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.

Amazing Wellness - - HERBAL HEALING - —By Lisa Turner

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.

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