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The Best Natural Sleep Aids

17 November 2022

There’s few things more disturbing than missing out on a good night’s sleep. Sleep lies at the core of just about every aspect of our health - from the physical to the emotional. It’s during our time asleep that the body does the majority of the heavy lifting when it comes to cell repair and replenishment. Without a proper night’s sleep, the body cannot fully restore itself, and you are likely to feel sluggish and out of sorts throughout the next day. Even missing out on one night’s sleep can be enough to disrupt the body’s natural cycle and wreak havoc on the metabolism.

Unfortunately, a great number of adults suffer from some disturbance to their sleep. This can include insomnia, sleep apnea, asthma, snoring, or night terrors. With the prevalence of these disorders, it is hardly surprising that the pharmaceutical industry has concocted a slew of medications designed to help get the shut eye we need. However, if you’re struggling with your sleep and not quite sure you want to jump straight to a medical solution, there are plenty of natural remedies you can give a try to first.

Here is a list of the most reliable natural aids for falling asleep.

1. Lavender

Lavender has long been associated with getting a good night’s sleep. Originally hailing from the Mediterranean, lavender spread throughout Europe and by the Middle Ages had already earned itself a reputation for being both a sleeping aid and an aphrodisiac. Modern science has weighed in on these claims with positive results. Subjects who used lavender as a sleeping aid in clinical trials demonstrated improved levels of slow-wave sleep, the stage of the sleep cycle most crucial for slowing down heart rate and relaxing muscles.

2. Chamomile

Chamomile is another classic sleep aid that has been in use since early times. Often consumed in the form of a tea, chamomile possesses a delicate floral favour and is favoured for its sedative effects. Chamomile contains apigenin, a chemical compound that helps to induce sleep once it binds to GABA receptors in the brain. Making a warm cup of chamomile tea a part of your nightly routine is a natural path to improved relaxation and sleepiness.

3. Passionflower

Passionflower is a catch-all term for a family of plants that actually contains around 500 known species. Certain species of these plants are thought to have relaxing properties that aid in sleep and rest. In indigenous American medicine, passionflower was often used to help heal wounds and relieve pain. P. Incarnata, a particular variety of passionfruit also commonly known as purple passionflower and maypop, is thought to be effective for treating restlessness and insomnia. Dried passion flower can be used to create a relaxing tea when added to boiling water, but the plant extract can also be ingested in the form of liquid extracts, capsules, and tablets.

4. Hops

“Hops' ' refers to the female flowers that grow on the hop plant, Humulus lupulus of the hop plant. While most people associate hops with beer, the flower has in fact been used in European food and medicine for over a thousand years. Aside from their use in treating various ailments throughout history, hops have more recently been linked with sedative effects. Several studies have indicated that drinking a non-alcoholic hops beverage before sleep was well correlated with improved sleep quality among both groups of women and groups of university students.

5. CBD

Although the cannabis plant has been used for relaxation and sedation as long as 5000 years, CBD (cannabidiol) has enjoyed a fresh moment in the limelight over the past few years. The use of CBD in mainstream health products has soared over the past years, and is currently one of the most popular natural sleep aids on the market. Research shows that CBD produces an overall calming effect on the body’s nervous system. This makes users feel more relaxed, and can be conducive to an overall more restful night’s sleep. CBD also has the ability to impact serotonin production, which can result in an overall more pleasant mood. CBD itself is not psychoactive, and can be consumed in a wide variety of forms, from edible items like gummies and cookies to tinctures, oils, and vape juices.  

6. Melatonin

Melatonin has long been the sleep aid of choice for those working in jobs that interrupt the body’s natural sleep rhythm, such as night-shift workers and flight crew - and with good reason. Melatonin is a natural compound found in the human body, and is essentially the chemical that signals to the rest of our body that the time for sleep is approaching. Most people’s bodies produce enough melatonin for a good night’s sleep all on their own, but for those who struggle to feel sleepy at night, a supplement can be taken to help induce rest. As your desired bed time approaches, 1 to 3 milligrams of melatonin should usher in the sleepy feeling that signals to your body that it will soon be time to catch some rest.

A good night’s sleep is essential for maintaining your overall health. Everything from your mood to your autoimmune system suffers from a lack of good sleep. If you’re struggling to catch the Zzz’s you need, try one of these all-natural remedies for a better night’s sleep, nature’s way.