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The 15 Best Natural Sleep Aids in 2022 – Supplements & More
Sleep isn’t something that comes easily to many people and a lack of sleep can lead to feelings of edginess, stress, being spaced out, and not being able to concentrate. Make no mistake, not getting enough shuteye can have a big impact on your mental and physical well-being. It’s no surprise that occasional bouts of insomnia are common among adults – busy lives, the rise of blue screens, and the world being a rollercoaster over the last few years can mean that it’s a struggle to shut your mind down. Rather than kick against it and spend hours tossing and turning trying to will yourself to sleep, there are some natural remedies out there that can help. From lifestyle tweaks to over-the-counter supplements, here are 15 of the best natural sleep aids to help you catch some ZZZs.
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Natural Sleep Aids
Natural sleep aids may be preferable for those wanting to keep medication at bay until absolutely necessary. Natural sleep aids are more likely to have fewer side effects and be less complicated as a habit-forming remedy. Natural choices can be a better choice as a long-term solution rather than a quick fix for poor sleep. Of course, even natural remedies and supplements may have some minor side effects so always check labels carefully. This list also includes items that don’t rely on putting anything in your body at all – from blue light glasses to serene lavender sprays, these natural sleep aids can bring you bedtime bliss.
Blue light glasses
Blue light glasses are on the rise as our society spends more and more time immersed in the digital landscape. From televisions to computer screens and smartphones, the blue light that comes from these devices can have a negative impact on your circadian rhythm. Blue light keeps the body in a state of enhanced alertness and as the day goes on, our eyes are way more receptive to light which keeps us in that state. This isn’t to say that you need to avoid blue light altogether but being more strategic about your exposure and getting blue light glasses that are known to block these blue wavelengths from entering your eyes can be a good option.
White noise machines are another great option for those who struggle with sleep but want to take a natural route when it comes to their bedtime routine. White noise works on the very basic level of drowning out other sounds, therefore reducing any distraction. Not only will white noise help cut out distractions but in time, it will also become a signal to the body that it’s time to sleep. Nurturing healthy routines can encourage the body to know when it’s time to settle down and when your brain hears the white noise kick in, it will send a signal to the brain. White noise can become a cocoon that shuts out other noises, you have the chance to fall asleep easier and stay asleep.
Weighted blankets have hit rip-roaring success over the past few years. Relying on deep pressure stimulation, these heavier-than-usual blankets are beautifully adept at bringing firm controlled pressure to the body which helps us to feel calmer, safer, and swaddled in comfort. Think about the reasons why we swaddle babies – the sense of being held, supported, and secure. A weighted blanket can help ease stress factors by boosting serotonin and reducing cortisol. They can also calm an overactive nervous system and using them can also help your mind and body associate them with sleep. Weighted blankets also encourage your heartbeat to slow down and your breathing to regulate – both of which add to the sense of rest and respite.
Essential oils and aromatherapy are famed for helping you to settle down into rest and rejuvenation. There are many amazing scents out there (harvested from nature) that encourage relaxation. Essential oils are believed to have an impact on neurotransmitters which can affect your endorphins, serotonin, and noradrenaline. Some of the most popular essential oils for encouraging restful sleep include lavender which helps to reduce anxiety and stress. Chamomile can also have a calming effect on the body and the mind. Bergamot is known to reduce high blood pressure and cedarwood is known for boosting sleep.
Adaptogens – Ayurveda
Adaptogens help the body to become adaptive and to showcase more resistance to stress factors – both internally and externally too. In Ayurveda, there are a few distinct herbs that can lend this nourishing effect to the body, the mind, and the soul. These adaptogens can be defined as being nourishing, normalizing and balancing parts of the body and they are also considered to be non-toxic and non-specific – meaning that they act on different parts of the body at the same time. One of the best adaptogens for helping with sleep is ashwagandha. This herb is known for boosting strength and vitality while still encouraging the body to sink into healthy, restful and restorative sleep. Tulsi is another good choice as is Brahmi.
Beam Dream Extra Strength Capsules
If you want an all-in-one natural capsule that combines a whole host of sleep-friendly ingredients, these Beam Dream extra-strength capsules can be the perfect solution. Calling on the powers of melatonin, magnesium, hemp, and L-theanine, these capsules go heavy in on nature’s best remedies. Hemp can support moods and stress factors, melatonin helps your body release the necessary hormones for sleep, magnesium promotes muscle and mind relaxation, and L-theanine is an amino acid that improves sleep quality.
Life Extension Melatonin
Melatonin is something your body naturally releases. It’s a hormone that communicates with your brain when it’s time to shut down and sleep. Our body naturally produces these hormones more in the evening which makes sense to our circadian rhythm. However, when you are out of whack or if you are jet lagged or in a disrupted cycle, this production can fall out of line and this is why people choose to take melatonin supplements. Melatonin can also help you to fall asleep faster and can be a useful tool for daytime rest making it a good option for those who work in shifts or aren’t on the usual day/night sleep schedule. It’s hard to develop a tolerance for melatonin but for those who take it in high dosages you may experience side effects like headaches and nausea.
Nested Magnesium Glycinate
Magnesium is a mineral that plays an important role in helping encourage good-quality sleep. Magnesium ticks a ton of boxes – it helps with nervous system regulation, metabolism, and muscle function, and promotes healthy sleep. Magnesium plays a role in a chain reaction that encourages the body to convert protein into chemicals that can help you to feel sleepy. It also helps to calm down overactive nervous systems and works as a gentle muscle relaxant – both of which are important for helping the body to calm down.
