Any physician will emphasize that getting good amount of sleep is important for a good physical wellbeing, yet numerous individuals are not getting enough sleep every night.
Not getting enough rest can have a number of negative consequences; it plays a role in keeping the body and brain functioning properly. Ensuring adequate amounts of sleep can lead to improved memory, a decrease in stress, rebuilding of cells, balancing of hormones, controlling metabolism, and a reduced risk of illness.
Despite the fact that people struggling with insomnia are aware of the benefit of having a well-rested sleep, attaining it is difficult in practice and can require additional effort beyond simply sleep-related behaviors and techniques.
It is estimated by the CDC that seventy million citizens of the United States suffer from inadequate sleep. The aftermath of this is unpleasant, leaving them irritable and needing to boost energy with coffee, making them less than pleasurable to be around.
It’s not unexpected, then, that in the year 2022, almost one fifth of all American grown-ups admitted to utilizing medicine or non-prescription sleep aids to help with their bad sleep habits.
If you are having difficulty in recollecting when you last had a good night’s rest, then you have arrived at the right spot. Find out the top sleep aids that can turn the fantasy of a restful night into a reality.
Natural Sleep Aids
Products that can be purchased without a prescription which improve sleep quality by aiding in the process of falling asleep quicker and possibly getting rid of interruptions that happen while asleep.
Different types of sleep aids exist including plants, vitamins, minerals, and substances naturally made by the body that help you get to sleep.
These items are a valid choice for individuals with small to moderate sleeplessness or other sleep struggles who prefer not to endure undesired consequences or the risk of dependency on prescription remedies.
It is suggested to be cautious of anything labeled as ‘natural’ even though the FDA regards dietary supplements as food rather than medicine and so they do not have to follow the same strict rules.
In the end, companies who make dietary supplements do not need to prove that their products are safe or effective before they offer them for sale to the public.
The Most Effective Natural Sleep Aid Supplements
Melatonin, which is secreted by the body when it gets dark, acts as a signal to the brain that it is time for bed. The amount of a certain factor increases as the evening progresses and goes back down in the morning, which is in alignment with the 24-hour cycle that the body follows to control its sleep and wakefulness, more commonly referred to as the circadian rhythm.
Consequently, melatonin pills are a common sleep aid for people whose internal body clock is out of sync, such as from crossing multiple time zones, staring at digital screens for long periods, or working the night shift.
A 2022 research conducted by Duffy et al. revealed that melatonin supplements can extend the duration of a person’s sleep in the elderly, and also reduce the time required for the individual to enter a sleeping state, known as sleep latency.
A study happening in 2022 that was published in the Journal of Neurology revealed that even a low amount of 3mg of melatonin taken a few hours prior to going to bed could enhance the sleep quality of individuals with sleeping troubles.
It appears to be safe to take melatonin supplements as an adult for three months or less; however, not enough studies have been done to determine the safety of using them over a longer period.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should exercise caution due to the lack of data on the effectiveness and safety of these treatments.
It was previously noted that melatonin supplements are not managed, so they can have hugely different measurements of dosage and constituents. It’s wiser to select a single brand in order to prevent uncomfortable side-effects such as migraines, sickness, or drowsiness during the daylight hours.
It is crucial to follow the recommended dose of melatonin, as taking too much can cause an upset stomach, as well as putting the body into a reversed state that worsens sleeping problems.
2. Valerian Root
Valerian root, originally from Asia and Europe, has become the top-rated natural remedy for aiding sleep in the U.S. It has demonstrated potential for treating issues with sleeping in menopausal women.
Although it is widely used, reviews done on this herb have not provided definite proof that it can successfully aid in sleep. The results of the studies are conflicting.
Many people attest to the positive effectiveness of valerian root as a slumber support without any scientific backing.
In a 2021 study, it was discovered that subjects who took a 530mg dose of valerian root for 30 nights experienced a notable rise in the length and quality of their sleep.
Despite there being no irrefutable data on valerian root being a successful sleep aid, you may as well experiment with the herb to determine if you too experience the calming effects that a lot of people have attested to.
Valerian root can be securely and conveniently consumed by the public for a span of 4-6 weeks. Further examination is needed to determine the implications of using this for extended periods, as well as its safety for pregnant or lactating mothers.
The herb might cause mild issues such as headaches, queasiness, equilibrium difficulty, lack of strength and trouble concentrating.
