Topical sleep spray could help insomnia

WASHINGTON — Battling to get to sleep, or stay asleep, can be frustrating, tiring, and harmful to your health.

The developers of a new product, Sprayable Sleep, say the world’s first topical sleep spray will help users fall asleep naturally and wake up refreshed.

The product is wildly exceeding goals on the indiegogo crowdsourcing page, having raised 2,107-percent of its original goal.

With the marketing line “welcome to the beginning of tired,” the spray uses melatonin, the naturally occurring body hormone that helps regulate sleep.

Users spray it twice on the neck — once on each side — about an hour before bedtime.

Its makers say since Sprayable Sleep is applied to the skin, it bypasses the digestive system, and is able to deliver melatonin safely at a lower dose.

Sprayable Inc.’s co-founders, Ben Yu and Deven Soni, say the majority of orally-ingested melatonin is metabolized by the liver, and pills “are filled with up to 30 times the amount of melatonin your body actually needs to regulate sleep.”

Since 1994, melatonin has been sold over-the-counter in the United States, and labeled as a dietary supplement.

“As a sleep physician, I use it in certain situations and I do recommend it to patients, but … it is not something I can write a prescription for,” M. Safwan Badr, former president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine tells Mashable.

“If someone’s using (Sprayable Sleep) and it’s (having a positive effect on) them, I’m not going to tell them not to,” Badr says to Mashable.

The sleep spray contains only three ingredients: melatonin, water, a derivative of tyrosine, an amino acid which helps the body absorb melatonin through the skin.

Even though melatonin is widely available, Dr. Emerson Wickwire, director of the Insomnia Program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine believes melatonin isn’t likely to help the most common sleep problems.

Badr and Wickwire say they would prefer that those struggling with insomnia contact a professional, rather than self-choosing sleep aids.

Contributors to the crowdfunding effort are expected to receive their products in July 2015.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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