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You can improve your sleep with melatonin and magnesium. Also, valerian roots may be helpful. Even natural sleep aids shouldn’t replace good sleeping habits. Sleep is vital to your health.Sleep is essential for the brain and body to function correctly. Sleep can improve your memory, creativity, learning, and decision-making. Insufficient sleep is also linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes (6).Many people do not get enough sleep every night. Around 20% of adults have occasional symptoms of insomnia. Good sleep habits and practices are often the first step to a good night’s sleep. For some, this is not enough. Try these 10 natural supplements to promote sleep if you’re having trouble sleeping.

1. Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces to signal to your brain when it is time to go to sleep. The time of day affects the cycle of hormone production and release. Melatonin naturally increases in the evening and falls in the morning.For this reason, melatonin supplements are a popular sleep aid. This is especially true in cases where the melatonin cycles have been disrupted (trusted source).Melatonin is reported to improve the quality and duration of daytime sleep in several studies. It is especially beneficial to people who have to sleep during the day due to their schedules, like shift workers.Melatonin can improve sleep quality for people with sleep disorders. Melatonin reduces the time it takes to fall asleep, also known as sleep latency. It also increases the amount of time spent sleeping. Other studies, while few in number, have found that melatonin can improve sleep. Participants in studies that observed positive effects are usually given 3–10 milligrams of melatonin (mg) before bedtime.When used in short doses, melatonin supplements are safe for adults to use. However, more research needs to be done on the long-term effects.Melatonin should not be used by pregnant women or those who are nursing because of the limited amount of research that has been done on its effectiveness and safety.

2. Valerian root

Valerian is a native herb in Asia and Europe. Its roots are commonly used to treat symptoms of depression, anxiety, and menopause. Valerian root is one of the most popular herbal sleep supplements in Europe and the United States. The results of the study are still inconclusive.According to a research review, valerian improves sleep and reduces symptoms of sleep disorders in postmenopausal or menopausal women. A small study showed that people who underwent heart surgery improved their sleep quality and duration by taking 530 mg of valerian every night for 30 nights compared to a placebo.In a study of 39 patients undergoing hemodialysis, taking 530 mg of valerian before bedtime for a month led to improved sleep, reduced anxiety, and depression when compared to taking a placebo. The majority of improvements observed in these studies and trials were subjective. The studies relied more on the participants’ subjective perceptions of sleep than on objective measurements such as brain waves or heart rate taken during sleep.Some studies concluded that the valerian’s benefits are minimal at best. It may, for example, lead to a slight improvement in sleep tardiness. Short-term valerian root intake appears safe for adults with minor, rare side effects. Adults may want to try it for themselves, despite the fact that there are no objective measurements.The safety of valerian is still uncertain, especially for those who use it long-term or in certain populations, such as pregnant women and nursing mothers.

3. Magnesium

Magnesium plays a role in hundreds of body processes, including brain function and heart health. Magnesium can also help calm the mind and body, making it easier for you to sleep. Magnesium’s relaxation effect could be due in part to its ability to regulate melatonin. Magnesium relaxes muscles and helps induce sleep.There are many forms of magnesium supplements available. Some combine magnesium with sleep-promoting ingredients like glycine and melatonin. In one study, magnesium, melatonin, and vitamin B were effective at treating insomnia, regardless of its cause.Magnesium appears to also increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This brain messenger has calming effects. Insufficient magnesium levels in the body have been linked to insomnia and disturbed sleep. Alternatively, taking magnesium supplements can help improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.A review of three older adult studies found that supplementing with magnesium could reduce the time required to fall asleep when compared to a placebo. This review was based on older adults who had possibly lower magnesium blood levels. These effects may not be as strong for individuals who consume more magnesium in their diet.Another study found that supplementing with 250 mg of melatonin and magnesium for 8 weeks improved sleep quality significantly in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome. More research is required to determine the impact of magnesium supplements on sleep when taken by themselves.

4. Lavender

On almost every continent, you can find the lavandula plant. The lavender plant produces purple flowers, which, when dried, can be used for a wide range of household purposes. The lavender’s soothing scent is also believed to improve sleep. Many studies have shown that smelling lavender oil before bedtime can improve sleep for those who suffer from insomnia or other sleep disorders.Lavender aromatherapy was also found to be effective in improving the symptoms of sleep disturbances among older adults with dementia. The participants’ total sleep time increased, and fewer people were unable to fall asleep after waking up early.After 15 days, lavender aromatherapy reduced anxiety and improved sleep in 60 patients with coronary artery diseases. Although lavender aromatherapy has been deemed safe, oral consumption of lavender can cause nausea, diarrhea, and belching. Essential oils are meant for aromatherapy, not oral consumption.

