Experience the Better Sleep
Best Natural Sleep Aids
Sleeping well and for an adequate amount of time can be one of the biggest challenges and frustrations we all face. Whether you are struggling to fall asleep or whether you wake up frequently throughout the night, chances are you are operating at a sleep deficit during the day.
Even if you feel like you are getting plenty of hours, if you are not falling into a deep enough sleep, or are only achieving a restless sleep, you still will be susceptible to sleep-deprivation symptoms.
Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Sleep Chewable Tablet with Melatonin
Micro Melatonin by Utzy Naturals
Micro Melatonin by Utzy NaturalsOLLY Restful Sleep Gummy Supplement
How Important is Sleep to Your Health?
Socially you can suffer also when you are not getting enough sleep. You may not feel like being around people or socializing when you are tired. There is a decreased ability to read facial cues and process emotional responses when you are lagging in the amount of sleep you are getting. If your energy level is low, the last thing you may feel like doing is having to talk to people and socialize.
There is a link between sleep deprivation and severe depression. The chances of suicide are higher for people with sleep disorders. During the day, toxins build up in the brain and during sleep hours is when the body can flush them out. If not enough time is dedicated to sleep, the toxins are unable to be removed and the brain will show signs of it. Many mood disorders can be attributed to the epidemic of too little sleep.
Physical problems also arise from not having enough good sleep. Sleep is when your body is able to heal and repair cells that have been damaged during the day. Your muscles are rested and repaired while your body is asleep. Your heart, lungs and blood vessels specifically need this repair time in order to function at an optimal level for your health. Ongoing sleep deprivation has been shown to increase the chances of heart disease and kidney disease. High blood pressure and stroke are also serious conditions that increase in frequency with long-term sleep issues.
Immune problems can arise when your body is at a deficit. You will find yourself more susceptible to colds and flu if you are not rested enough. Infections are more likely as your body cannot fight off bacteria and germs. There is a higher incidence of inflammation in cells and more cell damage, specifically in the digestive tract leading to irritable bowel disease.
As you continue to suffer from too little sleep, your chance of acquiring Type 2 diabetes also increases. Your body’s ability to control its blood sugar levels and its ability to react correctly to insulin are affected. Insufficient sleep is also responsible for your natural weight. People with too little sleep tend to be overweight or even obese. Sleep controls the hormones that regulate appetite and suppresses appetite. This is why too little sleep can lead to overeating, contributing to your body’s confusion of a healthy appetite and lifestyle.
Your sleep cycle is based on your circadian rhythm. This is your body’s ability to tell time throughout a 24-hour period and know when to sleep and when to be awake. Your body clock can be thrown off by not getting long enough sleep, sleeping at odd times or by being exposed to bright lights or electronic lights late at night.
Natural Sleep Aids
Natural sleep aid supplements are helpful in attaining a good night’s sleep. To be considered natural, they must contain only natural, herbal ingredients that are not manufactured by artificial means. They may work by inducing relaxation or sleepiness. They are distinctly different than over-the-counter medications or prescription medications in how they work, effectiveness and side effects.
Natural sleep supplements tend to be gentler in how they work. Prescription sleeping pills are usually only prescribed for people with chronic insomnia. Prescription medications are usually much stronger and have more side effects than natural sleep supplements. The danger of overdose or dependence of natural sleep aids is reduced greatly compared to prescription sleep aids. Here are some of the best natural sleep aids to help you not only fall asleep but stay asleep longer.
Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Sleep Chewable Tablet with Melatonin
Micro Melatonin by Utzy Naturals
Micro Melatonin by Utzy NaturalsOLLY Restful Sleep Gummy Supplement
Nature Made Melatonin
Vitafusion Extra Strength Melatonin
Luna Natural Sleep Aid by Nested Naturals
CBD Oil from CBDistillery
Best Natural Sleep Aids
1. Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Sleep Chewable Tablet with Melatonin
Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Sleep Chewable Tablet with Melatonin is the best kid-safe choice for helping children fall asleep naturally. The chewable tablets are preferred by children instead of a pill that they may struggle to swallow. Zarbee’s Naturals are available in grape and mixed-fruit flavors that children tend to love. It is also preferred by parents for their children as they are not only gluten free but also free from high-fructose corn syrup and any artificial flavors or sweeteners. The tablets are one mg each and the dosage is between one and three tablets depending on your child’s age, weight and difficulty sleeping. Always check with your pediatrician for dosage before giving your child any supplement. Even herbal and natural supplements need to be correctly dosed and monitored.
