Top 5 Natural Sleep Aids and Supplements

image (3)Yet another night has gone by, and you haven’t slept more than a few hours at a time. Or, you went to sleep just fine, but you found yourself awake and unable to go back to sleep. The lack of sleep is really getting to you, and you start to think that maybe you need a prescription sleep aid. Don’t do it! They have all sorts of weird side effects, such as sleep eating and even amnesia! If you’re looking for a more natural sleep aid, here are my top 5 you can try.

 

Melatonin

 

This is a hormone that is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, and it is thought to help regulate your sleep cycle. Several studies have shown that it is very helpful in helping you fall and stay asleep, but only if your melatonin levels are low to begin with. If your melatonin levels are normal, you may find that it makes you groggy the next day, even in small dosages. However, it is worth a try to see how well it works for you. Start off with 1 mg and work up to a higher dosage if that is not enough for you.  

 

Valerian

 

This is an herbal remedy that has been used since ancient times to help promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep. While scientific studies are inconclusive about its effectiveness, probably because of the lack of consistency in ingredients, there are many people who use valerian root to help them with their insomnia. Try a few different brands and see which one works best for you, and be sure to follow the label’s recommendations for dosage.

 

Taurine

 

By helping the body produce GABA, your body’s calming neurotransmitter, taurine helps you manage anxiety levels. With high levels of anxiety often being the leading cause of insomnia, getting your anxiety levels under control may help you fall and stay asleep. As with valerian, just follow the dosage instructions on the manufacturer’s label.

 

Magnesium

 

Many people are deficient in magnesium, which is an essential mineral for your body’s nerve functions as well as for its ability to regulate calcium levels. Magnesium tells your muscles and nerves to calm down, and calcium actually does the opposite. It’s this delicate balance of magnesium and calcium that can easily get out of whack, and can lead to muscle stress and overall fatigue when not enough magnesium is present.

 

If you’re looking to supplement your magnesium intake, be sure to use magnesium citrate, as it is easier for your body to absorb. Be mindful that magnesium is also a laxative, so start out in small quantities and see how your body adjusts to it.

 

Ashwagandha

 

This herb, also known as Indian ginseng, has been used in the ancient Indian Ayurveda practice of medicine to help reduce anxiety and promote sleep. By helping to reduce your body’s stress hormone, cortisol, it is an excellent herb to take if stress is one of the main causes of your insomnia. Try taking 300-500 mg right before bed and see how well it works for you.

 

Have you tried any of these natural sleep aids and supplements? If so, let me know which ones you’ve tried, and how they worked out for you!

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