Fall Asleep Faster with Sleep-Promoting Dietary Supplements
Some people wake up ready to start their day. Those who have difficulty falling asleep often vow to find a solution to their sleep difficulties. Trouble falling asleep has many potential causes from chronic neurological conditions to simple changes in routine. Regardless of the reason, sleep deprivation can have a significant impact on overall health and wellbeing.
While there are a significant number of over-the-counter and prescription medications available to encourage restful sleep, these solutions are not right for everyone. Many people in search of an alternative to sleep medications turn to dietary supplements to help them fall asleep faster and wake feeling rested.
Dietary Supplements that Promote Restful Sleep
There are a significant number of people living with insomnia — some reports estimate more than 25 percent of our population. While the average person falls asleep within 20 minutes of climbing under the covers, those living with insomnia have difficulty falling asleep no matter how exhausted they feel. When caffeine restrictions, sleep schedules or counting sheep fail to deliver the results you need, consider the benefits of the following natural supplements.
The Natural Effects of Melatonin
Melatonin is a naturally occurring sleep hormone made by the pineal gland in your brain. Many factors influence the amount of melatonin made in your body, including your exposure to light and darkness. As the sun sets, melatonin production increases.
Melatonin supplements are shown to be beneficial for those who have difficulty falling asleep due to insomnia, shift work, and jet lag. For insomnia, it is commonly recommended to take melatonin supplements 30 to 60 minutes before turning in for the night.
The Sleep-Promoting Benefits of Hemp CBD
CBD is the common abbreviation for cannabidiol, one of the many potentially beneficial cannabinoids found in cannabis. When CBD comes from industrial hemp, there is no risk of the psychoactive effects associated with cannabis use.
CBD is shown to have anxiolytic, analgesic, anti-emetic, and anti-spasmodic properties proved to be beneficial for those who have difficulty sleeping. CBD works by mimicking the messengers and influencing the receptors of the endocannabinoid system, the communication network that regulates essential processes, including sleep and sleep cycles.
The Sedating Effects of Valerian Root
Valerian root, an herb native to Europe and Asia, is one of the most often used herbal remedy for reducing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. So, it can help you fall asleep faster. Often sold as a natural dietary supplement, valerian root is shown to have a sedating effect in animal studies.
A randomized, double-blind study compared 75 participants given either 600 mg of valerian root or benzodiazepine medication. At the end of the 28-day study, both groups showed equivalent improvement in sleep, but the group taking valerian root reported fewer side effects. A significant number of comparable studies have been inconclusive due to inconsistencies in test parameters. The potential risks to women who are pregnant or nursing are still under evaluation.
The Calming Effects of GABA
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter that calms the activity of overexcited nerve impulses. GABA performs this function by binding with a receptor that prevents the stimulation of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that initiates an excitatory response. Insufficient levels of this essential neurotransmitter are shown to cause symptoms of anxiety, panic, depression, chronic pain, and insomnia.
Like many supplements, GABA does have the potential for side effects, which are generally mild but can include tingling sensations, shortness of breath, and sleepiness. However, most side effects occurred at very high doses (3000 mg or more).
The Stress-Relieving Benefits of Magnesium
Magnesium is a macro-mineral that plays a significant role in regulating more than 300 enzyme related reactions throughout the body, including the regulation of melatonin and GABA. Magnesium helps regulate blood sugar levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, and the way your body experiences stress.
In addition to improving sleep quality in those who have difficulty falling asleep, magnesium is also shown to benefit those with restless leg syndrome as well as the symptoms of mild-to-moderate anxiety. Almost 50 percent of the population is deficient in this essential mineral.
The Sedating Effects of Kava
Kava (Piper methysticum) is a tropical evergreen known for its ability to promote relaxation. In addition to improving sleep, kava is shown to have diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. The sleep benefits of kava are believed to be the result of the plants sedating effects.
Preliminary research suggests kava helps regulate sleep-wake cycles. A study comparing kava to a placebo showed those who took kava reported significant improvements in sleep quality compared to those receiving a placebo. Although kava is a natural supplement, anyone considering taking this herb should first consult their physician. Serious side effects can result, including liver damage. Anyone living with liver disease, Parkinson's disease, depression, or bipolar disorders are generally advised to avoid kava supplements.
The Relaxing Effects of L-Theanine
L-theanine is an amino acid commonly found in tea leaves, mainly green tea. Research shows this amino acid promotes sleep by increasing alpha wave brain activity during sleep cycles. The increase in brain activity increases the production of GABA, serotonin, and dopamine, neurotransmitters that benefit sleep.
L-theanine does not cause grogginess and can counteract the effects of caffeine. L- theanine is believed to improve sleep quality by promoting relaxation and calming anxiety. This supplement is typically well-tolerated by healthy adults, but anyone with low blood pressure should consult their physician before use.
Millions of People Have Difficulty Sleeping
When you get a good night's sleep, you should wake feeling refreshed. If you are one of the millions of people that have difficulty falling asleep or frequently awaken during the night, consider the sleep-promoting potential of a dietary supplement. If you take any medications or are under the care of a physician, it's essential to consult with your health care provider before investing in dietary supplements. Many supplements have the potential to interact with medications.
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