Make your home page

Health Spotlight | Pros, cons of sleep supplements

Health Spotlight | Pros, cons of sleep supplements

ORLANDO, Florida (Ivanhoe Newswire) — From insomnia to restless leg syndrome to sleep apnea, more than 50 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders.

Sleep aids and supplements are the first things most people reach for when experiencing these problems, but recent research suggests that one is better than the other.

With sleep disorders on the rise, many people are turning to supplements.

Dr. Jagdish Khubchadani, a professor of public health at New Mexico State University, said, “Sleep is like a medicine. That’s your time when you rejuvenate. You grow again. You feel relaxed, fulfilled.”

Research at Johns Hopkins University suggests that melatonin may help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and improve overall sleep quality, particularly for those with insomnia or jet lag and that’s important because:

Dr. Lourdes DelRosso, professor of family medicine at University of California, Fresno, said, “This pattern of restless sleep affects the daytime functioning.”

However, melatonin is not without its drawbacks. Some people may experience side effects such as daytime drowsiness, headaches, or dizziness. Also, melatonin is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and some doctors prefer self-care such as “maintaining a schedule, keeping technology away in the bedroom, not drinking coffee and alcohol before you sleep. Those are three basic things that you can do to ensure that you’re getting good quality sleep and are at lower risk for health problems,” Khubchadani said.

The other commonly used sleep supplement is magnesium. It helps with muscle relaxation, lowers cortisol levels, and increases the hormone melatonin. The only downside is that it takes longer to work.

Ultimately, doctors say magnesium is better for long-term use. Not only does it improve sleep quality, but it also lowers blood pressure and lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.

The bottom line, Khubchadani said: “Sleep is the best medicine available for free and maintaining it should be a No. 1 priority.”

Another sleep supplement to look into is valerian root. It has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for insomnia and anxiety, and some studies suggest that it may help improve sleep quality and duration of sleep.

Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network. Contributors to this news report include: Adahlia Thomas, producer; Joe Drumm, editor.