5 Natural Sleep Aids for a Deep, Restful Sleep…
A good night’s sleep is something everyone wants, but fewer and fewer people actually get enough sleep on a regular basis.
(1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep, according to the CDC1).
Sleep affects your metabolism, immune system, mood, productivity, cardiovascular health, and more.
Now, if you’re like me and have a tough time falling asleep, you’re probably rolling your eyes and saying “tell me something I don’t know…”
But before we go over the best natural sleep aids, let’s understand two key components of the sleep process:
Your body releases the hormone Melatonin in response to darkness, kick-starting the entire process that takes you from getting tired to fast asleep.
Melatonin is also involved in managing your immune system, stress levels, and blood pressure.
When it comes to rest, relaxation, sleep, and calm - the neurotransmitter GABA is what makes it all happen.
GABA is a neurotransmitter like serotonin and dopamine, but its main function is to block impulses between nerve cells in the brain.
When you get anxious, stressed, worried, or afraid, GABA slows down the nerve signals in your brain so those feelings don’t overwhelm you.
And it comes as no surprise that GABA is critically important to calming down and falling asleep.
So with that background, here are the best natural sleep aids:
- Melatonin: Supplementing with melatonin can improve overall sleep quality AND help you fall asleep faster.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is involved in over 600 bodily processes. For sleep, magnesium helps regulate melatonin, relax your muscles, and support healthy levels of GABA - the neurotransmitter that makes us calm and relaxed.
- Theanine: L-theanine, or just theanine, is an amino acid found in tea. It promotes relaxation and sleep by boosting levels of GABA in the brain while also reducing levels of excitatory neurotransmitters like dopamine and glutamate.
- Passionflower: A native of Peru, passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) was traditionally used by native peoples as a sedative, a use that continues today. Passionflower works by affecting the level of GABA in the brain, causing sleepiness.
- Valerian Root: The Ancient Greeks used Valerian Root and it’s been extensively studied as a treatment for insomnia. Despite all the study, researchers still aren’t sure exactly what components in the herb help make you sleepy. They think it’s the synergistic action of multiple compounds on GABA that promotes sleep.
“1 In 3 Adults Don't Get Enough Sleep.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 Feb. 2016, www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html.