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When is it time for a Sleep Aid?

How do you know if you should start taking a sleep aid or supplement like Melatonin? Here are the basics on sleep medication and when to use it.

It can be frustrating to have trouble sleeping several nights on end. How do you know if you should start taking a sleeping pill or supplement? Natalie Dautovich from the National Sleep Foundation explains the basics on sleep medication and when to begin using it. 

Unfortunately sleep does not come naturally for some people for several possible reasons. Trouble sleeping can lead to drowsiness , slowed reaction times, and bad moods, which may effect someone's every day life. Over a long period time, lack of sleep can even lead to more serious consequences such as depression or heart trouble. 

When is it time to start reaching for a sleeping aid or supplement, like Melatonin? The answer depends each person and their sleep patterns and reasons why they're having trouble falling or staying asleep. 

Some possible causes of sleep problems could be from medications you may be taking for other conditions, working night shifts or other work schedules that may be getting in the way of your sleep, and travel which causes jet lag. It's best to talk to your doctor about your specific symptoms.

The reasons you will most likely need to start using a sleeping aid are when the cause of insomnia is known and sleep medication is a probable solution, when daily activities become difficult, and if behavioral changes haven't worked and improving sleeping habits haven't made much of a difference, when your sleeping problem is beginning to cause you a lot of stress, and for temporary, or short term insomnia. 

These supplements may help you to fall asleep but the products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, another reason you should talk to your doctor before beginning to use these sleeping supplements. They can help direct you to the right brand and dosage that works best for you. Together you can help create a plan to get the rest you need. 

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This video is part of an ongoing series HealthiNation has created in partnership with the experts at the National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org

Natalie Dautovich, PhD.

This video features Natalie Dautovich, PhD.. Dr. Dautovich is the National Sleep Foundation's Environmental Scholar. She is also appointed at Virginia Commonwealth University as an assistant professor of counseling psychology in the department of psychology. She received her doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of Florida and completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of South Florida.

Duration: 2:19. Last Updated On: Nov. 8, 2017, 6:14 p.m.
Reviewed by: Preeti Parikh, MD, . Review date: July 31, 2015
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