2021's 10 Best
If you find yourself reading this, it’s likely because you are experiencing some sort of sleep deprivation through the week. It’s impacting your life. You can’t figure it out. It sucks.
Unfortunately, this is the reality for over 35.2% of all adults in the United States today.
In a 2017 study by the CDC, they discovered that between 37.1% and 39.6% adults aged 25-54 were likely to experience at least one night of sleep deprivation every week. Result showed these numbers to rise drastically to between 35.2% and 52.8% for people of color, especially for African Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians. (1)
Sleep deprivation is quite obviously a huge issue, and the fact that it is affecting at least a third of our adult population has made it nothing short of a national crisis.
This has led to a rise in demand for sleeping aids, especially a variety of sleeping aids to help master the variety of reasons for bad sleep. Whether it is an all-natural solution like kicking your partner out of bed in the middle of the night or making sure to take the right pill before bed, it’s become imperative for everyone to find some kind of solution that works.
Bad sleep has a variety of causes. Thus, there are a lot of suggested solutions. To understand what kind of bad sleep you have and what would work best to solve it, read on. Or, you can get right to seeing what products are featured on the top 10 list. Jump to the list of amazing sleeping pills.
What is Bad Sleep?
To fully understand bad sleep, you have to know what to look for in normal or good sleep.
Sleep is typically separated into 4 stages, and as the night grows, your sleep gets deeper. You should have 4-5 sections of quiet sleep, which is the super deep sleep where you get the best rest. You also have 4-5 sections of REM sleep, which is where you dream. Your brain is more active during this time, but your body is fully relaxed.(2)
These sections of sleep are separated by 1-2 minutes every hour in which you are “awake.” Studies have shown that as long as there’s not a distraction in that 1-2 minute period, you’ll forget it happened, and it will have no impact on your sleep.
That’s a normal night of sleep. A bad night will typically mean you didn’t get enough. Meaning, either there were enough distractions to make you remember those waking minutes, or you never fully reached the deepest levels of your sleep cycle.
You’ll notice the difference because your first typical waking hour will be miserable, and you’ll likely feel groggy throughout the day. If this happens persistently (3+ times a week for a few weeks), you could classify that as insomnia.
Quality vs. Quantity
On average, people need at least 7 hours of sleep a night to feel rested and functional. There are outliers who thrive on 4-6 hours of sleep. It’s not likely that you are one of them, but it does happen with certain people.
This is the case because in most cases, quality of sleep is more important than quantity. If you lie in bed, jumping in and out of a doze for 8 hours, you’re likely not doing any better than the guy who got 6 hours with full functioning REM and quiet sleep.
According to an Amsterdam sleep study from 2015:
“Results indicate that perceptions of sleep quality and daytime dysfunction have consequences for the body’s ability to respond to challenges. As such, the current study implicates stress and the associated physiological changes in HPA axis reactivity as one gender-dependent pathway linking poor sleep with negative health outcomes. However, the lack of sleep duration effects suggests that the body may retain some degree of resilience.”(3)
Which basically means that participants who got better sleep for less time were able to handle daily stresses better than people who got worse sleep for more time. This is because of the way that they were able to handle increases in cortisol levels throughout the day.
One point in particular was made in this study that is worth repeating. Women don’t do as well as men when it comes to less or lower-quality sleep. They are much more affected by bad sleep, which makes it even more essential for them to maintain high-quality sleep. Jump to our list of sleeping pills
What Causes Bad Sleep?
Bad sleep is caused by a variety of things. It can be stress, hormone imbalances, illness, chronic pain, or your partner (or dog) snoring too loud. It doesn’t take much to incur the wrath of a bad night’s sleep.
What’s important to distinguish is the difference between a chronic physical problem and something that can be easily changed.
For example, your sleep companion snoring will typically interrupt your sleep in the 1-2 minutes of waking that you’ll experience every hour or so, and that will keep you up. So kick them out or invest in a decent pair of ear plugs.
