The Best Natural Sleep Aids
Sick of OTC sleep meds? Skip the pill and opt for an all-natural alternative to cure your insomnia. Here are the best natural remedies for sleep.
Feb 3rd, 2021 •
Getting enough shut-eye each night is essential for both your mental and physical health. When you don’t clock enough hours peacefully snuggled under the covers, you can experience a host of negative effects. These include grogginess, fatigue, memory troubles, moodiness, and, eventually, an increased incidence of many chronic diseases.
Experts recommend that adults get anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately, many of us don’t get the sleep we need.
When this lack of sleep is caused by being too busy, natural sleep aids are unlikely to help. But for those who have trouble sleeping, natural sleep aids might be able to help you get the quantity and quality of sleep that you need.
Natural sleep aids are supplements or teas whose therapeutic power comes from nature. This includes a variety of herbs and other natural compounds that can help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, or sleep more peacefully throughout the night.
The difference between natural sleep aids and sleeping pills is that sleeping pills are man-made and come with more side effects. These include:
- Morning fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Unusual/bad dreams
- Dependence/trouble sleeping without them
Because of this long list of side effects, many people prefer to try natural sleep aids instead of prescription or OTC sleep aids.
The Top 8 Natural Sleep Aids
VitaFusion Extra Strength Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the human body that plays a critical role in sleep. Synthetic melatonin supplements are one of the most well-known sleep aids.
Related: Can you overdose on melatonin?
It’s best to use melatonin when you’ve experienced a disruption in your sleep cycle rather than continuously. For example, when you have jet lag or start a shift at work that effects when you sleep. Why? Because melatonin’s efficacy decreases the longer that it’s used.
Why CBD Oil?
CBD (cannabidiol) oil is one of the newest players in the supplement game. You’ll hear many stories where people claim to use CBD to help them sleep. While there have not been any large human clinical trials, early research does suggest that CBD might help some people sleep better.
In one human study, CBD was found to help with those with rapid eye movement sleep disorder sleep better. Another study found that equal amounts of CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) helped to improve sleep.
Additionally, some researchers believe that CBD might help people with pain or anxiety sleep better due to an ability to relieve stress and pain, rather than through a direct influence on sleep.
Best Chamomile Tea
Traditional Medicinals Organic Chamomile Tea is made from delicate chamomile flowers, the portion of the plant that contains the highest concentration of healthful phytonutrients. Additionally, they source their products from Fair Trade Certified Farms in Egypt, and the tea is certified organic.
Having a cup of tea is a tradition for many around the world before bedtime. Not only do the warmth and aroma yield relaxing benefits, but certain herbal teas have unique abilities to promote calm.
This is particularly true of chamomile tea, which has been used for many years as an ancient herbal remedy for insomnia and stress relief. Chamomile is an herb that’s believed to be a mild tranquilizer, yielding benefits when used before bedtime.
In a study of ten cardiac patients, a cup of chamomile tea resulted in short sleep onset and deep, quality sleep lasting more than 90 minutes. Another study found that inhalation of chamomile essential oil reduced the release of a stress hormone following a stressful event. By reducing stress chamomile tea might help to calm one’s mind before bed.
Great Choice for Kids
DoTerra Lavender Essential Oil is a good quality lavender oil. DoTerra has earned a loyal customer base thanks to their commitment to providing high-quality essential oils that are pure and undiluted, and their lavender essential oil is no exception.
Because the oil can be inhaled through an essential oil diffuser rather than consumed, it’s considered one of the safer options for kids. Not to mention, some kids don’t love to take pills, so an enjoyable aroma may be easier!
Why Lavender Essential Oil?
The aroma of lavender is well-known for both its lovely scent and calming properties. In a randomized controlled trial, people that wore a lavender essential oil patch and practiced sleep hygiene experienced a greater improvement in sleep quality than a sleep-hygiene only group. This study suggests that simply inhaling lavender essential oil throughout the night might help with sleep.
Best Valerian Root Supplement
Luna Gentle Sleep Aid has a combination of multiple natural compounds that have demonstrated an ability to help with sleep. These include chamomile, passion flower, L-theanine, melatonin, valerian root extract, and more.
Why Valerian Root?
Valerian root is popular in Europe for adults who have trouble sleeping. There have been multiple human studies, and in a 2015 systematic review and meta-analysis, researchers concluded that valerian root might safely improve sleep quality.
Best Magnesium Supplement
Nobi Nutrition Magnesium Complex is a vegetarian, preservative-free product made up of highly bioavailable magnesium (meaning it’s in a form that our bodies can absorb and use more efficiently). Additionally, their 500mg capsules contain the exact quantity of magnesium that’s been found to help some people with sleep disorders.
The majority of Americans don’t consume enough magnesium, a mineral whose deficiency has been linked to insomnia. Researchers have found that 500 mg/day magnesium can help a variety of sleep measures, including how long it takes to fall asleep, sleep efficiency, and total time asleep. For those who both have insomnia and don’t consume enough magnesium, magnesium supplements might help to treat insomnia.
Best Tea for Sleep with Passionflower
Yogi Bedtime Tea is a blend of many herbs that have been reported to help with sleep. This tea can help sleep through two routes: inhalation and oral consumption.
Inhalation benefits come from herbs that have demonstrated sleep benefits when used via aromatherapy (for example, lavender and passionflower). Oral benefits come from herbs that have demonstrated sleep benefits when taken orally (for example, valerian and chamomile).
Passionflower is a popular herbal remedy for troubled sleep. Animal studies have found positive benefits for passion flower on sleep, but human studies have not found conclusive results.
One human study did find that subjects who consumed passionflower tea reported higher subjective sleep quality than they did when consuming parsley tea. Another study didn’t find any effect of a passionflower supplement on sleep when compared to placebo. These studies suggest that passionflower tea might be the best route of consumption for sleep.
Best Supplement for Reducing Stress
Organic India Ashwagandha is one of the few USDA-certified organic ashwagandha supplements on the market. Additionally, capsules are a great option because the powders have a slightly bitter taste that some people find difficult to stomach.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, an herb that helps to normalize how our bodies respond to stress. Because stress can lead to trouble sleeping and insomnia, reducing stress in those who need it can have a positive impact on sleep.
In a systematic review, researchers concluded that ashwagandha was effective at reducing subjective stress and anxiety. It’s safe for long-term use and can be added as part of a supplement routine for those with stress and sleep difficulties.
When you’re looking to improve sleep naturally, it’s best to combine behavioral changes with natural sleep aids. Some simple tips to help you get better sleep include:
- Turn off electronics before bed
- Limit your light exposure at night
- Take a bath or shower an hour before bed
- Don’t exercise within three hours of bedtime
- Use white noise to reduce outside distraction
- Set a sleep schedule that you follow daily
- Don’t have pets and kids sleep in bed
- Keep your room dark when you sleep
- Don’t drink within an hour and a half before bed
- Meditate or do something relaxing before bed
When you find it hard to get the quality and quantity of sleep that you need for a happy and healthy life, there are many natural sleep aids that might help. Try out one at a time so that you can know what helps you the most.
Don’t give up on a good night’s rest! With lifestyle changes and the right natural sleep aid, a restful night may be just around the corner.