- 1 Reduce your risk of health problems
- 2 Improve your physical performance
- 3 Gain muscle mass
- 4 Reduce recovery time
- 5 Increase your mental focus
- 6 Decrease stress
- 7 Improve mood and self-esteem
- 8 Increase energy levels and endurance
- 9 Improve memory and cognitive function
- 10 Reduce anxiety, depression, and overall mental health
Sleeping supplements are becoming increasingly popular, and with good reason: they help millions of people get a better night’s sleep each year. According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly half of Americans regularly use over-the-counter sleep aids, sleeping pills, or other supplements to help them sleep better, usually without their doctor’s advice. If you have trouble sleeping or suffer from restless nights, consider these 10 benefits of sleep supplements to see if they might be right for you as well.
Reduce your risk of health problems
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases stress hormones like cortisol. Research shows that they trigger a cascade of health problems, including impaired immune function, heart disease, and diabetes.
Not getting enough sleep can even cause higher levels of ghrelin (the hormone that controls hunger), so when you do go to eat your body isn’t in full calorie-burning mode. Getting at least seven hours of sleep a night is a vital for optimal metabolism and overall good health.
Improve your physical performance
It’s true—proper sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy body. Among other things, it can help you burn more fat, improve your focus and concentration, and even improve your immune system.
Research has also linked getting enough sleep with lower blood pressure levels and a decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes. In short, sleep is just as important as diet and exercise in terms of positively impacting overall health. So if you’re feeling tired all day long despite getting enough rest at night, taking a supplement might help.
Gain muscle mass
Some research indicates that sleep supplements, such as melatonin and GHB, can increase muscle mass. In a study published in 2010 in Nutrition magazine, volunteers were given supplemental tryptophan for three weeks. During the last week of supplementation, participants slept longer and showed increased levels of growth hormone and IGF-1, a protein involved in cell repair.
Further research is needed on sleeping pills before they can be recommended as muscle-building aids; however, you may want to consider using these supplements if you are trying to put on weight.
Reduce recovery time
Regular sleep is important for athletes because it gives their bodies time to recover from a strenuous workout. Your muscles need adequate recovery time so they can repair themselves, build new muscle tissue, and achieve optimum performance in your next workout.
As your body adjusts to an exercise program, try increasing your amount of sleep each night until you’re averaging at least 7 or 8 hours every night. Then slowly start adding more intense workouts into your schedule and see how much faster you recover. If you start feeling run down during workouts, it’s a sign that you need more rest and recovery time. Getting enough sleep can be one of the most effective ways to ensure optimal athletic performance.
Increase your mental focus
A lack of sleep can make you groggy and cause your mental focus to decline, making it hard for you to concentrate on your work. For example, if you’re trying to learn something new in a class, you may have trouble keeping track of what your professor is saying if you haven’t slept well.
If you want to help increase your mental focus during the day, try taking an over-the-counter sleep supplement. For example, melatonin supplements help bring on relaxation and restfulness so that users can get a better night’s sleep.
Stress is a contributing factor to anxiety and depression, but it can also be a barrier to a good night’s sleep. According to research, almost two-thirds of adults get fewer than 7 hours of sleep on workdays. This means that not only are you more likely to make mistakes at work, but your health could also be in danger.
Additionally, sleeping too little or sleeping poorly significantly increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes. To help alleviate stress, try supplements like melatonin or 5-HTP before bedtime. Studies show that both aid in healthy sleep patterns.
Improve mood and self-esteem
Getting an adequate amount of sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being. Not only does a regular sleeping schedule help you manage stress, but it also affects your memory, energy levels, mood, and self-esteem. When you’re well rested, you can think more clearly, respond better to daily challenges and feel happier with yourself and your surroundings.
If you struggle with insomnia or other sleep issues (such as poor quality sleep), consider using a supplement such as melatonin or GABA; these work by helping promote relaxation in your body before bedtime so that you fall asleep faster. According to research published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, approximately 50 percent of people taking natural sleep aids report falling asleep faster than they did previously.
Increase energy levels and endurance
If you feel like you’re dragging or not able to get through your day, it might be time for sleeping pills. Quality sleep can enhance your physical endurance and energy levels so that you feel invigorated for a full 24 hours. Feeling tired all day may indicate an underlying medical issue, so consult your doctor before taking sleep supplements.
Additionally, if you’re on medication, be sure to discuss any potential interactions with your doctor before beginning treatment.
Improve memory and cognitive function
Whether it’s forgetting what you were just saying or struggling to recall basic facts, we’ve all been there. Now, researchers have found a link between memory issues and getting fewer hours of sleep at night—for adults over 50, that is. In a study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, researchers found that adults older than 50 who slept for less than five hours at night had more difficulty with episodic memory or long-term memory for events (such as day-to-day occurrences).
Reduce anxiety, depression, and overall mental health
It’s becoming increasingly clear that a lack of sleep is directly linked to anxiety, depression, and overall mental health. People who aren’t getting enough sleep are more prone to both emotional and behavioral problems—and those behaviors are often things you don’t want: overeating, binge drinking, overspending, and workaholism. A study published in 2015 by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine shows how important sleep is for reducing negative emotions like stress and anxiety.
Although sleeping aid supplements are generally considered safe and effective, they aren’t regulated by the FDA like other prescription or over-the-counter medicines. We encourage you to do your research when it comes to finding a sleep supplement that works for you so that you can find one that fits your lifestyle.