Natural sleep aid – the effects of sleep deprivation
Disturbed sleep is more than an inconvenience that leaves us dragging the next day, it can affect your emotional and physical health. It negatively affects your memory, concentration, and mood. It boosts your risk for depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Fortunately, there are easy, natural fixes that can improve your sleep, natural sleep aids are safe to use for a short-term solution on sleep problems. However, we need to check the list of natural sleep aid if they are truly effective and safe to use. Below we will guide you through all the natural sleep aid available over-the-counter. And how to use the different natural sleep aid, and how effective they are.
Natural sleep aid – find the cause of your insomnia
First, we need to know what is causing our sleeplessness.
If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, or you wake up feeling unrested, you may be suffering from insomnia. Insomnia is a symptom, it may be caused by stress, anxiety, depression, disease, pain, medications, sleep disorders or poor sleep habits.
Your sleep environment and health habits may also play a role in your sleep problems. Some medications can lead to insomnia as well. These include medications for cold and allergy, high blood pressure, heart disease, thyroid disease, and birth control, as well as asthma and pain medications.
Some common sleep disorders can also cause poor sleep. These disorders range from RLS or restless legs syndrome to a bed partner’s sleep apnea. Insomnia may be experienced for a few days, for two to three weeks, or it may be chronic, lasting for 3 weeks or more. Chronic insomnia is more difficult to treat and does not go away on its own. You may need to see your doctor or sleep specialist.
Many people experience insomnia, particularly women before and at the onset of the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy and menopause.
Poll Data of insomnia
- 48% of Americans report insomnia, while 22% experience insomnia every or almost every night.
- Women are 1.3 times more to report insomnia than men
- People over 65 are 1.5 times more likely to complain of insomnia than younger people
- Divorced, widowed, and separated people report more insomnia than others.
Natural sleep aid – types, symptoms, and causes of insomnia
Before you use natural sleep aid or treat insomnia, you need to identify the cause. Your doctor may ask about your mood if you experience depression, anxiety or pain, or if you are stressed or under pressured. There are different types of insomnia which are also very important to determine which type of insomnia you have, to better assist your sleep problem.
Types of insomnia
- Acute insomnia – a brief episode of sleeplessness. Acute insomnia is usually caused by a life event, such as stressful events in life, or travel to a different time zone.
- Chronic Insomnia – A long-term pattern of difficulty in sleeping. Usually 3 weeks or more.
- Comorbid insomnia – Insomnia that occurs with another condition such as depression, anxiety, or pain.
- Onset insomnia – difficulty in sleeping at the beginning of the night
- Maintenance insomnia – the inability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Symptoms and causes of insomnia
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Waking up during the night
- Waking up too early
- Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
- Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
- Irritability, depression or anxiety
- Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
- Increased errors or accidents
- Ongoing worries about sleep
Common causes of chronic insomnia may include:
- Stress – concerns about work, school, health, finances or family can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to sleep. Stressful life events or trauma such as death or illness of a loved one, divorce, or job loss may also lead to insomnia.
- Travel or change in work schedule – your circadian rhythms act as an internal clock, guiding such things as your sleep-wake cycle, metabolism and body temperature. Disrupt in your body’s circadian rhythm may lease to insomnia.
- Poor sleep habits – poor sleep habits include irregular bedtime schedule, naps, and stimulating activities before bedtime, an uncomfortable sleep environment, can affect your sleep quality and lead to insomnia.
Natural sleep aid – here is a list of natural sleep aids
Below, are highlights and key information about some of the top natural sleep aids and sleep supplements. You can also find links to more in-depth articles for each supplement, which include information about dosing, side effects, and interactions with medications and other supplements.
Always consult your doctor before you begin taking a supplement or making any changes to your existing medications and supplement routine. This is not medical advice, but it is information you can as a conversation-starter with your doctor at your next appointment.
Natural sleep aid #1 – CBD – a calming sleep promoter
People often ask about whether, and how, to use cannabis for sleep. There are lots of dos and don’ts for using cannabis as a sleep tool, you can search it out online. You have probably heard of CDB, it is showing up everywhere as a therapy to reduce anxiety and improve mental focus. It is also a natural sleep booster. Cannabis has also been used for Parkinson ’s disease, epilepsy, and many more. Below we have listed the benefits of CBD not only for natural sleep aids but for other illnesses as well.
