It's 7 a.m. and your alarm has just gone off. Somehow you're more tired then when you went to bed last night. Tossing and turning all night or constantly waking up for seemingly no reason, you don't feel like you had any sleep and now all you can focus on is staying awake
At some point in their life, everybody has been in a similar situation where sleep consistently alludes them. Thankfully there are certain supplements you can take which can help you fall asleep and stay asleep:
1. Vitamin D -- A deficiency in vitamin D affects your body's ability to regulate circadian rhythms (your body's clock). With your body's clock not running correctly, it's unable to signal the sleep hormones involved in making you fall asleep and wake up.
2. Melatonin -- Melatonin is a hormone which helps regulate your circadian cycle. Taking a melatonin supplement over a short term period (the risk of bleeding is heightened if taken over the long term) helps people fall asleep and increases the quality of their sleep.
3. Vitamin E -- If you find yourself sitting at your desk during the work day constantly twitching your leg, you have restless leg syndrome. This is a result of your body's constant need to exert energy and can be effecting your sleep. A study published in “American Family Physician” indicates vitamin E helps control restless leg syndrome; helping patients fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night.
4. Calcium -- Many consider calcium to be nature's tranquilizer. Most know calcium as playing a key role in bone health, but adequate amount of calcium help trigger deep sleep. Calcium helps the brain relax, slow down and sleep.
5. Magnesium -- Magnesium is needed for the absorption of calcium and aids in the calming of nerves and the relaxation of muscles. The more relaxed your body feels, the better your chances of sleeping through the night. A deficiency in magnesium is quite common and can lead to the release of stress hormones in the body prompting conditions such as restless leg syndrome.
6. Valerian -- Valerian has been used since the Ancient Greeks and Romans as a sedative and anti-anxiety treatment. It increases the amount of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) which prevents the transmission of nerve impulses to the brain. If used over an extended period of time, valerian can actually help someone fall asleep faster and improves the quality of their sleep.
7. Chamomile -- Another herb used since Ancient times, chamomile gets its reputation as a sleep aid from the calming effect it gives. Chamomile is best used if you find yourself unable to fall asleep because you're overly stressed.
Note: If you're allergic to ragweed, it's best to avoid chamomile as the plants are related.
8. B Vitamins -- While vitamin B6 is usually thought to give someone energy, their main purpose is the production of hormones. B vitamins also keep the adrenal glands healthy, preventing them from creating adrenaline at night which can lead to insomnia and sleep interruption.
9. 5-HTP -- Normally known to enhance mood and decrease appetite, 5-HTP acts as a precursor to serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter essential for a good night’s sleep. A 2009 study found those who took a product combining 5-HTP and GABA needed less time to fall asleep, slept longer and reported improved sleep quality.
Note: Don't take 5-HTP if you're on antidepressant medications.
10. Theanine -- Usually found in green tea, theanine is an amino acid believed to calm the brain by producing GABA and calming the major neurotransmitters.
Some of these supplements come in two different forms: extended release and immediate release. If you've trouble falling asleep, it's recommended you try the immediate release to make the supplement effective as quickly as possible. If you're constantly having trouble staying asleep the night, try the extended-release as it will disperse through the night, keeping you asleep.
It's important to first consult your doctor or health practitioner before beginning any supplement program to help you sleep. Do not operate heavy machinery or drive until you are sure how the supplement will affect you.
Related Articles:The Facts About Melatonin and Healthy SleepManaging Stress: The Art and Health of Taking a BreakWhat Is Vitamin B Complex and What Does It Do?
About The AuthorDr. Matt Marturano, ND is a licensed naturopathic physician and received his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and also has a dual Bachelor of Science in Biology and Philosophy from the University of Michigan. In addition, Dr. Marturano currently is a member of the Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians and is the Director of Recruitment - Integrative Medicine for Orchid Holistic Search.
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