7 Best Natural Sleep Aids and Supplements

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Sleep – an extremely precious commodity in our fast-paced digital age. It's critical that you fully understand the natural sleep treatments you're using.

Know what you're putting in your body and how to tell which natural remedies will benefit your health and which will put you at risk for disease.


Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 17 Dec 2021.

7 Best Natural Sleep Aids and Supplements

Supplement producers, unlike medicinal companies, do not require to prove that their supplies are safe or effective before putting them on the market. It's critical that you fully understand the natural sleep treatments you're using. Know what you're putting in your body and how to tell which natural remedies will benefit your health and which will put you at risk for disease. Also, discuss the advantages and dangers of natural sleep treatments with your doctor.

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain's centre. Melatonin is a hormone that controls the body's circadian cycles. Your sleep-wake cycle is an example of everyday rhythms. Melatonin levels in the blood are most excellent just before sleep.

Can melatonin help me sleep?

Melatonin may help you sleep better. Melatonin reduces the time it takes to fall asleep (“sleep latency"), enhances sensations of “sleepiness," and may extend sleep length, according to scientific evidence.

Melatonin has been effectively utilised to improve sleep in healthy people and alleviate jet lag during international travel. This natural hormone is also being investigated as a possible sleep aid for the elderly and other groups. Furthermore, research is being conducted to see whether melatonin may aid in the improvement of sleep patterns in those who suffer from depression.

Are there risks associated with taking melatonin?

Melatonin, like other natural dietary supplements, is unregulated and has not been studied in humans for long-term usage. Melatonin has been linked to drowsiness and depression in some individuals. Others claim that melatonin helps them fall asleep fast, only to wake up in the middle of the night. Nonetheless, studies indicate that melatonin seems safe when used for a short period (three months or less).

How much melatonin does it take to help increase sleep?

According to many studies, as little as 0.1 to. Three milligrammes of caffeine may be sufficient for most individuals. According to experts, fast-release melatonin may be more helpful as a sleep aid than slow-release formulations.

Is valerian a helpful sleep remedy?

Valerian is a herbal extract. It's one of the most popular natural medicines for anxiety and insomnia relief. However, the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database states that there is insufficient evidence to claim that it is helpful in treating insomnia. Some preliminary research suggests that valerian may shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and enhance sleep quality. Unlike benzodiazepines, valerian does not cause morning grogginess in most individuals. Other results were less encouraging. They discovered that valerian did not alleviate anxiety or insomnia any better than a placebo compared to a placebo.

There is some evidence that taking valerian for a longer length of time (such as four weeks) is more beneficial than taking it for one night. People who have trouble sleeping may benefit more than those who usually sleep well.

Are there risks associated with taking valerian?

For a month to six weeks, Valerian is generally tolerated well. After taking valerian, you may have a headache or a “hangover" sensation. Valerian seems to impair thinking for some time following usage, according to a few studies.

There have been no instances of valerian interacting with alcohol. Valerian should not be used with alcohol or sedatives since it may have a sleep-inducing effect or induce dizziness, sleepiness, or trouble focusing.

There have also been no complaints of “valerian addiction," as with other pharmacological sleep aids. Valerian is said to have a stimulating impact on specific individuals.

Is chamomile a safe sleep remedy?

Chamomile is a well-known herbal sleep aid that has been used for millennia. Anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial activities are also present in this plant.

The ideal way to consume German chamomile is tea. The bitter taste of Roman chamomile makes it suitable for use as a tincture. Both kinds may have a soothing effect, allowing individuals to feel more relaxed and ready to sleep. Nonetheless, the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database states that there is insufficient evidence to claim that it is helpful in the treatment of insomnia.

Is kava a safe, natural sleep remedy?

Kava, often known as kava, is a herbal medicine used to relieve stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness. Kava works via a distinct method. Some claim that it may help you relax without impairing your memory or motor function, but mixed study results.

Kava has some sedative effects. However, it is currently considered dangerous. More than 20 instances of cirrhosis, hepatitis, and liver failure have been reported in Europe, raising the potential of liver damage linked with its usage.

What about tryptophan as a natural sleep remedy?

In the brain, tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin production. That is, it is a biological substance required for the production of the more stable serotonin.

Sleep research in the late 1960s and early 1970s indicated that the neurotransmitter serotonin might be involved in sleep induction. Later studies in mice revealed that destroying brain regions that contained serotonin-producing nerve cells may result in complete sleeplessness. Partial injury to the various areas of the brain resulted in varying degrees of sleep disruption. The quantity of slow-wave sleep was linked to the proportion of these nerve cells that were destroyed.

Because tryptophan is found in milk and warm milk makes some people sleepy, tryptophan became a popular item at natural food shops for the treatment of insomnia. However, some individuals who took tryptophan as a natural supplement experienced eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS). Some individuals were killed. Scientists subsequently concluded that the amino acid tryptophan caused the fatalities. These adverse effects, however, were not experienced by everyone who took tryptophan. Furthermore, not everyone who took tryptophan found relief from sleeplessness.

The effects of tryptophan on sleep are still being researched in major sleep labs throughout the country. Although tryptophan is not available as a natural dietary supplement or sleep aid, you may simply include it into your diet by eating turkey, cheese, almonds, beans, eggs, and milk. Eating meals high in carbs may also help you feel peaceful and sleepy by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.

What is 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)?

The amino acid tryptophan is converted into 5-HTP. It is used to increase the amount of serotonin in the body. Melatonin is produced from 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), which controls sleep cycles.

Although some research suggests that 5-HTP may help with sadness and anxiety, there isn't enough evidence to back up its usage for insomnia. 5-HTP has also been shown to help with appetite management and pain relief in other research. There are also a few research that indicates that supplementing with 5-HTP has no advantage.

What about passionflower and hops as sleep remedies?

Passionflower (also known as maypop) is a natural sedative and sleep aid often used to treat insomnia and “nervous" gastrointestinal issues. Passionflower has been shown in a few trials to have a benzodiazepine-like relaxing effect.

Another plant that may help you sleep is hops. However, the verdict is still out on whether hops are helpful.

Are natural sleep aids and remedies safe?

Natural sleep treatments, like any medicines, may have harmful side effects and dangers. OTC aids, nutritional supplements, and herbal products do not need FDA premarket review and clearance. The brand you purchase may have an incorrect dosage. You may get less or more of the herb than you anticipated, making it potentially hazardous to use in therapies, particularly for youngsters or the elderly.

Sources

  1. https://www.webmd.com/women/natural-sleep-remedies 
  2. Natural Standard.
  3. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.
  4. The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center: “Herbal/Plant Therapies" and “Complementary/Integrative Medicine."
  5. Drugs.com: “5-HTP."
  6. Medline Plus.

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