The number one health complaint in the UK is tiredness. Whether it be insomnia, difficulty getting to sleep or waking up feeling unrested, the vast majority of us would love to get a better night’s sleep. And the pharmaceutical industry is ready to cash in on that need for sleep with a vast array of both over the counter and prescription drugs to help as get to sleep at night. One of the most popular of these is a tablet containing the hormone melatonin.

MelatoninMelatonin is produced naturally in the body in the pineal gland, which is situated in the brain. This gland is dormant during the day, or sunlight hours, and then becomes active when it’s dark. This is when it produces melatonin, which is released into our bloodstream and causes us to feel less alert (or sleepy). This high level of melatonin will stay consistently high all through the night while we sleep until the morning daylight causes the pineal gland to become dormant again and melatonin levels drop.

However, the pineal gland can be tricked by artificial light including laptops, phones and tablets. This means that if we use these devices too much at night then melatonin will not get released and therefore we won’t become tired when we should be. This can make it difficult for people to get to sleep at night.

Which is why melatonin is such a popular supplement to buy in aid of sleep, but is it safe? Well, worryingly, the sales of melatonin are relatively unregulated. This is because as melatonin is found naturally occurring in some foods, such as bananas and strawberries, it is considered to be a supplement rather than a hormone (which would be prescription only).

Because of this you need to be really careful about the brand and dosage of pills that you buy. Many of the pills that are available for sale contain a very high dosage of melatonin – much higher than a doctor would recommend. Some dosages contain 1-3mg of melatonin, which is enough to elevate your melatonin levels as much as 1 to 20 times the natural amount that your body would produce. Indeed, all our bodies are different so self-prescribing a dosage for yourself over the counter without a doctor’s help is practically impossible and could be dangerous.

Plus, what you need to remember is that melatonin isn’t actually a sleeping aid. Your sleeping problems may have nothing to do with melatonin, while you flood your system with a hormone that we know little of the long-term effects of over-dosage.

Although there are not too many research studies on the dangers of melatonin yet, there has been a few notable side effects including headaches, nausea, vivid dreams, nightmares, hormone fluctuations and feeling groggy the next day.

If you are having trouble sleeping you should first of all visit your doctor before choosing to self-medicate on melatonin. If it is melatonin deficiency that you are suffering from the doctor will diagnose this and prescribe a correct and safe dosage.  

But then it's possible there’s another reason that you have difficulty getting to sleep or waking up feeling unrested. Perhaps a new bed or mattress might be the answer. Many people suffer a bad night’s sleep because they just tolerate what they are sleeping on and really can't be bothered to look for a new one. The thought of wasting time shopping, quite frankly puts them off. Well this is where Big Brand Beds can help. You can do plenty of research online and then call us on 01273 857388 for further advice. Once you've narrowed down your selection we would always recommend visiting the showroom to try before you buy.

We've got a wide selection of beds, bed frames and mattresses to cater for all needs.

Latex mattresses

Dunlopillo Royal Sovereign BedLatex is a wonderful natural product made from sap from the rubber tree. The sap is whisked and then baked, just like a cake to produce the most resilient and comfort mattresses. A huge benefit is that because it is natural it is breathable and aids in the process of wicking away moisture during the night, thus regulating your body temperature.

Dunlopillo is the brand that is well known for latex. Afterall, they have been manufacturing latex mattresses since the 1920’s and sold their first mattresses in 1931. With such great heritage, they are well worth a look. The Which? Best Buy Dunlopillo Royal Sovereign is a favourite - pictured right.

Hypnos. Sealy and Silentnight make pocket sprung mattresses which have layers of latex. You get all the benefits of the latex along with those of the supportive individual pocket springs.

Memory foam

Memory foam mattresses are like Marmite – you love it or hate it. Early inexpensive memory foam did cause people to get too hot. Technology has moved on and this isn’t the case so much today, although some people still find it a little too warm.

Relyon make a range of memory foam mattresses with a combination of high density foam and or pocket springs that are available for next day delivery if ordered before 1.00am Monday-Thursday. They represent excellent value for money and all come with a 5-year guarantee.

Both Relyon and Sealy manufacture hybrid models. That is a combination of memory foam and springs. These are incredibly popular as you’ll benefit from the best of both worlds. The comfort afforded by the layer of memory foam, whilst retaining the support of a sprung mattress. The Which? Best Buy Sealy 1400 Pocket Genoa has been a best seller for us for several years now.

Natural fillings

When it comes to naturally filled beds, Hypnos are hard to beat. They only use natural and recyclable products in their manufacturing process. With a range of Orthocare mattresses for those that require a firmer feel to their luxurious pillow top collection, we are confident you will find something you’ll like. Just try the Hypnos Andante Pillow Top and you’ll know what we mean.

Come and visit our bed shop near me (that's you of course) to try out the range of beds and mattresses in our showroom in Burgess Hill, West Sussex. Click here to get directions to our bed shop on Google maps