, there are no prescription sleep medicines available for children. Changing a childs sleep behaviors is often the best way to improve sleep.
Safety Precautions When Taking Sleep Aids
- If you have any medical conditions, or take other medication, its a good idea to discuss taking a sleep aid with your doctor.
- Try to only use them for as short a time as possible. If you still have sleep problems after two weeks, speak to a medical professional.
- Side effects can happen, even with mild sleep aids. If you have any new symptoms, consult a medical professional.
- Dont drive or do tasks requiring alertness when you take a sleep aid.
- Dont mix them with alcohol or other substances that can cause drowsiness.
- Consult your doctor first before taking any sleep aid if: youre pregnant, nursing, lactating, under 18 years old, or an older adult .
- They can work less effectively as time goes on. Resist the temptation to increase the dosage or take more in the night. Look for natural ways to tackle your sleep problems instead.
- Dont exceed the recommended dosage.
With those points in mind, lets take a look at the sleep aids that have worked best for me. Please keep in mind that Im talking from my personal experience in this article, so they may have a different effect for you.
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Sleeping Pill #4 Advanced Neuro Night Complex By Nu U Nutrition
Unlike the previous supplement, Advanced Neuro Night Complex by Nu U Nutrition is a multi-ingredient product. Combining some effective ingredients with some more traditional ingredients. For example, there is 5-HTP which is produced from l-tryptophan . This is a precursor to serotonin and will help with sleep.
Weve also got 187.5mg of Magnesium which has been shown to improve sleep quality in people who suffer from bad sleep. There is also l-theanine, an amino acid that has been shown to aid relaxation, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep quality in people who suffer from hyperactivity during sleep . Theanine is a very popular supplement ingredient for its calming properties.
Another good ingredient is Montmorency cherry powder, which as we saw with our favourite product, Performance Lab Sleep, is a natural source of melatonin. Theres only 20mg of Montmorency cherry in Advanced Neuro Night Complex, however, which doesnt compare to the 500mg in Performance Lab Sleep.
There are a couple of other ingredients that arent that exciting and there is chamomile flower powder which may or may not help with sleep.
You get three months supply per pack, and the cost is around £20. So, this is clearly more expensive per serving than the previous product but offers a lot more. Theyve covered a lot of bases.
What Are Ways To Fall Asleep Naturally
A range of practices can help encourage sleep naturally, including:
- Regular exercise: People can engage in physical activity several hours before bedtime to encourage sleep.
- Avoiding stimulants: Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol for several hours before bedtime.
- Sleep schedule: Maintain the same sleep schedule where possible, even on days off, going to sleep and waking up at the same time.
- Sleep environment: Keep the bedroom dark, quiet, and slightly cool to encourage comfortable sleep.
- Avoid screens: People should stop using screens, such as smartphones, TVs, and personal devices, at least 1 hour before bed.
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Types Of Sleep Aids: Otc Vs Natural Vs Prescription Drugs
Sleep aids fall into three main categories: over-the-counter, natural or herbal supplements, and prescription drugs.
- Over-the-counter sleep aids are typically antihistamines. Theyre designed to address short-term sleeplessness, not insomnia. Their side effects are typically mild, such as drowsiness the next day, which is why they can be sold over the counter. However, there are instances where these can be unsafe for people.
- Natural sleep aids include dietary and herbal supplements containing ingredients like melatonin, valerian, or chamomile. Like over-the-counter sleep aids, these have not proven effective as a treatment for long-term insomnia. Natural sleep aids may come in the form of herbal teas, pills, or ointments.
- Prescription drugs target different parts of the brain to induce sleep. Doxepin blocks histamine receptors, enabling the person to stay asleep throughout the night, while zolpidem help induce sleep by activating the neurotransmitter GABA and binding it to GABA receptors. Prescription drugs require a prescription because these are designed to help treat chronic insomnia and other sleep disorders like sleepwalking. These drugs are stronger and have stronger side effects which can cause extreme drowsiness, sleep-driving, or more if not taken as prescribed.
Chloral Hydrate And Clomethiazole
Chloral hydrate and clomethiazole are older drugs with many side effects, including possible dependence. Chloral hydrate is a liquid drug, but it may also be available in tablet form called cloral betaine. And clomethiazole may also be spelled chlomethiazole.
These drugs are not usually offered nowadays as medication for insomnia. But they may be used in some rare circumstances. Your doctor may avoid prescribing you these medications if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. They may also be cautious about prescribing them if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, or a diagnosis of a personality disorder.
If you are chloral hydrate, you should avoid it coming into contact with your skin as it may cause skin damage.
