After a long day at work or an intensive workout session, many find comfort in knowing a good nights rest will make them feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
After all, getting a good amount of sleep is vital to a healthy life.
However, that is not the case for nearly one-third Americans who suffer from a sleep disorder. Those suffering often dread bedtime as they toss and turn trying to get to sleep and staying asleep.
This has resulted in a demand for sleep aid products ranging from prescription medications, over-the-counter (OTC) and natural supplements.
If you're regularly having trouble either falling or staying asleep (insomnia), make an appointment with your doctor. Treatment depends on what's causing your insomnia.
For those seeking natural supplements for insomnia, this blog will go over the best 4 natural supplements shown to help insomnia symptoms. These supplements maybe an alternative for the usual sleeping treatments.
However, if you continue to have trouble sleeping, ask your doctor for additional help.
Before we go into possible natural options to try, let's take a look at what is insomnia and its causes.
What is Insomnia?
There are numerous sleeping disorders with their own set of symptoms. The most common sleeping disorder insomnia with 30% of adults experiencing short-term insomnia in their lifetimes.
Insomnia makes it difficult to stay asleep, or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep.
No surprise that you still feel tired when you wake up as insomnia directly effect your energy level and mood. Sleep quality has been linked to your overall health, work performance and quality of life.
According to the American Sleep Association, about 10% of people have long-lasting insomnia.
How is Insomnia Diagnosed?
If you are experiencing chronic poor sleep or problematic sleep habits you should consider talking to a medical professional about your situation.
With a proper insomnia diagnosis, medical professionals can offer services and treatments that may improve your sleep quality and overall health.
Insomnia is currently classified as a sleep-wake disorder by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
According to the DSM-5, the criteria for insomnia disorder include:
- Intense dissatisfaction with the quality or amount of sleep caused by trouble falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep and waking up too early in the morning without being able to fall back asleep
- Sleep issues create a significant amount of stress that begins to impact aspects of daily life
- Sleep problems occur at least three nights each week and persist for at least three months
- Poor sleep occurs even when there is enough time devoted to sleep and rest
Symptoms of Insomnia
Insomnia sleep disorders have often been characterized with the following symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Waking up during the night
- Waking up too early
- Not feeling well-rested after a night's sleep
- Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
- Irritability, depression or anxiety
- Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
- Increased errors or accidents
- Ongoing worries about sleep
What Causes Insomnia?
Chronic insomnia is usually a result of stress, life events or habits that disrupt sleep. Treating the underlying cause can resolve the insomnia, but sometimes it can last for years.
Common causes of chronic insomnia include:
- Stress. Concerns about work, school, health, finances or family can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to sleep. Stressful life events or trauma — such as the death or illness of a loved one, divorce, or a job loss — also may lead to insomnia.
- Travel or work schedule. Your circadian rhythms act as an internal clock, guiding such things as your sleep-wake cycle, metabolism and body temperature. Disrupting your body's circadian rhythms can lead to insomnia. Causes include jet lag from traveling across multiple time zones, working a late or early shift, or frequently changing shifts.
- Poor sleep habits. Poor sleep habits include an irregular bedtime schedule, naps, stimulating activities before bed, an uncomfortable sleep environment, and using your bed for work, eating or watching TV. Computers, TVs, video games, smartphones or other screens just before bed can interfere with your sleep cycle.
- Eating too much late in the evening. Having a light snack before bedtime is OK, but eating too much may cause you to feel physically uncomfortable while lying down. Many people also experience heartburn, a backflow of acid and food from the stomach into the esophagus after eating, which may keep you awake.
Chronic insomnia may also be associated with medical conditions or the use of certain drugs. Treating the medical condition may help improve sleep, but the insomnia may persist after the medical condition improves.
If you require a little extra help to get a good night’s sleep, consider trying the following 4 natural sleep-promoting supplements.
Can Natural Supplements Help with Insomnia?
There are no rules or regulations that govern the use of the term natural for these products.
In some cases, natural refers to a substance derived from plants. In other cases, it is used to describe substances that are created synthetically in a laboratory but which are found in the body, in foods, or in plants.
Because of the lack of conclusive evidence, it is hard to know which natural sleep aids are the safest, which are most effective, and how and when they are best used. In light of this, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) does not recommend any natural sleep aids for the treatment of chronic insomnia.
However, there are a few well-studied natural supplements used as a natural sleep aid.
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the body in response to darkness. It helps to regulate sleep and facilitate a healthy circadian rhythm.
Some research shows that melatonin offers benefits for improving sleep more generally. When taken in the evening, it may help some adults more easily fall asleep or stay asleep through the night.
A safe dose of melatonin is the lowest dose that’s effective in helping you fall asleep without causing side effects. In general, a dose between 0.2 and 5 mg is considered a safe starting dose.
A safe dose will depend on your body weight, age, and sensitivity to the supplement.
