Sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta joins The Doctors to discuss if a weighted blanket and melatonin chewing gum can be helpful for a good night’s sleep.
First up, the weighted blanket. Does Dr. Dasgupta think wrapping yourself in 15 pounds or more of blanket is worth a shot? Yes!
Dr. Dasgupta says he looks at sleep like a puzzle – is it the temperature? The light? The sound? Maybe it’s the cuddle, the snuggling you need to fall asleep. This blanket may help. They use about 7 to 12% of your body weight.
Dr. Dasgupta points out it can be helpful for people with anxiety. Outside of sleep, it can help those with fibromyalgia because the weight can hit pressure points on the body. These blankets have a claim to fame for kids with autism and ADHD. If you suffer from insomnia, adding this blanket into your sleep routine is worth a shot!
What about chewing gum? Can that help? A company is claiming chewing gum containing melatonin before bedtime will help users fall asleep quickly and improve the overall quality of sleep. Dr. Dasgupta says this is a big bust!
Melatonin is supposed to help shift your circadian rhythms. It is useful when it is well-placed and timed, about 2 hours before your desired sleep time. Chewing gum right before you go to sleep isn’t well timed. Additionally, Dr. Dasgupta points out gum before sleep could equal cavities! And you could potentially fall asleep and choke on the gum in your mouth.
Furthermore, Dr. Dasgupta did some research and saw that some of these gums contain extra vitamins and serotonin. Serotonin is used for people with depression, and those same people often have trouble sleeping. Taking more serotonin in addition to prescribed medications could be extremely dangerous!
A tip from Dr. Dasgupta? Setting a foundation is what you really need to do. Have a set bedtime and wake time, watch what you eat and drink, and exercise.