How to Treat Insomnia with Natural Supplements
Do you have trouble getting to sleep? Or maybe you fall asleep just fine, but find yourself waking up in the middle of the night unable to fall back asleep? You are most certainly not alone. Around 1 in 3 people have at least some sort of mild insomnia.
Then we have the folks who deal with chronic insomnia most nights.
Few things are as frustrating – but it is so much more than just frustration. Lack of sleep harms your health.
At some point, it’s time for help. But what direction should you go? Prescription or all natural?
I’m here to make the cause for treating insomnia with natural supplements. Below you’ll find a list of 10 fabulous science-backed supplements that can truly improve your sleep.
What Is Insomnia?
The National Sleep Foundation defines insomnia this way: “Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so.”
This means you are in bed. The lights are off. You are ready and free to get a good night’s sleep and you either have trouble falling asleep as quickly as you would like to or you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night unable to fall back asleep.
Some people deal with both.
Some people have acute insomnia where a certain situation – maybe a stressful week at work or the illness of a loved one – makes it harder for you to sleep over a short period of time. At some point, your regular habits return. Other people experience chronic insomnia. This is when the insomnia comes at least three nights each week and lasts for a few months. Sometimes there is a clear cause; other times there’s none at all.
Both can be helped with natural treatment.
How Is Insomnia Normally Treated?
If you have insomnia, normally a doctor will rule out any outside factors leading to the condition. Maybe you have a really bad sleep schedule that needs to be adjusted. Or maybe other health problems need to be managed better.
They will also probably teach you some relaxation techniques, recommend that you cut out caffeine, and encourage you to develop an exercise regimen.
If the insomnia is not cured at this point, doctors will often go to prescription medications.
But there are a lot of problems that can arise with this line of treatment.
- Many sleeping pills are a short-term solution that don’t actually help you overcome insomnia
- Many sleeping medications can lead to dependency, which ultimately makes your insomnia much worse
- Many sleeping medications have negative side effects like daytime grogginess and nausea
So before you go down that road, turn to what nature has to offer your sleep first.
10 Great Natural Supplements for Insomnia
Now we get to the good stuff. Here are 10 of the absolute best natural supplements to treat insomnia.
Let’s start off with a big one.
Melatonin is actually a chemical created by our brains to help regulate our sleep cycles, also known as the circadian rhythm.
This is actually a light-sensitive chemical that helps your body feel sleepy when it’s dark outside and awake when it’s light outside.
For insomnia sufferers who have trouble falling asleep (even when it’s nighttime) and have trouble staying asleep in the middle of the night, melatonin can be a game changer that puts you back on track.
Normally it’s recommended that insomniacs take between 2 and 3 mg. Talk to your doctor if it’s working and you want to stay on melatonin long-term. He or she may want to adjust your dose.
Read More About: 7 Important Vitamins For Insomnia
Somewhere around 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. And guess what magnesium plays a huge role in? Your sleep.
Of course, the first step should be boosting magnesium in your diet. Foods like almonds, bananas, pumpkin seeds, avocados, and spinach are great choices. One of my favorite ways to get a magnesium-rich dessert: banana soft serve.
- Put frozen chunks of one banana and a few spinach leaves into the blender
- Add a splash of almond milk and a small scoop of almond butter
- Blend until smooth
But to combat a deficiency and get enough magnesium to really help you sleep, you should probably also take magnesium in supplement form. Here’s a guide to the Recommended Dietary Allowances:
- Women between 19 and 30 years old: 310 mg a day
- Women 31 years old and over: 320 mg a day
- Men between 19 and 30 years old: 400 mg a day
- Men 31 years old and over: 420 mg a day
Zinc is another one of the most overlooked powerhouse minerals. Not only does it help you sleep, but it also boosts your immune system and improves digestion.
Like magnesium, there are plenty of great food sources of zinc. Top choices include:
- Red meat
Also like magnesium, when you are dealing with a current issue – like your insomnia – supplementing with additional zinc is a really good idea.
