Sleep disorders are among the most common neurophysiological problems in the United States today. The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that roughly 70 million Americans (i.e. just under a third of the population) struggle with a chronic sleep disorder. There are many different types of sleep disorders, including insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome (RLS) and narcolepsy. Any of these conditions can be caused by medical conditions, medications, past trauma, mental health problems or even more complex factors like heritability or substance abuse (1) (2).
Their impact on healthy physiological functions aside, sleep disorders also come with a range of indirect negative effects. They can lead to daytime sleepiness, for instance, which can interfere with work, school or other activities. This can not only impact productivity and work performance; in worse cases or if left untreated for long periods of time, sleep disorders can significantly increase the risk of workplace accidents or injuries.
The two most common forms of treatment for chronic and intermittent sleep disorders are counseling and medication. However, countless individuals across the country report impressive rates of success in the use of natural sleep aid supplements without further intervention. In this post, we go over the single most important tip to help you ensure you’re getting nothing but quality sleep supplements, with the best chance of restoring healthy sleep patterns and little to no risk of side effects.
There are many benefits to using natural sleep aids as opposed to over-the-counter or prescription medications. Natural sleep aids are typically safer and more effective in that they promote and normalize sleep/wake cycles over time, instead of altering brain chemistry for the amount of time an active drug compound has built up effective levels in the brain.
Because they’re organically derived, natural sleep aid supplements have fewer side effects than their synthetic and chemical counterparts. Some of the most commonly-prescribed drugs for sleep disorders (e.g. triazolam, zaleplon, temazepam) have gained some notoriety over the years for the side effects they can produce, most notable of which include lack of coordination, vision loss and persistent sensations of intense tingling on the skin.
Natural sleep aids are often more affordable and accessible than over-the-counter drugs. This is primarily because they’re made from ingredients that can often be sourced at local farms, dispensaries or even grocery stores. And thanks to advances in technology and manufacturing, these products are now available to everyone at a fraction of the cost of prescription medications.
Natural sleep aids can be found online as well as at brick-and-mortar health shops, dispensaries or even grocery stores. It’s worth noting that the market is crowded with all kinds of products, and browsing can become quite overwhelming for newer shoppers. To close out the post, we list examples of safe and effective sleep aids that reliably provide relief for anything from restless legs syndrome to garden-variety insomnia.
⦁ Melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep. The body produces melatonin naturally, and it is available as a supplement. Melatonin supplements can help people who have difficulty sleeping due to shift work, jet lag, or other reasons.
⦁ Herbal Supplements: There are a number of different herbs that can be taken in supplement form to help promote better sleep. Some of the most commonly used sleep-promoting herbs include valerian, chamomile, and lemon balm.
⦁ Essential Oils: Certain essential oils can be used to treat sleep disorders, thanks to their large concentration of soporific terpenes like linalool. Some of the most effective essential oils for sleep include:
Lavender oil is one of the most popular and effective essential oils for sleep. It is known for its calming and relaxing properties, which can help to promote restful sleep.
Bergamot oil is another popular essential oil for sleep. It has a refreshing, citrusy scent that can help to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
Ylang-ylang oil is an exotic, floral-scented essential oil that is known for its calming and sedative properties. It can help to promote restful sleep.
⦁ Plant Extracts: Select plant extracts provide a comprehensive, multi-component approach to relieving sleep dysfunction. Passiflora extract, for instance, has been used for centuries to treat insomnia and other sleep problems. The active ingredients in passiflora extract include flavonoids, alkaloids, and saponins. These compounds work together to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.
There are non-prescription alternatives to melatonin, though many of them are not as scientifically proven to be effective as melatonin has been.