The amazing thing about sleep is you don’t appreciate it until you find it lacking. We all have a night now and then where we find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep but most of us simply go to sleep, dream a few dreams, and awaken perhaps by an alarm clock and begin our day, feeling refreshed.
When we cannot sleep our entire day can be disrupted or soured because we simply do not feel rested. When people have recurring difficulties sleeping it is called insomnia and that is a common problem. Judging by the amount of sleep supplements and remedies on store shelves it is a widespread problem taken very seriously by many.
Which sleep supplements work best?
Because the shelves are laden with a wide variety of sleep supplements and sleep aids, it can be confusing as to which work best. Also of concern is whether or not they may become addictive or at least habit forming.
If taking a pill or two each night assures a good nights rest how can we be sure it won’t mean we need three or even four of them to bring about the same benefit in a few weeks or months. Just what is in these little sleep wonders and will they affect our body in a negative way? Most of these over the counter remedies are merely antihistamines which cause you to feel drowsy enough to get to sleep.
But they have lingering side effects that continue on well into the next day, keeping you feeling unwell or groggy most of the day. And while they may not actually be habit forming, many find themselves requiring more and more for the same effect.
A good nights sleep begins with preparation
To assure a good nights rest there are some rituals to follow before your head hits the pillow. Don’t take day time naps and try to avoid stress (at least don’t think about stressful things) at bed time. Avoiding caffeine and limiting your liquid consumption beginning a few hours before bed time are important.
Caffeine affects your nervous system and keep you awake while drinking fluids (especially alcohol) will cause you to wake up often to urinate. Try to retire at the same time each night.
Keep your bedroom dark and cool for the best sleep. If noises distract you try using a “sound machine” that hums or sooths you to sleep. If, in spite of these preparations, you still have trouble dropping off to sleep try a glass of warm milk (yes that old one really works).
When the rituals are not enough to see you off to slumberland
If the above preparation does not help you get to sleep, try some of the sleep herbal remedies found in drug stores and health food stores. Beginning with natural ingredients like calcium and magnesium you may find they are enough to assist you in falling to sleep and staying asleep for hours.
Calcium works in our body just like a natural sedative. A lack of calcium in the diet causes restlessness which leads to insomnia. The same goes for magnesium. The body becomes nervous and jumpy if there is a lack of this mineral.
Take one thousand milligrams of calcium in liquid form when retiring along with a minimum of two hundred fifty milligrams of magnesium and sleep will come to you much easier. Chamomile, tryptophan, valerian, melatonin, and SAMe (S-adenosyl-methionine) are amino acids that work by creating protein in your body which will result in your brain producing additional melatonin, a hormone useful in making you sleepy.
If all else fails ask your doctor what’s good in sleep supplements to be used only temporarily. Then try to relax. Worrying about not sleeping might be your biggest problem.