(WBRE) — Sometimes, you might feel like you need a little help falling asleep.
But are supplements the best way to get your eight hours?
There’s a lot of pressure to get that full night of rest, and some may turn to sleeping pills or natural supplements to help.
However, Dr. Michael Marino, Geisinger’s Medical Director for Sleep Medicine, says they have a limited role.
“If you’re having an issue with cold symptoms or some pain going on and you need Tylenol or you need to take a Benadryl, absolutely it can be used,” he said. “But there’s no study that says the sleep quality is improved with it.”Related Content: Your eating habits could be keeping you from getting a good night sleep
Dr. Marino says using sleep aids for less than two weeks on a temporary basis shouldn’t do your body any harm, but if you need a sleep aid consistently, you’re doing nothing to help yourself the next day.
“It can improve sleep duration,” said Dr. Marino. “But that will do nothing for the overall wakefulness over the course of a day.”
There are more natural aids like melatonin. You can get it over the counter.
But Dr. Marino says easier access says easier access doesn’t always mean you’re in the clear.
“That would be one thing I would consider discussing with a physician before hand,” he explained. “It is an over-the-counter medication. But it does have ramifications on your overall health. Higher doses of melatonin can actually decrease blood flow to the brain.”Related Content: Can’t get the sleep you need? Technology could be the culprit
Melatonin needs to be used with caution, and if you’re consistently taking a certain medication to get to sleep, the experts say you should ask, “What’s actually inhibiting my ability to sleep?”
Often times, there’s another problem going on that the sleep aid is just masking.
There are also other, more natural things to help you sleep like using white noise to mask background sounds, or drinking a glass of warm milk or chamomile tea. Both of which help stop chemical reactions which may wake you up in the middle of the night.