There are many reasons why people have a difficult time staying asleep. The good news is those common problems with sleep are often easily addressed without the use of medication or pharmaceutical sleep aids.
Getting a good amount of sleep is very important for your health.
Sleep helps your body and brain function properly. A good night’s sleep can improve your learning, memory, decision-making and even your creativity.
What’s more, getting sufficient sleep has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and obesity.
Despite all these benefits, sleep quality and quantity are at an all-time low, and people increasingly suffer from poor sleep.
Keep in mind that good sleep often starts with good sleep practices and habits. However, for some, that’s not enough.
If you require a little extra help to get a good night’s sleep, consider trying the following nine sleep-promoting supplements.
Natural Sleep Aids to Get Better Sleep
The science of sleep…
When you hear about serotonin, melatonin, 5-hydroxy L-Tryptophan (5-HTP), and tryptophan, they usually sound like they are totally different things you can try to utilize to help sleep.
Really, they’re all quite related to one another. If it was a perfect world, this is what would happen when you go to sleep.
You need to consume tryptophan, and essential amino acid, to start the process, and you need to get it from an outside source. In a two-step process that tryptophan is converted to 5-HTP, which is then converted into serotonin.
The serotonin then converts to melatonin, which makes our body’s biological clock run smoothly and tell us when it is time to go to sleep and when it’s time to haul yourself out of your cozy bed.
It is the master clock, if you will, making us sleepy-or alert-at the proper times, because melatonin produced is released in higher amounts the darker it is, while the amount lessens with more light.
Since tryptophan is the only amino acid that can convert to serotonin, it is also the only one that can ultimately up your melatonin. You can shose a good organic Tryptophan supplemet or eat food high in the same – or any combination would also work.
10 Foods high in Tryptophan ( RDI = Recomended daily intake )
#1: Seeds & Nuts (Pumpkin & Squash Seeds)
|Tryptophan 100g||Per cup (129g)||Per ounce (28g)|
|576mg (206% RDI)||743mg (265% RDI)||161mg (58% RDI)|
Other Seeds & Nuts High in Tryptophan (%RDI per ounce): Chia Seeds (44%), Sesame Seeds (39%), Sunflower Seeds (35%), Flaxseeds (30%), Pistachio Nuts (29%), Cashew Nuts (24%), Almonds (21%), and Hazelnuts (Filberts) (19%).
#2: Soya Foods (Soybeans, roasted)
|Tryptophan 100g||Per cup (93g)||Per ounce (28g)|
|575mg (205% RDI)||535mg (191% RDI)||161mg (57% RDI)|
Other Soya Foods High in Tryptophan (%RDI per ounce): Koyadofu (Dried-frozen Tofu) (75%), Sprouted Soybeans, stir-fried (30%), Tofu, fried (27%), Soybeans, boiled (24%), and Tempeh (19%).
#3: Cheese (Reduced Fat Mozzarella)
|Tryptophan 100g||Per cup, diced (132g)||Per ounce (28g)|
|571mg (204% RDI)||754mg (269% RDI)||160mg (57% RDI)|
Other Cheeses High in Tryptophan (%RDI per ounce): Parmesan & Cheddar (56%), Mozzarella (51%), Romano (43%), Gruyere (42%), Swiss (40%), Fontina (36%), Edam, Gouda, and Tilsit (35%)
#4: Lamb, Beef, Pork & Game (Lamb Shoulder, cooked)
|Tryptophan 100g||Per 3oz (85g)||Per chop (55g)|
|415mg (148% RDI)||353mg (126% RDI)||228mg (81% RDI)|
Other Meats High in Tryptophan (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Rabbit (133%), Lean Roast Beef & Ground Por (124%), Goat (123%), Beef Steak (121%), Pork Tenderloin (117)%, Wild Boar (115%), and Veal (113%).
#5: Chicken & Turkey (Chicken Breast, cooked)
|Tryptophan 100g||Per piece (181g)||Per 3oz (85g)|
|404mg (144% RDI)||731mg (261% RDI)||343mg (123% RDI)|
Other Chicken & Turkey Meats High in Tryptophan (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Chicken Stewing Meat (117%), Turkey Wing (113%), Turkey breast (110%), Chicken Wing (108%), Chicken Drumstick (102%), Fat-Free Ground Turkey (99%), Turkey Drumstick (98%), and Ground Turkey (94%).
