If you are a restless sleeper, or a veteran insomniac, chances are you have – or at least thought about – using prescription sleep meds. Although this option works wonders for some people, others are not comfortable with taking it due to the known risks involved. Dependency, addiction and next day drowsiness are a few of the side effects that may come into play with prescriptions. Fortunately, there are a number of all natural sleep aids out there to choose from. Here are just a few to consider!
Your body’s sleep patterns are based on your biological clock. This clock is timed based on when sunlight hits your eyes and when it is absent. When your eyes receive sunlight in the morning, your body’s natural production of the hormone melatonin is decreased, causing you to feel more awake.
At night, when it gets dark, melatonin production increases. This is what makes you feel sleepy at night. Melatonin supplements are available in a pill form and help to recreate this natural process.
Tryptophan is the amino acid that helps make serotonin. Serotonin is the original form of melatonin, which is what makes you feel tired. The difference between tryptophan and melatonin is that tryptophan is not naturally manufactured in the body like melatonin is.
It is essential for healthy sleep functions, and must be consumed through the foods we eat. It is found in a wide variety of food particularly in most meats, such as red meat, poultry and fish. Hence the Turkey coma you slip into after Thanksgiving dinner 😉 If you are a vegetarian, have no fear – Tryptophan is also in milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and peanuts.
If you can’t sleep due to nervousness or excessive worrying, it could be because of a magnesium deficiency. This deficiency can also cause leg cramping at night, which leads to further restlessness. Magnesium consumed one hour before bedtime has a calming effect on the brain, and may make it easier to fall asleep.
Artichokes, nuts, beans, pumpkin seeds, and tomatoes are all naturally high in magnesium. Foods containing barley, buckwheat flour, oat bran and wheat flower are all very high in magnesium. Eating any of these foods before bed will have a calming effect on your mind and help your nervousness to fade away. If these foods don’t seem strong enough, there are also magnesium supplements available in pill form.
I hope these tips help you catch some zzzzzzzz’s. If you have any of your own natural sleep aids please share them in the comments below!