If you suffer through the night staring at the clock, counting the minutes as they tick by, thinking about how much sleep you are losing, you are not alone. Approximately 25% of Americans suffer from insomnia each year. Whether it’s stress, hormones, or something else, poor quality sleep can take a toll on your body and it is a major contributing factor to other health risks.
Plus, poor sleep zaps your energy, which affects everything you do.
Here are four supplements that may help improve your sleep, so you can get back to a good night’s rest and feel more like yourself.
Melatonin is a hormone naturally occurring in the body that tells it when to sleep and when to wake. If you are deficient in this hormone, supplementation may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Several studies have shown that taking melatonin reduces the time it takes to fall asleep as well as increasing sleeping time. However, if you don’t have a melatonin deficiency you may not find it very helpful.
Stress and anxiety are often the largest contributing factor to lack of sleep. Smelling lavender has been used for centuries to promote relaxation. Lavender essential oil is used as a treatment for depression and restlessness and helps to calm the mind allowing for a more relaxed state. One study performed on cardiac patients showed that a lavender aromatherapy blend reduced anxiety while undergoing stent therapy. Additionally, it was shown to reduce blood pressure. While most people use lavender for aromatherapy, it can also be used in tea form.
Glycine is an amino acid that plays an important role in the function of the nervous system. Some studies show that a glycine supplement may help improve sleep, however, the exact mechanism is not yet known. One theory is that glycine assists in lowering body temperature at bedtime. A lower body temperature at bedtime signals the body to sleep. Another study showed improved objective measures of quality of sleep compared to placebo. The control group was also found to have fallen asleep faster.
5-HTP is a by-product of the amino acid tryptophan. It works in the body by increasing the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin plays a key role in the regulation of sleep, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, and pain sensation. Serotonin is indirectly involved in producing melatonin, which regulates the sleep-wake cycles. Studies suggest that 5-HTP may help people fall asleep faster and increase sleep times. In addition, 5-HTP has been shown in several studies to promote relaxation, alleviate stress, and reduce anxiety — all of which can be barriers to a good night’s sleep.
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