Insomnia, snoring, interrupted sleep, sleep apnea, and more can all make your nightly routine a nightmare. Thankfully, sleep aids can help improve your overall sleep experience and help reduce or even eliminate sleep issues altogether. Maybe you’ve tried switching your mattress, changing your pillows, and putting away your cellphone before heading to bed, but still can’t sleep. Or you may be looking for a sleep aid recommended by your doctor. Whatever the reason, sleep aids can be a great way to revamp your sleep routine and give your body the hard-earned rest it deserves.
Sleep aids come in countless different forms, and each target a specific sleep malady. For more general conditions like insomnia and interrupted sleep or sleep-related back pain, there are plenty of options developed to approach these concerns from all angles, from specially designed pillows to supplements that will have you soring off to dreamland in no time flat. The selection of sleep aids available ranges from pillows engineered to help you sleep better to CPAP machines that keep you breathing soundly all night long. But with so many different products on the market, and plenty of snake oil salesmen out there, how can you know you’re choosing the right sleep aid for you?
That’s where we come in. We’ve done the research and scoured the market for the best sleep aids available, meaning you can shop with confidence. Our articles have been extensively researched and narrow down the sometimes overwhelming field of sleep aid products to the best of the best, so you know you’re always making the best investment for your sleep health. We do the research and compile customer reviews so you can rest easy knowing you are getting the best hands-on information available for all your sleep aid needs. No matter if you’re looking to revamp your sleep routine or are looking for that final piece of the bedtime puzzle to give you the sleep of your dreams, we’re here to help you along every step of the way.
But that’s enough about us, let’s take a brief look at some of the more popular sleep aid categories, and then dive deep into historical sleep aids that got us where we are today.
What Are Sleep Aids?
Sleep aids are, to put it simply, things that aid your sleep. This can range wildly from supplements to help balance your hormone levels and help you relax, to complex machines like a CPAP machine made to help keep you breathing steadily through the entire night. Here are some of the more common sleep aid categories on the market today, and what they specifically target:
- Melatonin and sleep supplements: This is a wide category that can be used to treat everything from insomnia and interrupted sleep cycles to the overall quality of your sleep. While melatonin supplements directly target your body’s melatonin production and overall melatonin levels, other supplements use natural ingredients to help rebalance your body, so you can naturally achieve a better night’s sleep.
- Prescription and non-prescription sleep aids: These are conceptually similar to sleep supplements, in that they help treat a wide range of sleep issues, but rely on adding medically approved chemicals to your body in order to help you relax and achieve the sleep your body needs.
Prescription sleep aids can only be obtained through your healthcare provider, while non-prescription or over the counter (OTC) sleep aids can be obtained from most pharmacies and general stores. As with any medication, consult your doctor before starting a prescription sleep aid.
- CPAP machines: Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition where you stop breathing during the night, preventing you from getting a restful night’s sleep and posing other health issues, including chronic fatigue. CPAP machines treat sleep apnea caused by airway obstruction by delivering constant and steady air pressure.
- Breathing strips: Also called snore strips, breathing strips are applied to the outside of the nose to try and remedy snoring cause by nasal pressure or a deviated septum. They help provide constant airflow through your nasal passages, thereby reducing or eliminating the presence of snoring.
- Specialty bedding: This is a broad category that includes specialized pillows for side sleepers, back sleepers, front sleepers, mattress toppers for people with back problems, and more, as well as mattress toppers made to provide continuous support to your back and shoulders throughout the night. These can help greatly improve the quality of your sleep and reduce or eliminate muscle soreness.
A Brief History of Sleep Aids
As long as humans have been around, we’ve been trying to find ways to fall asleep. Some of the earliest sleep aids were herbs and flowers that we still use today, such as chamomile. Other treatments were more far-fetched, such as the early 17th century prescription to tie bags of aniseed to your nose, or tie bread soaked in vinegar to the bottoms of your feet. However, some early remedies, such as reducing the amount of light that enters the bedroom at night, have been proven by modern science (though you’d be hard pressed to find an accredited scientist to recommend vinegar bread on the feet!).
As science developed over the years, our understanding of sleep and the body’s natural rhythm improved. Today, we know there are many different underlying conditions that can contribute to insomnia, such as anxiety, and we now know that snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea or a deviated septum, which can prevent people getting a good night’s sleep. Still, there are plenty of sleep interruptions that we’ve discovered recently, such as the effects of blue light on the body, that we are still working out how to treat effectively.
Even with all of these advancements, it is estimated that about 1 in 3 people have insomnia, which makes the presence of effective sleep aids all that more crucial. But how can you go about choosing a sleep aid that will work right for you?
How to Choose the Right Sleep Aid for You
If you are experiencing sleep problems, including insomnia, snoring, chronic fatigue, irritability, anxiety, nightmares, night terrors, or anything else that may be interrupting your sleep, speak with your primary care physician before seeking out alternative remedies. These can all be a sign of an underlying issue that may need immediate medical attention. Thankfully, your doctor will most likely point you in the right direction when it comes to choosing a sleep aid for your condition, but if you’re still unsure what may help, it’s a good idea to do some online research to find out what has helped other people with their sleep problems.
It’s best to approach your sleep concerns proactively. The first thing you should do is try and improve your sleep hygiene. No, this doesn’t reference how often you change your sheets. Sleep hygiene includes doing relaxing activities before bed, reducing screen time, and sticking to a bedtime routine. If these do not help your sleep concerns, look into some gentle sleep aids, such as melatonin or another sleep supplement, to try and balance your natural rhythm. If you are experiencing serious snoring, look into breathing strips to help gently open your airways. If you suffer from sleep apnea, talk to your doctor about getting a CPAP machine to help increase the amount of airflow through your mouth and throat during the night.
Concerns about your skeletal and muscular health, including constant back pain or muscle soreness, could be a sign to invest in specialized pillows or other mattress toppers. These can help your body fully relax at night and prevent undue strain on your body overall. If you suffer from hot flashes or other temperature fluctuations, cooling mattress toppers can help improve your quality of sleep drastically.
If you find yourself still struggling with getting a good night’s sleep, look into over the counter sleep aid medications to help give your body the helping hand it needs. It’s always best to consult with your doctor before starting a medication or supplement, and be sure to follow the instructions on the package before starting a new sleep aid. Should over the counter medications not help your sleep problem, talk to your doctor about starting a prescription sleep aid to give you that added boost you need to fall asleep at night.
No matter what sleep aid you choose, be sure to do your research to find out what other sleepers have to say about the product. While you may be tempted to try everything to get a good night’s sleep, remember that there are plenty of products on the market that don’t work as well as they say they do. That’s why it’s important to research reviews like ours to find the top-rated products on the market, so you can get the sleep your body craves without causing yourself undue stress.
Sleep Like a Baby
Whether you’re looking to shut down snoring, erase insomnia, or are looking to give your sore back the soothing sleep it deserves, there are plenty of sleep aids available on the market to help you get your best sleep ever. That’s why we’ve pulled together the best sleep aids on the market and taken the time to review them, so you can rest easy knowing you’re investing in the best sleep aids available. So what are you waiting for? Get into your PJs be sure to turn down the lights, and get ready to enjoy the perfect night’s sleep that you’ve been dreaming about.
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