5 Best Sleep Supplements
So you have a problem sleeping, and want to know the 5 best sleep supplements. You might have tried over-the-counter medications, counting sheep, teas or even prescription medications and you wonder what else you can try. Not all natural supplements work for everyone. One reason is because you have a different lifestyle than your neighbor even though neither of you sleep well. You have different chemistry and genetics than your neighbor. You have different reasons for why you can’t sleep; so therefore why should the same supplement work for each person? The quick answer is that it doesn’t. However if you begin to understand the daily 24-hour rhythm of the body, and the reasons for why you can’t sleep, you will begin to understand what product will likely work for you. Here is our list of our 5 best sleep supplements, and why you should consider trying them.
L-Theanine is a non-protein building amino acid from green tea that increases GABA release, the neurotransmitter that relaxes the brain. This supplement works within 5 minutes, peaking around 30 minutes. It doesn’t need to be used every day. It works well in times of stress, short term or long term - when racing thoughts prevent you from settling down. It is non-drowsy or habit forming, and has no known toxicity level. L-Theanine promotes relaxation without drowsiness. Since L-theanine is not a sedative, but an anxiolytic, it functions far superior to a conventional sleep inducers for its non-addictive effects. One review suggests that L-theanine is a safe natural sleep aid up to 2000mg per day. Find the right amount for you, however as it can have a rebound effect when taken in higher levels. We love L-theanine in combination with other stress-relieving adaptogens such as Bliss Anti-Stress Formula to promote short-term effects of sleep achievement, plus long-term effects of cortisol reduction.
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body. Is it required for over 400 chemical processes in the body, being one of the reasons we need so much. The average individual requires about 400mg of magnesium per day. Those who exercise, sweat, take medications, are pregnant, breastfeeding, have stress, chronic illness or are obese may require much more magnesium than healthy individuals. While that might sound like everyone, it could be that more than 50% of Americans are not meeting their magnesium requirements. Without enough magnesium in the daily diet normal relaxation functions cannot occur. While magnesium is found in many plant and animal based foods, it is estimated that about 50% of Americans are not meeting their daily requirements. Magnesium supplementation may
Relax the muscles
Soothe the nervous system
Reduce the perception of stress levels
Promotes head comfort
Promotes optimal muscle health and comfort
Helps maintain normal blood sugar levels
Supports a healthy sleep quality
Helps maintain normal blood pressure
Supports cardiovascular health
Promotes cognitive health
Supports bone health
Helps the body maintain a healthy (or sufficient or proper) level of magnesium, combating magnesium deficiency
It is very safe and highly effective for returning the body to a state of balance.
Be sure to get a magnesium supplement with glycinate as it benefits the nervous system better than citrate or oxide.
Thought to be the amino acid found in turkey that promotes drowsiness this essential nutrient is required for the synthesis of serotonin and melatonin. Take note this sleep supplement is only beneficial when there are sleep disturbance, and shouldn’t be used to make a good thing, better. In the body, tryptophan is converted into 5-hydroxytryptophan or 5-HTP, which then can be converted into serotonin. Serotonin is the brain chemical that causes the feeling of well-being, security and contentment. If serotonin is low then the sleep hormones melatonin will also be low. Rather than take Melatonin, one can take L-Tryptophan which, along with b vitamins and electrolytes, allows for the production of Serotonin as well as melatonin, balancing out the stressful effects of cortisol, which blocks sleep. Since the body cannot naturally produce Tryptophan it must be a part of the diet or ingested through supplementation. Food sources of tryptophan are dairy products, beef, poultry, barley, brown rice, fish, soybeans and peanuts. As the sole precursor of serotonin, L-tryptophan’s role in brain serotonin synthesis is important in mood, behavior, and cognition. Clinical trials have provided some initial evidence of L-tryptophan’s efficacy for mood enhancement, particularly when used in combination with other therapeutic agents such as Magnesium.
Helps enhance and stabilize mood
May promote calmness and relaxation
Supports healthy sleep quality
Assists in releasing mental tension
Helps to clear the mind
Promotes normal regulation of enzyme and hormone production
Promotes cognitive health
Provides antioxidant protections
4. Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata)
When I was in Piedmont region of Italy a few years ago the passion flowers were growing on patios, an unmistakable sight. But more than just their beautiful flower the Passion flower has a long history of medicinal use for enhancing relaxation. Some European regulatory authorities reference passion flower as a potential help for “conditions of nervousness.” The medicinal value is found on the above ground parts of the plants. Passion flower is available as an herb for tea and is also an ingredient in some sedative bath additives. A rat study found that extracts obtained from Passiflora incarnata can be considered as appropriated sleep inducers. A human adult study showed that of passionflower improves sleep quality significantly, compared with placebo
A patient of two herbs shows to have synergistic effect for promoting sleep, Relora is made of combination of Magnolia bark extract and Phellodendron bark extract (Relora®. After 4 weeks of supplementation, cortisol was significantly lower compared to placebo group. Compared to placebo, the Relora group had significantly better mood state parameters, including lower stress, tension, depression, anger, fatigue and confusion higher vigor even in menopausal women. No clinical trials yet on its ability to promote sleep but it has been shown to reduce conditions that tend to follow poor sleep such as stress eating, weight, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk factors such as; namely lipid levels, blood pressure and fasting glucose levels
You might be wondering why Melatonin is not on this list, it could be, and would be on most lists, but it wasn’t included here because it is habit forming. Other herbs like Hops (humulus lupulus) exhibit such cannabis mimicking properties as relaxation, sleepiness and calmness. Chamomile, lemon balm, catnip, valerian and skullcap can also be very simple and effective supplements, that we prefer to be taken as teas but can also be taken as capsules or in tincture form.
We strongly recommend stress relief as the number 1 sleep aid because when the body has high stress levels, as measured in cortisol, it competes with melatonin production. Melatonin, the sleep hormone cannot be high if cortisol is also high; and cortisol is the stronger influence, therefore stress will win over sleep. While popping a sedative or even a melatonin might provide you with the ability to pass out, truly improving good quality restorative sleep is done through a multitude of lifestyle interventions, including stress management, diet, hormone balance, and sleep hygiene. You need to time your exercise and stimulant intake to be If you want to sleep like a baby. No point in raising pulse and blood pressure right before bed, if you’re having troubles falling asleep. Even tv, and blue light is hazardous to your sleep routine. So remove the technology from the bedroom if you expect to change your sleep cycle effectively. While you might think the tv relaxes you, it stimulates cortisol receptors and actually damages the entire circadian rhythm, over time.
Generally the time to take a sleep supplement is 20-30 minutes before you want to get in bed. Once you’re in there be sure to breathe soft and slow, and use relaxing music to assist in the unwinding process.
Check out our self-care webinars for more information about the ability of supervised self-care to improve your quality of life, reduce chronic disease and help you live a happier and healthier life..