Do Antihistamines Like Benadryl Help You Sleep
As the name suggests, antihistamines work to reduce or block histamines, which are chemicals produced by the immune system. For the most part, antihistamine medications are used to reduce or eliminate allergy symptoms. Histamine receptors also affect wakefulness, antihistamines have a secondary use as sleep aids because users often experience a feeling of drowsiness.
Despite the fact that diphenhydramine is used in several over-the-counter sleep aids, Benadryl itself is not recommended for sleep. In fact, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has officially suggested that clinicians not use this antihistamine as a treatment for sleep onset and sleep maintenance insomnia in adults.
Contrary to what many believe, antihistamines do NOT lead to better quality sleep. A Consumer Reports study found that most OTC sleep aids increase total sleep duration by 20-30 minutes. At face value, that sounds like a good thing , but is it worth it when sleep quality suffers?
When you dig deeper, youll find that sleep time is only part of the story. The quality of your sleepthe amount of deep and REM sleepmatters, too. When you use drugstore sleeping pills with antihistamines, sleep quality may suffer. Heres why:
What Are The Potential Risks Or Complications Of Prescription Sleeping Pills
Some prescription sleep medicines may bring on parasomnia. This disruptive sleep disorder can cause dangerous behaviors while youre still mostly asleep. People who take Z-drugs, in particular, may sleepwalk or eat, take medications, talk or even drive, all while unaware that theyre doing these things. You may appear to be awake, but your brain is not fully alert. Most people dont remember doing these things after they wake up.
Benzodiazepines can be addictive and lead to substance abuse. To lower this risk, healthcare providers only prescribe these sleeping pills for short-term use. Youre more likely to get a prescription for Z-drugs instead.
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How Should I Expect To Feel When Taking Melatonin
While traditional sleep medications may leave you feeling knocked out, drugged, or groggy, for the most part that wont be the case with natural sleep supplements like melatonin. Also, you will likely awake to normal noises, which is a good thing! No one wants to sleep through something like a fire alarm or a child crying in the room next door. The goal of supplemental melatonin consumption is when you wake up, youll be able to fall back asleep without hours of tossing and turning. THATs the key difference here.
So if you do wake up to something like this, thats not a sign that the supplement isnt working…the opposite, actually. Its working exactly how it should be by helping you get a good night of natural, refreshing, high-quality sleep.
When Should You See A Healthcare Provider
When you have insomnia, it’s natural to want an immediate fix. Unfortunately, it may not be that simple.
If your insomnia is caused by temporary stress, you may decide to endure it. For example, you may have trouble sleeping while preparing for a presentation. Once the presentation is over, your insomnia may go away.
Sometimes insomnia becomes long-term or recurring. If your insomnia is disruptive to your life, you may need help from a doctor.
Seek help at once if your insomnia makes you feel depressed or suicidal.
Start by talking to your primary care doctor. If you need more specialized help, you may be referred to a sleep specialist.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common cause of long term insomnia. When apnea wakes you up, you may have trouble getting back to sleep. This condition requires special treatment.
You may also benefit from sleep therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is one example. You can learn about this from a book, an online course, a workshop, or class. A psychologist can also help you get started.
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Viit Complete Sleep Aid
Looking for a natural sleeping aid that contains a small but effective dosage of melatonin so it helps you sleep without interruptions but without any morning grogginess?
VIIT Complete Sleep Aid is your best bet.
We were recently introduced to this sleep supplement and weve been super impressed so far their customer service has been great answering all of our questions before ordering, and the product itself arrived within a few days of ordering.
Here are the key ingredients that make VIIT Complete Sleep Aid safe, effective and our top choice:
- And more.
At $42 per bottle, its the best priced premium sleep aid that weve tested too. And with their free shipping and 30-day returns policy, you can rest and sleep easy knowing your order is risk free.
Final Word On Taking Sleeping Pills On Flights To Help Anxiety
Whether you travel often or travel fairly infrequently, flight anxiety can make the entire experience pretty unpleasantbut it doesnt have to be.
While sleeping pills are often the go-to for travelers to knock themselves out and get the flight over with, they can have some nasty side effects that make taking them less than ideal.
Natural alternatives like melatonin are also used with success, but things like tryptophan and Montmorency cherry also do the job just as well with little to no side effects or grogginess the next day.
Now that youre an insider on the best flight tips to reduce anxious feelings, next time youre getting ready to travel, double check that youve packed your bottle of VIIT Complete Sleep Aid or Performance Lab Sleep in your carry-on luggage to enable you to get through that flight without having to deal with your anxiety.
- To Buy VIIT Complete Sleep Aid,
- To Buy Performance Lab Sleep, or read our full review
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E Yoon, A Babar, M Choudhary, M Kutner, N Pyrsopoulos. Acetaminophen-Induced Hepatotoxicity: a Comprehensive Update. J Clin Transl Hepatol. 2016 4: 131-142.
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