2. Micro Melatonin by Utzy Naturals
Micro Melatonin by Utzy Naturals is a low dose melatonin supplement that comes in a micro tablet. When you feel like you only need a small amount of assistance to correct your sleep patterns, this 250 mcg micro tab is perfect. Starting with the lowest possible dose gives you room to increase your dose in small increments until you find the precise amount you need. You will not have to acquire a pill cutter and waste time cutting larger pills to achieve the dose you need. The Micro Melatonin by Utzy also contains a sour cherry additive in the quick-dissolve tablets. Not only does this add a pleasant flavor, but research also shows that tart cherry juice can jumpstart your own body’s ability to produce melatonin, promoting sleep even further.
3. Micro Melatonin by Utzy NaturalsOLLY Restful Sleep Gummy Supplement
OLLY Restful Sleep Gummy Supplement is the best adult gummy we found. Gummy supplement forms are not just for children. Adults tend to love the gummy texture also. These gummies are flavored with blackberry and a hint of mint so you will enjoy the flavor of this treat every night before going to bed. Olly Restful Sleep contains three mg of melatonin but also adds in l-theanine amino acid, chamomile, passionflower and lemon balm extracts which are known to help calm your mind, promote relaxation and to soothe anxiety.
4. Nature Made Melatonin
Nature Made Melatonin is a melatonin-only supplement. It comes in a three mg tablet which is a standard dose for most adults, especially those experienced with melatonin use. Nature Made Melatonin contains no artificial flavors, preservatives or colors. Nature Made is a solid company that has been manufacturing supplements for numerous years. It is a trusted name for quality ingredients and natural solutions.
Melatonin supplements are not recommended for use by pregnant or nursing mothers, or people with high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune issues, depression or seizure disorders unless specifically recommended by a doctor.
5. Vitafusion Extra Strength Melatonin
Vitafusion Extra Strength Melatonin is a high-dose melatonin. Vitafusion Extra Strength Melatonin should be used in cases where you have been advised by your doctor to take a higher dosage of melatonin, or you are dealing with an extreme case of insomnia due to jet lag or night shift work. The gummy has a natural blackberry flavor that adults love. Vitafusion is also gluten free and does not contain any high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors.
Please keep in mind that this is the “knock-out” punch of melatonin. At five mg per dose, it is at the high end of the recommended dosage for melatonin. You should not start with this sleep aid unless advised by your doctor. You can start with half a dose by only taking one gummy instead of the two in the dose. This is a more affordable way to buy supplements as you only need half a dose typically.
Remrise is a more tailored sleep aid. It involves taking a quiz and the company specifically tells you which products you will benefit from. It asks about habits, sleep time and what keeps you from sleeping. It is a more personal approach to fixing the problem by customizing the supplement to your specific needs. Remrise does not just put you to sleep but rather looks for the underlying issues that are keeping you from a good night’s sleep.
With the information gained from the questionnaire, Remrise can create a month-long schedule of sleep aids that are most beneficial to help improve your sleep habits. Each day’s supplement is individually packaged with a different blend of ingredients. The different blend will keep you from developing a tolerance, as can happen with many supplements. The various, natural combination of herbs and amino acids are specifically tailored for you. Remrise uses ingredients that are vegan, non-GMO, and organic for making their sleep aids whenever possible
7. Luna Natural Sleep Aid by Nested Naturals
Luna Natural Sleep Aid by Nested Naturals is the best, natural valerian root sleep aid. The Luna Sleep Aid by Nested Naturals does not mess around with insomnia. Make sure you can get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep before taking this supplement. This natural sleep aid contains both melatonin and valerian root, but also adds in magnesium, amino acids GABA and L-theanine. If that is not enough, it contains herbs including chamomile, passionflower, lemon balm, and hops that are proven to promote relaxation and sleep.
Luna Natural Sleep Aid will calm and relax you before putting you gently to sleep, and you will stay asleep in a longer and more restful slumber. Again, as a caution, some ingredients are on the higher side for dosing. At six mg of melatonin, you may want to start with half a dose to make it more economical, yet still effective. Luna capsules are gluten-free, soy-free, vegan, non-GMO and manufactured in the United States.
8. CBD Oil from CBDistillery
CBDistillery is the product we picked for the best choice of CBD oil sleep aid. This supplement is easy to administer and kicks in quickly. CBD products have been proven to promote sleepiness and relaxation. CBD oil does not contain THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the ingredient in cannabis that makes you “high.” The benefits of CBD oil have been studied to reveal other benefits than just helping to induce sleep, including digestive health, hair and skin health and joint pain relief. CBDistillery offers many ranges of doses and also full-spectrum oils. This oil is non-GMO and pesticide-free. It is subjected to strict third-party testing to ensure its quality and safeness. Whether you choose to mix the oil into a drink or smoothie or place directly under your tongue for sublingual absorption, this is the best quality CBD oil we found.
