You’re tired. You want to sleep. You’ve been trying to sleep for hours. Finally, you grab the medicine you bought from Amazon that’s meant to knock you out, and you take the suggested dose. You wake up the next morning groggy and still exhausted like you’d been partying, and now you have a mild hangover. Well, at least you got some sleep.
It doesn’t have to be that way!
Why You Should Use a Natural Sleep Aid
You don’t have to use over-the-counter (OTC) sleep medications with antihistamines to fall asleep. You certainly don’t need to settle for sleep aids that make you feel worse in the morning. Here’s a list of reasons why you should go natural with your sleep aid.
They’re Natural, of course!
Nature was our original healer, so it only makes sense to go back to the source. A lot of natural sleep aids are sold as herbs or plants and many as supplements. You may be a little leery of all those extra chemicals crammed into the “regular” sleep aids. Natural sleep aids don’t have added components – they’re what you need, and only what you need.
Over-the-Counter Sleep Aids aren’t that Great…
Taking Benadryl or Tylenol PM will usually get you into a decent slumber, but they also include side effects that none of us really want.
- OTC sleep aids contain antihistamines. Your tolerance to antihistamines can develop quickly, meaning the more you take this medicine, the more you will have to take to make it work.
- Most OTC sleep aids have a long list of side effects that occur more often than we’d like. Many of them include grogginess the next day (what is called the “hangover effect”), confusion, headache, stomach aches, thick mucus, and dizziness.
- You definitely want to avoid alcohol with OTCs, as it enhances the sedative effect and can cause severe and dangerous side effects.
- Do you have any of these conditions? If you do, diphenhydramine and doxylamine (a couple of generic antihistamines) are not recommended for you:
- Closed-angle glaucoma
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Sleep apnea
- Severe liver disease
- Digestive system obstruction
- Urinary infections
- Those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or over the age of 75
Get Extra Benefits by Going Natural
Only getting the harmful side effects with your Tylenol PM? Using a natural sleep aid instead can give you extra benefits! These natural supplements can help you sleep and have fewer (and less common) adverse side effects with added bonuses:
- Chamomile is an herb that is usually taken as a tea and can help digestion, relax muscles, and relieve headaches while also helping you sleep.
- Valerian acts as a sedative and can improve the quality of sleep in postmenopausal women. This root typically comes with no side effects. It can also help relieve muscle and joint pain, menstrual and stomach cramps, headaches, and depression.
- Melatonin can help you fall asleep faster, improve your sleep quality, relieve jet lag symptoms, boost immunity, and help with inflammation.
- California Poppy is a plant that can work as a sleep aid in addition to easing anxiety and muscle aches (and in case you’re wondering, it’s safe and non-addictive).
- Lavender is a plant known for its enticing fragrance and calming effect. Not only does it improve your quality of sleep, but it can also relieve pain and headaches, ease respiratory issues, and alleviate abdominal soreness.
We need to embrace natural plants, herbs, and supplements that not only help us sleep but offer additional benefits and have fewer and less frequent side effects. Although natural sleep aids are safer, it’s still important to talk to your doctor before making any changes.
Using over-the-counter sleep aids has been the norm, and generally, they have worked well, but it’s time to move on. Move on to something that will help you sleep and ease your anxiety and muscle pain. So tonight, grab your favorite mug, brew a bit of chamomile tea, and look forward to getting some sleep without a hangover tomorrow.