The 7 Best Sleep Supplements That Have No Side Effects
Not being able to sleep is the worst. Just lying in bed wide awake is bad enough, but you’re also plagued with the knowledge that in just a few hours, you’ll have to get up.
Throughout the day, it’s harder to stay awake and alert for the responsibilities that arise. You might trudge through the day relying on too much caffeine and then go to bed only to repeat the process.
Fortunately, medication isn’t the only solution you can take. There are many natural sleep supplements which might be able to help you. Some of these are herbal, like teas and essential oils, while others aim to impact your brain directly and can be taken in pill form.
If you want to avoid the potential side effects of medication, need sleep supplements safe for pregnancy, or even sleep supplements for toddlers, natural products are a smart choice.
Melatonin is a hormone that is vital to help us sleep. When it becomes dark, your body secretes higher levels of melatonin and usually peaks somewhere between 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Often we usually don’t have enough melatonin at night when we sleep.
The sleep cycle relies on sufficient melatonin, which is naturally gathered by the body during the day. This hormone keeps us awake during daylight hours and helps us relax and fall sleep at night.
Studies show that melatonin helps people with mild sleep problems and those with sleep disorders. Sleep supplements with melatonin can also be helpful for individuals who travel a lot, have an irregular sleep cycle, like parents with young children, or simply live in a big city.
A melatonin supplement can improve sleep quality, as well as help people fall asleep in the first place. There are immediate release and extended release versions of melatonin.
If you struggle to fall asleep, then an immediate release supplement can help. As you can guess, an extended release supplement is best for those who wake up in the middle of the night or cannot get a quality night of sleep.
A safe sleep supplement for toddlers and children, melatonin, has been shown in multiple studies to increase children’s sleep time. Melatonin supplements have shown no negative side effects.
Magnesium influences many parts of the body including the nerves and blood. It has been shown to reduce nervousness, muscle spasms and even panic attacks.
Sleep supplements with magnesium are a reliable choice. Since this mineral influences muscle movement, it can be an effective sleep apnea supplement.
One study on the effects of magnesium on elderly volunteers revealed that taking supplements improved insomnia, sleep efficiency and sleep time and melatonin.
Today modern food processing often eliminates much of the magnesium naturally found in foods. Magnesium deficiencies are on the rise. The biggest effect of insufficient magnesium in the body is insomnia, so you might be able to tackle sleep problems by increasing your intake to an appropriate level.
Valerian root is great for those looking for an herbal sleep remedy. It is a mild sedative herb that can calm you without putting into too strong of a daze. By stimulating the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, an amino acid in the brain. Doing so calms your nervous system.
Valerian primarily helps you fall asleep quickly. Since melatonin affects the quality of your sleep, combining valerian and melatonin is also common. This approach can tackle multiple aspects of your sleep problem.
Valerian has been used for centuries to combat insomnia, anxiety and other symptoms. While research has shown it to be safe, not many studies have been conducted on its effectiveness.
Another great herbal sleep supplement is passion flower. Passion flower is also a light sedative that increases the amount of GABA in your brain for a calming effect. As such it’s also used to treat anxiety. Many supplements incorporate both passion flower and valerian root.
Passion flower also improves sleep quality. A study on passion flower tea had 41 participants drink passion flower tea or a placebo tea before bed every night for one week. Those who drank passion flower tea reported significantly higher sleep quality.
You should be cautious if you plan to use passion flower for children or toddlers. Limit their intake to small dosages according to the child’s weight.
Women should exercise caution during pregnancy. Rather than an extract, using a topical rub might decrease any risks, as recommended by the American Pregnancy Association.
Chamomile is well known mostly as a tea that helps relax and induce sleep. It contains a very mild natural sedative and has similar properties to the antidepressant benzodiazepine. Chamomile has also been used for anxiety, anger, and digestion.
Drinking it in tea form and using the essential oil for aromatherapy have been effective ways to use this natural sleep supplement.
Chamomile is safe to drink during pregnancy. However, there is a lack of research in this area. Most doctors recommend that pregnant women limit their consumption of chamomile or any herbal tea.
The tea is perfectly safe for children and toddlers, who might appreciate this sleep supplement as a sweetened tea.
5-HTP is part of an amino acid that helps produce melatonin and convert it to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps you sleep. This supplement can not only help with insomnia and sleep troubles but also boosts your mood. It is a joint supplement for depression, which can also affect sleep.
People who took 5-HTP in a study fell asleep faster, reported increased sleep time, and higher quality of sleep.
It’s best to avoid combining 5-HTP with antidepressant medication.
A compound derived from the amino acid L-tryptophan, the supplement also is used to enhance mood and decrease appetite. “It is better than L-tryptophan because 5-HTP can cross the blood-brain barrier and thus increase serotonin in the brain.”
Lavender has been noted as a soothing herb, not only through consumption but aromatherapy. The essential oil form is often used in scented baths or placed on bed sheets or bed clothes to help soothe a person before sleep.
Limited research has been conducted on the effects of inhaling lavender oil aroma. However, studies done in this area have already begun to suggest mild benefits.
A study on sleep quality conducted in Japan study found that students exposed to lavender aroma before bed were less sleepy upon awakening compared with a control group. Lavender aromatherapy could be a very simple way to improve your sleep quality.
Lavender aroma has been shown to help mild insomnia, in one study working more efficiently among women and younger participants. It can also help those suffering from sleep apnea.
If you’re unable to get a decent night’s sleep, try one of these supplements. Most of these supplements are easy to obtain and don’t require you to make extra trips to your doctor or pharmacist.
Let us know if these suggestions worked for you! As always, feel free to leave any questions in the comments below.