Insomnia keeping you awake? Narcolepsy? Fall asleep during the day? Sleep apnea preventing a sound sleep? If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), roughly 50-70 million Americans suffer from difficulties sleeping or staying awake. Fortunately, it’s possible to use natural supplements so you can get to sleep at night and stay asleep, so you can start to enjoy your day again.
Complications of a Lack of Sleep
Not getting enough sleep is tied to a lower quality of life, including health problems and other issues, like:
- Increased mortality
- Poor job performance
- Reduced production
But more than affecting just your life, sleep deficiency can affect people around you, leading to car accidents, work-related accidents and even medical errors, any of which could destroy someone else’s life, in addition to your own.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, getting a sound sleep helps restore your heart, your brain, your muscles, your joints, your lungs and your stomach. This leads to a better quality of life and one that is longer and fuller. And why wouldn’t you want that? Taking sleep supplements is one of the best ways to help you avoid the harmful effects of missing a good night’s sleep.
Try These Sleep Supplements
Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body that is believed to regulate sleep cycles. Melatonin helps the body to establish day versus night and sleep versus wake cycles so you can get a better rest. Darkness leads to the release of more melatonin, preparing the body for sleep. Light decreases the production of melatonin, preparing the body to wake.
While it does occur naturally in the body, some people have a natural low production of melatonin, so supplements are available. It can help especially with jet lag, varied work schedules and certain sleep disorders, like Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome or insomnia. In general, Melatonin sleep supplements are likely to work better for you if you have problems falling asleep, not staying asleep.
It’s generally available in pill form. Put it under the tongue or just inside the cheek so it can dissolve and be absorbed naturally into your body.
Valerian is an herb and the root of the plant is used to make a medicine that promotes sleep. Like melatonin, it can aid with insomnia. It has been used to promote sleep and aid in reducing anxiety for at least 2,000 years. Scientific studies have demonstrated that not only does it help people fall asleep faster, but it prolongs sleep and improves sleep quality. The results seem to indicate that it has natural sedative-like qualities.
If it’s not quite getting the results you want, Hops extract has been shown to work well with Valerian root to improve sleep, decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and even stimulate sleep brainwaves.
A word of caution: it’s recommended that you don’t take Valerian sleep supplements with sleep medications, drugs or alcohol because they can magnify the effect which can be dangerous. It’s safe to take for 4-6 weeks. Begin with the lowest dose and adjust as needed.
3: Holy Basil
If anxiety is keeping up up at night, or you’re suffering from stress, Holy Basil helps create a sense of calm that will help you sleep.
Cortisol spikes to wake you up, generally between 6 and 8 a.m., depending on your sleep patterns. Stress interrupts this and causes cortisol to spike a few hours earlier, so you’re interrupting the sleep cycle by waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and it’s difficult to get back to sleep.
Holy Basil sleep supplements help moderate cortisol response, resetting it so it wakes you up later, giving you a full night’s sleep.
You’ve probably heard of chamomile tea. People have been using chamomile as a natural sleep aid for centuries. It acts as a very mild sedative, helping to calm nerves and soothe, which can help prepare you for sleep. Taken as a tea, German chamomile is one of the best herbal sleep aids you can find. Use 2-3 tea bags and leave the lid on so the oils remain in the water, since the oils are what provides the benefits.
In a recent study conducted in Japan, chamomile extract helped rats fall asleep as fast as rats that got a dose of benzodiazepine, which is a tranquilizing medication.
A word of caution: women who are pregnant or nursing should avoid drinking chamomile tea.
5: 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)
The body produces this substance from the amino acid tryptophan, but in supplements in comes from the extract of the Griffonia simplicifolia seed. 5-HTP helps increase serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin, in addition to regulating mood, nausea, and sexual function, also influences sleep.
In 2009, a study found that 5-HTP helped those taking it improve sleep quality, while helping them fall sleep faster and sleep longer.
If you don’t have problems falling asleep, but staying asleep is your difficulty, a magnesium supplement could be the solution. Magnesium regulates blood sugar, blood pressure, a healthy immune system. Low levels of magnesium prevents nerve cells from interacting properly, exciting them.
Taking this natural sleep supplement can relax muscles and calm nerves. This can improve the quality of your sleep and prevent you from waking in the middle of the night.
7: Essential Oils
Many essential oils can be used to soothe, calm, lower stress and anxiety, and relieve insomnia, including:
- Roman chamomile
- Ylang ylang
Cedarwood essential oil can increase melatonin, promoting a healthy and restorative rest. Diffusing these essential oils for 30 minutes before bed can help relax your mind and prepare you for sleep. They can also help you stay asleep throughout the night.
Stop suffering from a restless sleep. Finding the right sleep aid supplements to solve your sleep problems might be a bit of trial and error, but it’s well worth it. Not only will you be better-rested, but you’ll be more alert, more productive and well-prepared to face the day. Give any of these seven sleep supplements a try, you won’t regret it.