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    Natural Sleep Aid Ideas You Can Use Tonight So You Sleep Better

    Natural Sleep Aid Ideas You Can Use Tonight So You Sleep Better

    Are you considering using a natural sleep aid to improve your sleep?

    Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to staying healthy. It plays a vital role in both brain and body function.

    Not getting enough sleep may impose health risks, especially in the long run. It may lead to poor performance, heightened stress response, and even anxiety.[1]

    One study shows that sleep deprivation may induce fatigue and neurocognitive decline.[2]

    This is especially alarming as it can affect anybody, including otherwise healthy adults.

    Doctors recommend getting at least seven to nine hours of restful sleep every night.[3]

    But let’s be honest, a lot of people don’t seem to get these uninterrupted hours in.

    Do you happen to be one of those who struggle to get a good night’s sleep? If you are looking for solutions to improve your sleep, then you may find comfort in a natural sleep aid.

    Natural Sleep Aid Ideas You Can Use So You Can Sleep Better Tonight

    From the food you eat, down to your daily activities, there are several lifestyle choices that can have an impact on your natural sleep rhythm.

    If you’re having restless nights, then making a few changes to your day-to-day regime may be the answer.

    A simple change to your diet, adding more physical activities to your daily routine, or adding in a supplement may all help in improving your sleep.

    Try These Foods That Improve Sleep

    If you haven’t noticed, your food intake affects your body in many ways, sleep included.

    And if you happen to find trouble dozing off at night, then the problem may lie in your diet.

    Here are four foods that may improve sleep.

    Chamomile the Natural Sleep Tea

    Chamomile is among the most popular teas out there. It is an herbal tea that is caffeine-free and may offer a wide array of health benefits.

    It is also known to contain flavones. They are a group of antioxidants that may have the ability to reduce inflammation.[4][5]

    Cognitive health-wise, drinking chamomile tea may help in reducing anxiety and depression.[6] It may also promote better sleep due to its apigenin content. Apigenin is an antioxidant that soothes certain receptors in the brain.[7]

    Chamomile is a natural sleep tea. It may also ease the symptoms of depression caused by sleep problems.[8]

    In one study, 270mg of chamomile extract twice a day leads to less interrupted sleep. The same dosage also induces sleep faster by 15 minutes.[9]

    Milk as a Natural Sleep Aid

    Drinking a glass of milk before bedtime is a popular myth that we all heard as kids. Many believed that warm milk at night helped us fall asleep. And while it’s regarded as a myth, there’s a scientific explanation behind it.

    Milk is a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid responsible for growth. This amino acid is present in protein foods in small amounts. It is also a precursor to serotonin and melatonin which are sleep-inducing compounds.[10]

    That said, drinking milk at night may not only induce sleep but improve its quality as well.

    Almonds May Improve Sleep

    Almonds are among the healthiest food you can get your hands on. They are a great source of different nutrients.

    In fact, snacking on almonds on a regular basis may lower the risk of chronic diseases. These healthy nuts are rich in monounsaturated fat, fiber, and high antioxidant content.[11][12]

    Almonds may also help improve your sleep due to their melatonin content.[13] Melatonin is a hormone responsible for regulating the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Moreover, almonds are a great source of magnesium which may improve sleep quality.[14][15]

    An ounce of these nuts provides about 19% of the RDI (required daily intake) of magnesium. This mineral may have the ability to reduce inflammation and lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that may interrupt sleep.

    Kiwi Helps Sleep

    As a natural sleep aid, kiwi may have the potential to improve sleep quality. Kiwi is a low-calorie fruit packed with vitamins C, and K, among others. It is also rich in folate and potassium and other trace minerals.[16]

    One study shows that kiwi may be good for digestive health and may also reduce inflammation. It may also have the ability to lower cholesterol levels. These benefits are due to the fiber and carotenoid antioxidants found in kiwis.[17][18]

    In another study, 24 adults consumed kiwi fruits before bedtime. These adults fell asleep quicker compared to when the fruit wasn’t consumed.[19]

    Serotonin is also present in kiwis, supporting its beneficial effects on sleep.[20] Serotonin is a hormone that regulates the body’s sleep cycle.[21]

    Staying Active With Exercise to Improve Sleep

    It’s a no-brainer that exercise is beneficial in so many ways. Yet, a lot of people ask: does physical activity improve sleep patterns?

