Across the world, it is estimated that 1 in 3 people suffer from some form of sleeping problems. And, since there are about 7.5 billion people on the planet, that means that over 2 billion people struggle with insomnia (the inability to sleep). What’s more, nearly 9 million people use prescription sleep aids to help ease their sleeplessness. But, there are some risks to popping prescription pills every night before bed. The side effects of using or abusing prescription sleep medication can include overdose, which is usually fatal. For this reason, many people prefer natural sleep remedies.
Common sleep aids can range from aromatherapy to drinking chamomile tea to engaging in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). But, for those who prefer the convenience of taking something from the medicine cabinet, there are also natural sleep aid supplements. Countless people have found success with sleep aid supplements in pill form, and these tend to have fewer side effects than prescription or OTC medications, including being less habit-forming. But, what exactly is in these supplements that helps bring better quality sleep within reach?
Common Ingredients in Sleep Aids:
This natural substance, which the body actually creates on its own, has the benefit of being one of the most-studied natural sleep aids on this list. A gland near the brain usually issues melatonin at night when it’s time to get ready for sleep, and has the effect of promoting sleepiness and the desire for sleep. Some people take melatonin by itself to work as a natural sleep aid, but perhaps a better method is to take a natural supplement that uses melatonin in combination with other ingredients. That’s because melatonin can work even better when used in tandem with other natural sleep ingredients.
This is another natural substance that the body can produce. Scientists know that it increases the amount of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which boosts your mood and regulates your sleep cycles, among other things. 5-HTP is a good natural sleep aid because the brain can easily absorb it from the bloodstream. The biggest benefit of using 5-HTP is achieving a calm mood, which can combat sleeplessness due to stress. Regular use may also help with depression. It can be taken by itself or with other sleep aids for a better effect.
This is an amino acid which is found in green tea, in concentrations of around 1% to 3%. As people who regularly drink tea know, green tea can have a very calming effect on the mind. L-Theanine may relieve anxiety and stress, which can help someone experiencing insomnia finally fall asleep. Green tea itself is not usually an effective sleep aid because it does contain some caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant. But, isolated L-Theanine can be taken to promote better sleep cycles and keep you sleeping longer. It works especially well if you usually can fall asleep, but are easily awoken by little disturbances, such as your partner turning over in bed.
Sleep deprivation can be debilitating, but it’s important to know that prescription medications are not your only options for getting a good night’s sleep. If you’re not sure whether natural sleep supplements are for you, be sure to ask your doctor.