#6: Fish (Tuna, cooked)
|Tryptophan 100g||Per 3oz (85g)||Per ounce (28g)|
|335mg (120% RDI)||285mg (102% RDI)||95mg (34% RDI)|
Other Fish High in Tryptophan (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Halibut (102%), Salmon (98%), Rockfish & Trout (90%), Snapper (89%), Mackerel (88%), Haddock (79%), and Cod (70%).
#7: Shellfish (Crab, cooked)
|Tryptophan 100g||Per 3oz (85g)||Per ounce (28g)|
|330mg (118% RDI)||281mg (100% RDI)||94mg (33% RDI)|
Other Shellfish High in Tryptophan (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Spiny Lobster (112%), Octopus (101%), Clams (87%), Prawns (Shrimp) (79%), Lobster (75%), Crayfish (71%), Oysters (64%), and Scallops (53%).
#8: Uncooked Oat Bran & Oats (Oat Bran)
|Tryptophan 100g||Per cup (94g)||Per ounce (28g)|
|335mg (120% RDI)||315mg (113% RDI)||94mg (34% RDI)|
Other Uncooked Brans and Wholegrains High in Tryptophan (%RDI per cup): Wheat Germ & Whole Oats (130%), Buckwheat (116%), Wheat Bran (59%), Oat Cereal, regular and quick cook (53%).
#9: Beans & Lentils (White Beans, cooked)
|Tryptophan 100g||Per cup (179g)||Per tablespoon (11g)|
|115mg (41% RDI)||206mg (74% RDI)||13mg (5% RDI)|
Other Beans & Lentils High in Tryptophan (%RDI per cup, cooked):Cranberry (Roman) Beans (70%), Yellow Beans & Small White Beans (68%), Pinto Beans & Kidney Beans (66%), Pink Beans, Navy Beans & Black Beans (65%), and Lentils (57%).
#10: Eggs (Whole)
|Tryptophan 100g||Per 2 eggs (100g)||Per egg (50g)|
|167mg (60% RDI)||168mg (60% RDI)||84mg (30% RDI)|
Also High in Tryptophan (%RDI per egg): Poached eggs, Omelette, Fried Eggs & Scrambled Eggs (30%), and Hard Boiled Eggs (28%)
Simple, delicious, and effective. Chamomile tea has been used as a relaxation aid for centuries, but it’s more than just a folk remedy.
One review found that the stuff acts as a mild sedative, helping to calm the nerves, reduce anxiety, and ease insomnia. And don’t be afraid to make a strong brew. Some experts recommend using two or three tea bags to get the full, sleep-promoting effect.
St. John’s wort.
The yellow, weed-like flower is commonly used to ease depression symptoms like anxiety and insomnia, and you can steep it to make a tasty tea.
Just take care to avoid direct sunlight when you take the stuff, since St. John’s wort can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays.
Like chamomile tea, folk practitioners have turned to the root of this flowering plant to easy anxiety and promote relaxation. And it works: According to a review of sixteen studies, valerian root is shown to help people doze off faster and sleep more soundly.
It might not be ideal for long-term use, though, so talk with your doctor before starting a valerian regimen.
The root has long been a favorite among Pacific Islanders for promoting relaxation. In fact, one analysis found that kava was significantly more effective at treating anxiety than a placebo, and some preliminary research suggests it could also help treat insomnia.
But like valerian, long-term use of the stuff isn’t advised, since it could have a negative impact on your liver.
The tropical flower acts as a mild sedative—and, bonus, it tastes delicious. Try steeping a teaspoon of passion flower in boiling water for 10 minutes before drinking and drifting off to dreamland.
Get More Melatonin
This chemical is oh-so-important to sleep, but our body needs outside sources to get it. While it can be taken as a natural supplement in pill form, here are some foods that will help boost production.
Cherries: Not too hard to guess since cherry juice was one of the first things listed, but they also contain tryptophan which is metabolized into serotonin and finally melatonin
Bananas: I remember before a solo I had to do in band class, my teacher told me to eat a banana 30 minutes beforehand because they helped calm you down.
