6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Should You Try Sleep Supplements?

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(ABC 6 News) – Trouble sleeping? You’re not alone.

According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, only 42% of Americans would describe their sleep as ‘good’ or ‘very good.’

You toss, you turn, you keep fluffing that pillow, but as hard as you try you just can’t fall asleep. Which is why about 30% of people say they have taken supplements to sleep better.

“If you’re consistently losing sleep, studies have shown that it can wreak havoc on your body – and increase your risks for anxiety and depression,” says Consumer Reports’ Kevin Loria.

Unlike sleep medication – which are prescribed by a doctor – sleep supplements can be found over-the-counter.

Store shelves are stocked with pills claiming to help you sleep – like melatonin – which is a naturally produced hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle and helps control when you’re sleepy and when you feel awake.

Evidence does suggest that taking melatonin can help you doze off about 7 minutes faster, on average.

“Research shows it may be useful for people with jet lag or certain sleep disorders, but be sure not to overdo it – you don’t want to interfere with your body’s natural production of melatonin,” says Loria.

Other supplements you may find promoted out there to help you sleep include CBD – which is a compound that is found in both hemp and marijuana, and it doesn’t get you high.

Some early research suggests CBD may be a reasonable treatment for insomnia, but a lot more research still needs to be done.

One study suggests that if your vitamin D levels are low, adding it may help you nod off faster and sleep longer.

And if it’s restless leg syndrome keeping you up at night, your doctor may suggest taking Iron.

“If you do decide to try a supplement, be sure to look for a trustworthy seal on the bottle from a group like, U.S. Pharmacopeia, ConsumerLab.com or NSF,” says Loria.

And don’t forget, you can also supplement your sleep supplements – perhaps with a white noise machine.

Other things you can do to help you sleep are limiting your screen time before bed, and not consuming any caffeine after lunchtime.