Approximately half of U.S. adults have a shortage of magnesium, an essential mineral that is necessary for many bodily processes to function properly.
Magnesium has a calming effect on the body and mind by relaxing the muscles, regulating the production of melatonin, and raising the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a type of neurotransmitter known to induce sleep.
Research has pointed out that magnesium deficiency is linked to sleep difficulties and insomnia; therefore, boosting the body’s magnesium levels by taking supplements might produce positive results in terms of improving the quality and length of sleep.
A range of investigations have posed to validate this concept, with a 2011 inquiry being specifically poignant. Examining individuals who ingested 225 grams of magnesium, the group exhibited improved slumbering traits when compared to the placebo cohort.
Despite the presence of melatonin and zinc, it is difficult to tell if the effects of the supplement were the result of the magnesium alone.
It is important to keep in mind that these studies were carried out on elderly individuals with low levels of magnesium; it remains to be seen if similar effects can be witnessed with people whose magnesium stores are already adequate.
Consuming no more than 400 mg of magnesium a day is considered safe. It is essential to adhere to the specified dose, as going over it could have detrimental consequences, unless you have been instructed by a medical expert to do so.
Ingesting excessive amounts of magnesium may lead to nausea, stomach discomfort, and loose bowels, and in certain circumstances can even result in death.
Such supplements may also interact with other drugs. It is important to consult with your physician if you are taking any type of medicine or suffer from diabetes, bowel disorder, cardiovascular illness, or renal disease.
The evidence that supports the value of lavender supplements to improve sleep are not strong enough, although it was observed that there may be some benefit for those with mild insomnia; however, it is commonly reported that taking lavender orally can lead to nausea, belching, and diarrhea.
Further research needs to be done on whether taking lavender supplements can help improve sleep quality, however, it has been demonstrated that the fragrance of lavender has a calming effect which helps to enhance sleep when used in aromatherapy.
Using lavender oil aromas close to bedtime can help get better sleep. In 2017, Takeda et al. carried out a research study, and as a result, those who took part in the experiment experienced a longer sleeping period with fewer disturbances when using lavender aromatherapy.
It appears to be safe to use lavender essence in aromatherapy treatments over a period of up to 3 months, with only a slight possibility of suffering any negative results. Further investigation should be conducted to explore the impact of using the oil on the mouth.
Additionally, not much is known about how lavender could affect pregnant women, those breastfeeding, or individuals with allergies. It is advisable to take care and always discuss with your medical practitioner before utilizing anything.
Begin your treatment with the smallest possible amount of lavender oil, and gradually add more if need be while monitoring for signs of an overdose like a burning in your throat, rashes, stomach issues, mental confusion, or vision blurring.
A recent research paper featured in the Food Science Nutrition Journal in 2019 demonstrated that, when exposed to the fruit and leaves of the passionflower, the GABA receptors in rats were lowered and melatonin levels were heightened, thus leading to sleep.
The results indicated that the total length of sleep as well as the amount of time it took to fall asleep both increased and the amount of interruptions during the night decreased. It was observed that drinking passionflower tea helped with insomnia more than taking it in supplement form.
It has been reported in an experiment conducted over three weeks involving humans that there were no visible alterations in slumber quality after drinking passionflower tea, according to objective gauges. The participants evaluated that the level of their sleep was better during the experiment according to their own opinions.
Passionflower can be consumed as a safe and non-toxic tea over the course of seven nights, or as an 800mg dosage of medicinal extract spread over the course of two months. Nevertheless, there are some potential side effects to consider such as daytime drowsiness, cognitive issues, and lack of motor coordination. Pregnant and nursing women should not partake in this.
L-Theanine, an amino acid originating from green tea leaves, has the effect of creating a sense of peace and serenity without causing drowsiness. L-theanine is not known as a sedative, but it is thought to reduce anxiety and tension, providing a calming effect.
Experts think it is essential for good sleep to start that a person is calm and stress-free. Findings of studies suggest that L-theanine can prompt improved sleep without the after-effects that often come with other sleep promoting agents.
In a trial of 98 kids with ADHD, researchers supplied them with chewable tablets of L-theanine or fake medication for a period of six weeks due to the prevalence of sleeping issues associated with ADHD.
The boys who took the L-theanine had notably higher sleep performance ratings without any major unwanted effects. The boys who took the medication were awake for a shorter duration after going to sleep compared to those who took the placebo.
