Sleep is as important to our health as eating, drinking and breathing (check out The Importance of Sleep
to find out more). So, when you’re having trouble getting enough, you might turn to a supplement for help. Here are some of the herbs you’ll want to look for in your natural sleep aid.
Valerian, or Valeriana officinalis
, is a tall, flowering grassland plant. It’s been used for its mild sedative effect since the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Because of its ability to help you fall asleep more quickly and sleep better once you’re there, you’ll find valerian root in many sleep supplements.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid is a neurotransmitter that’s naturally produced in the brain. Its job is to reduce the activity of neurons in the brain and central nervous system. The effects of GABA include increased relaxation, a calming and balancing effect on mood, as well as reduce stress. So, for those of us with an overactive bedtime brain, GABA quiets our minds for better rest.
An amino acid, 5-HTP stands for 5-Hydroxytryptophan. Like GABA, 5-HTP is something that your body makes naturally. It’s used in the production of serotonin which is also a precursor to melatonin. Imbalances in both melatonin and serotonin are linked to sleep disorders.
A hormone produced mainly in the pineal gland, melatonin is an important player in the regulation of your sleep-wake cycle. Usually, your body makes more melatonin at night and levels drop off when you wake. This is why some sleep formulas will have small amounts of Melatonin to support a restful night’s sleep.
Try these supplements for a better night’s sleep:
- Sleep Rejuvenation™ from Source Naturals
- Rescue Plus Sleep Gummy with Melatonin from Nelson Bach
- Tranquil Sleep from Natural Factors
- Sleep from Youtheory
- Deep Sleep® from Herbs, etc.
Essential Oils for Sleep
Aromatherapy is a type of alternative medicine that relies on your powerful sense of smell. When inhaled, essential oils stimulate the olfactory senses and also interact with the respiratory system and brain, especially that part of the brain called the limbic system. Certain essential oils help to promote rest and relaxation, making them a great addition to your good-night’s-rest tool kit.
- Sleep by Everyone Essential Oils
- Peaceful Sleep from Now® Essential Oils
- Pillow Potion by Aura Cacia
Homeopathics for Sleep
Homeopathy is based on the concept that “like cures like” and that your body is designed to cure itself. Homeopathic remedies are designed to help stimulate that healing process. Here are some products specifically formulated to help you get a better night’s sleep:
- Quietude® from Boiron
- Sleepology® from Genexa
- Calms Forté and Sleep, both from Hyland’s
- Moon Drops from Historical Remedies