There’s a common misconception that human sleep needs decline as we approach adulthood. On the contrary, it doesn’t. Our sleep needs don’t change as we grow older. What changes is our sleep pattern. These changes usually cause sleeping problems such as insomnia and other types of sleep disorders. How does this happen?
There are multiple stages of sleep: dreamless periods of light and deep sleep as well as occasional periods of active dreaming (usually referred to as REM sleep). This cycle of sleep stages repeat a number of times during the night but the total time used to sleep remains constant. As we age, we tend to have more light sleep than deep sleep periods. That’s what causes sleep disorders.
Generally most people experience higher sleep latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep), a decline in REM sleep, and an increase in sleep fragmentation (waking up during the night) with age.
However, these problems have solutions.
Best sleep aids for the elderly: Our top 7 picks
Here are 7 remedies for insomnia and other sleep disorders experienced by seniors not older than 75 years.
1. Dodow Sleep Aid Device
The Dodow Sleep Aid device is a short cylindrical-shaped metronome designed to eliminate sleep latency and insomnia. If you have trouble falling asleep or finding sleep, this innovation is the right fit for you.
It teaches you how to fall asleep naturally without the aid of drugs.
- It produces a pulsating soft blue light on the ceiling which when you follow, reduces your breathing and slows down your metabolism. In no time, sleep sets in and the device turns itself off.
- It has a touch-sensitive surface where you can set the timer to an 8 or a 20-minute mode.
- It works for its intended purpose and makes you a normal sleeper.
- This device is good for any age (including 6 year-old kids) who find it hard to sleep due to troubled thoughts, stress, restlessness, and so on.
- It is a bit pricey with respect to other sleep aids (costs twice the average sleep aid) but it has its advantages. You can use it for a longer period of time and the whole process is natural.
2. Alteril Sleep Aid
Next on our list is the all-natural Alteril Sleep Aid, which costs less than the Dodow device. It’s a non-prescription sleep pill which you can get over the counter at drug stores. It contains ingredients that have been proven to improve sleep over the years.
Alteril allows you to sleep by replacing the melatonin that your system makes in response to darkness. It gently sedates you so you can fall asleep easily and sleep better.
It is to be taken approximately one hour before going to bed.
Main features & ingredients
- The main ingredients in Alteril are L-tryptophan, glycine, melatonin and a proprietary blend of gamma aminobutyric acid, skullcap extract, valerian root extract, chamomile herb (aerial parts), hops strobile extract, passionflower herb extract.
- It comes in a cylindrical container with a number of ¾ inch capsules. For most people a single dosage is enough for a good night rest. It doesn’t come as a gelcap.
- Many people prefer the sleep aid because it usually works better than prescription sleeping pills and has fewer side effects.
- Alteril is not addictive. It has not been demonstrated to show dependency when used in the right manner.
- It is a great sleep aid for seniors who are sensitive to stronger supplements although the smell might be uncomfortable.
3. Dr. Berg’s Vegan Sleep Aid Formula
The Dr. Bergs’s Vegan Sleep Aid Formula is made majorly with vegan ingredients. Dr. Eric Berg is a veteran chiropractor who deals in weight loss through nutritional and natural methods. His products have been around for a quarter of a century and are used by many people.
This product is not a sleeping pill. What it does is to rejuvenate adrenal health and calm adrenal stress. These allow you to drift into a restful night sleep which usually lasts for 7 to 8 hours. If you don’t wake up rejuvenated and refreshed on most days, this product is for you.
Main features & ingredients
- This product comes in a cylindrical container. The tablets are oblong and about a half inch long.
- The main ingredient in this product is L-Tryptophan, which is a special natural amino acid which helps the body to fall asleep.
- This product is made using a host of vegan ingredients. Hence, it is suitable for vegetarians.
- One capsule is to be taken approximately thirty minutes before bed time.
- It doesn’t contain hormones and valerian root so users wake up refreshed and well-rested.
- Berg’s vegan sleep aid formula doesn’t work for everybody though. Some people still find it hard to sleep after taking the supplements for consecutive days.
4. Lights Out Natural Sleep Aid
The Lights Out Natural Sleep Aid is made to help you fall and stay asleep. If you wake up during the night due to wandering thoughts, anxiety and restlessness from your daily hustle this sleep aid is right for you.
The product is a box of gluten-free capsules aimed to encourage the body into a healthy sleep cycle minus unwanted side effects. It relaxes the nervous system and lulls one into a state of sound sleep. Unlike medical sleep prescriptions it is an herbal sleep aid made from natural, non-GMO, non-habit forming ingredients.
To get the best results, 2 capsules of Lights Out should be taken 20 – 30 minutes before going to bed. Exceeding the recommended dose could be fatal.
Main ingredients & features
- The main ingredients in Lights Out are valerian root, an ancient medicinal root used to cure insomnia; Chamomile, an old medicinal herb used to calm the nervous system; and Gaba, a naturally-occurring amino acid which improves serotonin production which in turn produces healthy sleep patterns.
- Others notable ingredients are 5HTP or “hydroxyl L-tryptophan”, passion flower, lemon balm, melatonin and Vitamin B6.
- If you have trouble with valerian root, don’t take these vitamins. It doesn’t work well for everyone and there are complaints about its smell.
