Sleep plays a great role in managing the overall health of a person. A proper amount of sleep is not only essential to reset the body from day-to-day stress and exhaustion, but it also helps to evade many health complications that can arise due to a lack of sleep. There are many over-the-counter as well as prescription sleep aids that use chemical compounds to help people having difficulty sleeping. However, sleep aids alone might not always be enough to attain and/or maintain a good sleep cycle. That is why patients experiencing sleep problems are recommended to see a doctor at their nearest community healthcare center and learn how they can manage their sleep schedule. Generally, doctors advise patients to follow the below habits to get better sleep.
- Avoid excessive amount of blue light before going to bed, such as those emitted by electronic screens.
- Maintain a healthy and balanced diet with foods rich in protein and vitamins.
- Keep away from alcohol consumption and caffeine during nighttime.
- Try to wake up at the same time every day
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy body weight
Using Sleep Aids to Counter Sleep Issues
Most of the sleep aids can help you to find some relief from the common sleep issues, such as insomnia, jet lag, and poor sleep quality. However, a few sleep aids can lead to side effects as well, like dependency on the pills to sleep. Therefore, you should consider talking to a professional at the nearest community healthcare center before taking any sleep medications. Below are some of the common sleep aids prescribed to improve the quality of sleep.
- Melatonin – Melatonin hormone is produced in the body naturally, which signals the brain that it is time to sleep. It plays a key role in managing the circadian cycle as well, which helps a person react to daytime and night. Besides, the hormone also helps people with sleep disorders, such as delayed sleep phase syndrome and insomnia, to fall asleep without much difficulty as well as manage their sleep cycle better. Over-the-counter melatonin drugs are safe for short-term use, but more research is required to understand how it can affect a person if used for long term.
- Glycine – This over-the-counter drug can help to improve the objective as well as subjective markers of sleep in a person. Glycine is a natural amino acid produced in the body, which helps to monitor and control the central nervous system. It helps to lower the temperature of the body, which tells the brain that it is time to sleep. Besides, glycine also helps to manage the circadian rhythm of the body. However, more research is needed to learn the efficiency of glycine drugs as a sleep aid.
- Diphenhydramine – This is a common constituent in most of the over-the-counter sleep aids, cough syrups, and allergy medications. Diphenhydramine can make you feel tired and sleepy, while it can also help to ease stress and promote sleep. Nonetheless, studies say that the compound can reduce the mental alertness of the person significantly, which is why it is recommended to take diphenhydramine drugs only when you are ready to go to bed. Usually, the person taking diphenhydramine also builds up a tolerance to the medication, which makes it less effective after some time.
- Doxylamine – This antihistamine compound is seen to have similar effects as that of diphenhydramine. It is also used in many over-the-counter drugs that are meant to improve the quality of sleep. The primary use of doxylamine is to treat the symptoms experienced by the person due to an allergy or cold, but it also causes drowsiness, which can be helpful to achieve better sleep.
- Benzodiazepines – These prescription drugs are usually recommended to treat anxiety disorders, but they can also help to improve sleep quality. Generally, benzodiazepines are categorized as sedative-hypnotic drugs that are not recommended for long-term use because they can cause dependency or addiction. In some cases, these drugs can also create resistance in the body, which would decrease their efficiency in promoting sleep. That is why benzodiazepines are prescribed to only those who have chronic sleep issues. The commonly recommended benzodiazepines include diazepam, alprazolam, and lorazepam.
- Sedative-Hypnotic Sleeping Pills – These prescription drugs are very powerful and are usually recommended to treat advanced cases of sleep problems. The commonly prescribed sedative-hypnotic drugs include zaleplon, eszopiclone, and zolpidem. Note that such medications are also recommended for short-term use only, which can go for up to 6 months at the maximum. However, these drugs can also cause some side effects like dependency, and some patients experiencing insomnia problems say that their symptoms return as soon as they stop taking sedative-hypnotic sleeping pills.
- Ramelteon – This prescription drug works as a melatonin receptor agonist, by mimicking how the melatonin hormone in the body functions to manage sleep cycle. Even though there is a lower risk of dependency and addiction here when compared to other sedative drugs, long-term use of ramelteon can also lead to some potential side effects.