General Health

7 Effective Natural Sleep Aids

Struggling to fall asleep can really ruin your day. You wake up bleary-eyed and irritable, suffering from a lack of sleep. Sound familiar?

You’re not alone. Recent research has revealed that more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep regularly.

While many of us will dismiss fatigue as nothing more than feeling tired, constant sleep issues can have a severe effect on both your physical and mental health.

Natural sleeping aids have been used throughout the centuries as a remedy for sleep disorders. Helping to calm and relax the body, these powerful herbs have been proven to grant a restful sleep.

1) Chamomile

A warming cup of chamomile tea has been hailed for centuries (possibly as far back as Hippocrates), as the answer to a good night’s sleep. It has been used as a natural remedy to reduce inflammation, decrease anxiety, and help treat insomnia. This was proven in a study involving people with chronic insomnia.

The study found that those who received 270 mg of chamomile extract twice daily for 28 days fell asleep about 15 minutes faster and woke up fewer times during the night.

Regarded as a sleep inducer, chamomile calming effect could be as a result of an antioxidant known as apigenin. Research has suggested that apigenin binds to receptors in the brain, helping to lower anxiety and induce sleepiness.

2) Lavender

Not only is lavender a nice addition to your garden, but it will also help you sleep. This powerfully fragrant flower has been shown to have a calming effect on the body, encouraging a peaceful sleep. Lavender is comprised mainly of linalyl acetate and linalool, which research has shown to have a sedative effect.

This was supported by a study on 67 women who have insomnia. Those who inhaled lavender twice a weekly for 12 weeks reported reductions in heart rate, heart rate variability, and improvements in sleep.

If you are struggling to get some shut-eye, add lavender oil to your bubble bath for an aromatic effect.

3) Passionflower

Passionflower comes from the Passiflora plant and has traditionally been used to reduce anxiety and improve sleep. Anxiety can cause you a restless night’s sleep as you lie in bed, in mounting frustration, waiting for your brain to shut off.

That’s why passionflower is a great remedy. Studies have shown that this potent flower can reduce anxiety as effectively as a prescription drug called benzodiazepine oxazepam, but without any of the side effects such as drowsiness and lower job performance.

One study in rats found that P. incarnata significantly increased slow-wave sleep, reduced rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep), and helped the rats fall asleep more quickly.

4) Magnesium

Magnesium has been shown in several studies to improve sleep by invoking a sense of calmness. This relaxing effect may be as a result of its ability to regulate melatonin production.

Magnesium also appears to increase brain levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain messenger with calming effects.

A study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Science reviewed the effects of magnesium supplements in the elderly. The results found that supplementation of magnesium appears to improve subjective measures of insomnia such as ISI score, sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset latency, early morning awakening.

5) Lemon balm

Lemon balm originates from the mint family and has been used throughout the centuries to aid in a good night’s sleep. Shown to improve sleep disturbances and reduce anxiety, it may be an effective remedy for insomnia.

Numerous studies have reported its calming effect. One study in particular reporters that 300mg of lemon balm extract over a period of 15 days, significantly improved anxiety and symptoms of insomnia in adults.

6) Melatonin

Although melatonin is a hormone that our bodies naturally produce, some of us may be deficient in it. The role of melatonin is to tell your brain that night has fallen, and it’s time to sleep.

However, some research has suggested that as we age, our bodies produce less of it, which might be one of the reasons for your bad night of sleep. Melatonin works by helping to regulate sleep and normalize sleeping patterns.

One small but insightful study reviewed the effect of single doses of melatonin supplements on 15 healthy middle-aged men. Using a placebo-controlled double-blind study, the researchers found that the administration of 1.0mg of melatonin significantly increased the volunteer’s actual sleep time.

Further research has also endorsed its effectiveness in reducing anxiety and depression, especially when undergoing or recovering from surgery. If you are, you are fed up of sleepless nights, increasing your melatonin levels is the first step to a peaceful sleep. However, it can interact with certain blood pressure and diabetes medications.

