test-The 7 Best Natural Sleep Aids
Sleep Supplements
The 7 Best Natural Sleep Aids
Swanson Staff • May 25, 2023

The 7 Best Natural Sleep Aids

Whether it’s winding down before bed, falling asleep or staying asleep, there are a decent number of obstacles that can get in the way when it comes to getting enough quality rest. Between daily stressors that keep the mind running way past bedtime, tossing and turning all night long or an off-kilter circadian rhythm, it can be exhausting to even know where to start.

The good news is, depending on your sleep struggles, goals and personal preferences, there are also a multitude of options and sleep hygiene habits to choose from that can cater to your specific needs. The tricky bit is just finding the best natural sleep aid for you.

If you’re looking for the best supplements for sleep, we gathered up seven of our personal favorites when it comes to quality, restful sleep. 

What Are Natural Sleep Aids?

Natural sleep aids are rest-supporting remedies that range from healthy sleep habits to supplements. Most ingredients used in natural sleep aids are typically botanicals, vitamins or compounds naturally found in the body that can help regulate healthy sleep schedules.

Where pharmaceutical medications can often cause the user to experience side effects or develop a dependency, natural sleep aids have a much lower risk and tend to be a preferred approach for many of those looking to improve quality of sleep.1

Common Sleep Issues

Ideally, we would fall asleep within 20 minutes, get 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep and wake up feeling energized the next day.2,3 In the real world, that doesn’t always happen. Depending on many factors like daily stressors, sleep hygiene and factors that may be outside of our control, there can be room for issues to arise when we’re trying to sleep.

Some of the most common sleep issues are:

  • Not falling asleep within 20 minutes
  • Not being able to stay asleep throughout the night
  • Feeling energized right before bed
  • Racing thoughts keeping you from winding down
  • Snoring and interrupted sleep
  • Muscular twinges in discomfort

The Best Sleep Supplements

  • Melatonin: Hormone found in the body that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Usually taken in the form of supplements, melatonin can help with falling asleep, realigning the circadian rhythm and combating jetlag.
  • Valerian Root: An herb that can be found in multiple forms such as liquid tinctures or capsules—valerian is a plant-based approach that is being studied for its ability to help improve overall quality of sleep. This root may support longer periods of time in deep sleep as well as help you fall asleep faster.4,5
  • GABA: The main inhibitory neurotransmitter for the central nervous system. GABA is created in the brain and can help calm the mind before bed as well as keep you from waking throughout the night.6 If you struggle with racing thoughts when you’re trying to fall asleep or wake up periodically, GABA may be a good fit.
  • Magnesium: Can increase levels of GABA for a calmer state of mind and may also help soothe muscles and support circulation, especially when combined with vitamin B6.7 Great for those who struggle to wind down before bed or deal with restlessness in the legs.
  • CBD: While CBD can help promote overall wellness and soothe feelings of anxiousness, when combined with other ingredients like melatonin, GABA and L-theanine, this compound can help support a feeling of calm so you can settle down and sleep through the night. Studies are still ongoing on how well this supplement can help with overall sleep.8
  • Chamomile: A flowering plant that is most commonly found in teas and supplements. This botanical may help decrease sleep latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep) by more than 15 minutes and may also be a good option for those over the age of 60.9,10
  • Tryptophan: This amino acid is used to help make melatonin in the body, which is where it can promote sleep. The body does not make tryptophan on its own, but can be found in certain foods like turkey, cheese and milk as well as supplements. Tryptophan can help decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep by causing you to feel sleepy.11 If you find yourself wired before bed, this may be a good start.

Other Ways to Improve Your Sleep

Apart from natural sleep aids and supplements for the best sleep, you can also introduce healthy sleep habits and improved sleep hygiene into your wellness routine to make sure you’re getting optimal rest.

Some healthy sleep habits you can include are:

  • Ensure that your room is dark, cool and quiet for ideal sleep conditions
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time throughout the week for sleep-wake consistency
  • Incorporate exercise into your day to help tire your body for bedtime
  • Avoid blue light at least half an hour before bed to keep  cortisol levels from rising and to keep your body from suppressing melatonin production
  • Avoid caffeine at least 6 hours before bed to keep from feeling energized
  • Do something soothing like reading a book or drinking hot, decaffeinated tea before bed to calm the mind
  • Add foods like chicken, turkey, milk, oats or cheese into your dinner to support melatonin production

Are Sleep Supplements Safe?

Sleep supplements are tested and safe for most but always consult with a doctor before including one into your nightly routine, especially if you are pregnant. It’s important to know that some ingredients may affect one person differently than another so if you find that one may not be the best fit, there may be an alternative that works better for you.

Always serving our customers,

Your friends at Swanson

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Sources:

  1. Hu Z, Oh S, Ha TW, Hong JT, Oh KW. Biomolecules and Therapeutics. Date Accessed: 5/25/2023 Read More.
  2. Jo Nijs et al. Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Journal. Date Accessed: 5/25/2023  Read More.
  3. Watson NF, Badr MS, Belenky G, Bliwise DL, Buxton OM, Buysse D, Dinges DF, Gangwisch J, Grandner MA, Kushida C, Malhotra RK, Martin JL, Patel SR, Quan SF, Tasali E. Sleep Research Society. Date Accessed: 5/25/2023  Read More.
  4. Valerian for Sleep: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. National Library of Medicine. Date Accessed: 5/25/2023  Read More.
  5. Bent S, Padula A, Moore D, Patterson M, Mehling W. J Evid Based Integr Med. Date Accessed: 5/25/2023  Read More.
  6. Gottesmann C. Neuroscience. Date Accessed: 5/25/2023  Read More.
  7. Jadidi A, Rezaei Ashtiani A, Khanmohamadi Hezaveh A, Aghaepour SM. BMC Complement Med Ther. Date Accessed: 5/25/2023  Read More.
  8. Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Permanente Journal. Date Accessed: 5/25/2023  Read More.
  9. Zick, S.M., Wright, B.D., Sen, A. et al. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. Date Accessed: 5/25/2023 Read More.
  10. Adib-Hajbaghery, M., & Mousavi, S. N. Complementary therapies in medicine. Date Accessed: 5/25/2023  Read More.
  11. Ernest Hartmann. Journal of Psychiatric Research. Date Accessed: 5/25/2023  Read More.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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