5 Easy to Find NATURAL Sleep Aids

By-Stacy Cantlin, Ph.D., Clinical Nutrition

Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. It doesn’t take many nights of poor sleep before we notice significant changes in how our bodies feel and our mood. Sleep is involved in healing and repair of many areas of your body. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Drug-free methods to help promote sleep is always the best way.

Lavender Oil

Lavender essential oil is one of the most studied in terms of its relaxation effects.  Studies have found that Lavender aromatherapy can lower blood pressure and heart rate, promote sleep, and reduce anxiety. One study found that it lowered anxiety about as effectively as a low dose of the sedative lorazepam (ativan).

Kava

Kava is rich in kavalactones, a class of compounds found to possess sedative properties. Kavalactones are thought to play a key role in kava's possibly sleep-promoting effects.  Research also suggests that kava can help treat the symptoms of anxiety disorders.

Valerian

This perennial plant has been used as a sleep aid for hundreds of years.  It has often been referred to as ‘nature’s Valium’. Valerian root contains a number of compounds that may promote sleep by improving stress response and helping the body maintain adequate levels of mood-stabilizing brain chemicals.

Melatonin

Your body naturally produces melatonin, which is the hormone that tells your body to sleep and wake. Adding a melatonin supplement can be helpful. However keep in mind that taking melatonin in supplement form will cause your body to make less naturally. This means when you stop taking melatonin, you may have very poor sleep until your body adjusts.


Magnesium

Magnesium may not be specifically a sleep aid, but having low levels of this mineral in your body may cause you to have trouble falling or staying asleep. Not only does it promote better sleep, it stabilizes mood, helps keep stress in check, and promotes heart and bone health.


Hope you found this helpful, see you next time! ~Dr. Stacy