The ever-elusive perfect night's sleep. Remember when you were a kid and you didn't have so much to think about? Those were the days when you could just lay down and crash without having to think about turning your mind to "off."
Now, we're constantly searching for the best ways to help us fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply and there are a range of prescriptions available. However, these sleeping pills can be addictive and harmful if taken for an extended period of time. Thankfully, there are natural options available.
You've probably heard of melatonin, a hormone that's also commonly used as a sleep aid, but there are other natural remedies to help you reset your sleep cycle. Here are some of the sleep solutions mentioned on the July 9 episode of "The Dr. Oz Show" by Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Common Sleep Aids
In addition to melatonin, there are two other sleep aids commonly used on their own or in a combination to create supplements:
Tryptophan -- This sleep-promoter is an amino acid found in foods. Tryptophan is responsible for balancing serotonin levels which can help regulate mood and promote healthy sleep. Natural sources of tryptophan are milk, pumpkin seed powder and Scottish oatmeal, which can all be eaten at least one hour before bed to help induce sleep.
Valerian Root -- This sleep aid is produced from the root of the Valeriana officinalis plant. Valerian root works with the body by inhibiting certain nerve impulses that can keep you from falling asleep or cause you to wake up frequently. Non-addictive and free of side effects, valerian root is a trusted herbal remedy.
Other Alternative Sleep Aids
If you're looking for another route, there are other options to try, as mentioned by Dr. Oz:
Passion Flower Extract -- Produced from different parts of the plant Passiflora incarnata, this extract has sedative and analgesic properties to help calm and relax while treating pain. This plant can also help with conditions like asthma, muscle cramps, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and nervous disorders.
Theanine -- Another amino acid, theanine is commonly taken to help manage stress. Taking this supplement can help you calm and relax to rid yourself of worries without negative side effects. This amino acid also promotes cardiovascular health and has antioxidant properties.
Bu Nao Wan -- This is a supplement popular in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for helping to calm anxiety and stress and promote better sleep. It's also taken for general brain health to prevent memory loss and promote concentration. This formula contains many herbs like the schizandra berry, lycium fruit and bamboo sap.
Suan Zao Ren Tang -- Taken specifically by those who have difficulty sleeping due to stress and anxiety, this supplement, also used in TCM, brings on sleep and a feeling of rejuvenation. Consisting of herbs like Chinese licorice root (Glycyrrhiza uralensis), this supplement can also help with symptoms of menopause as well as nervous tension and irritability.
Catnip -- Dr. Oz mentioned this supplement back on the April 9 episode for anyone having trouble falling asleep. A member of the mint family, catnip is not just for cats. This herb can help to calm nerves and promote relaxation while relieving minor aches and pains.
Follow instructions carefully when using any supplements for sleep. Natural sleep aids are sometimes only meant to be taken for a short period of time, maybe one to two weeks, to help your body reset and get back into a restful sleeping pattern.
Also, make sure you're not missing out on essential vitamins for sleep, such as vitamins B, D and E as well as the minerals calcium and magnesium. Make sure you're taking a multivitamin with the daily recommended amount of these ingredients or supplement if necessary. You can also get these nutrients from food. Dr. Oz also recommends a set bed time to make sure you're getting eight hours a night and turning off all electrical devices.
Try these tips for your best ZZZZ's and you can wake up feeling brand new.
Products you may like:
Source Naturals L-Tryptophan 500 mg Why you may like this product? This amino acid can help to
balance mood, relieve stress
and promote restful sleep.
Three capsules before bed
provides 500 mg of tryptophan
-- all you need for a good
Solaray Valerian Root Why you may like this product? Valerian root can be taken
throughout the day to promote
a calming feeling and help to
reduce those nerve impulses
that can keep you up at night.
This supplement is organically
grown and processed for
maximum potency and quality.
Now Foods Passion Flower Extract Why you may like this product? Passion flower has sedative
and analgesic properties so it
can help you relax while
relieving pain that can keep
you from sleeping. This
supplement can be taken daily
as needed and provides 700 mg
of extract per two capsules.
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