I think it must have done something because my solo got an honorable mention, and I never do well performing under pressure. Bananas contain tryptophan, and potassium and magnesium as well, which are muscle relaxants. Have one a half-an-hour before bed every night and up your magnesium levels while simultaneously relaxing your muscles.
People don’t often want to feel sluggish and lethargic. But when you do like right before bed make California poppy your pick.
Steep the bright orange leaves in hot water for at least 10 minutes to make a tea that’ll erase your anxiety and leave you feeling relaxed and ready for bed.
OTHER SLEEPING AIDS AND TIPS
There are no guaranteed natural remedies for insomnia, but there are effective measures you can take, including natural sleeping aids.
Ask yourself these questions (and try the simple sleep aid recommendations) if you wake up frequently at night:
Are you physically uncomfortable?
A mattress that is too soft or too firm, an uncomfortable pillow or an old and worn bed can prevent you from sleeping well at night. Check your mattress for signs of wear at least twice a year and consider new pillows.
You may also want to see an osteopathic doctor who specializes in osteopathic manipulation therapy. One or two sessions of this safe and effective treatment for sleep can change lives.
Is your bedroom noisy?
Consider a “white noise” generator to combat insomnia. This is an economical but effective device to make soft sounds to mask the ones that sound.
Is your mind overactive?
If you can not sleep because of the thoughts that spin in your head, try the Relaxing Breath, which can help you put aside the thoughts that keep you awake.
A few stretches can help encourage sleep, too.
Do you get up frequently to urinate and then you can not go back to sleep?
Eliminate caffeine and alcohol, especially before bedtime: both can increase urination during the night and, therefore, sleep disorders.
Are you using technology devices before you sleep?
This has become one of the most disturbing sleep habits in our current society. The use of smartphones, tablets and computers before sleep can decrease melatonin levels and shorten REM cycles.
Turning off the technology one to two hours before sleep can significantly improve the quality of sleep.
If you experiment with all these possibilities and still wake up in the early hours of the morning, try to get up and read or do some gentle stretching other than looking at the clock and worrying about the dream you are losing.
Withdrawing your mind from the problem can help you relax and help you fall asleep.
Sleep in the afternoon?
Each of us has different patterns of high and low energy states throughout the day. Some people find that exercise in the morning can do a lot to keep their energy level constant during the afternoon.
A secret known to those who have become regular athletes is that effort creates energy. Do not wait for the energy to come when you are tired; As soon as you start to feel that fall of the afternoon, shake it moving your body.
Try to take a quick walk after lunch. It may be what you need to keep you awake and alert the rest of the day.
Mantram is the practice of repeating again and again in the mind certain syllables, words or phrases that help to unify consciousness and counteract negative mental states.
It is especially useful for people with restless minds, whose turbulent thoughts prevent them from relaxing, concentrating and falling asleep.
The repetition of a verbal formula is a way of focusing the thinking mind and counteracting the damage caused to the mind and body by thoughts that produce anxiety, agitation, and unhappiness.
You can practice the mantram anywhere, especially as a sleep aid and as a natural remedy for insomnia; it is a totally portable technique, it does not require training or equipment, and it can be used in any circumstance, as long as it is not practiced while practicing. something that otherwise requires your undivided attention.
Try experimenting with it, choose a word, a sound or a phrase that you like and repeat it. If your mind wanders, just focus on the word. You will be surprised at the results.
Turning off at night. The blue light emitted from your smartphone, tablet or computer is something like an electronic version of caffeine:
Let your brain feel accelerated, instead of being relaxed and ready to sleep. Be sure to turn off your devices at least one hour before turning them on.
Shower at night instead of in the morning. The warmth of a warm shower before going to bed sends the message to your nervous system that it is time to relax and slow down, which encourages you to feel sleepy.
Which seems a lot more useful at night than the first when you get up, right?
Smelling the lavender before going to bed. You may not believe it, but the smell can have a powerful effect on your mood. Read our article about essential oils to help you out – READ IT HERE
Consider taking advantage of aromatherapy to fill your room with scents that are thought to relieve anxiety and promote relaxation, such as lavender, brandy, vetiver, incense, myrrh, and sage.