Natural Sleeping Aids: How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Enough sleep is one of the things that can nourish one’s health. It can make your brain and body function properly. A good night’s sleep is the key to improve memory, learning, creativity, and decision-making.

When losing sleep, you’re welcoming obesity, heart disease, and diabetes into your system. Getting enough sleep should be one of your habits and practices. Unfortunately, some people can’t manage to do it. Luckily, certain natural sleeping aids can help improve your sleep.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How effective is melatonin for sleep? 

Your body produces melatonin, a hormone that notifies your body that it’s time to go to sleep. The cycle of production and release of this hormone varies. The level heightens in the evening and drops in the morning.

Due to this fact, the melatonin supplement was made as a sleeping aid. It’s widely popular and most people use it to combat jet lag. Several studies have proven that melatonin supplement enhances quality and duration of daytime sleep. Therefore, individuals who have graveyard shifts are not the only ones that can benefit a lot from it. Those who suffer from sleeping disorders can as well. 

Another wonderful thing that this supplement can do is induce normal sleep latency. It means you don’t need to wait for a long time before you fall asleep. Thus, it prolongs your sleeping time. Only a few studies have results that don’t support this statement. Studies that approve of it let their participants take 3 to 10 mg of melatonin before going to bed. It’s also discovered that melatonin supplement are safe for use in both short term and long term.

Does valerian root really help you sleep? 

This is a herb native to both Asia and Europe. It can treat menopausal symptoms, anxiety, and depression. In North America and Europe, it’s deemed as the herbal supplement that promotes a good sleeping pattern. Studies agree with it.

Randomized tests were done among women who are in the menopausal and post-menopausal stages. After they took the Valerian root supplement, sleep quality improved and sleeping issues were eliminated. There are two older literature reviews that state that 300 to 900 mg of Valerian root taken before going to bed can improve the quality of sleep. 

However, objective factors during sleep such as heart rate and brain waves were not considered during these studies. Some studies even claimed that the results are trivial as it doesn’t do that much in correcting sleep latency.

Although the objective measurements are missing, adults can try the Valerian root supplement and see for themselves if it’s effective or not. It’s safe to use during pregnancy and lactation in both the short term and long term.

When should I take magnesium for sleep? 

Magnesium has a role to play in the human heart and brain. So, don’t be surprised that this mineral is present in hundreds of functions in your body. One of them is making both mind and body calm to induce sleep. Studies found out that magnesium can regulate melatonin. This is the main reason why it can deliver a relaxing effect. It has also shown the ability to relax muscles. 

The combination of magnesium, melatonin and vitamin B gave a significant discovery. It can treat insomnia from different causes. Magnesium also has the ability to increase levels of GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acids that help calm the brain. In addition, studies showed that insufficient magnesium in the body is related to insomnia and troubled sleep. So, it’s safe to say that by taking a magnesium supplement, you can boost the quality and quantity of your sleep. 

In a study, 46 participants had an intake of 500 mg of magnesium. Some of them had received a placebo. Everyone did it for 8 weeks. Individuals who belong to the magnesium group attested that they can get a good quality of sleep. They gained a higher level of melatonin and renin, hormones that control sleep. 

Another study was conducted to prove the efficacy of magnesium to bring on sleep with ease. However, 11.25 mg of zinc and 5 mg of melatonin were combined with every 225 mg of magnesium. Hence, the positive effect won’t only be credited to magnesium alone. 

The effects on people who have an adequate intake of magnesium from their diet are yet to be discovered. In any case, magnesium is known for its relaxing effect on the mind and body. This will not let you doubt its effects on enhancing sleep quality.

Does lavender help you sleep? 

The lavender plant inhabits every continent. It has pretty, lavender blooms that go through the drying process to be in various household uses. Numerous studies have come up with the result that sniffing on lavender oil can improve the quality of sleep. This result is mostly experienced by young people, females, and those with mild insomnia. 

There’s a study that involves individuals with dementia. After taking lavender aromatherapy, Only a few participants wake up too early and couldn’t go back to sleep. The same study was conducted on 221 people who are struggling with anxiety disorder. 80 mg of lavender oil supplements were given to one group and the other received a placebo. In a 10-week period, both groups started experiencing a boost in quality and duration of sleep. Neither group experienced any side effects.

Note that essential oils are specifically for aromatherapy and not for oral ingestion. Although it’s safe to ingest it, it may cause nausea and stomach problems in some people. Also, the number of studies regarding lavender as a sleep aid is limited. More studies are needed to prove its safety and efficiency.

Does passionflower help you sleep? 

Passionflower is commonly known as maypop. Its scientific name is Passiflora incarnata. It’s considered one of the home remedies for insomnia. The species that is used to end sleep deprivation is originally from North America. At the present, it’s cultivated in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. 

The sleep-promoting properties of this plant were discovered in animal studies. They were also tested on humans. They were given passionflower tea and some sort of placebo made out of parsley leaves. They drank the tea an hour before bedtime continuously for a week. Every tea bag was steeped for 10 minutes. On the part of researchers, they measured sleep quality in objective measurements.

After three weeks of study, they found that there’s no significant difference in sleep parameters that they set from passionflower tea compared to the placebo. Subjective findings were given a chance too. Participants claimed that there’s a 5% improvement in sleep quality after the intake of passionflower tea. It means that it’s much better than the effect of the placebo tea. 

