United States citizens are some of the most under-slept people in the world; approximately 48% state that we do not get an adequate amount of sleep, according to The Better Sleep Council. Not sleeping an adequate amount of time – anywhere from seven to nine hours for most people, can lead to negative effects on health, such as a lack of attention and memory; depression; and even weight gain. There are medications that people can use to promote sleep, but these often come with a significant risk of side effects. However, Natural sleep remedies are a great option to consider to help individuals to fall and stay asleep with a much lower chance of side effects than traditional medicine.
Natural Sleep Aids
There are three natural sleep aids that are very popular because there exists significant research backing up their ability to promote sleep. It is important to understand how these work before using them for optimal benefit.
Melatonin For Sleep – Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the pineal gland in the brain. When darkness occurs, this activates the gland to secrete melatonin for sleep, which tells the body that it is time for bed. During the day, melatonin is not produced, allowing the body to stay awake.
A study by Vanderbilt University found that a group of elderly people who took melatonin for three weeks at a dose of two milligrams experienced a significant improvement in their sleep. The subjects fell asleep faster, and woke up faster in the morning. These benefits occurred without significant side effects.
Melatonin supplements are common for treating insomnia in adults of all ages. These natural sleep remedies are meant to be taken before bed to increase melatonin levels in the body to promote sleep. The dose of melatonin for sleep supplements ranges from one to 10 milligrams.
Lavender Essential Oils for Sleep – Lavender essential oils are commonly used as natural sleep aids because they induce relaxation and alleviate anxiety. This essential oil increases the levels of very deep sleep where the muscles relax and the heartbeat slows down. This allows for a more restful sleep to ensure better energy levels during the day.
There are studies that suggest that a massage that uses lavender essential oils may improve the quality of sleep, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Applying lavender essential oils to bedding may also promote a deeper state of relaxation to induce sleep.
Valerian for Sleep – Valerian is one of the most popular natural sleep aids, but scientists are not completely sure how it works to promote sleep. It is believed that this herb works to increase gamma aminobutyric-acid (GABA) levels in the brain. This chemical works to regulate nerve cells that are known to have a calming effect and reduce anxiety. The best dose depends on the individual, and there are a wide range of doses available.
Those taking Valerian often remark that it takes about two weeks of regular use to start noticing the sleep-related effects of this herb. This may require dosage adjustments throughout the time period to get the most benefit.
A study published in Psychopharmakotherapie, a German medical journal, examined 121 patients over the course of 28 days. Those who did not receive a placebo were given 600 milligrams of dried Valerian root in the form of a standardized commercial preparation. This study used multiple assessment tools to determine the overall tolerance and effectiveness of the Valerian. At the end of the study, those who received the dried Valerian root experienced a significant decrease in their insomnia symptoms.
Before using any of these natural sleep remedies, it is important to talk to your doctor to ensure safety. Your doctor can also help you to determine a dose that will be the most effective and safe for you. You should only try one remedy at time because these remedies may impact each other and lead to oversleeping.
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