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Psychosis or mental illness
- Chronic pain
- Anxiety treatment
- Sleep promoter
Dosage of CBD
The FDA does not regulate the CBD for most conditions. As a result, dosages are currently open to interpretation, and people should treat them with caution. Anyone who wishes to use CBD should first talk to a doctor about whether it is a good idea as a natural sleep aid, and how much to take.
The FDA recently approved a purified form of CBD for some types of epilepsy, with the brand name Epidiolex. If you are using this medication, be sure to follow your doctor’s advice about doses
Natural sleep aid #2 – Melatonin
You are probably not surprised to see melatonin makes the list. Melatonin has been on the market as one of the most popular natural sleep aid in the market. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by our body in response to darkness, is essential for sleep. As a supplement, melatonin is one fo the most-used and best-researched natural sleep aid.
Melatonin works in ways such as:
It often surprises people to hear it, but melatonin does not work as a sedative. Melatonin production is triggered by exposure to darkness and is a powerful bio time regulator. It improves sleep by helping to strengthen the body’s sleep-wake cycles. Stronger sleep-wake cycles translate into a more consistent sleep routine. When your bio clock is in sync, it can help improve your mood, daytime performance, energy levels and your overall health, including immune function, and regulation of metabolism, digestion, and appetite.
Melatonin can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and increase overall sleep amount, according to research. It is been shown to improve the quality of sleep and reduce daytime sleepiness and fatigue. Studies also show melatonin may increase REM sleep that we consolidate and process memory, and prime the regions of the brain associated with learning.
Natural sleep aid #3 – Magnesium
Magnesium is an important macro-mineral for overall health. A lot of us don’t get enough magnesium in our diets, about half of adults in the United States have a magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium plays a widespread role in the human body, helping regulate and many essential functions. One of magnesium’s most important roles is to enable healthy enzyme-related reactions in the body’s cells. This mineral helps regulate the body’s stress response. This mineral helps regulate blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar, and helps control the body’s stress response. Getting sufficient magnesium helps the body maintain healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep, as well as elevating and stabilizing mood.
Natural sleep aid #4 – Valerian and hops
This duo is well-studied, well known herbal supplements for sleep and stress relief. The root of the valerian plant has an ancient history as a natural sleep aid and natural remedy for nervousness and anxiety. Hops have been used for centuries to treat sleep and anxiety as well.
Valerian and hops works:
Both valerian and hops help boost the production of GABA, a calming brain chemical that promotes sleep. Valerian appears to function primarily as an anxiolytic, an anxiety reducer. Hops also have sedative properties, therapeutic doses of this plant lower body temperature, which contributes to drowsiness.
Valerian has shown the effectiveness of helping people fall asleep more quickly, reduce restless sleep, increase sleep amounts, and improve symptoms of insomnia. Research also shows valerian is effective in treating sleep problems linked to menopause. Valerian is very effective in treating sleep problems and hope itself can increase sleep time. Studies show these natural sleep aid or supplements pair well together, according to research, hops may be more effective for sleep when in combination with valerian.
Natural sleep aid #5 – magnolia bark
The bark of the magnolia tree has long been used in traditional medicine to treat sleep issues, protect memory, reduce stress, and help with digestive problems and weight loss. Despite its long history, natural sleep aid sometimes gets overlooked.
Magnolia bark is packed with potent natural compounds that have been shown to reduce inflammation and lower anxiety, as well as improve symptoms of depression. Improving these conditions can help sleep. Magnolia bark also acts as a sedative, providing direct benefits for sleep.
Bioactive compounds in magnolia bark appear to help increase time in both slow-wave sleep and REM sleep. Other compounds in magnolia bark lower levels of stimulating hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
Other benefits of magnolia bark: Research indicates that magnolia bark on its own and in combination with ginger can help with depression. It also can ease stress and anxiety. Bioactive compounds in magnolia bark have been shown to protect the health of brain cells and support memory and learning.
Natural sleep aid #6 – Jujube
The jujube fruit is actually a nutritional and therapeutic powerhouse. It is packed with vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids and has been used for centuries to treat insomnia, as well as pain, stress, and stomach pain.
Compounds from jujube also relax the body and the mind, boosting levels of calming neurotransmitter GAVA and serotonin. It also acts as a sedative.
