Natural Sleep Aids
If you find that the tips above aren’t fully doing the trick, you may want to turn to natural sleep aids.
MELATONIN Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. It’s job is to maintain your body’s circadian rhythm, aka, your internal clock, which also runs on a 24hour schedule, just like the day. This internal clock plays a critical role in when we fall asleep and when we wake up. Supplementing with melatonin can boost our natural levels and help get our body clock on track. Melatonin is best taken as a liquid or in sublingual tablets, so the hormone is absorbed directly into the body.
VALERIAN ROOT Valerian root is used to calm the nervous system and promote slumber. Studies suggest it shortens the time it takes to fall asleep, and improves sleep quality. Because it becomes more effective over time, it’s best to take it every night for a few weeks.
L-THEANINE A compound found in tea, L-theanine has a calming effect on the brain; studies suggest that it’s
absorbed in large quantities, crosses the blood-brain barrier, gets into the brain quickly, and impacts levels of the amino acids affecting serotonin and other neurotransmitters. You’ll find it in singleformula tablets and capsules, and in combination with other sleep-inducing nutrients.
MAGNESIUM Studies have shown that higher magnesium levels can help induce a deeper sleep. Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system and is thought to help improve sleep by decreasing the release of cortisol. It also works with calcium to help muscles contract and then relax. Best for sleep: magnesium tablets or capsules alone, or in combination with herbs.
L-TRYPTOPHAN This amino acid occurs naturally in turkey, milk, and eggs. It’s essential in making serotonin, and can help shorten the length of time it takes to fall asleep. Because it’s essential in serotonin production, it may be most effective in easing insomnia that’s related to low brain serotonin levels. Look for it in combination formulas, or use it as a single supplement.
5-HTP 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is made by the body as an intermediate step in making serotonin. It’s most commonly used to treat depression, and may be effective in treating insomnia that’s secondary to mood disorders.