But if you’re not hitting the REM and quiet-hour requirements, there may be a more serious cause that needs to be addressed.
Anxiety, stress, depression, or bad physical health are more serious issues that can be to blame for chronic bad sleep. This is more than just a stressful day or even bad week at work. It’s an issue that bleeds into the rest of your life.
The worst part about these kind of things is that bad sleep will often aggravate the issue. If you’re overweight and it’s killing your sleep, then you’re probably gaining more weight because of the lack of sleep.
This is where issues like insomnia come into play. The fact remains that minor bouts of insomnia can lead to worse issues than just being grumpy or tired when left untreated. It can deteriorate (quite quickly) your physical health, your mental well-being, and your ability to handle daily stresses. (4,5)
This circle is what most people are trying to break out of when they invest in sleeping pills.
When Should You Consider a Sleep Aid?
Not all reasons for disrupted sleep require a pill to fix the problem. Sometimes, it’s as easy as sleeping in a different room, opening the window at night, or eating better. If it’s been a particularly stressful week at work, cancel whatever plans you had on Saturday and get some well earned ZZZ’s. If you’ve been sick, don’t be scared to take some Nyquil and take a sick day from work.
You can typically answer minor issues with various outside solutions.
It’s when your REM and quiet sleep hours are affected consistently that you might consider a sleep aid. These can be affected by chronic stress or pain. And when your sleep is interrupted consistently by these types of things, it can not only be harder to recover, but to even begin to find a solution.
Which is where sleep aids come in handy. Jump to our list of amazing sleeping pills
The right one can help you get a solid night’s sleep, full with REM and quiet hours to help you get back to normal. But there are a few things to consider when deciding on the right product:
- Is it natural or synthetic?
- How long-lasting are the effects?
- How quickly will it work?
- Can you eat afterwards?
- How expensive is it?
- Is there a return policy?
When looking for the right product, you need to decide what in that list is most important and in what way. If a product passes your test, then it might be worth investing in.
What are Sleep Aids?
The point of most sleeping pills is to act as a sedative, whether natural or not. The sleeping pills that you’ll find on our page, or ones that are similar, are more oriented toward natural ingredients. These are not as effective as the sleeping pills you could get prescribed by a doctor. So for people who have a serious issue, they might seem ineffective.
But to help you relax and sleep, this might be just what you’re looking for.
Every aid is a little different, so it’s important to know the key players in the ingredient list and how they should affect you. It’s important to note here that dosage really does matter. Valerian root can be great, but you need a ton of it to notice effects quickly. A standard dose is 450 mg, but taking it like that will mean you might notice better sleep in 2-3 weeks.
Valerian Root is typically consumed as a tea, but more and more companies are adding it to their ingredient profiles. While the effects aren’t proven to be beneficial to consumers, it has had reported impacts on sleep, which have encouraged companies to keep using it. This is likely because of its anti-anxiety effects. So it’s possible that people who notice its effects were also plagued by chronic stress or anxiety. (6)
Passionflower is another great ingredient that works well in many products as well as by itself in tea. It’s especially known for its anti-anxiety effects, as well as muscle relaxation properties. These are both great for calming down before going to sleep and helping relax anxious thoughts before bed. (7)
Melatonin seems to react similarly to the crowd-favorite Nyquil. It will make you doze off quickly, but the sleep you have might be disrupted or funny. People report vivid dreams through the night which suggests it can extend your REM time to take up more than the quiet hours. You don’t need a ton of it to make it work effectively, and it’s definitely recommended that you don’t drive after taking it. (8)
GABA is also a super essential. Many have named it as a potent neuro-depressant. Basically, it’s the opposite of glutamate, which is an upper (think candy-like carbs giving you a bit of a high). It’s an easily-regulated compound though, which makes it difficult for your brain to uptake it and feel the full effects. (9)
This is where products with multiple ingredients come in handy. If you can take something that has a decent dose of valerian, melatonin, GABA, and some basic vitamins, you’ll likely notice a good night’s sleep and slowly-improving sleep the longer you take it. Jump to our list of amazing sleeping pills
Are Sleeping Pills Safe?
