The Science Behind the Top 4 Natural Sleep Aids of 2019
Sleep, or lack thereof, is an all too common problem for people of all ages. Even babies don’t ever “sleep like a baby” because they’re staying up at odd hours just like the rest of us. But when it comes to natural sleep aids, which ones work?
In the past, sleeping on a set schedule was easy – we hit the hay as soon as the sun went down, But, the invention of electricity brought us into a world that’s now lit up 24/7. The blue light from computer, TV, and smartphone screens make it even harder to get to sleep!
Plus, Let’s not forget how our stressful lives play a prominent role in whether or not we get some shut eye. With everything in our environment working against us it’s no wonder that sleep disorders are a big deal in the pharmaceutical industry!
Unfortunately, lab-created sleeping pills come with unwanted side effects. Thankfully, there are natural sleep remedies out there that can gently lull you into a good night’s rest! In this article,we’ll be discussing the top four natural sleep aids, and the science behind them.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the hottest new thing in the world of health and wellness. People are taking it for their anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. CBD is a plant chemical that comes from the cannabis plant. It’s totally legal because the CBD is derived from hemp, which is a type of cannabis, and unlike marijuana it won’t get you high.
Michael Breus, a board-certified sleep specialist, explained in HuffPost that there’s a good deal of research out there that suggests CBD is not only beneficial for rest, but it may also reduce insomnia and increase the overall amount of sleep you get.
CBD interacts with endocannabinoid receptors and other chemicals in the body. These interactions can change the activity of our neurotransmitters and hormones, which in turn affect the body’s functions. The functions affected include our sleep-wake cycles and pain perception.
CBD has shown promise in reducing REM sleep disorders for people suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder. It can also help alleviate chronic inflammation and pain. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that some people are kept awake at night because they are in so much pain!
Although we can purchase melatonin over the counter in the sleep section of the drug store, it’s not really a traditional supplement, like vitamins are. Melatonin is actually a hormone that’s produced by the pineal gland in the brain, and it’s responsible for regulating our sleep-wake cycles.
Our body’s internal clock, otherwise known as the circadian rhythm, influences how much melatonin we actually make. It rises in the evening, as the sun is starting to set, and stays elevated until the morning. When melatonin levels drop off, it signals our body to wake up.
Melatonin binds to certain receptors in the body that helps us relax and reduce nerve activity. It can also help reduce dopamine levels, which is an entirely different hormone that keeps us awake! Unfortunately, melatonin production naturally drops off as we age.
Environmental factors like artificial lighting also affect our melatonin levels, because any source of light, including blue light from our smartphone screens, suppresses production of this important hormone. Natural sunlight stimulates melatonin production, and not getting enough of it, such as with reduced daylight hours in the winter, can also curb how much melatonin we make at night.
With age, environmental factors, lack of natural sunlight, and stress working against us, a melatonin supplement makes sense in helping to counteract low levels of it in our bodies.
Valerian root has been used by our ancestors for centuries as a natural sleep aid, and is often referred to as “nature’s valium.” It contains antioxidants and natural chemical compounds, such as valerenic acid and isovaleric acid, that have been shown to help reduce anxiety and promote sleep.
Valerian has been studied for its interaction with a chemical messenger known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Low levels of GABA have been linked to low quality sleep, and valerenic acid has been shown in studies to inhibit GABA’s breakdown in the brain. Valerian root works in similar ways to anti-anxiety medicines like Valium and Xanax, in that it helps bring about feelings of calm and tranquility.
Like Valerian root, chamomile has long been used as a sleep remedy for its ability to help relax the nerves and induce a sense of tranquility. Chamomile’s calming properties are attributed to an antioxidant known as apigenin, which binds to receptors in the brain that may reduce anxiety and help you sleep.
Its calming effects may be attributed to an antioxidant called apigenin, which is found in abundance in chamomile tea. Apigenin binds to specific receptors in your brain that may decrease anxiety and initiate sleep.
Studies on residents of a nursing home show that those who took a 400mg extract of chamomile had much better quality of sleep than those who didn’t. A different study reveals that chronic suffers of insomnia fell asleep 15 minutes faster than those who didn’t receive a 270mg chamomile supplement twice daily.
Maximize Your Sleep Aid
CBD, melatonin, Valerian root, and chamomile can be purchased without a prescription, and are easily obtainable online. To make it an “easier pill to swallow,” some supplement manufacturer’s are combining the natural sedative powers of these natural remedies into a single sleep aid. Do your research, look at the ingredients list, and you’ll find that a good night’s sleep is not nearly as hard to find as you may think.
Bliss Herbal’s CBD + natural sleep aids combines all four, making it a top choice for those seeking an all-in-one solution to their bedtime needs.