Sleep is important because it helps our bodies rejuvenate and heal. If we don’t get enough sleep, our health is compromised. It is for that reason why we seek ways to get the amount of sleep we deserve. While some do exercises that help them sleep, others just make simple lifestyle changes.
Then again, no matter how hard they try, there are some people who really just can’t sleep. Fortunately, there are natural sleep supplements, which they can use.
What are these natural sleep supplements?
Ever heard about circadian rhythm? It’s basically the term they use to refer to our body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. By staying in sync with such rhythm, we can better our sleep patterns. If you follow a regular circadian rhythm, you will definitely feel refreshed and rejuvenated every single day.
To achieve a regular circadian rhythm, the key is often a good sleep hygiene. It can start with avoiding stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, and chocolates. It can also be getting rid with electronics in the bedroom that emit light.
If a good sleep hygiene is paired with natural sleep supplements, a great difference will be noticed in the body. We’ll share with you five of the most popular natural sleep supplements we know.
1. The Right Food
We all know that having a heavy meal before bedtime can affect your sleep quality, but did you also know there are foods that can actually improve your sleep? Well, we’re not suggesting the addition of calories or the intake of more foods prior to sleeping. What we are saying is that you can add the right foods into your dinner to make it more helpful for sleep.
So, what are these foods? The most common characteristic of these foods is the presence of tryptophan. It is an amino acid that helps the brain become more relaxed. It’s basically similar to melatonin and serotonin, only that you can get it from foods with carbohydrates, such as 100% whole grain oats, quinoa, and corn.
To prove that foods with tryptophan can help enhance sleep quality, a study was conducted among soccer players with hectic schedules. The players were involved in random late-night games and had to recover through a sound sleep. They were asked to consume foods with carbohydrates, such as whole grain bread and honey. They also had some proteins, such as seeds, nuts, and turkey. After the study, it was found that these foods helped promote a restorative sleep among the participants. The study was then published in the paper, Sports Medicine.
Who knew calcium had an effect on a person’s sleep cycle? Yes, you read that right!
Based on research, calcium levels are at their peak during our deep REM sleep periods. And what does that suggest? It basically means that if you never reach the REM sleep phase, there could be a problem with your calcium levels.
For that reason, research suggests that calcium plays a vital role in sleep because it helps and supports the cells in the brain as they use the tryptophan in creating our body’s natural sleep aid – melatonin.
To start with, you can take a glass of warm goat’s milk kefir before sleeping to have enough calcium and magnesium in your body. These two elements yield better results when consumed together.
Since we already introduced magnesium above, let’s discuss more about it and how it can help you get the right amount of sleep you need.
Studies have shown that the higher the levels of magnesium in the body, the deeper the sleep will be. This is especially true if consumed together with calcium. Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Geneva stated that magnesium is a calming nutrient. The higher the levels of this nutrient in our body, the more consistent sleep will be.
Now, where can you find magnesium? Aside from goat’s milk kefir, foods like dark chocolate, spinach, and pumpkin seeds are packed with magnesium. Other sources are:
- Banana with almonds
- Crackers with almond butter
- Valerian tea
- Chamomile tea
- Gluten-free oatmeal with dark cherries and honey
- Ezekiel wrap with cranberries and turkey
- Tart cherry juice
4. Essential Oils
It is known that essential oils can help you with just about anything you can think of. That also includes sleep. Although there are prescription medications you can take to get you rested, they can yield side effects and make you feel stressed upon waking. In contrast with essential oils, they don’t trigger any adverse body reactions.
To prove that essential oils really had an impact to sleep, a study was conducted among patients with serious sleeping issues. Each of the participants was given aromasticks within a 13-week period. At the end of the period, about 94% of the patients using aromasticks shown signs of sleep improvement. To create the aromasticks, mandarin, frankincense, sandalwood, lavender oil, and bergamot oil were added.
5. Passion Flower
Passion flower is already known to provide a plethora of health benefits, which include anti-anxiety and calming effects. Surprisingly, it also has a positive effect on sleep.
Technically, when we are anxious and stressed, we can’t always sleep well. No matter what we do, read books or listen to music, the brain won’t shut off. The good news is that passion flower is there to provide you with the calming effect you need.
To test the effectiveness of passion flower, it was used for four weeks among patients with anxiety disorder. Compared to its drug counterpart which is the benzodiazepine oxazepam, passion flower did not take effect immediately. However, what made it a stand out is that it did not have any side effect, such as drowsiness.
That only goes to show that passion flower is a powerful anti-anxiety natural sleep supplement that is safe to use for anyone.
Sleep is important for both children and adults. So, we have to take it seriously. If you think that your sleep problems are out of your control, see an expert and consider trying any of the five natural sleep supplements we mentioned above.
Infographic Provided by Antares Health Products
Author: Usman Raza is a freelance writer, marketing specialist at Zensleep and co-founder of Usman Digital Media. When not working, he’s probably spending time with his family. Follow him on Facebook @usmanraza40 and Twitter @usmanintrotech.
Categories: Personal Health