In America, more than 60 million people have trouble getting a good night's sleep. If you're one of these folks, you might be enticed to seek medication for help. However, there are several natural sleep aids worth trying.
Practicing good sleep hygiene is the most natural — and arguably the most effective — way to get some shut-eye. It's all about making lifestyle changes conducive to a good night's sleep.
As far as lifestyle adjustments go, a consistent sleep schedule is key — even on the weekends. This helps strengthen your body's natural sleep-wake cycle. A regular workout routine, particularly in the morning or afternoon, can be helpful, too.
Screen time is one of the hardest things to regulate at night. Blue light exposure from phones, TVs, and computers increases alertness and delays the release of melatonin, resulting in poor sleep quality. Try to put away your devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. If you still need entertainment before hitting the hay, a book is always a great alternative.
Here are some other ways to practice sleep hygiene:
- Limit naps to 30 minutes.
- Avoid alcohol and stimulants like nicotine and caffeine at night.
- Stay away from heavy meals right before bedtime.
- Keep your bedroom at a comfortable, cool temperature.
Melatonin is a hormone our bodies naturally produce to tell our brains it's time for slumber, and it plays a vital role in the sleep-wake cycle. Darkness stimulates melatonin, while light deters it. Because of this, melatonin supplements are particularly useful for night-shift workers or travelers dealing with jet lag.
If you suffer from a sleep disorder, melatonin may help improve your sleep quality. One study suggests that melatonin helps reduce the period it takes to fall asleep, increasing overall sleep time. Melatonin may interact with other medications, so be sure to talk to your doctor to see if it's right for you.
Native to Asia and Europe, valerian root is an herb that's been used as a treatment for sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression since ancient times. Researchers believe valerian root decreases the breakdown of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that helps manage the nervous system. Additionally, valerian root includes hesperidin and linarin, two antioxidants with sleep-inducing properties.
While researchers have concluded that valerian root is safe for temporary use, there needs to be more evidence to confirm it's suitable for long-term use.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that's involved in over 600 cellular reactions in the human body. In particular, it plays a crucial role in proper bone, heart, and muscle function. Magnesium can also help relax your body and brain, making it easier to fall and stay asleep. Studies suggest magnesium helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for getting you in a calm, relaxed state of mind. Magnesium can also help regulate the body's production of melatonin.
When it comes to taking magnesium supplements for sleep, there haven't been many studies conducted to determine a proper dosage for treating insomnia. Again, you may want to talk to your doctor to see if magnesium supplements are right for you.
Continuing with the theme of sleep hygiene, the comfort of your sheets can factor into getting a quality night's sleep, too. When you dress your bed with SHEEX® Performance Bedding, you'll stay cool, dry and comfortable throughout the night. Our cooling fabrics breathe 10 times better than traditional cotton, reducing sleep-disrupting temperature fluctuations at night.
Just recently, we introduced the SHEEX® CALM + COOL Weighted Blanket. Weighted blankets provide gentle, even pressure to your body. This type of pressure is scientifically proven to stimulate the release of serotonin and melatonin, helping lower stress and promote relaxation.
Consider these five natural solutions to help you catch some extra ZZZs.