The Importance of Restorative Sleep
All people need to sleep. While individual sleep times might vary from person to person, experts agree that getting proper restorative sleep improves memory, creativity, and decision-making skills during waking hours. And medical evidence suggests that poor sleep can be linked to an increased risk of physical health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. So, understandably, people need to sleep. But if a good night’s rest is an elusive experience, incorporating a safe sleep supplement or vitamin before bed might be a good idea.
Reach for the melatonin
Hands down, melatonin is probably one of the best-known non-habit-forming sleep aids. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that the body makes, which tells the brain to go to bed. The hormone is impacted by the time of day, so melatonin levels usually rise during the evening and are lower during the day. Research has shown that melatonin supplements can help to improve sleep quality, reduces the time needed to fall asleep, and helps to increase overall sleep times.
Valerian root for menopausal sleep concerns
Valerian root is another natural supplement that’s made from the valerian herb native to Asia and Europe. The herbal supplement has shown promising results in studies centered on menopausal sleep issues with falling and staying asleep. Specifically, respondents noted that sleep quality was improved, and the incidence of sleep disorder symptoms was reduced after taking valerian root. However, the herbal supplement doesn’t have enough research to support safe use in pregnant or lactating women.
Magnesium to regulate melatonin
Magnesium is another nutrient that the body relies on for countless functions, including brain activity and heart health. Studies have shown that magnesium can directly impact the production of melatonin. Likewise, low magnesium levels can be directly linked to poor sleep and even insomnia. In a study that gave participants 500 milligrams of magnesium for eight weeks, respondents noted improved sleep quality. After testing, the participants showed higher levels of melatonin and renin, two sleep-regulating hormones.
Glycine for blissful sleep
Glycine is an amino acid that directly impacts the nervous system and can improve sleep. Many experts believe that glycine helps to lower the body’s temperature at bedtime, acting as a natural indicator that a person should go to sleep. A study that gave respondents 3 grams of a glycine supplement immediately before bed noted feeling more awake, energetic, and clear-headed the next day, especially in the morning. If taking glycine in pill form is unappealing, try incorporating nutrient-rich foods like beans, spinach, cabbage, bananas, or animal products like meat, eggs, bone broth, or fish.
Getting better sleep
Natural sleep aids can be a great way to get some shut-eye without a prescription when occasional sleep disturbances occur. But anyone struggling to get or stay asleep for more than 2 weeks should see a doctor. While all of the supplements listed above are naturally derived, side effects and other adverse reactions are possible with long-term use. Speaking with a physician is especially important for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and anyone currently on prescription medications. For more information or questions about supplement options, speak with a pharmacist.