Natural Sleep Supplements: What's best for you?

According to a new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC), a third of Americans don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis.

In recent years, sleep deprivation has become so widespread that in 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called insufficient sleep a public health epidemic.

Aside from making us groggy, sleep deprivation is linked to type 2 diabetes, increased anxiety, an increase in appetite and can even shrink our brains.

So, how much sleep should we be getting? Below are the recommended ranges published by The National Sleep Foundation:

  • Newborns (0 to 3 months): 14 – 17 hrs/day
  • Infants (4 to 11 months): 12 – 15 hrs/day
  • Toddlers (1 to 2 years old): 1 – 14 hrs/day
  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years old): 11 – 14 hrs/day
  • School age (6 to 13 years old): 9 – 11 hrs/day
  • Teens (14 to 17 years old): 8 –10 hrs/day
  • Younger adults (18 to 25 years old): 7 – 9 hrs/day
  • Adults (26 to 64 years old): 7 – 9 hrs/day

While there’s plenty of research confirming the dangers of sleep deprivation, there are proven activities and supplements to help achieve a more restful sleep.

Today we explore the two most popular sleep supplements, Melatonin and Valerian, their benefits, and why more and more people are turning to sleep aids to help get a full night’s rest.

 

Melatonin

Melatonin is a naturally produced hormone made by the brain’s pineal gland that helps regulate your body’s sleep and wake cycles. Think of Melatonin as your body’s internal sleep clock that kicks in when darkness occurs, usually around 9pm. Melatonin stays in your blood for approximately 12 hours until the morning.

Low melatonin levels are linked to insomnia, and while traces of melatonin are found in foods, like meats, fruits, grains and vegetables, many choose to take it as a supplement.

Uses for Melatonin

In addition to treating insomnia, Melatonin is used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), jet lag, and shows promise for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and lowering blood pressure.

Possible Side Effects

Possible side-effects of taking Melatonin include:

  • Headaches,
  • Daytime sleepiness,
  • Short-term feelings of depression,
  • Dizziness,
  • Stomach cramps,
  • Irritability

 

Valerian

Valerian is a sedative herb that’s been used to treat insomnia (among other things) since the 16th century. Valerian reduces brain activity by increasing Gamma-amino acid (GABA) levels in the brain, which inhibits nerve transmission and calms nervous activity, allowing users to fall asleep more easily.

Uses for Valerian

In addition to sleep support, Valerian is a popular supplement for people looking to reduce stress and anxiety. Whereas Melatonin is a hormone found in the human body, valerian is a root, therefore it works in a much different way. Interestingly, at high dosages, Valerian root has been proven to increase the likelihood of lucid dreaming.

Possible Side Effects

Some users of Valerian have reported the following side-effects:

 

  • Headaches,
  • Daytime sleepiness,
  • Short-term feelings of depression,
  • Dizziness,
  • Stomach cramps,
  • Irritability

Note: One common complaint worth noting about Valerian is its strong odour. If you’re sensitive to smell, this may not be the right sleep supplement for you.

Conclusion

When it comes to natural sleep support options that have been tested and have proven affected, Melatonin and Valerian root are leaders in the field. The facts are there now it’s up to you to decide which one is right for you.

Natural Sleep Supplements: What's best for you?

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