Yes. Especially the kind of sleeping pills you’d get from Esupplements. While they may not be FDA approved, their dosages are built to prevent a dependency and to avoid any negative side effects.
The bad rep for sleeping pills comes from the prescribed medications that doctors give out. They’re typically addictive and need to be taken specifically as prescribed at the risk of becoming addicted or overdosing. Ever want to get an earful about sleeping pills? Ask a judge or a lawyer about the Ambien cases they’ve seen.
The best care that you can take with any product is to make sure you’re not allergic to any of its ingredients. Then, slowly build up the dose until you’re happy with its effects. Don’t take more than the prescribed dosage, though. Better to try another alternative. This is just to make sure you don’t have adverse effects due to an intolerance or allergy that you didn’t know about.
Another safe practice to use with sleeping pills is to check to see if the product has a return policy. Not that manufacturers want you returning any products, but this gives you the opportunity to get your money back if you have any adverse or non-existent reactions.
What Are The Side Effects of Sleeping Pills?
The most common side effect of sleeping pills is drowsiness during the day. Especially in the case of taking too much for your body. Planning your sleep schedule to give you at least 7 hours of rest and a little time in the morning to wake up will help mitigate the impact of possible drowsiness.
The other most commonly-reported side effect comes directly from valerian. If this ingredient is in the product you’re taking, there may be a chance that you will feel effects similar to a hangover. Headaches and upset stomach on waking are very common. This is easily taken care of by drinking at least 8 ounces of water upon waking and having a little coffee or tea, if you’re willing. Please note, though, that this is only when valerian is the primary ingredient and used at a higher dose.
BEST SLEEPING PILLS
Our top 10 list of Sleeping Pills is organized to reflect what you most value in your supplements. First and foremost is quality. All of our top ten supplements meet high standards of quality and come from brands with a proven record in excellence and purity. Another important factor in deciding the top ten was cost. You don’t have to pay through the nose to get a high-quality supplement. In addition, all the companies represented on our top ten list have stellar records with customer service and prompt shipping to ensure that your supplement experience is enjoyable from the first click to your final capsule.
- National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health Short Sleep Duration Among US Adults Page last reviewed: May 2, 2017
- Dr. Laurence Knott, Insomnia; Poor Sleep Retrieved from Patient.info 05 Sep 2017
- Bassett, S. M., Lupis, S. B., Gianferante, D., Rohleder, N., & Wolf, J. M. Sleep quality but not sleep quantity effects on cortisol responses to acute psychosocial stress. Stress (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 18(6), 638–644.
- Aurora, R. N., Collop, N. A., Jacobowitz, O., Thomas, S. M., Quan, S. F., & Aronsky, A. J. Quality Measures for the Care of Adult Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine?: JCSM?: Official Publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 11(3), 357–383.
- Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research; Colten HR, Altevogt BM, editors. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2006. 3, Extent and Health Consequences of Chronic Sleep Loss and Sleep Disorders. Available from:
- Brent A. Bauer, M.D. Valerian: A safe and effective herbal sleep aid? Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved.1998-2018
- Aslanargun, P., Cuvas, O., Dikmen, B. et al. J Anesth Passiflora incarnata Linneaus as an anxiolytic before spinal anesthesia (2012) 26: 39.
- Amnon Brzezinskia, Mark G. Vangel, Richard J.Wurtmanc, Gillian Norried, Irina Zhdanova, Abraham Ben-Shushana, Ian Ford Effects of exogenous melatonin on sleep: a meta-analysis Sleep Medicine Reviews Volume 9, Issue 1, February 2005, Pages 41-50
- Claude Gottesmann GABA mechanisms and sleep Neuroscience Volume 111, Issue 2, 10 May 2002, Pages 231-239
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