Valerian Root – Sleepytime Extra Caffeine-Free Tea
Valerian root has been used as a sleep remedy for centuries. This special plant is native to Asia and Europe and its usage has been traced all the way back to Ancient Greece and Rome. Valerian root has a ton of healing properties and is believed to be able to help with everything from migraines to PMS and cramps. Studies have also shown that it can help with sleep as it affects the GABA activity in your brain which is associated with anxiety. If restless thoughts seem to keep you up at night, sipping tea that is laced with Valerian root can chill you right out and promote easier gateways into productive rest. Taking a high dosage of valerian root may lead to side effects including headache, digestive issues, dry mouth, heart rate changes, and vivid dreams.
Sweet-scented and able to bring instant soothing moods, there are many reasons to fall hard in love with lavender. Lavender is one of the most comforting scents in the natural world. Rich and mellow and a popular choice for pillow sprays and essential oils, lavender is known for promoting a sense of peace, and wellness, and for encouraging excellent rest. Lavender has long been used as an anti-anxiety remedy and in aromatherapy. It works as an anxiolytic which means it has sedative qualities that reduce anxious thinking and helps you to settle into a sense of calm. It also interacts with those GABA neurotransmitters to quiet the mind and lavender oil can also help you stay in the depths of slow-wave sleep.
Glycine is an amino acid that naturally helps the body to work in tip-top shape. From helping with muscle strength to metabolism and even keeping your brain ticking high, this amazing amino acid is famed for a wealth of healing properties. Glycine also contributes to better sleep patterns which is why having a glycin-rich diet or popping supplements if you are naturally low can contribute to a good night’s shut-eye. This amino acid can be found in foods like meat, fish, dairy, and legumes and is particularly high in kiwi fruit and bananas. If you are low on this nutrient you can take it in pill form although high doses may lead to digestive upsets, nausea, and vomiting. Glycine will help your body be ready for sleep by lowering your natural temperature and increasing serotonin levels.
Pretty passionflower is a great herbal treatment for those who suffer from disrupted sleep or short term insomnia. This flower is native to central and south America, along with southern parts of the USA too. It has long been used as a sleep aid and is known to have calming effects on the body and the mind. This is because the pretty purple and white climbing plant has a bioflavinoid within it that binds to brain receptors. This calms the mind and leads to a more balanced nervous system – both of which play an essential role in prepping for sleep. You can take passionflower in the form of supplements.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is naturally found in food and supplements. It helps your body to make proteins and other molecules which contribute to a higher mood and great sleep. In particular, the two molecules it is associated with are melatonin and serotonin. As we know, melatonin is necessary for sleep as it communicates with the body when it’s time to rest. Serotonin is also a happy hormone that helps you to feel more relaxed and less stressed. Poultry, seafood, and eggs are naturally high in Tryptophan but for those who have low levels or cannot consume it due to dietary restrictions, there are also capsules that you can take.
Ginkgo biloba is a supplement that can help promote healthy sleep. It also helps promote a sharper memory and has a positive effect on anxiety. Ginkgo biloba is a tree and is considered to be one of the oldest living trees on the planet with some specimens dating back over 200 million years. It is native to China and Japan and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Gingko Biloba helps reduce restlessness and anxiety but it also helps with overall health and wellness. While it is considered safe and natural to take, excessive amounts may lead to side effects like dizziness, stomach upsets, and headaches.
L-theanine is another important amino acid that helps the body in its quest for a decent night’s sleep. This compound is often found in tea leaves but as tea also contains caffeine, some people prefer to take L-theanine in a capsule form so they can avoid caffeine before bed. L-theanine promotes relaxation, boosts the GABA levels in your brain, and lowers those chemicals that can lead to overstimulation and excitement. It can help you to sink into restful states easier and it also keeps you in a state of sedentary sleep so you can get the long rest that you need. When awake you may also find that your mind feels sharper and you have higher levels of concentration.
Things to know about Over-the-Counter Sleep Aids
Over-the-counter sleep aids are helpful for many people as you don’t need a prescription to get them. While this can be useful when you need a medication that can help you sleep, it can be a double-edged sword. Be wary about becoming reliant on over-the-counter sleep aids as you can build up a tolerance to them which will make it harder to get a good night’s sleep in the long term.
Explain to the reader that there are medications that can be obtained without prescription. Warn the reader to be cautious when using these as the reader may develop some tolerance to these medicines, making it harder for the reader to sleep. Always seek a medical opinion before taking any kind of nighttime sleep aid whether you need a prescription or not.
What is the strongest over-the-counter sleeping pill available?
Doxylamine is considered to be one of the strongest over-the-counter sleeping pills. It is actually a form of antihistamine and a single dose is said to cause quick and effective drowsiness. It also stays in the body for some time so while you will have a longer sleep, you may feel a bit blurry or as though you have a hangover the next day.
What is a common side effect of sleep aids?
There are many potential side effects from sleep aids and sleep medications and they differ depending on the active ingredients, the medicine, and the person taking them. Overall they can vary from dry mouth and a headache to an upset stomach or feelings of nausea. An underrated side effect can be that overuse will lead to a higher tolerance and further exasperation of sleeping habits and trouble sleeping in general.
How many hours does the average person need to sleep?
The average person needs around 7,8 or in some cases even 9 hours of sleep a night depending on their age and their physical makeup. Overall it is considered that 7-8 hours is optimal.
What are the side effects of the strongest over-the-counter sleeping pill?
The antihistamine Doxylamine is considered to be one of the strongest over-the-counter sleeping pills that may be able to help with sleep disorders and sleep problems. Common side effects can include drowsiness, a dry mouth, nausea, headache, and a stomach upset. Always consult your healthcare provider first.
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