Sleep is essential for feeling and functioning optimally. Fortunately, there are numerous supplements that can help you achieve ideal rest.
Some, like melatonin and chamomile, have extensive research behind them. On the other hand, other potential sleep aids require further exploration before being recommended as effective solutions.
If you’re searching for a natural sleep aid, lemon balm could be just what the doctor ordered. This herb, also known as Melissa officinalis, has been used for thousands of years to promote restful sleep and is known to have calming effects on both body and mind.
Research has demonstrated that rosmarinic acid, the major compound in lemon balm, helps increase GABA levels and inhibit excitatory nerve transmission to promote relaxation and help you fall asleep more easily. Furthermore, rosmarinic acid has been known to lower anxiety and reduce stress levels within the body.
Herbal supplements, teas and oils often contain valerian root which has been used as a mild sedative for centuries. When taken together with Valerian to promote restful sleep, this herb often works together.
Studies have suggested that the effects of this herb are not limited to sleep; it has also been known to fight infections, reduce gastrointestinal symptoms, ease inflammation and treat menstrual pain (PMS). Some studies even suggest its anti-inflammatory properties could potentially aid in treating heart disease or improving cardiovascular health.
Herbal supplements can be an excellent way to reap the rewards of herbs, but always consult your doctor before including one in your treatment plan. Herbs have long been used as a traditional approach to health and wellness; however, they may cause side effects or interact with other medications or supplements.
Additionally, it’s best to avoid taking lemon balm if you are pregnant or breastfeeding as it may interact with sedatives and thyroid medication.
This herb may help treat anxiety and depression. Studies have demonstrated its beneficial effect on those suffering from general anxiety disorder, while it was even used to reduce stress levels during surgery.
Researchers have discovered that lemon balm can effectively reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety in individuals suffering from various disorders. It may even be effective for treating insomnia, though further study is necessary in this area.
If you’re interested in trying this relaxing herb, you can make a tincture using dried lemon balm leaves and alcohol. Alternatively, you could soak the leaves in water to create an infusion which provides more of a sedative effect than taking a tincture.
Valerian root has been used for centuries to induce relaxation and aid in sleeping. Studies have demonstrated that valerian root can reduce sleep latency, improve quality of rest and extend REM hours while increasing total amount spent sleeping.
Valerian root can be taken in many forms, including tincture, tea and extract. Combining it with other herbs or supplements may further enhance its effects for sleep support.
When taking supplements, the dosage should always be tailored to meet individual needs and circumstances. Some supplements can interact with other herbs, foods and medications in unintended ways; thus, always read the label and consult your healthcare provider before using any product.
Many people with anxiety and stress-related symptoms find relief with a dose range of 300 to 600 mg daily, taken 30 minutes before bedtime on a regular basis. Dried root is another viable option as well; an equivalent dose is 2 to 3 grams soaked in one cup of hot water.
Valerian root can have mild sedative or hypnotic effects, so it should not be mixed with other central nervous depressants. If you plan to undergo surgery, inform your anesthesiologist that you are taking valerian and adjust the dosage accordingly to prevent any side effects caused by this herb.
Pregnant or nursing women should avoid taking valerian root, as it can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. However, taking a low dosage and following your doctor’s instructions are generally safe if taken as directed.
Valerian root can help protect against chronic conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Additionally, this herb may provide comfort to those suffering from anxiety disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
If you are having difficulty falling or staying asleep at night, try taking a supplement that contains valerian root. It should help improve your sleep in the coming weeks. Additionally, creating an evening routine that includes reading or listening to music could be beneficial.
Chamomile has been used for centuries to treat insomnia and anxiety, as well as other ailments. It also helps ease stomach discomfort and calm skin conditions. Furthermore, it often appears in mouth rinses designed to heal sores caused by cancer treatments.
Sleep tea, also commonly referred to as “sleepy tea,” has long been believed to help promote better and longer sleep by relieving stress, encouraging relaxation and improving quality of rest. The plant itself is naturally caffeine-free with a mild flavor that makes it easy to drink.
The herb can be enjoyed as a tea, capsule or powdered form to mix with water. Its taste is sweet and fruity, with an aroma similar to citrus fruits.
Studies have indicated that chamomile may help promote better sleep for those suffering from chronic disorders like insomnia or narcolepsy, as well as those who struggle to fall asleep. It also appears to improve quality of sleep for postpartum women and elderly individuals.
Before adding chamomile to your medication list, be sure to discuss it with your doctor first. Some medications, such as anticoagulants (blood thinners), sedative herbs like valerian and kava, and blood pressure drugs may interact with chamomile.
Chamomile can increase the risk of bleeding when taken along with blood-thinning medications like warfarin (Coumadin) or clopidogrel (Plavix). Therefore, it’s best to refrain from drinking chamomile two weeks prior to surgery, and it should also be avoided during dental procedures as well.
Chamomile should not be taken by pregnant women due to its potential to increase the risk of miscarriage. Furthermore, it has the potential to act as estrogen in the body, which may present issues for those already at risk for hormone-sensitive conditions like breast or uterine cancer or endometriosis.
People with allergies to chamomile or other related flowers such as daisies, sunflowers, chrysanthemums and ragweed should avoid it. Furthermore, those suffering from asthma should also refrain from inhaling chamomile extract; it can exacerbate their condition.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that plays an essential role in the regulation of sleep cycles. It’s produced in the brain and released by the pineal gland, located just above middle of brain. Darkness causes melatonin production while light suppresses it.
People suffering from insomnia (the inability to fall and stay asleep) may benefit from taking melatonin supplements, although more research is necessary to confirm its efficacy. Studies have suggested that taking melatonin may slightly reduce the amount of time it takes for people to fall asleep and improve overall sleep quality; however, its effects have yet to be thoroughly tested.
Studies have also discovered that melatonin can be beneficial to those suffering from jet lag, the issue that arises when traveling across multiple time zones in a short amount of time. It helps with both sleep onset and duration, providing greater energy levels and less fatigue throughout the day.
Adults may find a dose of 0.3 mg 30 minutes before bedtime to be effective. If this doesn’t provide the desired effect, you can gradually increase the dosage until you achieve what you desire.
Melatonin supplements can be found at most health food stores and pharmacies in the U.S. They range in strength from 1 milligram (mg) to 10 mg, but it’s best to start with the lowest dose possible to see how it affects your sleep quality.
Some people also use melatonin to treat conditions like dementia, chronic pain and depression. Although these supplements can be helpful, they should never replace other healthy practices like regular exercise and daily mindfulness-based meditation.
It’s essential to consider drug interactions and health risks when taking melatonin, particularly if you have certain medical conditions or take prescription drugs. For instance, certain antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may increase their sedative effects when combined with melatonin.
Consult with your doctor about the most suitable supplements for you. Additionally, they can assist in creating a healthy sleep schedule tailored to meet individual requirements.