We all know that a good nights sleep is required for optimal health. For longevity, sleep is as important as diet, exercise and social engagement.
When sleep becomes a problem we may need a little help to get back into a healthy routine. Natural Sleep Aids that work are going to be one way of returning to a solid 7 hour sleep each night.
What happens when we don’t get enough sleep?
It has been proven that the length and quality of sleep is a factor in the risk of many health conditions.
- Heart Disease, stroke and total cardiovascular disease (1)
- Impaired glucose tolerance and an increased risk of diabetes (2) (3)
- Increased inflammation (4)
- Crohn’s disease (5)
- Reduced immune responses (6)
- Depression (7)
Lack of sleep also leads to problems with concentrating which can affect the ability to work and socialize.
Day time sleepiness can make it more difficult to achieve work or leisure goals.
It is not possible to achieve full health unless we are sleeping well.
How much sleep is enough?
The reason we sleep is not yet fully understood. It is known that sleep is necessary for physical and mental health.
We are vulnerable while asleep, so it’s safe to assume that the importance of sleep must be worth our brain partially closing down each night.
During non-REM sleep the brain is able to restore and organize itself, for example by ordering and laying down memories.
It is also a time for cells to synthesize protein and for tissues to repair. Growth hormones are released during sleep.
There is a myth that says we need 8 hours of sleep each night. However, research has demonstrated that more than 7.5 hours and less than 6.5 hours are both related to increased risk.
This study confirms a U-shaped relationship between survival and actigraphically measured sleep duration, with the optimal objective sleep duration being shorter than the self-report optimums.
Sleeping less than 6 hours and more than 9 hours will put you at increased risk of developing health problems.
If you wake up refreshed and ready to start your day and do not suffer daytime sleepiness, you are getting the right amount of sleep.
What can be done to improve sleep without using an aid or supplement?
Fortunately, there are several interventions that have been shown to help you to get a good nights sleep.
It would be worth trying these before seeking the help of a sleep aid.
These methods are:
- Make sure the room is dark. Buy blackout curtains if light is an issue in your bedroom.
- Avoid caffeine after 2pm.
- Avoid working, especially online for the last two or three hours before sleep.
- Make sure the room is cool but not cold.
- Take your evening meal at least three hours before bedtime.
- Avoid daytime napping.
- Image distraction – imagine a scene such as a waterfall. Imagine the sounds, sights and feeling of water. The object is to prevent your mind from doing any other thinking.
- Wear socks to bed.
It’s worth trying one or all of these interventions for a week or two.
Only if your lack of sleep is continuing to cause you problems should you seek extra help.
For those of you that need extra help, we will highlight several aids and supplements that can help you reach your sleep goals and optimize your health.
Blue-light blocking glasses.
Researchers are in agreement that the light we receive from computers and phones affects our circadian rhythm.
Any exposure to light waves after dark delays our bodies’ production of melatonin.
Blue light waves can be especially problematic because they keep us alert.
The simple solution would be to avoid screens during the evening. However, not everyone wants or is able to do this.
To address this problem there are now several types of blue-light blocking glasses on the market.
These are our choice for the best blue light blocking glasses for sleep.
BioRhythm Safe(TM) – Nighttime Eye Wear
If your goal is to get more sleep and better quality sleep, you may find that these are the glasses you’ve been looking for.
- BRIGHT & CLEAR LENSES – These are designed to pass as much non-blue light through as possible. There is no dark tint and they are not polarized. You can still make eye contact with loved ones and even forget you are wearing them.
- SPORTS FRAMES – The durable TR90 thermoplastic frames are lightweight and flexible.
- WRAPAROUND FIT – The wraparound keeps light from getting around the lenses. Lens-bridge-temple: 61-16-127
A doctor reviewed this product on Amazon and stated:
Speaking as a medical doctor specializing in Neuropsychiatry I must say that the Spectra479 Blue Blocking Amber Glasses are the most effective lenses at supporting regulation of a person’s biorhythmic circadian rhythm.
We are obviously far from alone in saying that these are the most amazing blue-light blocking glasses.
Next is the version to use if you need to clip over your reading or prescription glasses:
BioRhythm Safe(TM) – Nighttime Eye Wear clip-on
These are the version for prescription glass wearers. Lightweight and ideal for wearing with your normal eye wear.
The lenses are orange and they’re designed to still be light enough that you can wear your regular glasses comfortably.
Many reviewers noticed significant improvements in their quality of sleep after use.
SUPERIOR BLUE BLOCKING – The same best-selling Spectra479 lenses can now be used with prescription and reading glasses
- Lightweight – Won’t add more weight and bulk to your glasses
- PINCH CLIP – Take them on and off easily with the “pinch to open” clip
When it really is impossible to cut out all noise at bedtime, it may be that ear plugs will enable you to get the sleep you need.
There are many on the market, and we recommend these.
PQ ear plugs
These ear plugs are designed especially for sleeping and won’t hurt your ears even if you sleep on your side.
Good for people who swap from side to side too as they are made from soft and elastic foam.
These won’t fall out. The pack contains 20 disposable pairs.