    The answer here is yes, it can be a natural sleep aid. Staying active may benefit sleep patterns and quality. It may even be the most effective way to improve sleep.[22]

    In fact, recent research showed that poor sleep may be due to a lack of physical activity.[23]

    In one study, aerobic exercises improved all aspects of sleep. It also reduced symptoms on adults with chronic insomnia. The activity even improved their mood.[24]

    Another study showed that regular exercise helped older adults fall asleep faster. It also added 41 more minutes to their sleep at night.[25]

    While working out contributes to better sleep, doing it late may cause sleep delays. Exercise has stimulatory effects which can increase alertness and adrenaline.[26][27]

    So if you must, opt to work out during the day and avoid doing it within a couple of hours before bedtime.

    Yoga

    Yoga is a low-impact aerobic activity that comes with a wide array of health benefits. It may soothe stress, improve posture, and enhance mental focus.[28]

    Yoga is also related to improving sleep quality and patterns. A study showed that doing yoga as a natural sleep aid improved sleep quality in adults with sleep disorders.[29]

    Tai Chi

    Tai Chi is a form of ancient Chinese martial art that’s been around for hundreds of years. It is a low-impact exercise that consists of slow, graceful movements. It is also a form of meditation.

    Tai Chi is also praised for its effects on sleep, mood, and anxiety. In fact, a study showed that Tai Chi improved sleep quality in individuals with insomnia.[30]

    Another study noted improvements in sleep and anxiety while engaging in Tai Chi.[31]

    Stretching

    It is common to stretch before and after a workout, with the aim to improve mobility. But the benefits of stretching the muscles go beyond functionality and mobility.

    A study shows that stretching improved sleep quality in postmenopausal, sedentary women.[32]

    Natural Sleep Supplements

    Do you still find trouble sleeping despite a healthy diet and lifestyle? Then you may want to consider taking natural supplements for sleep.

    Sometimes, we don’t get enough vitamins and minerals from the food we eat alone. This is where supplements come in handy.

    Below are some of the most effective supplements to improve sleep.

    Melatonin as a Natural Sleep Aid

    Melatonin is a hormone produced in the body. This hormone keeps the sleep and wake cycle in line. It also sends signals to the brain when it’s time to doze off.[33]

    The production and release of melatonin are dependent on the time of the day. It is normal for melatonin levels to be low during the day and rise at night.[34]

    Melatonin is among the most popular sleeping aids due to its ability to soothe the brain when it’s time to sleep. It may also improve sleep quality and duration.[35]

    Research shows that melatonin may improve sleep quality in people with insomnia. This natural sleep hormone may also be effective in reducing the time needed to fall asleep. It may even add hours to the total sleep time.[36]

    Moreover, melatonin may impose therapeutic functions in insomnia and other sleep disorders.[37]

    Ashwagandha

    Ashwagandha is a root otherwise known as Indian ginseng. It is a natural herb used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.

    There are many health benefits of ashwagandha. These benefits have been found to impact stress, anxiety, and cognition in positive ways.[38][39]

    This root may also work as a natural sleep aid. Thanks to its trimethylene glycol content – it may have the ability to improve sleep quality.[40] Triethylene glycol is a compound that may induce sleep.

    One study showed that 1250mg of ashwagandha as a natural sleep aid is safe to use for sleep induction. It also improved sleep quality in otherwise healthy individuals.[41]

    People suffering from sleep disorders, such as insomnia, may also rely on ashwagandha. In fact, a controlled trial tested the impact of this root on disrupted sleep. The trial showed that this extract may allow the body to settle down and prepare it for a good night’s sleep.[42]

    Magnesium for Sleep

    Magnesium is an important mineral that is vital for both brain and heart function. It’s involved in several processes in the body, such as energy production. It also plays a role in regulating blood pressure.[43][44]

    About ⅔ of the Western population does not hit the RDI for magnesium which links to a higher mortality rate.[45]

    Magnesium has the ability to regulate melatonin production.[46] As a result, it may help the body feel more relaxed, allowing for a better night of sleep.[47]

