4 NATURAL, EVIDENCE-BASED SUPPLEMENTS YOU CAN USE TO GET BETTER SLEEP (AND WHY YOU SHOULD STOP TAKING MELATONIN)
The number of people seeking medication to help them sleep is growing every year. The problem with taking these drugs (the most popular being ambien, tranquillisers, ad muscle relaxants) is that:
1. When you take sleeping pills you don’t ‘sleep’. You are essentially knocked unconscious and it cuts out your deep wave sleep. All the “good stuff” that happens in deep sleep — like hormone regulation, repair, immune function. This doesn’t happen when you take this type of medication.
2. They make you feel VERY groggy in the morning.
3. Many of them are psycho-active drugs and nervous system depressants.
WHAT ABOUT MELATONIN?
Melatonin is a VERY popular supplement. It can be very effective when taken for short time periods for helping things like jet lag. BUT here’s the catch — Melatonin is an actual HORMONE. Like any hormone therapy, taking hormones makes your body think it doesn’t need to produce any more on it’s own. Taking melatonin suppresses your body’s ability to make it naturally, so you can become dependent on it.
Here are some natural sleep supplements you should try first:
GOOD FOR: Calming nervous system, Relaxes muscles, Anti-Inflammator, Reduces pain sensitivity.
The most time tested sleep aid of all. It calms the nervous system, relax muscles, and set you up for a better quality sleep. Numerous studies, such as the one from Molecular Medicine Reports, showed chamomile have significant anti-inflammatory properties and trigger COX-2 enzyme activity that reduces physical pain.
2. KAVA KAVA
GOOD FOR: Sleep quality, Decreasing time taken to fall asleep, Anxiety, Cognitive Performance.
The national drink of Fiji. It is well known to havee sedative properties, and commonly used to treat sleeplessness and fatigue. It improves sleep quality and decreases time taken to fall asleep.Several studies show it reduces symptoms of anxiety, improves mood and cognitive performance.
GOOD FOR: Uninterrupted sleep, Decreasing time taken to fall asleep.
This herb is the strongest of the 3 and moderate sedative. It promotes uninterrupted sleep, and reduces time taken to fall asleep. For tea, pour boiling water over one teaspoon of dried root.
4. 5-HTP, GABA, L-TRYPTOPHAN
These are not exactly ‘natural’, but can be helpful if intently monitored and used with caution.
5HTP is a neurotransmitter precursor to serotonin. Serotonin is converted into melatonin (our good sleep hormone). Studies show 5-HTP help people fall asleep quicker and sleep more deeply. Researchers have recommended 200–400mg of 5-HTP at night.
GABA blocks the action of excitatory brain chemicals. GABA is also well known to help manage stress. 500mg in the evening is a good place to start.
L-Tryptophan is a precursor to 5-HTP. It is found in foods like turkey, chicken and pumpkin. It can also be bought as a supplement. Take it 90 minutes before bed.
Hope that helps. Remember — LIFESTYLE plays the biggest role in how well you sleep. For all the steps on how to get quality sleep feel free to download my Primal Sleep Kit at mymelbournechiropractor.com.au