Natural Sleep Aids to Make Your Sleep Patterns More Regular
The natural sleep aid industry is booming. Before you see our list of natural sleep aids, here are some quick facts about sleeping in America.
25.6 million Americans spent a combined total of 12.8 billion dollars on natural supplements, including natural sleep aids in the year of 2012. Out of those 25.6 million Americans, 12% or 3.1 million of them purchased a natural sleep aid.
Why are Americans Spending Billions of Dollars on Natural Sleep Aids?
The Center for Disease Control did a study to learn more about America’s sleeping habits.
Here is what they found out:
- 7% to 19% percent of Americans are not getting enough sleep every day.
- About 40% percent of Americans are falling asleep by accident once a month.
It gets worse. At least 50 million Americans have a sleep disorder. There are around 90 sleep disorders.
The Benefits of a Good Night’s Rest
If the benefits of a good night’s rest were not so amazing, Americans would not be paying billions of dollars for them. Here are the benefits of sleep:
- Increased productivity
- Higher concentration
- Lower weight gain risk
- Better digestion
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Increased emotional stability
- Healthier relationships
- Less risk of depression
- Stronger immune system
Without a good night’s rest - about eight hours for adults - those benefits are replaced with negative consequences. Everything from your happiness, health and financial well-being become jeopardized.
Try these seven natural sleep aids to improve your sleep situation.
7 Natural Sleep Aids
Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements. You can find research sources to backup any claims at the end of this article.
Melatonin, the Sleep Hormone
The most popular natural sleep aid, melatonin, is a hormone your body produces to control your circadian rhythm and more.
There are plenty of over the counter melatonin supplements. You can also get more melatonin by eating:
- Tart cherries
Judging by those foods, some are cheaper than others if you plan on consuming them daily.
Valerian has been used since the times of Hippocrates, who was the inspiration for the Hippocratic oath doctors take today. Studies have proven valerian helps with sleep. It might have other health benefits, but those require further study.
You can buy valerian in the form of tea, capsule or powder just about anywhere. For a three month supply, you might spend as little as $4. When it comes to making valerian tea to drink before bed, you should know it smells horrible and the smell lingers up to 24 hours. The good news is it tastes great.
To make valerian tea, use these ingredients:
- 1/4 cup valerian root
- 4 cups of water
- (You can add 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey, sugar, or milk for flavor)
Once you have your ingredients ready, follow this recipe:
- Boil the water.
- Let the water cool off until it is no longer boiling.
- Add the valerian root.
- Let the valerian sit in the hot water for 10 minutes.
- Strain to make sure none of the leaves get in your drink.
- Drink up!
You may experience negative side effects from valerian. Side effects include:
- Upset stomach
- If you have heart issues, valerian may nullify the benefit of your heart medication
Chamomile looks like a daisy and comes from Europe. Like valerian, it can be made into tablets, capsules and liquid extracts.
Prices of chamomile are often under $10 for a one month supply.
The most common use of chamomile is in the form of hot or cold tea. You can make the tea at home using fresh flowers.
Before you make chamomile tea, you will need these ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons of fresh chamomile flowers
- 2 cups of boiling water
- 2 thin apple slices
- 1 teaspoon of honey
Chamomile tea recipe:
- Rinse the flowers with cool water.
- Boil your water.
- Add the apple slices to the pot and mash them with a spoon.
- Add the chamomile flowers and pour in the 2 cups of boiling water.
- Cover and let sit for three to five minutes.
- Strain the tea into two cups.
- Add 1 teaspoon of honey.
Possible side effects of chamomile include:
- Swelling of the throat
- Skin rash
- Shortness of breath
- Allergic reaction
Kava is a plant grown throughout the pacific islands, such as Hawaii and Samoa. Like valerian, you can use its roots as a sedative.
Kava is primarily used to treat anxiety and make people more social. The effect kava has on anxiety might be responsible for helping treat insomnia. Kava is rumored to cause liver damage, although there is no conclusive evidence of it doing so.
You can purchase kava as a supplement or powder for use in tea. Its price is as cheap as $4.22 per ounce online, plus shipping.
To make kava tea, here is what you need:
- 1 cup kava root powder
- 2 cups water
- Cheesecloth (can be substituted with pantyhose, a coffee filter, or anything you can strain liquid with)
This is the simple tea recipe:
- Add 1 cup of kava root powder and 2 cups of warm water to a container.
- Stir the powder and water together until the powder absorbs all water. The mixture should start looking like brown paste.
- Let the container sit 20 to 30 minutes.
- Pour the mixture from the container through a cheesecloth, catching the root powder. (You do not want to drink any powder.)
- Squeeze the mixture in the cheesecloth using two hands, removing as much liquid as possible.
- Drink up. You should have two cups of tea if you did enough squeezing.
You could go for a jog, lift weights, or play a sport. If you do it regularly, which could be at least three times a week for at least 45 minutes each time, you will be on your way to sleeping more.
Working out too late in the day will prevent you from sleeping, so be sure to work out well before your bedtime.
Go to Bed and Wake Up at the Same Times
Having a sleep routine will help you go to bed on time and wakeup on time. Maintain your sleep routine on weekdays and weekends for best results.
A common cause for people not going to bed on time is staying up late to use technology. If you have a routine, you will have to turn your devices off before bed, which will help you go to bed on time.
Do Not Eat, Drink, or Smoke Nicotine Before Bed
While it might seem hard, it is for the best. When you eat or drink within an hour of going to sleep, your stomach will be more active, which may prevent you from sleeping.
As for smoking or vaping nicotine, nicotine is a stimulant. It is designed to keep you alert. Do not use any if you would like to go to sleep.
- NIH (Use of Complementary Health Approaches in the U.S.)
- CDC (Sleep and Sleep Disorders)
- NCBI (Extent and Health Consequences of Chronic Sleep Loss and Sleep Disorders)
- NCBI (Dietary Sources and Bioactivities of Melatonin)
- NIH (Valerian)
- PubMed (Effects of kava-kava extract on the sleep-wake cycle in sleep-disturbed rats)
- NCBI (Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future)
- NCBI (The effects of caffeine, nicotine, ethanol, and tetrahydrocannabinol on exercise performance)