6 Effective Natural Sleep Aids for Adults
Do you have difficulty slipping into a restorative, deep slumber? If so, you’re not alone. More than 60 million Americans suffer from sleep issues. Thankfully, there are many natural sleep aids that can improve your sleep without the use of prescription medication. Combined with good sleep habits, these natural sleep-promoting supplements can help you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper.
Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by your pineal gland in response to darkness and signals to your brain that it’s time to sleep. Some people opt to take melatonin supplements at bedtime to enhance their body’s natural production. Studies show that melatonin can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep, increase the overall amount of sleep, and increase REM sleep.
Lemon balm is an herb from the mint family that is said to ease stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Studies suggest that these effects are due to the rosmarinic acid found in lemon balm which increases the availability of GABA—a neurotransmitter in the brain known to promote relaxation.
Passionflower (or Passiflora incarnata) is a beautiful perennial flower that’s native to the Americas and a popular herbal remedy for insomnia. It’s been shown to reduce racing thoughts and induce relaxation by acting on the central nervous system and increasing concentrations of GABA in the brain.
Often consumed in the form of tea, this herbal sleep aid helps calm our sympathetic nervous system—our “fight or flight” response—which improves our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Chamomile flower also contains an antioxidant called apigenin which is said to help calm an anxious mind. Additionally, chamomile tea has traditionally been used to ease digestive complaints linked to nervousness and anxiety.
Lavender is the quintessential natural relaxation aid. Simply inhaling the scent of this beautiful violet herb is sure to calm your nerves. Research has shown that lavender reduces blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate and soothes the nervous system. In fact, lavender might actually be able to alter brain waves, according to certain studies. Being in a relaxed state makes it far easier to fall asleep and achieve deep sleep states.
While not an herb like the others on this list, magnesium is an important mineral that plays a role in over 300 enzyme reactions in the human body. Magnesium may help quiet the mind and relax muscles, making it easier to fall asleep. Studies show that magnesium’s soothing effect might be partly due it its ability to regulate the production of melatonin.
Fall asleep naturally
High-quality sleep is just as important for overall health as eating well and exercising regularly. Before running to the drugstore for an over-the-counter sleep medication, give these six natural sleep aids a try. They gently soothe the body and relax the mind to help you drift off into a peaceful, restorative sleep. Along with adopting good sleep habits, these natural sleep aids can increase the likelihood of getting some much-needed, restful Z’s.