Tips to Help Fall Asleep
Know How Much Sleep You Need
The number of hours each person needs will differ, but most adults need between seven and nine hours a night. Once you are able to find your perfect number of hours, this gives you a goal to hit to feel at your absolute best. Your body will learn to expect that number to operate at optimal performance. The more days you achieve this amount of sleep in a row, the better the pattern you are creating for your sleep schedule.
Follow a Bedtime Routine
Settle into bed at the same time every night. Your body will eventually come to recognize the routine and know when it is time to sleep. The earlier the better when it comes time to choose when to start the routine and what time is lights out. Whether you choose to bathe or shower at night or in the morning depends on whether this wakes you up or relaxes you. If you are relaxed by the water, this would be the perfect beginning to a bedtime routine each evening.
Choosing the Perfect Sleep Environment
Make sure your bedroom is dark and a cooler temperature. Do not take electronics into your bedroom as even charging them can lead to a low light emission that will challenge your circadian rhythm. Have dark shades on your windows to block street and yard lights from seeping through. Keeping your bedroom at a cooler temperature will make it easier to not only fall asleep but also to stay asleep. Sweating at night is uncomfortable and leads to feeling cold as you are drenched with sweat. This fluctuation in your body temperature makes it extremely difficult to feel comfortable throughout the night.
Only for Sleeping
Dedicating your bedroom to only sleeping makes it easier for your body and mind to recognize the pattern you are trying to promote. Watching television or listening to music on your phone can wake up your brain activity and make it hard for it to distinguish the routine you are trying to implement.
Limit Screen Time Before Bed
One hour before you begin your bedtime routine, make sure you turn off all computers, televisions and phone screens. The light that is emitted from these types of electronics reproduces the light during the daytime. Your brain is tricked into thinking it is daytime and time to get up. Remember the circadian rhythm mentioned above.
Healthy Diet, Exercise and Sunshine
Eating foods that are high in tryptophan two to three hours before bedtime can help induce sleep. Any dairy product, bananas, oatmeal, rice, nuts are all foods that can contribute to sleepiness. Maintaining a healthy diet will always set yourself up for success with sleep and health benefits.
Sunshine is not only beneficial for a mood boost. It also contains vitamin D that a lot of us are lacking in, especially in the winter months. Even if you are not able to get outside during colder weather, sitting in the sun that shines through a window or door will still let you absorb the healthful properties of the sunshine.
No Coffee or Alcohol Before Bed
Make sure to avoid any beverages that contain either caffeine or alcohol before bedtime. It does seem like alcohol would promote sleepiness, and it does, but it does not promote restful sleepiness. Alcohol induces a restless sleep that does not allow your body to regenerate itself. Water, decaffeinated tea or even better, warm milk, would be more appropriate choices for the new sleep pattern you are trying to create.
Why You Should Choose Natural Sleep Aids
Many studies have been done on the effectiveness and side effects of natural sleep aids. The fact that natural sleep aids have fewer side effects and are very effective does not change the fact that they are not meant for long-term use. Long-term insomnia that persists despite creating good sleep habits and short-term sleep aid use may need to be reviewed by a medical professional as to the cause.
Natural sleep aids are considered herbal supplements so they are not subjected to FDA review and standards. Manufacturers have no safety guidelines to follow or adhere to. The language used on the supplement packaging is not required to be universal for all companies, so what may mean one thing on one package may have a different meaning on another.
In order to protect yourself, you need to research not just ingredients included, but also the dosing to ensure you are protecting yourself. Doing your homework will help keep yourself safe medically and financially, by not purchasing inadequate or unnecessary products.
Natural sleep aids do tend to be healthier as they have only natural ingredients. When people are trying to avoid chemicals and manufactured supplements, natural sleep aids will not add as many or as severe side effects than if you were to take a prescription or over-the-counter medication. You do still need to follow directions and use caution when ingesting even natural supplements. Pregnant women, children and people taking other medications especially need to be careful when taking anything for sleep deprivation.
Melatonin can cause other prescribed medications to not be as effective or have interactive side effects. Talking with your doctor before starting any new health regimen, whether it be exercise, habits or supplements is always a good idea. The doctor can look at the overall picture of your condition, health and severity of sleep shortage and advise you based on this larger picture. They can advise on which product would be best for you, which dosage to start at and how to gradually reduce the doses down when you are no longer in need of assistance to sleep.
Do your homework and review the ingredients contained within each product you are considering. You are responsible for your health and safety. As mentioned above, alcohol can prohibit restful sleep, but it can also be harmful or potentially fatal if combined with sleep aids of any kind. Never combine alcohol use with sleeping aids of any kind, over the counter, prescribed or natural.