    This mineral may also raise the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. GABA is a chief neurotransmitter in the brain. This neurotransmitter possesses calming effects that contribute to sleep quality.[48]

    Several studies show the benefits of supplementing magnesium. Research shows a link between low levels of magnesium and sleep problems.[49] In another study conducted on rodents, magnesium deficiency interrupted sleep patterns.[50]

    In a controlled trial, 46 participants took 500mg of magnesium and a placebo. The said trial ran for eight weeks.[51] As a result, the group that took magnesium experienced better sleep quality. The magnesium group also had higher levels of melatonin and renin.[52]  These two are hormones that are beneficial for sleep.

    Ginkgo Biloba and Sleep

    Ginkgo biloba is a tree abundant in the lands of China. For this reason, this herb is among the staples of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

    As a natural herb for sleep, Ginkgo biloba may enhance sleep efficiency and quality.[53]

    Ginkgo biloba may also have the ability to improve cognition.[54] In a controlled trial, individuals took 250mg of the extract. These participants improved their mental function.[55]

    Research also showed the benefits of the herb on people with severe depression, whereas Ginkgo biloba improved their sleep cycle.[56]

    Glycine

    Glycine is a nonessential amino acid that plays a vital role in the nervous system. It acts as a precursor to several metabolites in the body.[57]

    This amino acid is present in protein-rich foods, such as meat, eggs, chicken, and fish.

    The exact mechanism of glycine remains under research, but it may help improve sleep. Its role in sleep quality may be due to its ability to lower body temperature at night. It signals the brain that it’s time to sleep.[58]

    Glycine is also a subject of several studies. In a double-blind controlled trial, 3g of this amino acid improved sleep quality. It also reduced fatigue the next morning.[59]

    In another study, glycine induced NREM sleep in otherwise healthy adults.[60]

    Tongkat Ali for Sleep

    Tongkat Ali is an herb popular in Asian Traditional Medicine. Derived from the roots of an herb called Eurycoma longifolia, a plant native to Southeast Asia.

    This herb is traditionally used for its benefits on hormone regulation, male virility, and vitality. It may also aid in erectile dysfunction, among others.[61]  Tongkat ali also contains various antioxidants which are all beneficial to health.

    As a natural sleep aid, the herb may benefit those who have trouble sleeping. Tongkat ali may do this by relieving stress and improving mood.[62]

    One trial showed that tongkat ali supplementation may relieve chronic stress and improve sleep quality. The herb itself may also combat sleep deprivation.[63]

    Maca as a Natural Sleep Aid

    Maca is a plant native to the soils of South America. It is a natural herb used in Traditional Medicine.

    Maca root is popular for its beneficial effects on sexual health.[64] It may also have the ability to improve mood and reduce anxiety.[65]

    The mechanism of maca may also work as a hormone regulator. Research showed that this herb may ease perimenopausal symptoms. And as a result, maca may help with uneven sleep patterns.[66]

    Korean Red Ginseng For Better Sleep

    Korean red ginseng is among the most sought-after herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It also goes by the name Panax ginseng.

    This herb consists of different active ingredients. Among these ingredients are steroidal saponins and ginsenosides. Combined, these may all work as anti-cancer and hormone stimulants. Koren red ginseng is also touted for its antioxidants.[67]

    Korean red ginseng may also have the ability to improve sleep quality as a natural sleep aid. One study showed that taking 1500mg of this herb may improve sleep patterns.[68]

    Conclusion

    Sleep, without a doubt, is vital to your health and well-being. Not getting enough sleep affects the body in more drastic ways than you may think.

    So, if you find yourself having trouble sleeping, then it’s time to take a closer look at your lifestyle. Check to see where the problem may be coming from. It could be the food you eat, the supplements you take (or lack thereof), your daily activities, and so on.

    Generally, getting a good night’s sleep shouldn’t be hard, unless there’s a deeper underlying cause. To sum up, there are several natural sleep aid methods that you can try to improve your sleep.

    May it be a simple change in your diet or an extra physical activity – go ahead and give it a try. You may even get a little help from natural supplements. Who knows, these methods might be the key in finally hitting the hay like a baby.

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