Sierra Lutheran

Sierra Lutheran Church is a bible
based church and has several ministries
including christian worship, feeding the
hungry and poor in spirit

How Sleep Supplements Can Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep

The quality of your sleep is crucial to good health, but some people have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night. For these people, sleep supplements can help them get the rest they need. Many of these supplements are plant-based or contain vitamins and minerals already found in our diets, or supplemental amounts of something produced naturally by the body, such as melatonin. Because they’re available without a prescription, they can appeal to people who prefer natural products or are worried about the addictive potential of some prescription sleep medications.

But the evidence on these supplements is mixed, and long-term use can lead to tolerance and dependency. Some can also interact with certain medications. People with certain medical conditions should talk to their doctor before trying them, including liver problems and high blood pressure, which can be exacerbated by some herbal and dietary supplements.

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that increases at night and plays an important role in sleep. Research shows that it can improve sleep disorders related to circadian rhythms like delayed sleep-wake phase disorder and jet lag. It can also be helpful for shift work and insomnia in adults. Melatonin is safe for most adults at standard doses. However, more research is needed on its safety and effectiveness for children, and there’s no data on its long-term effects in pregnant or breastfeeding women.

5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan, is an amino acid that our bodies use to make melatonin and other important brain chemicals. Studies suggest that it can promote sleep, and some studies indicate that 100-300 milligrams taken before bed may help. However, this supplement can cause nausea and headaches, so it’s best used sparingly.

Valerian root is a perennial plant that has been used to promote sleep for centuries. It’s believed to raise levels of GABA, a chemical in the brain that promotes relaxation. But there’s insufficient data on its long-term safety, and it can trigger side effects such as headaches and dizziness, so it should be used only for short-term sleep problems.

Many over-the-counter sleep supplements combine several ingredients that on their own may be safe, but the combination hasn’t been tested. It’s generally best to stick with one ingredient or a small amount of an herb, such as chamomile, which can be found in many teas and is typically well-tolerated at low doses.

Always follow the usage instructions on the packaging. Increasing or decreasing your dosage too quickly can be dangerous. And remember that these supplements should not be used to replace regular sleep hygiene or treatment for serious health conditions, including cancer. Some supplements can interfere with standard cancer treatments and pose special risks for people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation. It’s also important to tell your doctor about any new supplements you’re taking so they can check for possible interactions with any of your current medications or medical conditions. A doctor or sleep specialist can help you find a solution for your specific problem and offer tips for better sleep.

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