We’ve discussed a lot of different strategies for getting a better night’s sleep here on our blog - from keeping your work out of the bedroom to practicing body awareness meditation, there are tons of different things one can try if they’re finding it hard to get to sleep. But sometimes those tips and tricks just don’t make a difference. For people struggling with insomnia or poor sleep quality, finding a solution that works can be a long and exhausting process. Some people simply throw in the towel and ask their doctors to prescribe sleeping pills - if you’re running on empty for weeks on end and just need to catch up on sleep, who can blame you? It’s an easy fix that definitely gets the job done. But what about people who don’t want to take pharmaceuticals? Sure, they’ll get you off to la-la-land, but sleeping pills can be dangerously habit-forming, and often come with a host of unpleasant side effects such as daytime drowsiness, memory problems, physical weakness, digestion issues, and dizziness.
Nearly half of all adult Americans complain of poor sleep. If you’re one of them and you’ve already tried common fixes like limiting screen time before bed, keeping your room dark and quiet, and watching your diet, it may indeed be time to resort to a pill. But before you turn to pharmaceuticals, give one of these natural sleep supplements a try. They’re often just as effective, but their relaxing properties don’t come at the price of all those uncomfortable side effects.
Melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone already produced by your pineal gland which is critical to your sleep and circadian rhythms. As a supplement, it improves your sleep quality and also acts as an antioxidant.
Chamomile. Chamomile can be ingested as a tea, extract or topical ointment and serves as a safe and mild sleep aid.
Valerian. Valerian acts as a light sedative and can be helpful in reducing the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep. Talk to a nutritionist before starting on Valerian - it’s safer and more effective when taken in a highly specific supplement regimen.
Magnesium. Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, promotes heart and immune system health, and strengthens the bones. A lack of magnesium inhibits nerve cell communication, resulting in cell excitability, which causes nervousness and stress. A magnesium supplement can improve sleep quality and reduce the number of times you wake up during the night.
Theanine. This amino acid derivative promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety, and it’s easily absorbed and utilized by the body.