January 13, 2021 7 min read

As the world becomes more and more fast-paced we tend to let important things start to fall by the wayside. One of the main things that we’ve made less of a priority is sleep.

Who has time to sleep?

The answer is that we should ALL make time for sleep.

The benefits of getting a full night of sleep are incredible! These benefits include everything from increased brain functionality, to a more energized body, to increased happiness (source).

If you struggle with getting enough sleep, don't fear! Taking a sleep supplement can be an ideal way to get better sleep! 

Nighttime aids can be crucial for your success, and quite frankly, your sanity. While there are many different sleep tips and tricks for improving your rest, one of the best ways to optimize your sleep is by taking a natural sleep formula.

Below is a list of the best sleep supplements that you can take. These are effective, natural ingredients with science backing them.

sleep supplements

The Best Sleep Supplements

Below we'll dig into the best nighttime aids. The recommendations below are are natural and safe. These are great options if you struggle with occasional sleeplessness.

1. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)

A naturally-produced compound created in the brain called gamma-Aminobutyric acid, or GABA, helps you relax your body and mind together. Clinical trials have proven that, after supplementing a patient with GABA, their brain frequencies begin to resonate with alpha brain waves. Alpha brain waves are associated with improved confidence, feelings of safety and wellbeing, as well as complete relaxation.

If you want to better understand what increased GABA feels like, just imagine what happens after you drink a little too much alcohol. Drinks with alcohol content are consumed with the intent to increase GABA forcibly in the brain to unnatural levels. This can also help you understand what too much GABA feels like: obnoxious moods, blacking out, and stumbling around with much less logic and reason. 

But when you have healthy and natural levels of GABA, you are feeling motivated, confident, free from anxiety, and relaxation. You are looking forward to what is to come and you are ready to handle the challenges that you may face before you get there.

If your challenge is to get to sleep quicker and reach more restful, rejuvenating sleep, then your quest will be much easier. This natural compound can be isolated to be taken in supplement form, so that you don’t have to rely on alcoholic drinks to force out GABA through your neurotransmitters. This offers your body a much safer long-term solution for insomnia, both chronic and acute.

There seems to be evidence that natural GABA levels in the brain decrease with age. If you are older, this stuff could be great for restoring mental balance and restful sleep. 

 

2. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian is one of the most recommended herbal remedies for sleep. It’s relaxing qualities help to give it a sedative affect. While there are many different compounds present in Valerian, the active ingredient is thought to be Valerenic Acid.

Valerian’s sedative qualities are a result of its ability to increase GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter) in your body. This increase in GABA works to decrease the amount of nerve impulses in your body., which helps to relax your mind and body.

This makes Valerian one of the best natural sleep pills to take to help you wind down before bed.

 

3. 5-HTP (5-hydroxy-tryptophan)

Also known has, 5-Hydroxytryptophan, 5-HTP is another compound found and made naturally in the human body. It is actually produced with L-tryptophan as a derivative, kind of like how melatonin is formed from serotonin due to certain environmental triggers.

Our bodies make most of the amino acids naturally, but we need to obtain tryptophan from the foods that we consume. Therefore, this means that supplementing with L-tryptophan or 5-HTP directly could prove to be more beneficial for the long-term. Unlike melatonin that is always produced no matter what, your body expects you to eat certain amino acids. 

5-HTP works by assisting the body in creating more serotonin when certain environmental triggers are reached. It was previously discussed how sunlight in the eyes can act as a trigger for your brain to release serotonin. 5-HTP helps along with this process, among many others.

Therefore, you can say that supplementing with 5-HTP is more natural than taking melatonin directly because it is a precursor for it. It’s like supplying your body with the tools that it needs to make it own natural, genuine chemical compounds that are unique to your own body.

This amino-derived compound helps many other mental conditions due to its serotonin-promoting abilities. Along with improving the feelings of relaxation, safety and comfort, it can help stabilize mood problems, stress, pain and proper appetite. 

 

4. Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone produced in your body that helps regulate your sleep/wake cycle (also known as your circadian rhythm). Simply put, Melatonin tells your body when to go to sleep. An important factor to consider is that, as we age, our bodies tend to produce less and less melatonin. This can lead to sleepless nights (source). 

Your body naturally produces melatonin after the sun goes down, this let’s your body know that it’s time to fall asleep. Supplementing with melatonin can help assist with this process.

