When you're up pacing the floor at 3:00 in the morning, wide awake, sleep aids seem like an excellent idea. You simply take a pill and soon you'll be fast asleep, right? Over the counter and prescription sleep aids may help you fall asleep faster, but the side effects can be annoying and, in some cases, even dangerous. There are other options that may work just as well and be safer for you.
There are several issues to consider when considering using sleep aids, such as over the counter pills or prescriptions, in order to fall asleep. If you take these medications late at night after you've been awake too long, they can cause a hangover effect; you'll continue to be drowsy after you should be awake and rested. If you have to drive or go to work, this can create problems.
There is also a problem taking sleeping pills for longer than a few nights. If your insomnia is long-standing, you may be tempted to start taking pills every night. In reality, you're making your insomnia worse instead of better. The longer you take sleeping pills, the more of them you will need over time to get the same effect. You may also become so dependent on them that you can't get to sleep without them. Drug dependency of this kind can lead to serious health problems.
You may also experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking prescription or over the counter sleeping pills. The resulting tremors, nausea, headaches and irritability can make you and those around you miserable. The rebound effect is also common when you have used sleeping pills for longer than a few weeks - your insomnia returns and is even worse than before.
Over the Counter Sleep Aids May Interact with Other Medications
Many people don't realize that the drugs in popular over the counter sleeping pills can interact with any prescriptions they are taking. Some antibiotics may become ineffective, and medications such as blood thinners, when combined with sleeping pills, can cause serious health problems and in rare cases, even death. If you are taking pain killers of any kind, sleeping pills shouldn't be taken.
Natural Sleep Aids are Safe and Effective
A safer alternative to over the counter pills or prescriptions is the use of natural sleep aids. These include melatonin, which our bodies produce, and various herbal remedies that are organic and gentle.
Among the various natural sleep aids are:
* Melatonin, which our bodies make, is key to regulating our sleeping and waking cycle. Increasing the amount of melatonin in the body late in the evening can tell your body it's time to go to sleep. It triggers your body's natural clock.
* Valerian, a centuries old aid to relaxation, is gentle and effective. In fact, it's been used overseas for generations and is very popular as a natural way to ease stress and encourage sleep.
* Lemon balm is one of the safest herbal treatments for insomnia available. It relaxes and calms the mind so that you can fall asleep faster.
* Passion flower which gently suppresses over-activity by the central nervous system so that your body is able to get rid of pent-up nervousness or anxiety.
Melatonin and herbals have been proven effective in most cases for even long-term insomnia and have far fewer side effects than sleeping pills. There are a variety of ways you can take these treatments, including in capsules, liquid tinctures and even absorbed through the blood stream. The last is very effective because it works quickly and without stomach upset. Look for products such as teas or toothpastes that contain melatonin and a blend of sleep enhancing herbs for terrific, safe results. You'll rest easier knowing you're using the safest, most natural sleep aids available.