3 Natural Sleep Aids to Help You Get Some Sleep Tonight

monkey nap

Sleep. You love it or hate not getting enough of it. For me I sleep in roughly 2 hour shifts. My issue is not getting to sleep, its the tossing and turning from an old football injury that keeps me moving. That and the fact that I drink a ton of water during the day. So the bladder shoulder combo has me without a solid 8 hours.

I have learned to function on this schedule, although it is not optimal. In my quest for sleep, I have tried almost every over the counter “sleep aid”. Sure I can get to sleep, yet I feel like a truck hit me in the morning. And if I have to wake up and be alert for the first 3 hours, forget about it. It’s worse than pushing through a hangover half the time.

In come natural aids outside of the Tylenol or Advil PM that I had grown accustom to. Below are 3 that continue to get the most attention and have reviews with outcomes.

1. Valerian Root: Most experts recommended this herb to reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. Some research suggests that valerian does not relieve insomnia as fast as “sleeping pills.” Continuous use for several days, even up to four weeks, may be needed before an effect is noticeable. Valerian seems to improve the sleep quality of people who are withdrawing from the use of sleeping pills.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research: Source WEBMD

          BY MOUTH: Take valerian 30 minutes to 2 hours before bedtime.

  • For inability to sleep (insomnia):
    • 400-900 mg valerian extract up to 2 hours before bedtime for as long as 28 days, or
    • Valerian extract 120 mg, with lemon balm extract 80 mg 3 times daily for up to 30 days, or
    • A combination product containing valerian extract 187 mg plus hops extract 41.9 mg per tablet, 2 tablets at bedtime for 28 days.

2. L-theanine: This amino acid comes from green tea, and not only helps maintain a calm alertness during the day but also a deeper sleep at night. However, green tea doesn’t contain enough L-theanine to significantly boost your REM cycles.

Theanine has a chemical structure very similar to glutamate, a naturally occurring amino acid in the body that helps transmit nerve impulses in the brain. Some of the effects of theanine appear to be similar to glutamate, and some effects seem to block glutamate.

Clinical studies have shown L-theanine to induce a sense of calm in patients with anxiety. At typical dosages, e.g., 100-200 mg L-theanine does not act as a sedative, but it does significantly improve sleep quality. Hence it is a good support agent to melatonin and 5-HTP. At higher single dosages, e.g., 400 mg L-theanine does exert sedative action. Source Doctor Murray

3. Melatonin: A hormone found naturally in the body. Melatonin’s main job in the body is to regulate night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles. Darkness causes the body to produce more melatonin, which signals the body to prepare for sleep. Light decreases melatonin production and signals the body to prepare for being awake. Some people who have trouble sleeping have low levels of melatonin. It is thought that adding melatonin from supplements might help them sleep. Source WEBMD

  • 0.3-5 mg at bedtime is a typical dose

As with any supplementation or medication, please seek the approval of your local physician. 

When ever I travel or need a solid night sleep, my go to is always Melatonin. It works relatively fast and doesn’t leave me hung over or slow to wake up in the morning. As with anything, don’t take sleep aids for an extended period of time.

I hope you can get some restful sleep and this helps.

Cheers!

The Healthy Primate

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