There are some 70 million adults in the United States who suffer from a sleep disorder. If you count yourself among them, then you know how frustrating it can be to experience insomnia — not just when you’re lying awake at night, but also the next day.
Insomnia or insufficient sleep can lead to concentration problems, irritability, overeating, and even increase the risk of serious health conditions, like heart disease and diabetes.
You might be tempted to turn to prescription medications or over-the-counter solutions, but why not try natural sleep supplements first? Read on to find out some of your options.
Set Yourself Up for a Good Night’s Sleep
Before exploring the natural sleep supplements that are available, let’s talk about creating an environment that’s conducive to sleep. First, don’t lounge, watch TV, work, or read in bed. Save your bed for sleep only!
Put down your laptop, iPad or smartphone at least an hour before you hit the hay, too. The blue light emitted by electronic devices can seriously mess with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Binge-watching your favorite new Netflix series before bed is also a bad idea, say experts.
Implement a pre-sleep routine that starts with your bedtime hygiene and ends with meditation, gentle yoga, or relaxation techniques. Over time, the routine will trigger your body to get ready to rest. You should also go to sleep around the same time each night, and get up at the same time each morning.
Natural Sleep Supplements to Try
If these approaches aren’t quite enough, you still have a wealth of natural remedies to try before asking your doctor for a prescription.
You can think of valerian as “nature’s Valium.” This herb can be brewed into tea or taken as a supplement. It can help you fall asleep faster, get better sleep, and wake up during the night less frequently. One recent study out of Iran showed that it was particularly effective on menopausal women.
Our bodies produce melatonin, which is a sleep-regulating hormone, but supplements can help with short-term insomnia. It’s also great for helping with jet lag. Take up to one and one-half milligrams about 90 minutes before bed.
Kava root hails from the South Pacific, and can ease anxiety, stress, and muscle tension — so you can imagine how well it works for insomnia. Kava can be taken as a supplement, tincture, or tea. It’s important not to mix kava with any type of prescription medication without consulting your doctor.
Magnesium may help decrease the stress hormone cortisol, helping you become calm and sleepy. There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence pointing to magnesium as an insomnia treatment, but some people also report feeling wired or jittery after taking it.
If you decide to try magnesium, take 400 milligrams if you’re a man, and 300 mg if you’re female.
Chamomile is another herb that’s long been prized for its relaxing effects. Try a cup of chamomile tea as part of your nightly bedtime ritual. Don’t care for the taste? Passionflower is another tea to try, with similar sleep-inducing abilities.
What Helps You Fall Asleep?
Of course, you will have the best results by combining the natural remedy you choose with a pre-bedtime ban on electronics, and the healthy habit of meditating or yoga before crawling between the sheets. It may take some experimentation to learn which of these all-natural sleep aids will work best for you, but soon you will be getting those Zs you deserve!
Did we omit your favorite natural way to nod off? Have you had any success with these natural sleep supplements? Let us know in the comments!