These days, there's a lot of research being thrown towards figuring out the mysteries of sleep. Why exactly do we do it? Why do we feel bad when we don't get it? And how can we get more? So far, the "answer" to that last one is either an expensive prescription drug or questionable over-the-counter sleeping pills. But doctors are now starting to discover that this may be the worst course of action. Many of them are also turning towards natural sleep aids for the answer.
Let's start by talking about prescription sleeping pills. Unlike natural sleep aids, the prescription variety comes in one of two forms: hypnotics, and benzos. Hypnotics (like temazepam, Lunesta, or Ambien) have exactly the effect you would expect them to based on their name. Benzos, alternatively, are anti-anxiety drugs which happen to produce a secondary symptom of drowsiness.
But there are a couple of problems with using either of these drugs to help you sleep. The number one problem (which we cannot emphasize enough): your body cannot achieve a natural, restorative rest when you use these drugs. Most people often feel groggy the next day on these pills, and it's because of the lack of quality sleep from the night before - not the quantity.
Prescription hypnotics have the added misfortune of only convincing you that you're sleepy when you're really not. This is why their warning labels talk about people performing dangerous activities while unconscious such as driving, eating, sleepwalking, or even having sex. Your body - and certain parts of your brain - are just as awake as they would be if you hadn't taken anything, even while under the influence of a prescription sleeping pill. But the part of your brain which controls higher cognitive function is turned off, and this can lead to dangerously unpredictable consequences.
Natural sleep aids, on the other hand, physically and cognitively relax your body. This approach prepares you for a restorative rest, as opposed to tricking you into feeling drowsy. And your brain especially needs this break from conscious activity in order to be its best.
When you sleep, your brain starts performing a form of neurological triage which is essential for proper function and optimal health. It breaks down old, damaged neurons and recycles their parts to create new, fresh neurons. At the same time, it's disconnecting structures in the brain which you don't use on a regular basis while reconnecting and strengthening the parts of your brain would you use frequently. To put it more simply: if you don't want to forget the Spanish you learned in high school, you need to start practicing again. And if you're currently learning a bad habit that you know you're going to want to break, start early! Because without quality sleep, neither of these goals will be possible.
But getting quality sleep isn't just important for your memory or retaining your skills. Your cognitive function and your overall brain health are dependent upon getting as much quality sleep as possible. When you don't get enough sleep, you can experience levels of drowsiness on par with being drunk; this obviously makes it difficult to operate heavy machinery safely while sleep deprived.
Furthermore, a chronic lack of quality sleep over time can accelerate or even cause age-related brain diseases like Alzheimer's. Most medical experts are in agreement now that toxic plaques build up in your brain over time. Unfortunately, this is just a natural part of aging and there's no way to stop it completely. But things like concussive injuries, prescription or OTC sleeping pills, and a lack of quality sleep can accelerate their build-up and make things worse.
The only way to get quality sleep these days is with a natural sleep aid. They contain safe, botanical ingredients which actually relax your body. Additionally, many of them have the added antioxidant (read: anti-ageing) benefits which are impossible to get from a chemical sleep drug. These antioxidant benefits plus better quality sleep equal a much happier body and mind. Your brain will be sharper, you will be healthier for longer, and you'll have the energy you need to live life to the fullest.
Now that you know all about the healthful benefits you can reap from a natural sleep aid, the obvious next question is: which natural sleep aids work the best? well, since we're not selling anything, we can't exactly recommend you any specific brands. But you can be a smart consumer and take a close look at the product labels to find the answer.
There are certain ingredients which must be present in a natural sleep aid if you want to purchase the most effective product for yourself. These include:
Whether you fear that you are currently dependent on sleeping pills, whether you're curious about natural sleep aids as an alternative treatment, or whether you're having sleep problems and unsure what to do about it, we hope you'll at least consider giving natural sleep aids a try. There's very little risk involved for what could potentially be fantastic rewards.