Are Sleeping Aids Bad For Your Health?
Do you complain of poor sleep often? Unfortunately, sleeping troubles plague most adults. Be it due to temporary issues such as stress and jet lag or something as consistent as insomnia, lack of good sleep can have some painful consequences.
Sleep medications are commonly recommended to anyone facing difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. These medications are undoubtedly effective, but are they safe to use regularly? Let’s find out!
Prescription sleeping aids can help you sleep, but they come with a slew of side effects. In this article, you can get an overview of what sleeping aids are and also learn about the side effects. You can also read about some effective ways to treat insomnia naturally and avoid taking sleeping medicines altogether.
What Are Sleeping Aids?
The term sleeping aid is self-explanatory. Basically, sleeping aids are prescription medicine you can take to help improve your sleep. These medicines can help you sleep and improve your sleep quality. Overall, sleeping medicines can help you get an uninterrupted night of sleep. However, ideally, it would be best if you did not take these pills as a permanent solution, as it is easy to become dependent on them.
Commonly prescribed sleeping medicines can be categorised into Non-Benzodiazepine Receptor Agonists (such as Eszopiclone, Zaleplon and Zolpidem) and Orexin Receptor Antagonists (such as Suvorexant and Lemborexant).
Some of these sleep-inducing drugs can make you drowsy and help you fall asleep quickly, while others can relax your mind while you are asleep. There are specific sleeping aids that can affect melatonin, a brain hormone, and there are others that can trigger orexin, a brain chemical. No matter which prescription sleeping aid you choose, there may be side effects unless you take sleeping aids that compromise of only natural ingredients.
Side Effects of Sleeping Pills
Sleeping pills help you get what you desire most - sleep! However, the flip side is that these medicines can cause many side effects. For example, do you wake up feeling groggy and drowsy after using sleeping pills? This could be a reaction to the sleeping aid you took the night before.
Sleep-enhancing drugs can slow your thinking and reaction time even when you want to be alert. Sure, weakness, lightheadedness and grogginess are no serious side effects, but this ‘hangover’ effect can definitely prove dangerous for those who have to drive in the morning.
That’s not all. In the long term, taking sleeping medicines can lead to gas, dry mouth, change in appetite, constipation, diarrhoea, nausea, and stomach pain. You may also suffer from heartburn, nausea, and headache. In addition, sleeping drugs can make it difficult to pay attention and remember things.
Don’t be alarmed if you have a tingling or burning sensation in the arms, hands, feet, or legs the day after you take sleeping medicines. This is a common side effect too. You may also experience impaired balance, uncontrollable shaking, and nightmares. Worst of all, sleeping pills are habit-forming. Long-term use can make you develop a dependence on them. So, be very wary of using these prescription drugs for too long.
Treat Insomnia Naturally
Magnesium is a mineral that can reduce stress and relax muscles. It is also known to promote a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Ideally, your body should produce enough magnesium for yourself, but you might sometimes need additional sources of the mineral.
Applying magnesium oil daily on the tummy or soles of your feet can help treat insomnia by helping you sleep better and for a longer time. Try to choose magnesium-rich food, especially towards the second half of the day. This will induce sleepiness. You may opt for a magnesium-rich snack, such as whole-grain cereal, warm milk, or banana, shortly before bedtime.
Plant-based Sleep-Inducing Foods
Some plant-based foods can promote sleep too. You can try foods like nuts, kiwi and tart cherry. On the other hand, you should also avoid fatty and spicy foods and limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol closer to your bedtime as they are known to disrupt your sleep. If you think getting these foods or eating them regularly is challenging, you can always go for natural plant-based sleeping aids that contain these wonder foods in the right proportion.
While melatonin is one of the most known ingredients in sleep aids, it is generally made of synthetic substances or animal melatonin. Instead, taking plant-based sleep supplements helps you produce melatonin naturally in your body and regulate your sleep-wake cycle with no side effects. Short-term use of melatonin is generally safe, but you should be alert about its side effects, such as dizziness, irritability, cramps, and depression.
Whether you are an insomniac, jet-lagged, or working odd shifts - no matter what your sleep concern is, natural vegan supplements can help improve your sleep quality. When picking a plant-based sleeping aid, you can look for ingredients like organic tart cherry, valerian root, lavender, German chamomile, and passionflower.
For centuries, chamomile has been regarded as a calming herb. Therefore, this flowering herb is often dried and then infused into hot tea. Chamomile tea, as you might already know, has a strong reputation for inducing sleep.
However, you might want to avoid taking this highly effective stress reducer as a hot beverage before bedtime. If you do not like drinking chamomile tea, you can reap its relaxing benefits by using it as an essential oil. Alternatively, chamomile can also be taken as a dietary supplement.
Want good quality sleep but do not want to take any medicines or supplements? Then, you might need to make some simple lifestyle changes. To start with, limit your screen time before you go to bed. Tuck away all your electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. This includes your smartphone, tablets, and even television. All of these can distract you and lead to poor sleep. Instead, establish a relaxing routine for bedtime and choose activities such as meditation that can promote sleep.
The benefits of regular exercise are countless. It can improve your mood, fitness, and overall well-being. What’s more, exercise can help you attain better sleep at night. Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise each week.
You can perform low-impact exercises such as yoga, swimming, and walking. This will alleviate insomnia symptoms and even reduce anxiety and depression. In addition, outdoor activities expose your body to natural light and establish a healthy sleep-wake cycle. For best results, schedule your exercise sessions in the morning or afternoon.
Finally, what better way to boost your sleep quality than to practice mindfulness? Yes, meditation is an excellent sleep-promoting practice. It increases resilience, reduces stress, improves mood, and enhances immunity.
Practising mindful meditation before you fall asleep can reduce insomnia and your total wake time. If you are new and need to learn how to meditate, there are hundreds of paid and free resources available online you can rely on.
Even though sleeping medicines are commonly used to solve sleep issues, there are several side effects of taking these prescription drugs. For example, sleeping pills can cause dizziness, digestive problems, impaired balance, burning sensations, nightmares, etc. In addition to the undesirable side effects, sleeping aids are also habit-forming.
Why worry about so many side effects when you can fix your sleep cycle with simple natural methods? There are some foolproof natural techniques you can embrace before you consider taking a sleeping pill. Increase your magnesium intake and also take natural sleep supplements such as chamomile, organic tart cherry, and passionflower. Relying on natural ingredients is always recommended as compared to synthetic ones. Some extra measures that can help are regular exercise, meditation, and the limitation of screen time.