L-tryptophan has become quite a popular topic of conversation – particularly near the Thanksgiving holiday.
Over thirty years ago in the 1980s, 40 separate studies demonstrated that L-tryptophan had the potential to make people drowsy and reduce the time it took for them to drift off to sleep. Research conducted on almost 30,000 adults in the US indicates that the more essential amino acid that someone intakes, the less depressed they will be and the longer they will sleep.
People who had been deprived of sleep due to chronic insomnia participated in a study where they were given L-tryptophan as a treatment. About 76% of the 25 participants who took part in the study saw a significant improvement in their sleeping pattern following a four week period.
A single overnight test with forty-two participants was conducted, with each person given either a placebo, 1 gram of L-tryptophan, or 3 grams of L-tryptophan prior to going to sleep. The groups that received tryptophan fell asleep significantly faster than the group that took a placebo.
Specialists claim L-tryptophan appears to be effective because it boosts serotonin and melatonin amounts. Your body takes tryptophan, which is taken in through food, and converts it into 5-HTP, serotonin, and melatonin.
Serotonin is a chemical that influences your state of mind; melatonin, as you are aware, regulates your sleep/wake cycle. It is thought that increased L-tryptophan concentrations could result in a greater serotonin and melatonin level, resulting in an improved feeling of well-being and better sleep.
Keto foods high in L-tryptophan include:
- Meat (such as elk, goat, and pork)
- Poultry (such as chicken, turkey, and quail)
- Fish and seafood
- Pumpkin seeds
- Seaweed and spirulina
An increase in tryptophan could result in a substantial uptick in your 5-HTP levels.
8. 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)
Your body utilizes L-tryptophan to produce 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) – an amino acid – which helps your body create a heightened amount of serotonin. Serotonin isn’t just a “feel-good” chemical. Its influence on your sleep/wake cycle is also significant.
Depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders appear to have a connection to low levels of serotonin.
Higher levels of serotonin are related to better emotions, cheerful perspectives, and more peaceful sleep. It is likely due to the fact that serotonin is responsible for the secretion of melatonin, which is extremely important in promoting sleep.
Because of its ability to raise serotonin levels, 5-HTP supplements have been shown to:
- Encourage relaxation
- Reduce panic attacks
- Lower anxiety
- Help with heartbreak and emotional stress
Can we assume that if 5-HTP is successful at reducing anxiety and helping one sleep, then one’s melatonin levels should improve and make it easier to rest?
Testing done on non-human subjects indicates that 5-HTP reduces the amount of time required to fall asleep and elongates the total duration of slumber. Additional human trials still need to be completed.
You can’t get 5-HTP from your diet. You can consume more L-tryptophan to encourage your body to create a greater amount of 5-HTP. You can also find 5-HTP in supplement form.
Check with your doctor before taking any medication that increases serotonin production. Taking an extra dose of 5-HTP can be dangerous and can lead to a medical emergency situation known as serotonin syndrome.
Many people like to pair 5-HTP supplements with magnesium.
Ancient medical manuscripts originating from Rome, Greece, and Egypt state that the chamomile flower resembling a daisy was utilized as a therapeutic herb to help with de-stressing.
Nowadays, experts think that consuming chamomile can raise concentrations of glycine for a period of two weeks. This amino acid is very important in regards to sleep, so this is a big success.
In one study, postpartum women who drank chamomile tea for a period of two weeks experienced an improvement in their sleep and a reduction in depressive symptoms. Older individuals who consumed oral chamomile capsules twice each day for a month had a noteworthy improvement in the quality of their sleep.
Chamomile can be acquired as tea, concentrated liquid forms, supplements, as well as necessary oil for aromatic remedial use. You might come across this herb mixed with the one that follows it.
Natural sleep aids can be beneficial, but shouldn’t be the only measure taken to ensure a restful night. It is of the utmost importance to construct a consistent sleep routine and exercise good sleep hygiene to eliminate insomnia and be at your best the following day.
Improving your sleeping practices and consistently following a sleep schedule are essential.
If you make healthy dietary choices, find opportunities to be physically active on a regular basis, and try utilizing natural remedies, you’ll spend less time not being able to sleep and more time restoring your energy. You won’t need to resort to using risky sleeping pills to get restful sleep.