Side Effects of Natural Sleep Aids
Supplement Forms and Dosage Tips
Suitability for Children and Pregnancy Women
The Best Time to Take a Sleep Aid
Natural Sleep Aid Ingredients
1. Melatonin is a hormone that your brain produces to promote sleep. It sends a signal to your body in the evening to fall asleep. Sometimes we need a little more to achieve this effect since many of our habits contradict the signals our brains are sending. Late evening activities make our brains think it is time to stay awake, so melatonin production is delayed or decreased. Melatonin is shown to be effective in not only helping you fall asleep faster, it also increases the total amount of hours you are able to sleep and sleep well. Melatonin is usually dosed between .1 and 5 mg and the dose should follow the severity of the insomnia, the duration and overall health of the person. Since melatonin is produced naturally in our bodies, most people feel more comfortable taking this supplement.
2. Magnesium has been shown to promote a calming effect which is essential when we are struggling to fall asleep. Since magnesium does naturally exist in our bodies, most people feel comfortable with this supplement, also, for this reason. Magnesium is present in many foods we eat and can be absorbed through our skin as bath salts or lotion also. Magnesium acts as a stabilizer to melatonin in our bodies and also increases messengers in the brain that tell it to fall asleep. Many of us are deficient in magnesium, so taking supplements are safe to replenish our depleted amounts.
3. Valerian root is often referred to as “nature’s valium.” It has been used since ancient times to help induce sleep and relaxation. The flower part of the plant used to be used to make perfume and the root itself is used to make medicinal supplements.
When valerian root is taken at the recommended dose, it seems to be safe and non habit-forming. Valerian root is also shown to have beneficial properties in treating OCD, anxiety and depression when taken at lower doses throughout the day.
While the most common sleep aids will consist of melatonin, valerian root and magnesium, either separately or combined, some will add plant ingredients or herbal products. The following plants and herbs are well known as relaxation and calming agents.
4. Lavender is a plant that is often used to promote relaxation and sleepiness as an aromatherapy essential oil. It is a common ingredient in many creams and lotions that will continue to emit the scent to help you stay relaxed. It also can be ingested as a tea to combine the aromatherapy along with the ingestion of the plant.
5. Passion flower is another plant that is known for its property of inducing sleep. It also is ingested as a tea typically or as an added ingredient to another supplement.
6. St. John’s Wort is an herb that seems to be effective to treat depression. As insomnia and mental health issues can commonly go hand in hand, this herb would treat a potential source of insomnia. St. John’s wort is known to stimulate the messengers in the brain that send out the message for sleep and calmness.
7. Chamomile is a plant that is commonly used to make a tea to be consumed at bedtime. It is an anecdote for both anxiety and depression and can help your body fall asleep faster.
8. Ginkgo biloba extract is made from the dried leaves of the ginkgo tree. It is a natural product that can help relieve stress, enhance relaxation and induce a calming feeling, thereby promoting sleep.
9. Lemon balm is a minty plant that is known to positively affect the messengers in your brain that promote sleep. You will usually find this plant supplement in a tea or as an added ingredient with other supplements.
10. Kava, or kava-kava, is a plant extract that will promote sleep, but the side effects can be dangerous or even deadly. You should avoid any ingestion of this plant in any form unless specifically recommended by your doctor. Possible side effects include liver damage, cirrhosis and hepatitis. With so many other options to choose from with little to no side effects, it is best to avoid supplements containing kava.
11. Amino acids are organic compounds that are helpful in promoting your body’s natural sleepiness. Many amino acids contribute to feelings of happiness and relieve feelings of anxiety or depression which helps to allow the brain and body to relax and fall asleep. Included in the list of amino acids is glycine which can lower your body temperature at night allowing you to achieve more comfortable sleep. Tryptophan and L-Theanine are other amino acids you may find listed on a supplemental sleep aid ingredient list. These acids can boost moods and relieve anxiety and depressive feelings also.
12. CBD oil or cannabidioil is derived from cannabis plants and is quickly becoming popular among those wanting a natural supplement to not only help with sleep issues but also greatly relieves pain and stress. PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is also helped by the use of CBD oil. CBD oil is available in many forms that are easy to use and fast-acting.
Because they’re made from natural ingredients, natural sleep aids have fewer and less intense side effects than OTC sleep aids or prescription drugs. However, they’re not regulated by the FDA the way medications are, which means it’s up to buyers to research ingredients and follow safe use guidelines. By doing your research and gathering information on not only the ingredients and their purposes, but also potential and likelihood of side effects, you will be better able to choose the sleep aid that is best for you. The sooner you start, the sooner you can end sleepless nights and resulting sluggish days for good.