The parameters that were utilized are the total sum of sleeping time, wake time after sleep onset, and sleep efficiency or the percentage of pure sleeping time without including the period of just lying on the bed. A study was conducted in 1998 to compare the effects of 1.2 g of passionflower, a placebo, and conventional sleeping pills. The researchers only found a small difference among these things. 

With the results of the previous studies, it’s an implication that more studies are essential to confirm the importance of passionflower in improving sleep. It seems that passionflower is more beneficial when drunk as tea or extract and not exactly as a supplement. The common thing that studies have come up with is the slight improvement in sleep quality after drinking passionflower tea. This sleep aid is completely safe in both short and long term use.

Does glycine make you sleepy? 

Glycine is an amino acid that affects the nervous system. It’s confirmed that this amino acid can lower the body temperature during bedtime. A study that took place in 2006 had participants who have trouble sleeping. Each of them took 3 grams of glycine or a placebo right before bedtime. The glycine group felt that fatigue was reduced the next day. Thus, clear-headedness, peppiness, and liveliness were captured. 

The same study was done in the following year, 2007. Aside from the 3 grams of glycine, heart rate, breathing, and brain waves during the sleeping time were also parts of observation. The participants who received glycine obtained better sleep than the placebo takers. They also said that it helped them sleep quicker.

Another study has shown that glycine also boosts the daytime performance of individuals who are temporarily deprived of sleep. These people had their sleep restricted for three days.

They either had 3g of glycine or 3g of placebo. The ones who took glycine felt an immense reduction of daytime sleepiness and fatigue. 

The remarkable effects of glycine are making a person fall asleep faster and enhance sleep quality to wake up refreshed. Glycine is available in pill and powder to be diluted in a glass of water. You also eat food that contains it, such as:

  • Animal products like meat, eggs, bone broth, fish, and poultry
  • Beans, cabbage, kale, and spinach
  • Fruits like kiwis and bananas

What can help me fall asleep? 

You’ll find an array of sleeping supplements in the market, but only some of them have scientific approval from studies. The following supplements have shown possibilities of providing a good quality sleep, but still need further investigation.

  • Tryptophan – This is a type of amino acid. A gram of this substance can make you sleep better. Moreover, it can help you fall asleep faster.
  • L-theanine – It’s another type of amino acid. The recommended daily dose is 400 mg. This as a supplement is your passage to better sleep quality and relaxation.
  • Gingko Biloba – Studies state that there are a lot of benefits from taking 240 mg of Ginkgo Biloba 30 or 60 minutes before bedtime. It doesn’t only promote good sleep, but also strengthens relaxation and reduces stress. The same study among animals has shown promising results.

What is the best over the counter sleep aid? 

Antihistamines like doxylamine succinate and diphenhydramine are the over-the-counter meds that you can use as sleeping supplements. They are not mainly for sleeping, but since they cause drowsiness, they can put you to sleep. 

Diphenhydramine is in Benadryl that is used as an allergy remedy. It’s also an ingredient of Unisom SleepMelts, Unisom SleepGels, and ZzzQuil. On the other hand, doxylamine succinate is found in Unisom Sleeptans which is also a sleeping aid.

The proof of the efficacy of these sleeping aids is inadequate. Not all experts agree they help in improving sleep. Some side effects can be experienced like dry mouth, dizziness, and confusion. Continuous use of these antihistamines can induce dementia later on. Don’t be dependent on them and just use them occasionally. It will be fine if you just use it for two weeks at a time. 

If you have high blood pressure, heart disease, and respiratory conditions, you ought to avoid these meds. It can make your heart rate higher or lead to the occurrence of tachycardia. Diphenhydramine is harmful to people with liver or kidney problems. They must not take this substance as they are prone to experience side effects. 

What happens if you take sleeping pills every day? 

You need guidance from doctors before buying and consuming any sleeping aid or over-the-counter drugs. Some medications can be blood thinners. It’s also helpful to tell your doctor if you have continuously had trouble falling asleep for 2 weeks.

Here’s a list of sleeping aids and their side effects:

  • Melatonin: headache, dizziness, and nausea
  • Valerian root: headache, nausea, heart palpitations, and diarrhoea
  • Magnesium: when taken in high dose, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea can happen
  • Lavender: indigestion and diarrhoea
  • Glycine: abdominal pain and soft stool on rare occasions
  • Passionflower: confusion and dizziness on rare occasions
  • Gingko Biloba: only mild and rare effects like rash, nausea, and headache
  • Tryptophan: dry mouth, mild nausea, dizziness, and tremor
  • L-theanine: side effects are not direct and confirmed after being taken alone; abdominal pain and diarrhoea can arise when taken with L-cystine.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should seek the advice of a doctor before taking any sleeping aid. Most of these supplements still need more studies to confirm their safety for everyone. Glycine, melatonin, and tryptophan are vital for fetal development. So, those who are pregnant and breastfeeding can use them. You also need to get the right dose from your doctor to avoid potential adverse effects. 

How do you fix poor sleep quality? 

Just like a healthy diet and regular exercise, enough sleep is essential for your health. Many people find it difficult to fall asleep easily, or they wake up in the middle of the night. Some may feel not rested when waking up in the morning. Before opting for a sleeping aid or supplement, you can practice a good sleeping habit first. If you fail, you have to see a doctor for the much-needed advice or prescription.

With ideal sleeping habits, the wonderful effects of the recommended aids will come to fruition. Take the right dose, so you can avoid potential side effects.