The next day after a bad night’s sleep (or an all-nighter) is not a good one for anyone. Unfortunately, over one third of Americans don’t receive the necessary seven to nine hours of sleep every night, and more than 60 million Americans suffer from bad sleep.
Sleep deprivation, or a lack of sleep, can have serious consequences beyond just making you tired. According to Shelby Harris, M.D., Director of Sleep Health at Sleepopolis, “poor or insufficient sleep can worsen depression/anxiety, lead to issues with memory, increase chances of cardiovascular disease, slow cognitive processing, and a lower quality of life.” Long-term sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of developing obesity, depression, and cardiovascular disease.
When you go to sleep, your body repairs and recharges itself. To “wake up to the importance of sleep, pun intended,” as the medical director of the Indiana Sleep Centre puts it, is crucial. It’s crucial from your brain to your toes. While we sleep, our bodies heal and restore every organ.
Dr. Harris adds that getting enough sleep may have a positive effect on your physical and mental health, as well as reduce the likelihood of developing major illnesses. Improved sleep can facilitate weight loss, physical performance, mental health, and increased levels of alertness because “quality sleep is the foundation on which everything else is built.”
Natural Solutions Might Help You Sleep
A natural sleep aid is preferable to other alternatives like alcohol or drugs, which might have undesirable side effects, according to experts.
These herbs and vitamins may help you unwind and get some shut-eye. While several natural sleep aids have been shown to be effective, not all of them have been studied extensively, and even natural remedies can have unintended consequences. The most noticeable effect is daytime sleepiness. Before starting anything new, it’s important to check with your doctor and learn about any potential drug interactions.
Effective Natural Sleep Aids
There are several natural and effective strategies to start sleeping better tonight if lack of sleep is negatively impacting your life. The first step in fixing sleep deprivation is identifying the extent of the problem. “Sleep is a good investment,” says Melissa Snover, CEO and creator of Nourished and a qualified nutritionist. Everyone has a hectic schedule, but rest is essential. If you’re having trouble nodding asleep, try one of the natural remedies suggested below.
Melatonin is widely recognised as one of the best sleep aids available today. According to Dr. Singh, it has the most research support compared to other possibilities. “Melatonin is a hormone our body already produces, and it may have some benefit in shortening time to fall asleep,” Dr. Singh says. There is no established melatonin dose, although the Cleveland Clinic recommends taking anything from 0.5 to 5 milligrammes an hour before bed.
Dr. Harris believes that while melatonin is the most widely used natural sleep aid, not everyone benefits from it and it is not the natural panacea that many believe it to be. People with delayed sleep phase disorder, jet lag syndrome, shift work sleep problem, and occasionally for insomnia use extremely low doses of melatonin many hours before bed to gradually alter their body’s clock (circadian rhythm).
2. Cherry Extract
A further suggestion from Snover is the use of cherry extract or sour cherry juice. “Studies show it keeps you in deep sleep up to 90 minutes longer on average,” says Snover. She explains that many individuals have problems getting asleep, which is crucial since many people also have trouble remaining asleep.
Dr. Harris recommends magnesium as an additional natural sleep aid that may assist enhance sleep quality by relaxing the body’s nervous system. This is especially effective in the evening before bedtime. “However, this hasn’t been routinely proven in research to know for certain,” and “more research is needed before we know the full risks and benefits of taking magnesium for sleep.”
Magnesium, a mineral essential for proper body functioning, may be found in a wide variety of dietary sources. “Helpful for good sleep quality,” as Snover puts it, because it aids in tissue regeneration and boosts nerve function. Foods high in magnesium include whole grains and dark green vegetables. Experts recommend avoiding taking more than 200 milligrams per day as a supplement. Take some magnesium 30 minutes before bedtime and see if it helps.
Chamomile is a plant that is commonly used to make tea because of its soothing properties. A “sleep inducer” according to scientific studies, it may be used as “a mild sedative to calm nerves and reduce anxiety, to treat nightmares, insomnia, and other sleep problems,” among other applications.
The amino acids in our cells generate a substance called 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) that helps the body make serotonin. Supplemental dosing between 200 and 400 milligrammes has the potential to increase serotonin and melatonin synthesis, which can help with a variety of issues, including sleep disturbances. According to Snover, serotonin and melatonin are the body’s “natural sleep hormones,” and maintaining a healthy level of these hormones is essential to good health. But before you start taking any supplements, you should talk to your doctor.
The relaxing characteristics of lavender make it a popular natural medicine. It has several uses, including aromatherapy and flavouring tea. Researchers discovered that using lavender essential oil aromatherapy was a “safe, accessible, and effective intervention for self-reported sleep issues.”
7. Valerian Root
Valerian root is a popular herbal supplement used in tea or supplement form for its sedative and calming effects. The Sleep Foundation notes that while there is evidence that this herb can help with relaxation and sleep, it should be used with caution and not combined with other sleep aids, sedatives, or anti-anxiety drugs due to the risk of dependence and overdose. While natural sleep aids like magnesium and melatonin exist, valerian root are classified as sedatives, as Snover points out. Valerian root’s calming properties might aid with insomnia, but they can leave you feeling sleepy the next day.
Dr. Harris recommends that anybody interested in trying out natural sleep aids first speak with their primary care physician or a specialist in sleep medicine. “Many sleep supplements, like melatonin, are not regulated by the FDA in the US, so there can be a lot of variability in what is in each bottle, and the label might not accurately reflect the ingredients or dosages.” Dr. Harris further stresses that there is a lack of long-term studies on the use of many natural sleep aids, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions about their safety and efficacy. In addition, they might mix negatively with other drugs you may be taking, or cause unwanted side effects including daytime sleepiness, nausea, dizziness, or nightmares; therefore, it is important to see a doctor before beginning a new sleep aid.