Looking for a natural way to drift into dreamland? If you can’t sleep, you may be wondering if natural sleep aids work. Learn which sleep aids ease anxiety, enhance relaxation, and promote healthy sleep.
Popular prescription sleeping pills are classified as controlled substances and essentially put your body in a coma to work. A natural sleep aid could be the key to getting a good night’s rest.
When you’re feeling sleep deprived, it’s hard to perform at your best. While it may seem easy to reach for that second or third cup of coffee or down an energy drink to stay alert, getting caught up in the caffeine cycle can actually make your sleep problems worse. An evening nightcap isn’t much better for inducing shut-eye, either.
If you find yourself battling insomnia, only to fall into bed with racing thoughts and anxiety keeping you wide awake at night, you’re not alone. More than one-third of U.S adults aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep at night — doctors suggest roughly seven to nine hours — leaving millions of people at risk for harmful health effects stemming from poor slumber.
Not getting enough sleep doesn’t just make you cranky or leave you in a brain fog the next day; over time prolonged periods of sleep deprivation can lead to serious health issues such as high blood pressure, weakened immunity, weight gain, memory issues and heart disease. A consistent lack of sleep can also put you at risk for faulty judgement, accidents, or increase the chance of early death. Scary stuff.
It’s no surprise then that so many people turn to sleep aids for help. In fact, more than 60 million Americans take sleep medications each year. But with so many options on the market it can be hard to choose which sleep aids work best to promote deep sleep. Should you choose a prescription sleeping medication — or go the all-natural route?
And are natural sleep aids even effective?
The truth about prescription sleeping pills
When you’re desperate to fall asleep, taking a magic pill to whisk you away into dreamland sounds like … well, a dream. But it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of taking prescription sleeping pills. Though taking sleeping medication may help some people in the short-term, their risks often outweigh the benefits.
Many people are unaware that the most popular prescription sleeping pills are classified as controlled substances called “sedative hypnotics,” a class of drugs that essentially “depress or slow down the body’s functions.” In fact, they’re colloquially referred to as tranquilizers. Some popular sedatives include barbiturates and benzodiazepines, such as Valium, Xanax, and Librium. Other common drugs include Lunesta and Ambien.
While many of these prescription meds can work quickly to induce sleep, they essentially put your body into a coma to work. Besides causing episodes of parasomnia — unusual or undesirable experiences such as night terrors or sleepwalking that can disrupt rest — these medications can leave you with a laundry list of side effects, including:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Dizziness and weakness
- Burning or tingling limbs
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Mental impairment
One of the greatest risks with taking prescription sleeping medications may be the increase of physical or psychological dependence, however. Regular users can start to experience symptoms of withdrawal and start to abuse the drugs. According to reporting in The Atlantic, SAMHSA found that the number of ER visits nearly doubled, from roughly 22,000 in 2005 and 2006 to just over 42,000 in 2009 and 2010 — and more than one-third of drug-related deaths involved a barbiturate overdose as a factor.
For many people suffering from poor sleep, prescriptions for sleeping simply aren’t worth the risk.
In search of a natural sleep solution
Over the past several years, prescription sleeping pills have fallen out of favor as more people seek healthier insomnia treatments and more natural sleep remedies have come onto the market. Some people have returned to testing old-fashioned sleep treatments such as drinking Chamomile tea or a glass of warm milk before bed. Other folks have turned to plant extracts like the Valerian root, but there is limited scientific evidence suggesting the plant as an effective sleep compound.
Other sleep aids simply contain antihistamines which can leave you feeling groggy. Perhaps, that’s why clinically-researched sleep supplements, such as those containing Melatonin and CBD, have surged in popularity and found their place as an effective sleep-promoting solution.
You’ve likely heard of Melatonin, which is a hormone naturally found in the human body that helps it respond to darkness. As a supplement, Melatonin is a common treatment for shift workers, travelers suffering from jet lag, or simply for people looking for a good night’s rest. Melatonin is the most widely researched and validated ingredient for treating mild to moderate sleep issues.
Unlike other “natural” sleep aids, Melatonin has been scientifically-proven to improve the body’s internal clock by “suppressing specific neurons that stimulate the brain to wake up” at night.
Similar research is being conducted around the benefits of CBD and sleep. Like Melatonin, CBD or cannabinoids, which is derived from the hemp plant, contain chemical compounds that bind to certain receptors in the brain to help regulate circadian rhythms and help induce deep sleep. Additionally, CBD is also shown to ease anxiety and increase relaxation, which is a common barrier to getting a good night’s rest.
Because these natural sleep aids work with your body rather than “trick” it into a sedative state, people who take these supplements often fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and wake up feeling more refreshed than with sleep aids containing sedative hypnotics or antihistamines.
In a study published in Permanente Journal that looked at 72 adults with anxiety and poor sleep issues, researchers assessed the effectiveness and calming effect of CBD treatment. During the first month of the study, nearly 80% of participants reported decreases in their anxiety score and roughly 67% reported improved sleep scores.
An effective natural, plant-based sleep aid
Sleeping well is one of the biggest indicators for good health. That’s why we’re on a mission to help people get the sleep they need with our personalized, plant-based sleep solution. RealSleep combines the benefits of CBD and Melatonin to help your body promote a deep, natural sleep cycle so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to seize the day.