Lifestyle

Six Natural Sleeping Aids That Prove Their Worth

It is not surprising to find out that sleep is immensely important to your overall health, and determines other aspects of your own life such as how well you age and your mental health. Sleep allows the body to recover from the wear and tear of the day and allows you to function at your best in terms of creativity, memory, and learning capabilities – which is why sleep deprivation is bad news for your health in the long term.

Even though you may know of all these benefits, it is not surprising to find many people are struggling with poor sleep – it might even be your case. If you want to get good sleep, it all starts from your sleeping habits – there is no need to buy a Hypnos mattress, expensive bedding and decorate your bedroom extensively. All you need is to develop sleep hygiene habits, and if you need extra help, here are some sleep aids that have scientific backing – all natural.

Melatonin

This is a hormone that your brain produces, and it signals the body that it is time to sleep. The cycle of pits production ultimately depends on the time of day, as it naturally increases in the evening and falls in the morning.

Because of this reason, the supplements that contain this chemical have become very popular in sleeping pills. This is particularly evident when the melatonin production cycle is disturbed, such as when you have jet lag.

The overall benefits of melatonin are numerous. Some studies show it improves the duration and quality of sleep during the day, especially for people that work in shifts. It can also improve the sleep quality of people who suffer from various sleep disorders, as it increases sleep time.

Valerian root

Valerian root

The valerian plant is native to Europe and Asia, and its root has been used for centuries as a cure for menopause, depression, and anxiety. In addition, it also happens to be one of the many sleep-inducing herbal supplements, although the study results are inconsistent.

All the improvements observed in the subjects tended to be subjective, as they were all based on the perception of sleep quality instead of objective measurements such as heart rate or brain waves. Regardless of the findings, valerian root has proven to be safe for an adult to use (except if you are lactating or pregnant), though dizziness is a possible side effect.

Lavender

There is a reason why lavender is a popular ingredient in essential oils – and it all has to do with its ability to improve sleep. In fact, there are several studies that show inhaling lavender oil for up to 30 minutes before you sleep is enough to improve your sleep quality and quantity – with the effect particularly prominent in people with mild insomnia.

In addition, another study concluded that aromatherapy was just as effective for older adults, and was just as powerful as the conventional sleep medication, all with fewer side effects (other than stomach pain and nausea in some cases). However, more studies need to be done to draw strong conclusions on the effects of lavender on your body and its relation to sleep.

Magnesium

Magnesium

This is a very important mineral that is involved in many processes within the human body and remains an important factor in the maintenance of heart health and brain function. It can also quiet the body and mind, helping it to relax and making you fall asleep faster.

This is possibly due to the influence of the mineral on melatonin production, and the fact that it increases the production of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a brain messenger that has a calming effect on the nervous system.

For this reason, insufficient levels of magnesium in the body are key factors in poor sleep, while people with sleep issues take supplements containing magnesium to help them sleep better. In particular, older adults seem to have a problem with sleep due to reduced magnesium levels in their bodies, although this is not entirely clear if the person’s diet has sufficient levels of magnesium.

Passion flowers

Passion flowers

This flower, which is also known by its scientific name Passiflora incarnate, is very popular in herbal remedies when treating insomnia. The species is native to North America, although pit is widely cultivated in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe.

The sleep-promoting effects that the flower has have been shown in some studies, though the exact effect in humans depends on the form it is consumed in.

However, as with the lavender, more studies are needed before making strong conclusions. For now, though, it seems as though the passion flower offers greater benefits when the person takes it in form of a tea, rather than a supplement.

Glycine

Glycine

This is an important amino acid that plays a major role in the nervous system, and studies have shown that it does help to improve sleep – although the exact mechanism is unknown.

A school of thought states that it works by reducing the temperature of the body at bedtime, which signals the brain to start producing melatonin and make the body rest. It also helps the body to be fresh the following day, as one study found out.

Another study was set to find the effects of the amino acid for patients that were suffering from poor sleep and measured their vitals such as heart rate, brain waves, and breathing. Those that took three grams before bedtime had better measures of their sleep quality compared to those that did not. It also assisted them to fall asleep at a faster rate.

You can consume glycine in form of a powder that you dilute in water, or as a pill. You can also eat foods that have high levels of the nutrient, which include spinach, eggs, kale, bone broth, poultry as well as meat, fruits such as kiwi and bananas, and cabbage.

Final thoughts

Improving your sleep can force you to take many measures, but do not forget to look at the dietary aspect of it – most of the solutions you are looking for are within your diet and reach, and there are natural solutions you can explore as well.

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