Studies have shown jujube can lengthen sleep time and increase time spent in deep, restorative slow-wave sleep and REM sleep. Other potential health benefits are, reduce inflammation, strengthen the immune system and lower blood sugar, as well as supporting heart and brain health. Jujube can improve digestive function, and treat constipation.
Natural sleep aid #7 – L-theanine
L-theanine elevates levels of GABA, as well as serotonin and dopamine, neurochemicals, and sleep, as well as appetite energy, and other cognitive skills. At the same time, L-theanine also reduces levels of chemicals in the brain that are linked to stress and anxiety. L-theanine boosts the production of alpha waves in the brain, which enhances relaxation, focus, and even creativity.
L-theanine is a good choice for people who are looking to enhance their daytime relaxation without worrying about becoming sleepy and fatigued during the day.
L-theanine with its ability to increase relaxation and lower stress, L-theanine can help people fall asleep more quickly and easily at bedtime. Research also shows L-theanine can improve the quality of sleep. There is evidence that L-theanine may improve sleep quality in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Natural sleep aid #8 – 5-HTP
5-Hydroxytryophan or commonly known as 5-HTP is a compound made naturally in the body. 5-HTP is created as a by-product of the amino acid L-tryptophan. Our bodies don’t make L-tryptophan natural, we absorb this essential amino acid from the foods we eat. 5-HTP is produced as natural sleep aid from the seeds of a plant, Griffonia Simplicfolia.
5-HTP a compound that helps the body to produce more serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and sleep-wake cycles. Serotonin is required to make the melatonin, a hormone that helps the body’s bio clock stay in sync, and regulates daily sleep-wake cycles.
Research shows that 5-HTP may help shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and increase sleep amounts. 5-HTP can be effective in improving mood and easing symptoms of stress and anxiousness, which can, in turn, interfere with sleep. 5-HTP may also be effective in helping to reduce sleep terrors in children.
Other potential health benefits:
5-HTP can help regulate appetite and may make it easier to lose weight. It is also been shown effective in easing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Research indicates that 5-HTP can help improve fibromyalgia symptoms, including pain, tenderness, daytime fatigue, sleep quality, and anxiety.
Natural sleep aid – food that will help induce sleep
Here is a list of food that you eat before bedtime to help enhance your sleep quality.
Natural sleep aid food #1 – Almonds
Almonds are a type of tree nut with many health benefits. They are an excellent source of many nutrients, as one ounce contains 14% of your daily needs for phosphorus, 32% for manganese and 17% for riboflavin. Also eating almonds regularly has been associated with lower risks of a few chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This is attributed to their content of healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber, and antioxidants. It has been claimed that almonds may also help boost sleep quality. This is because almonds, along with several types of nuts, are a source of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.
Almonds are also an excellent source of magnesium, providing 19% of your daily needs in only 1 ounce. Consuming adequate amounts of magnesium may help improve sleep quality. Magnesium’s role in promoting sleep is thought to be due to its ability to reduce inflammation. Additionally, it may help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to interrupt sleep.
Natural sleep aid food #2 – Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea is well known for its content of flavones, a class of antioxidants that reduce inflammation that often leads to chronic diseases, such as cancer, and heart disease. There is also some evidence that drinking chamomile tea may boost your immune system, reduce anxiety, and depression and improve skin health. In additional, chamomile tea has some unique properties that may improve sleep quality as well.
Natural sleep aid food #3 – Passionflower tea
Passionflower tea is another herbal tea that has been used traditionally for many years to treat a number of health ailments. Passionflower is a rich source of flavonoid antioxidants, which are known for their role in reducing inflammation, boosting immune health and reducing heart disease risk.
Other foods that may promote sleep:
- Milk – another source of tryptophan
- Bananas – contain tryptophan and a good source of magnesium
- Oatmeal – high in the carbs which have been reported to induce drowsiness
- Cottage cheese – contains a significant number of casein
Natural sleep aid – getting enough sleep is very important
Getting enough sleep is very important for your health. Fortunately, there is a number of natural sleep aid and food that may help, thanks to their content of sleep-regulating hormones and brain chemicals, including melatonin and serotonin. Additionally, some food contains a high amount of specific antioxidants and nutrients, such as magnesium, that are known to enhance sleep by helping you fall asleep or stay asleep longer.
Overall, more research is necessary to conclude the specific role that foods have in promoting sleep, but their known effects are very important.
It is also very important before you experiment in natural sleep aid, that you consult your physician, especially if you have other medications.