People usually do not have notable side effects when taking melatonin. When side effects do occur, the most common are daytime sleepiness, headaches, and dizziness. Melatonin is not recommended in older adults with dementia.
Too much melatonin can have the opposite effect of its intended purpose. It can make it harder to sleep because your normal circadian rhythms will be disrupted.
Because melatonin can affect your sleep-wake cycle, avoid taking it with alcohol or caffeine. These can interfere with your circadian rhythm and your natural melatonin production.
Before starting melatonin or any over-the-counter medication or supplement, talk with your doctor. This is especially true if you take other medications.
Valerian is derived from a plant and has a history tracing back to the ancient Greeks. In studies, results have been inconsistent in addressing sleeping problems in adults.
However, Valerian root contains a number of compounds that may promote sleep and reduce anxiety.
These include valerenic acid, isovaleric acid and a variety of antioxidants which are known to promote calmness by reducing GABA breakdown, improving stress response and maintaining adequate levels of mood-stabilizing brain chemicals.
Which research does not provide a clear link between valerian root and insomnia, studies suggest that the natural supplement may alleviate anxiety thus increasing your chance of falling asleep quicker.
Most studies in people with sleeping difficulty used 400–900 mg of valerian extract, which has been shown to be a safe and effective dosage. For the best results, take it 30 minutes to two hours before bedtime.
For most adults, short-term use of valerian is relatively safe. Some potential side effects include headaches, slowed thinking, stomach problems, cardiovascular dysfunction, and feelings of discomfort or excitability.
Valerian may not be safe if you're pregnant or breast-feeding. And it has not been evaluated to determine if it's safe for children under 3 years old. If you have liver disease, avoid taking valerian. And because valerian can make you drowsy, avoid driving or operating dangerous machinery after taking it.
Passionflower is a vine cultivated in both Europe and the Americas. Native peoples of the Americas used passionflower as a sedative. Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers in South America learned of passionflower. The plant was then brought to Europe, where it became widely cultivated and was introduced to European folk medicine.
Though this compound has shown some promise for reducing insomnia, studies are conflicting. To date, there is no conclusive evidence that passionflower is an effective sleep aid in people.
However, Passionflower contains phytochemical that may help support normal, healthy relaxation.
In a study reported in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia, examined passionflower effects on patients scheduled for surgery. The study reported that patients who consumed passionflower had a decrease in their anxiety level when compared to placebo.
In general, a dose between 350 and 700 mg is considered a safe starting dose.
You can also take passionflower in a hot tea by boiling dried passionflower and drinking one hour before bedtime.
According to the
Because of this, it should not be taken with sedative medications. Also, it’s not safe for pregnant women or breast-feeding women. It may induce contractions if you’re pregnant.
Cannabidiol — also known as CBD — is one of the main cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids interact with your endocannabinoid system, which helps your body maintain a state of balance and stability, or homeostasis.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD isn’t psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you “high.”
Can CBD help with Insomnia?
New emerging scientific research may provide some support for CBD as a sleep aid.
A study in 72 participants with primary concerns of anxiety or poor sleep found participants anxiety scores decreased within the first month for 79% of participants being treated with CBD.
Sleep scores also showed improvement within the first month in 67% of participants with the use of CBD in capsule form.
Additionally, a 2017 article from Current Psychiatry Reports suggests that CBD may directly affect sleep by interacting with brain receptors known to regulate our body’s circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle).
CBD may be more effective as an anxiolytic than a sleep aid as research shows CBD has a greater effect at reducing anxiety than reducing poor sleep.
However, CBD’s anxiolytic properties may prove effective for those experiencing poor sleep as it is often attributed to anxiety.
Most clinical trials on CBD and sleep have involved giving the subjects anywhere between 25 mg to 1,500 mg of CBD per day. It’s best to start with a low dosage and gradually increase it until you find something that works for you.
Side effects are relatively uncommon. However, you may experience some minor side effects such as:
- changes in appetite
- weight loss or gain
If you are looking for a quality CBD tincture, you may want to try Envy Hemp's Sleep CBD tincture. This tincture has a powerful blend of melatonin, passionflower, chamomile plus is formulated with a high absorption CBD by nano-emulsified CBD technology.
Our Top Picks of Natural Blend of Supplements That May Help With Insomnia
It’s rare for any sleep aid to single-handedly resolve all sleeping problems. However, natural supplements like melatonin, valerian root, passionflower and CBD may help treat insomnia's symptoms.
If you decide to take a natural sleep aid, it’s often helpful to also review and improve upon your sleep hygiene.
This means looking closely at your sleep habits and bedroom environment to ensure that they are conducive to quality sleep. Taking this step can make your sleep schedule more consistent, eliminate barriers to restorative rest, and allow you to make the most of the sleep improvements that can come from a natural sleep aid.