What they do
Sleep aids are made to help consumers achieve REM (Rapid Eye Movement), fall asleep faster and with more ease. By doing so, this helps the user benefit from all of the natural healing and growth reactions that occur within the body during deep sleep. This makes them useful for people who might be suffering from sleep disorders such as insomnia, or people who just have difficulty sleeping in general.
REM sleep is characterized as the restorative part of the human sleep cycle, stimulating the areas of the brain are essential to learning and memory retention. Since REM sleep allows the brain to exercise neural connections that are key to your mental and overall well-being, it’s important to get enough of it in your sleep cycle. Unfortunately, most people have difficulty getting the proper amount of REM sleep, but thankfully, sleep aids can make it easier for them.
While all sleep aids have their own ingredient profile based on brand, there are a couple common ingredients, which include:
Melatonin: Helpful in treating jet lag or reducing the amount of time it takes to sleep. A hormone that is naturally produced by your body that makes you feel sleepy. *Hint* by using screens before bed (phone, tv, laptop, tablet, etc), the blue light rays emitted from the device actually limit the amount of melatonin production in your body. This is why they say turn off your devices an hour before bed and do something such as read a book!
How to take them
As with any supplement, be sure to consult your doctor before taking sleep aids if you aren’t sure they’re right for you. This especially holds true for people with medical conditions or who are already on another medication. It’s important to keep in mind that sleep aids are meant to be a temporary solution to any sleep related issues you might have, like recovering from a medical procedure or travelling across time zones.
If you have to use sleep aids over the long-term, it’s best to use them on an infrequent, ‘as needed’ basis to avoid developing dependence and tolerance.