Love it, Like it, Hate it: Sleep Aids

FUELED Wellness with Molly
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We’ll be Springing Forward this weekend, but for many, the time change can throw off our sleep schedules. Not only can it leave use feeling sluggish and rundown, it can also interfere with weight loss. Today we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on the best and worst of popular medications and supplements that promise us a better night’s rest.


How sleep deprivation interferes with weight:

  • We eat more when we’re sleep deprived.
  • Even when we do cut back on calories, sleep deprivation can inhibit our ability to lose weight.
  • If we’re sleep deprived, it’s easy to reach for extra carbs/calories for energy, when we just need more Z’s.


5 strategies for better sleep:


Set a schedule. Aim to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day

Unplug. Minimize screen time before bed – the artificial light interferes with our body’s production of melatonin

Reconsider that nightcap. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it can interfere with quality of sleep

Ease up on caffeine. Limit your intake to < 300 mg daily (approx. 3 cups of coffee), and limit caffeine after 2pm.

Supplement wisely. Taking multivitamins close to bedtime may make it harder to fall asleep.





Melatonin – 3-10 mg at bedtime – to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.


L-Theanine – 200mg at bedtime – particularly if anxiety is contributing to insomnia. Can be paired with melatonin


Magnesium – 500 mg may help with falling asleep & staying asleep. Can be combined with above supplements.


Valerian extract (160 mg) + Lemon Balm (80 mg) + 2-3 times/day may improve quality and quanity of sleep.


Passionflower – as supplement or tea – may improve symptoms of anxiety. One cup of passionflower tea before bed has been shown to improve sleep quality.


Somnapure – contains blend of valerian extract (500 mg) lemon balm extract (300 mg), l-theanine (200 mg), chamomile (50 mg), passion flower extract (50 mg), melatonin (3 mg).




GNC Enhanced Sleep Formula

it contains smaller amounts of magnesium, valerian, lemon balm, and passion flower, and 5 mg melatonin. Also contains GABA, which can interfere with certain medications.


OTC sleep aids such as Simply Sleep (diphenhydramine HCl) and Unisom (doxylamine succinate).

These are antihistamines that also cause drowsiness; possible side effects include dizziness and dry mouth. While they are still medications with potential side effects, they’re far less severe than Rx sleep aids.





Prescription sleep aids like Ambien, Lunesta, Restoril, and Sonata


They may be necessary in certain cases – and can be well-tolerated and effective – but be aware that these hypnotics/sedatives can have negative side effects such as:

  • Sleep eating
  • Sleep driving
  • Impaired thinking or reactions
  • “Amnesia-like” side effects, especially of events occurring within 7-8 hours after taking Ambien
  • Allergic reactions like anaphylaxis and facial swelling



As always, check with your physician or pharmacist before beginning any new supplement regime.


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