The Adequate Intake (AI) levels of zinc for men are 11mg a day. For women it’s 8 mg a day (unless you’re pregnant and it goes up to 11mg). This means between what you eat and what supplement you take, you are not considered deficient if you consume about this much.
4. Valerian Root Extract
Next up we have our first herb. Valerian root has been used for countless years for its sedative properties. This is nothing like a sedative prescription that knocks you out for hours and makes it dangerous to drive.
Instead, valerian naturally calms your stress and anxiety and it allows you to slip into sleep with less difficulty.
And it’s not just tradition that keeps people coming to Valerian – modern science is now backing up that this is a powerful herb for falling asleep and staying asleep with greater ease and no bad side effects.
5. Passion Flower Extract
Here’s another herb with sedative effects. You’re probably familiar with it from drinking passion tea. And once again, recent studies are showing just how effective it really is.
Though one study showed passion flower is better for calming the body for those occasional sleep disturbances, those with insomnia can still reap the benefits of this herb too.
6. Magnolia Bark Extract
Magnolia bark is not a very well known herbal treatment, but perhaps it should be. It can be used for anything from improving constipation and headaches to calming depression and aiding weight loss.
It’s also extremely helpful when it comes to improving sleep.
One study looked at a combo of taking magnolia bark extract with magnesium for menopausal women with insomnia (a pretty common occurrence). 89 of these women took the sleepy combo for 24 weeks.
The results? The insomnia and other menopausal symptoms “significantly decreased in severity and frequency.” The researchers concluded that the study positively shows efficacy of Magnolia extract and magnesium on psycho-affective and sleep disturbances in menopause.”
What’s interesting about magnolia is it has been used in traditional Asian medicinals as a sleep aid for generations. Scientists are just now starting to believe that one if magnolia’s compounds – honokiol – is responsible for its effectiveness.
7. Chamomile Flower Extract
I’m sure you’ve already heard about chamomile and it’s ability to get you ready for bed. I’m even assuming you’ve already enjoyed hot mugs of chamomile tea.
When you harness the sedative power of chamomile in its concentrated extract, however, you are getting
That doesn’t mean you should quit sipping chamomile tea. Warm caffeine-free drinks before bed are definitely helpful for sleeping too.
8. Jujube Extract
Here’s another herb you’ve probably never heard of. That’s because jujube extract has been used traditional in Asian medicine.
Jujubes are actually a fruit that have all sorts of powerful uses from fighting cancer to improve digestive issues.
But the sedative power of jujube is why I’m bringing it to your attention today.
Studies have shown that jujube extract can do two things insomniacs greatly need: shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and prolong the amount of sleep you get throughout the night.
L-Theanine is gaining popularity in the natural health and wellness community because it is an incredible de-stressor.
If stress or anxiety plays a role in your insomnia (or even the stress/anxiety from having insomnia), l-theanine is the perfect supplement for you.
L-theanine is a compound from green tea that helps your relax. Not only can it be taken at night to help you sleep, but it can also be taken during the day to help manage stress without a prescription medication. It won’t make you drowsy, it just makes you calmer.
10. Vitamin B6
Finally, we get to the only vitamin on the list B6. You may be thinking, “Wait a minute. I thought B vitamins were supposed to boost your energy levels.”
But what the B vitamins actually do is help you manage your energy levels the way they are supposed to be managed – energized during the day, relaxed at night.
Vitamin B6 can help with all sorts of things that can improve insomnia – from calming anxiety to aiding serotonin production.
How To Use Natural Supplements for Insomnia
Now that you know some of the best natural supplements for improving your sleep – how can you start incorporating them?
- Food: First off, look at your diet. Make sure you are getting foods that are rich in magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins.
- Drinks: Another great way to start adding these natural insomnia supplements into your routine is through a hot mug of tea. Chamomile is has a calming, sedative effect that helps you get ready for bed.
- Supplements: But the most important step is taking an all-natural sleep aid that includes some of these natural supplements for insomnia.
Natural Supplements For Your Sleep
If you choose to treat your insomnia the natural route, you fortunately have many different options. These are natural, safe things that can really transform your sleep without worrying about growing dependent or getting any unpleasant side effects.