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What is the verdict on sleep supplements?

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We’ve all seen ads and social media posts for popular supplements promising better sleep. But do they really work? And are they safe?

With an ever-increasing amount of people reporting poor sleep quality due to the ongoing stress of the pandemic (COVID-somnia), or perhaps anxiety over the current news environment, it’s no wonder that supplements and prescription sleep aids are in high demand.

 According to Sleep Better Austin’s dental sleep expert Dr. Max Kerr, it is appropriate to take sleep supplements if you:

  • have trouble falling asleep
  • wake up multiple times during the night
  • feel excessively sleepy during the day

Dr. Kerr notes that “natural sleep aids such as melatonin, magnesium and CBD may be a big help for some people and are considered generally safe in easing bouts of common insomnia if used as directed.”

 He stresses  that it is important to check with your regular doctor first before taking sleep supplements to ensure they will not interfere with any other medications or conditions you may have.

“I also always recommend to slowly and safely on-board any supplements one at a time,” says Dr. Kerr.  “It is important to judge the effectiveness and value of one compound prior to jumping to the next, and if the supplement is not getting you closer to your desired goal of better quality sleep, there may be an underlying disease or issue.”

 If sleep supplements and generally good sleep hygiene (sticking to a regular sleep schedule and creating a comfortable sleep environment) do not help with a restful night’s sleep, you may be suffering from a common disorder known as sleep apnea.

Characteristics of sleep apnea include heavy/loud snoring or sporadic, halted breathing at night which both prevent healthy, quality sleep.

Sleep apnea is typically first treated with a CPAP machine to help open up the airways and improve breathing at night. This is accomplished with oxygen flow delivered via a hose and fitted face mask.

There are however, alternatives to the CPAP machine if it is not effective or comfortable for you.

Oral appliance therapy is another highly effective option for opening the airways to encourage better breathing while you sleep. It involves a small dental appliance worn in the mouth at night to position the jaw in the most efficient and comfortable way possible.

To learn more about sleep apnea treatment, please contact us to schedule a complimentary appointment with one of our experts in dental sleep medicine.