Also, it’s worth noting that there are only a few studies available about the effects of lavender supplements on sleep. More research is required before any conclusions can be drawn.

5. Passionflower

Passionflower is also known as Passiflora incarnata and maypop. It’s a popular herbal remedy to treat insomnia. Passionflowers native to North America are linked with sleep improvement. They are also grown in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Animal studies have shown that passionflower promotes sleep. The effects of passionflower on humans seem to vary depending on how it is consumed.In an older study, the effects of a passionflower tea were compared to those of a parsley leaf placebo tea.The participants drank the tea about an hour before going to bed for a week. They took a one-week break between each tea. Researchers measured sleep quality after each tea bag steeped for 10 minutes. The objective measurements showed that the participants did not experience any improvement in their sleep at the end of a 3-week study.When asked to subjectively rate the quality of their sleep, the participants rated it 5% higher after the passionflower week than the parsley week. A recent study found that people who were suffering from insomnia saw significant improvements compared to those taking a placebo over a two-week period.

These parameters were:

  • Total sleep time
  • Sleep efficiency is the percentage of sleep time as opposed to lying in bed awake.
  • wake time after sleep onset

Although more research is needed, passionflower consumption by adults is generally considered safe. It seems passionflower is more beneficial when taken as a tea, extract, or supplement.

6. Glycine

Glycine plays a vital role in the nervous system. It can also improve sleep. It’s not known exactly how glycine works, but it is believed to lower the body temperature when you go to bed, signaling to your brain that sleep is time. In a 2006 study, participants with poor sleep consumed either 3 grams of glycine (g) or a placebo just before bedtime. The glycine-treated group reported less fatigue the following morning. The next day, they reported feeling more energetic, peppy, and clear headed. In 2007, a study examined the effects of glycine on participants with poor sleep. Researchers measured participants’ heart rate, brain waves, and breathing patterns while they were sleeping.Participants who took 3g of glycine prior to bedtime had improved objective sleep quality measures compared to the placebo group. Participants who took glycine supplements fell asleep faster. According to a small study conducted in 2012, glycine can also improve daytime performance for individuals who have temporarily lost sleep.The participants were restricted from sleeping for three nights in a row. They took 3 g of glycine each night before going to bed or 3 g of placebo. The glycine-treated group showed greater reductions in fatigue and daytime sleepiness.

Glycine is available in powder form that can be diluted with water or in pill form. It appears that taking up to 0.8g per kilogram per day is safe. However, more research is needed. Most sleep study participants only took 3 g of melatonin per day.

Eat foods that are rich in glycine, such as:

  • Animal products like bone stock, eggs, meat, poultry, and fish
  • Beans and legumes
  • spinach
  • Kale
  • cabbage
  • Fruits such as bananas, kiwis, and pineapples

7. Cannabidiol CBD

Cannabidiol (or CBD) is a hemp-derived compound that is used in many products, including capsules and oils.

CBD products do not produce the same high as other cannabis products. This is because they contain low amounts of THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis. Some studies found that CBD can reduce anxiety and also act as a sleep aid.

One review of 34 research studies concluded that CBD, when combined with THC or used alone, could alleviate the symptoms of insomnia. In a second study, 72 participants with anxiety were treated with CBD and found to have improved sleep quality. They also reported a reduction in anxiety in the first month for 67% of them.

A 2020 review of research concluded that high-quality research was needed before CBD could be recommended routinely for the treatment of sleep disorders. CBD should not be taken during pregnancy or nursing motherhood. CBD is also still classified as a controlled substance in certain states.Thus, its legality depends on your location.

8-10. 8-10.

Many other sleep-promoting supplements are available on the market.Not every claim made can be supported by solid scientific research.

These supplements could be helpful for sleep, but they need more scientific research.

  • Tryptophan: A review of four studies found taking at least one gram of tryptophan a day could improve sleep quality and reduce how much time participants spend awake during the night.
  • Ginkgo Biloba: Older studies suggest that consuming around 240 mg of ginkgo biloba thirty to sixty minutes before bed can help reduce stress and enhance relaxation. The animal studies are promising.
  • L’theanine: Taking a daily supplement of up to 200 mg of L’theanine can help with sleep and relaxation. It may be more beneficial when combined with GABA and magnesium, according to animal studies.

Kava has also been associated with sleep-promoting properties in certain studies. The South Pacific Islands are the origin of this plant, which is used to make traditional tea from its roots. You can also consume it in supplement form. (57 Trusted source).

Some countries, such as Germany and the United States, have temporarily banned Kava in the past or issued an advisory about its use (a This could be due to poor quality production or adulteration. In the past, some countries, such as Germany or the United States, have issued a warning about kava use. Use kava with caution. Buy supplements only if they have been certified by an independent third party.

