Sleep Tips

Benefits and Drawbacks to Taking a Nightly Sleep Aid

Once you start, you can't stop. Soon you will be tossing and turning all night, counting down the minutes until that alarm goes off again. Sure, you could try to count sheep (again), but sleeping pills may seem like the easiest answer.

For most, a good night's sleep is essential for tackling the "to-do's" of tomorrow, but at what price?

According to a 2013 survey from New York Daily News, nearly nine million Americans take sleeping pills to prevent suffering through another sleepless night.

Other remedies such as chamomile tea and lavender-scented candles have made their way into the bedroom but, still, one of the most common ways to prevent a restless night are sleeping pills.

Melatonin as a Sleep Aid?

Often referred to as the ultimate sleep saver, melatonin has powerful side effects, which can help control your sleep and wake cycles. Small amounts can be found naturally in certain meats, grains, fruits and vegetables. When used as a sleeping aid, it is generally taken as a supplement.

Although many think of melatonin as an every day drug, research suggests that melatonin should not be taken regularly. Based on these medical findings, there are times when taking the supplement is appropriate, for example, to resolve jet lag or the occasional night shift.

However, taking a higher dose than recommended can lead to higher plasma melatonin levels the next day, often leaving you feeling groggy in the morning.

Often treated as an over-the-counter cure for insomnia, melatonin does not help with restlessness in the bed. Even though the drug has been proven to make some people fall asleep more quickly, it hasn't been proven to increase the total time or quality of sleep according to a recent article in The Atlantic Magazine.

So, rather than relying on melatonin to get you through the night, simply try making your bedroom an ideal place to dream with these easy changes.

First and foremost, develop a consistent sleep routine (yes, even on the weekends). Then put away your laptop and phone before turning off the lights, giving yourself time to unwind without any bright or buzzing distractions.

Finally, think about purchasing a sound machine or invest in a new mattress from Mattress Firm to help drift you off to sleep. Visit one of our Mattress Firm locations to see if a new bed might be the best plan for you.

If  you do choose to try outside help from supplements, be sure to always talk with your doctor ahead of time.

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