How do I Choose the Best Sleep Aid?

Brandon May
Brandon May
A lack of physical activity during the day can cause sleep problems at night.
A lack of physical activity during the day can cause sleep problems at night.

Sleep is a crucial and necessary element for good health, and while it is highly sought after to help relax and refresh the body, it is very rarely achieved by many sufferers of insomnia and other sleep disorders. The best sleep aid for the majority of the population doesn't necessarily involve drugs or over-the-counter medications. In fact, natural sleep aids such as daily exercise, sun exposure and stress reduction are natural, inexpensive ways to increase the chances of falling asleep at night. One of the best sleep aids available as an over-the-counter supplement, used in conjunction with other natural methods, is taking a melatonin supplement right before bed.

Hops, which can help with insomnia.
Hops, which can help with insomnia.

A common reason sleep is hard to attain by many individuals is a lack of physical activity during the day. Exercise is a large contributor to overall health, and is seen as the best sleep aid for those who have the ability to perform it. Studies have shown that bodily movement in the form of cardio, walking or even yoga can help calm the mind, reduce stress and improve the quality of sleep for most individuals. Even though physical exercise exerts major influence on sleep, the best sleep aid combines more natural approaches to help combat insomnia.

People with insomnia find it difficult to fall or stay asleep.
People with insomnia find it difficult to fall or stay asleep.

Reducing light exposure during the evening, regardless of the source, has been shown to help regulate normal sleep wave patterns in humans and animals. The circadian rhythms, which are biological rhythms within the body, are in tune with the phases of light and dark and respond to each stimulus by either awakening the body or preparing it for sleep. When it becomes dark, and sunlight ceases, the brain begins to produce melatonin, which is a natural hormone that produces tiredness and the desire to sleep. Being exposed to bright, natural light during the day while keeping light to a minimum at night will help regulate these cycles, thus aiding in the regulation of a normal sleep cycle.

Melatonin supplements are often taken to provide a deeper sleep state.
Melatonin supplements are often taken to provide a deeper sleep state.

Melatonin can be taken as a supplement for those seeking another approach to combine with natural lifestyle changes, such as avoiding light in the evening and beginning an exercise program. This supplement can be the best sleep aid to help promote a deeper state of sleep, as it helps your pineal gland, which is located in the brain, secrete melatonin. The effects are tiredness and sleepiness, followed by deep and restful sleep. It is best to seek the advice of a qualified physician as to the amounts needed to produce these effects, yet it is generally suggested that an individual begin with a small dose rather than becoming dependent on larger dosages over time.

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      A lack of physical activity during the day can cause sleep problems at night.
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