7) Valerian root

Valerian root has been revered throughout the centuries as a natural sleep aid for insomnia and anxiety.

Studies have shown that low GABA levels are related to increased stress levels, which could result in low-sleep quality.

However, research has shown that valerenic acid resolves this issue by preventing the breakdown of GABA in the brain.

Studies have shown that this popular herb not only helps you to fall asleep faster but also greatly improves sleep quality. All without the uncomfortable side effects and drowsiness that prescription sleeping pills can leave you with.

Generally, sleeping pills are most effective when used for short-term situations, such as traveling across time zones or recovering from surgery.

Tip’s for a good night’s sleep

  • Practicing sleep hygiene– Generally, your bedroom should be dark, cool, and most definitely quiet. Light tells your brain that it’s time to wake up. So to get uninterrupted sleep, set your lights as low as possible. As for the temperature, sleep experts say that having a cool room (around 65°F or 18°C) is best.

  • Be mindful of what you eat and drink– Having a large meal for dinner makes it uncomfortable to sleep. Dinner, ideally, should be taken at least two hours before going to bed. Alcohol should be avoided as it can disrupt sleep patterns.

  • Limit the use of electronics– To sleep better at night, you should stay away from bright screens at least an hour before you go to sleep. The blue light coming from the screen suppresses melatonin, a hormone that helps control one’s sleeping patterns.

  • Set your body clock– As much as possible, go to sleep at the same time every night. If you do this regularly, your body clock will adapt to it, helping to establish a sleep cycle.

Conclusion

When it comes to your health, a night’s rest can make a world of difference. While prescribed sleeping pills such as valium will knock you out for the count, they can have adverse side effects, including morning grogginess, daytime memory, and performance problems, and even withdrawal symptoms.

Using natural sleeping aids and implementing sleep habits can help overcome sleep problems and help you enjoy a good sleep.

Deep Sleep is the perfect natural remedy for a refreshing night’s sleep. Containing a blend of valerian roots and melatonin, it promotes regular sleeping cycle and helps to combat sleep deprivation. These natural healing ingredients combined together make an impressive weapon against sleepless nights, ensuring that you get the optimal amount of sleep that your body needs!

Sources

  1. Zick SM, Wright BD, Sen A, Arnedt JT. Preliminary examination of the efficacy and safety of a standardized chamomile extract for chronic primary insomnia: a randomized placebo-controlled pilot study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011;11:78. Published 2011 Sep 22. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-78
  2. Adib-Hajbaghery M1, Mousavi SN2.. (2017). The effects of chamomile extract on sleep quality among elderly people: A clinical trial.. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 35 (1), p109-114.
  3. Chien LW, Cheng SL, Liu CF. The effect of lavender aromatherapy on autonomic nervous system in midlife women with insomnia. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:740813. doi:10.1155/2012/740813
  4. Guerrero FA, Medina GM. Effect of a medicinal plant (Passiflora incarnata L) on sleep. Sleep Sci. 2017;10(3):96–100. doi:10.5935/1984-0063.20170018
  5. Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2012;17(12):1161–1169.
  6. Cases J, Ibarra A, Feuillère N, Roller M, Sukkar SG. Pilot trial of Melissa officinalis L. leaf extract in the treatment of volunteers suffering from mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances. Med J Nutrition Metab. 2011;4(3):211–218. doi:10.1007/s12349-010-0045-4
  7. Costello RB, Lentino CV, Boyd CC, et al. The effectiveness of melatonin for promoting healthy sleep: a rapid evidence assessment of the literature. Nutr J. 2014;13:106. Published 2014 Nov 7. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-106
  8. Bent S, Padula A, Moore D, Patterson M, Mehling W. Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2006;119(12):1005–1012. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2006.02.026
  9. Hu Z, Oh S, Ha TW, Hong JT, Oh KW. Sleep-Aids Derived from Natural Products. Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2018;26(4):343–349. doi:10.4062/biomolther.2018.099

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