One thing to be aware of is that smaller melatonin dosages can be just as effective as a larger dose, if not even more effective! Often times, your body only needs a slight nudge when it comes to melatonin supplementation.

 

5. L-Theanine

This is another type of amino acid that can be found in nature. You should have picked up by now that amino acids can have analgesic, or mind-altering effects. Also similar to GABA and serotonin, L-theanine helps to promote relaxation and restful sleep.

This amino acid increases natural levels of GABA, serotonin and dopamine in the brain. They all work together as neurotransmitters to regulate and maintain appropriate emotions, stable mood, concentration, alertness, and restful sleep. It’s also important for managing an appropriate appetite, levels of energy and overall cognition.

L-Theanine can be an essential ingredient if you are looking for a natural, herbal sleep formula. That’s because it is unique in that it decreases chemicals in your brain that cause over-excitement or jitters. That way, only feelings of calm and focus remain.

Alpha brain waves, like previously mentioned, are the ideal frequencies to have as an animal. It provides a mood that represents focused relaxation. To get a better understanding of what alpha brain waves feel like, think about meditation, doing a creative activity, daydreaming, or watching something interesting on TV.

L-Theanine helps your brain waves reach this point, while eliminating the effects of beta brain waves. A beta brain wave state is not ideal for animals because it produces feelings of stress, needing to escape, discomfort, shame, guilt, and over-excitement. You aren’t going to fall asleep if your brain is in a beta wave state, which very well may be the direct issue you are having with insomnia. L-Theanine is one of the best compounds to take for promoting healthy alpha brain wave levels, which has many benefits for your mood as well.

Alpha waves are also present in deep REM sleep, which is what you need to reach in order to achieve restful sleep. The most appealing aspect of this ingredient is its ability to promote relaxation without sedation. You can obtain L-Theanine through your diet with tea, particularly green tea, or you can supplement with it directly in a capsule with Suntheanine.

 

6. Lemon Balm Root (Melissa officinalis)

A member of the mint family, lemon balm is a versatile herb that can be used in cooking or taken as a supplement. In both cases, consumption of lemon balm will promote better sleep and relieve anxiety. Many believe it to be a natural pain killer and a digestive aid as well.

Lemon balm has been used since the Dark Ages to help heal wounds and insect bites. But it was also preferred because it helped to relax and sedate patients who needed to rest and rejuvenate. 

The most useful component of lemon balm is calledeugenol, an oil-like substance found it many other plants like basil and cloves. When consumed whole or in a tea, eugenol can soothe the nervous system and drift you away into restful sleep.

Its effects on the nervous system can be seen in the way it can prevent muscle spasms. If restless leg or twitching seems to be causing your insomnia, perhaps lemon balm would be the ideal treatment for you. You can simply take its leaf in a capsule before bed, or steep the whole leaf in boiling water for ten minutes to make a tea.

 

7. Magnesium

Magnesium is a very important nutrient and mineral for healthy functioning of the body. First of all, it is an electrolyte involved in the proper balance of minerals in liquid solution within your cells. It helps to regulate the ionic salts that exist in a sort of chemical attraction, which your body’s cells have to manage.

Since magnesium is a positively charged ion, it helps to regulate the function of negatively charged ions and salts like chloride and iodide. This helps to maintain a proper fluid balance within the body.

This mineral helps to transport calcium, potassium and other nutrients to the cells of the body that need them. That means that magnesium is essential for healthy muscles, nerves and heart function.

 With the nervous system, magnesium helps to regulate the mental stress-response system that involves hormones to increase or decrease stress as needed. Since we are no longer living in the wilderness with the risk that a hungry predator will eat us, the natural mood for humans is relaxed and focused with feelings of safety and comfort.

It plays a key role in maintaining healthy levels of neurotransmitters that try to naturally accomplish this for you. In particular, magnesium is essential for the chemical structure and function of GABA and serotonin, which both promote better sleep quality.

Basically, this mineral has a stabilizing effect that tries to restore the state of your brain back to its normal function. 

If you are struggling to sleep every night, perhaps there is an imbalance that could be alleviated by magnesium supplementation. You can obtain magnesium through your diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, or with a supplement capsule or pill.

 

Wrap Up 

In conclusion, using a natural sleep aid is a great idea for those that have trouble with occasional sleeplessness. While there are many different lifestyle-based sleep tips that you can undertake to get better sleep, sometimes the best solution is a high quality dietary supplement.


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