When you can’t sleep you become willing to try just about anything to fix the problem. We are huge proponents of getting good sleep, so we can understand when you are battling insomnia why you might take a look at supplements to see if there is potential solution. Here at Natural Mattress we are big supporters of natural solutions, so we thought we should cover some of the natural sleep supplements out there that might give you that extra help to get you into a consistent sleep pattern.
Before getting any further into the topic, we want to emphasize the importance of not taking any supplements or medications without consulting your physician. This is in no way intended to be medical or health advice, it is simply an overview of some of the commonly used natural sleep supplements on the market today. Before taking supplements you may want to take a look at your diet, caffeine intake, exercise, screen exposure before bed and sleep routines as solutions for your sleep struggles.
Sometimes even adjusting your lifestyle to more sleep friendly habits isn’t enough to get you over the sleepless hump. If you are still finding REM sleep elusive, here are a list of natural supplements that may be of benefit to you.
Chamomile Tea - this tea made from the flower heads of chamomile plants has been used for thousands of years to help with ailments that include insomnia, upset stomachs, and anxiety. It seems to have a calming effect on the body. It is generally found in herbal teas, and is considered safe in reasonable dosages, although very high consumption may lead to nausea.
While there isn’t a lot of hard clinical evidence that chamomile tea will help with insomnia, there is a fair amount of support suggesting that it may be an asset to help you relax. A cup or two of herbal tea is a pretty easy, affordable and safe experiment to see if it can help tip the scales in your favour when it comes to sleeping well at night.
Melatonin - Is a hormone produced in the pineal gland that helps regulate sleep and wakefulness, and is also a powerful antioxidant in the body. It is produced naturally by the body at night, and is also available in supplement form.
It is often used as a supplement for short-term treatment of insomnia. Research seems it to indicate that it is generally safe, and it is sold over the counter in both Canada and the United States. As with any supplement, it is a good idea to discuss it with your doctor before you start taking it as it may have adverse effects when combined with other medications or supplements. High doses of melatonin have been known to cause nausea and drowsiness.
Overall melatonin is probably the most commonly tried natural sleep supplement, and is a logical place to start if you need some help overcoming a bout of insomnia.
Valerian - is a flower native to Europe and Asia, although in North America many consider it to be an invasive weed. Extracts from the root are often used as a supplement to treat insomnia. It was often prescribed in Ancient Greece to promote sleep and treat insomnia.
While Valerian is sold as a supplement over the counter as a sleep aid, more clinical research may be helpful to determine how effective it actually is. Valerian produces central nervous depression, and extra precaution and discussion with a physician should certainly be taken if you are already taking a depressant (over the counter or prescribed). Overall there seems to be less evidence in favour of valerian compared to melatonin as a sleep supplement, and there seems to be significantly more potential side effects than either camomile tea or melatonin. While this might not be first supplement you try, it is nice to know all of the available options to discuss with your doctor should you be struggling with insomnia.
Kava - the root of this plant is used to make a beverage that is common in the islands of the Pacific Ocean. It has been shown to be particularly helpful in reducing anxiety. Before going any further it is important to note that there has been some concern that it may be toxic to your liver, and it is suggested not to drink Kava if you are consuming alcohol. Short term and small doses have been deemed as not being a health risk by the food and drug governing bodies in North America.
Kava can have a range of effects depending on the strain of plant used, with noble kava cultivars being generally accepted as the safest and most predictable. The evidence seems to be pretty clear, the the effects of kava are not a placebo, and educating yourself and talking to your physician are smart choices before using this supplement.
If your sleep struggles are stress and anxiety related, this may be a tool to help relieve the symptoms to help get that valuable rest you need. Kava has been used for a very long time in the Pacific Islands, an area that certainly knows a thing or two about rest and relaxation.