- It isn’t suitable for pregnant women or children under 18 years. Stay away from it if you have a serious medical condition.
5. LUNA Natural Sleep Aid
The LUNA Natural Sleep Aid is another sleep aid made from natural ingredients. It is a herbal supplement made from vegan ingredients. It is designed to improve the health and happiness of its users although, like most products, it doesn’t work for everyone as we are all unique.
It comes in a cylindrical box filled with 3mg ¾ inch capsules. It is non-GMO and preservative free too. It works by putting the body and mind into a relaxed state, easing the tensions and anxiety of the day away. In this relaxed state, the body drifts off and uninterrupted sleep comes easily.
Main ingredients & features
- Each LUNA capsule contains 3mg melatonin, 100mg L-Theanine, an amino acid found in green tea and GABA , a neurotransmitter produced by the body which is also present in a number of fermented foods.
- Others ingredients are 5mg magnesium (as bisglycinate chelate), 75mg valerian extract (root), 75mg chamomile extract (whole plant), 50mg passion flower extract (whole plant), 50mg Lemon balm extract (whole plant), 50mg Hops extract (flower), vegetable cellulose and vegetable magnesium stearate.
- It isn’t habit forming and is highly rated among other sleep aids.
- For best result, take 1 or 2 capsules 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed.
6. Sleep Sense
This Sleep Sense another all-natural sleep aid according to its makers. It is relatively cheap and contains all the ingredients needed to lull the body into a state of uninterruptible sleep. This sleep aid is made from unique formulae based on modern sleep research and neurochemistry.
It contains special herbs which relaxes the mind, calm the body and enhance the natural effects of the sleep hormone, melatonin. As a result, it gets rid of insomnia and restless sleep so that you feel refreshed and energized on waking up the next morning.
Main ingredients & properties
- The top ingredients in this product are the special herbs mucuna pruriens and phellodendron root (100mg of each). Other ingredients include Magnesium (200mg), L-Theanine (400mg), GABA (100mg), 5-HTP (50mg), and Melatonin 2mg.
- The pills look large – they’re ¾ inch long but they go down easily. If you find it hard to swallow you can dissolve it in a drink but the potency will be reduced.
- SleepSense is formulated in a top laboratory in the United States which is FDA registered and GMP certified.
- Unlike pharmaceutical drugs this product is non-habit forming and there’s no risk of dependency or withdrawal.
7. Nighttime Sleep Support Supplement
The Nighttime Sleep Support Supplement is a natural sleep aid aimed at eliminating sleep latency and insomnia. Manufactured by Zenwise Health, it helps people who struggle through sleepless nights.
It contains herbal ingredients which release tension and help the body to settle down. It calms the mind and lulls the body into a deep and relaxed slumber so that you feel well rested and energized on waking up the next day.
It is suitable for kids too. One or two tablets should be taken an hour before bed time.
Main ingredients & features
- This supplement contains Magnesium Glycinate and 5-HTP as well as chamomile flower powder and over 5mg of Melatonin with valerian root powder, GABA and L-Taurine / L-Theanine. These work together to help the body settle down and stay relaxed.
- It is non-habit forming and promotes a balanced sleep cycle.
- It is NSF and GMP certified and is also manufactured in the United States.
- This sleep aid won’t put a hole in your pocket. It is cheap when compared with other sleep aids.
- This supplement doesn’t work for everyone as we all have a different type of metabolism and biological makeup.
What to look for when buying sleep aids for seniors
Choosing a sleeping aid shouldn’t be a hard task. Although there are a host of them on the market some of them stand out. The products mentioned in this review are highly rated by those who buy and use them. But before buying a sleeping aid there are a few things to consider.
- How much does it cost? These sleeping aids are usually cheap. A bottle of these capsules on the average costs twenty bucks and contains about 30 pills. The Dodwo device costs more than other sleep aids but it is a one-time purchase.
- Another thing to consider is how the sleep aid works. How is it made? What ingredients does it contain? Do you prefer natural or vegan?
- Identify the sleep disorder you have and go for a product that best solves that problem.
- What are the side effects and is it addictive? If you’re on medication will it interfere with other drugs you’ve ingested?
- Can you tolerate the smell? There are complaints that some of these sleep aids give an obnoxious smell. You should factor that in if you mind the smell of what you ingest.
- Some of these sleep aid pills do look a bit large. Will they be hard for you to swallow?
- How will your body react to the drug? Human beings are built in different ways. What works for one person might not work for another person. Check the ingredients in each sleep aid. Does it contain ingredients you are allergic to or will they bring about some unwanted side effects? If your body doesn’t deal with Valerian roots well, don’t buy a sleep aid which contains Valerian root.
These sleep aids aren’t suited for everyday use. Note that sleep aids are most effective when used occasionally. If used regularly you may develop some tolerance to the products and they won’t work for you anymore.
In addition to this, these products are best used before bed time and if one doesn’t work for you after you’ve used it a number of times, it’s best to discontinue using it.
These 7 are some of the best sleep aids for seniors available these days. Each of these products contains similar ingredients as well as a few non-similar ones. They work in different ways although the general idea is to relax the body and mind to induce sound uninterruptible sleep.