Magnesium is important in over 300 processes in our body. Unfortunately many people are magnesium deficient.
This is due to the fact that the soil in which our food is grown no longer contains the same amount of magnesium as it once did.
There is overwhelming evidence that magnesium can aid sleep as well as reduce anxiety which can also stop you getting all the rest you need.
After trying several brands, this is the magnesium supplement which is both easy on the stomach, and will help to give you all the sleep you need:
Magnesium Bisglycinate 500MG – Herbs
Magnesium bisglycinate is the most bio available form of magnesium and your body can absorb much more than other types of magnesium such as citrate and oxide.
This was the only magnesium which did not cause stomach problems for me.
Improved sleep within days of taking this product!
100% Pure Magnesium Bisglycinate – The most absorbable Magnesium
- No Fillers, No Magnesium Stearate, Pure Vegetarian Capsules
- Easy to Swallow, Easy on Stomach, Won’t Cause Diarrhea
- Helps to Maintain Normal Muscle and Nerve Function – Steady Heart Rhythm – Helps Maintain Healthy Immune System and Helps Magnesium Deficiency
- 500mg Pure Magnesium Bisglycinate Per Cap – Non Buffered – (50mg Elemental Magnesium)
We also liked this following magnesium, which is a very similar product.
Magnesium Bisglycinate 400mg – Bio Schwartz
Magnesium Bisglycinate 100% Chelate No-Laxative Effect. Maximum Absorption & Bioavailability, Fully Reacted & Buffered. Sleep, Energy, Stress & Anxiety, Leg Cramps, Headaches. Non-GMO Project Verified
These pills are tiny, so if swallowing tablets is an issue for you, you will enjoy this product.
It will do all that the Herbs product will do, although the dose is slightly lower at 400mg.
As with all good magnesium supplements, this will promote sleep as well as reducing anxiety and leg cramps.
There’s also a 100% money back guarantee which is a nice extra.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that’s released in cycles throughout the day.
It keeps us awake during the day and helps to trigger sleep at night. (8)
Without high enough levels of melatonin at night it becomes difficult to fall asleep.
This is when adding a supplement can help.
The normal cycles of melatonin production can be altered as we get older, with taking some medications, and light exposure at night.
Travel, shift work and computer and phone screens can reduce melatonin levels.
Melatonin 2.5mg – Source Naturals Sleep Science.
- NATURAL SLEEP AID – non-habit forming solution that helps reset the body’s internal clock for those with unusual work schedules or for those wanting relief from problems falling asleep and staying asleep.
- NO GROGGINESS/NON HABIT FORMING/SAFE – All natural, works the same way as melatonin, the sleep hormone produced in the body, works so you won’t wake up with a groggy, hungover feeling in the morning.
- Quick-dissolving lozenges will help you fall asleep and achieve a full night’s sleep. Fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and achieve much needed rest.
5 – HTP
5 HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) may not be something you’ve heard of. If you have trouble sleeping, this natural amino acid could become your new best friend.
5 – HTP acts as a metabolic intermediate in the synthesis of serotonin. Serotonin is important for both mood and sleep.
The best 5 -HTP supplements for sleep also contain vitamin B6 which can stimulate the brain during the REM stage of sleep.
B6 plays a role in the converting of 5 HTP into serotonin.
It’s also good to add L- theanine which is found in green tea. This increases alpha wave activity in the brain, which occurs during deep sleep.
L-theanine can also increase the production of dopamine and serotonin, both of which will help you to get a good nights sleep.
This is one of the best 5-HTP supplements that we’ve tried. It contains all the sleep enhancers you’d need to maximize your chance of a deep, good quality sleep.
5- HTP plus serotonin synthesizers
- 5-HTP ENHANCED SUPER FORMULA – pure 5- HTP plus serotonin synthesizers SAMe and L Tryptophan.
- B6 FOR IMPROVED SEROTONIN CONVERSION – Vitamin B6 has been clinically shown to aid 5-HTP conversion into serotonin, while even slight B6 deficiency can greatly inhibit the efficacy of 5-HTP.
- MOOD, ANXIETY & SLEEP SUPPORT – 5-HTP is the primary precursor to serotonin production in the body. Increased levels of serotonin have been scientifically shown to promote positive mood, anxiety relief and better sleep.
This product has almost 1500 top 5 star reviews on amazon, so we’re not alone in our praise.
A great aid to restful quality sleep.
Making sure that you get a full night of quality sleep is vital to your health.
If you find that you are having difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep or are waking feeling unrefreshed, it’s time you took some action to resolve this.
There are various interventions that can help you get your sleep back to normal.
Deal with any stress or anxiety you may have.
Try yoga or reading just before bedtime as a way of relaxing.
Make your bedroom a phone and computer free zone, quiet and dark.
Very often this will be enough to get you back into a normal sleep pattern.
However, it’s important not to put up with sleep problems for too long.
If you can’t sleep after having tried several strategies, you may want to consider a supplement.
Choose a natural supplement, and follow the instructions.
Waking refreshed and ready for your day will make all your efforts worthwhile.