Other Over-the-Counter (OTC) Options

Other OTC sleep aids include diphenhydramine or doxylamine succinate. They’re both antihistamines.

  • Diphenhydramine is the active ingredient in allergy medicines such as Benadryl. Although it is not a sleep aid, its primary use has been to induce drowsiness in order to promote sleep. Also found in ZzzQuil and Unisom SleepGels
  • Doxylamine succinate is an active ingredient in the sleep aid Unisom SleepTabs. Nyquil also contains it. It also causes drowsiness, like diphenhydramine.

The evidence in support of either ingredient is very weak. Many experts recommend diphenhydramine, doxylamine, and succinate. Some say that these substances are unsafe for some populations, such as older adults. Other side effects include dizziness and falls, as well as cognitive impairment.

Long-term OTC sleep aids may lead to tolerance. The use of anticholinergics such as antihistamines can increase the risk of dementia over time. It is best to only use these sleep aids occasionally, as there is still much research needed on the long-term effectiveness and safety of these products.

People with high blood pressure or respiratory problems should avoid these drugs. These drugs may cause a nervous reaction, which can lead to an increased heart rate or tachycardia. Diphenhydramine should be avoided by older adults, particularly those with liver and kidney problems, because of the increased risk that they will experience negative side effects.

Precautions and risks

Speak to your healthcare provider before taking any herbal or OTC sleep aids, as there are potential drug interaction issues with blood thinners and other medications. Let your doctor know if you have sleep problems that last more than two weeks. Most OTC sleep aids have only minor side effects. It’s important to remain cautious, however, as little is known about their long-term effects.

Below are some of the side effects associated with sleep aids. These side effects have been reported anecdotally, in only a few clinical studies, or only by people who took high doses.

  • Melatonin: minor side effects, such as headaches, nausea, and dizziness
  • Valerian Root: diarrhea, headaches, nausea, and heart palpitations
  • Magnesium: High doses of magnesium can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms.
  • Lavender: nausea, diarrhea, and belching
  • Passionflower: Dizziness and confusion in rare cases
  • Glycine: soft stools and abdominal pain on rare occasions
  • Tryptophan, mild nausea, or vomiting
  • Ginkgo Biloba: Mild and Rare Side Effects such as Diarrhea, Headache, Nausea, and Rash
  • L’theanine: No confirmed or direct side effects if taken alone; diarrhea and abdominal discomfort if combined with L-cystine

Before taking any supplements, pregnant women or nursing mothers should consult their doctor. Most supplements should be avoided by these populations, as there is little evidence that they are safe for this life stage. You don’t have to avoid magnesium, glycine, and tryptophan if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. A healthcare professional must still advise you on the correct dosage in order to avoid any side effects.

FAQs on natural sleep aids

Are natural sleep aids effective?

Melatonin is one of the most effective natural sleep aids. Some herbal supplements, such as passionflower and valerian roots, have mixed results. Some studies and anecdotal reports suggest that natural sleep aids can be beneficial, but more research is required to confirm this.

Natural sleep aids are safer than prescription sleep medications.

Natural sleep aids, such as those described in this article, are generally considered to be safer than prescription sleep remedies because they cause fewer side effects. It’s still important to select a high-quality product from a brand you can trust because the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate herbal supplements the same way that it regulates medications.

To ensure safety, look for products that have been tested by an independent laboratory for heavy metals and toxins. Consider purchasing supplements made in facilities certified by third parties. Even natural sleep aids should only be used as a temporary solution. It’s important to consult a doctor if you have trouble sleeping regularly.

Can OTC sleep aids be used safely?

Antihistamines are available over-the-counter. Although they are sometimes used to aid in sleep, this is not their primary purpose. They may have side effects, and there is no strong evidence to suggest that they are effective as sleep aids.

Diphenhydramine is not recommended for older adults, particularly those with kidney or liver problems. Avoid taking OTC sleep remedies regularly, as this can lead to tolerance or dependence. Use them only occasionally, and no longer than two weeks. If you have trouble sleeping regularly, talk to a medical professional.

The bottom line

You can buy most of these supplements online. Remember that getting enough sleep is as important to your health as eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. Many people still have difficulty falling asleep; they may wake up often or feel unrested when they awaken. It is difficult to maintain optimal well-being and health.

Try incorporating sleep practices into your routine before taking any medication. For example, keep electronics out of the bedroom and limit caffeine consumption before bedtime. These supplements can help you get a good night’s sleep. However, they are most effective when combined with good sleeping habits and practices.

Credit: The Web Health & Drugs Discussion Forum

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