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Published on December 20, 2019

10 Best Natural Sleep Aids to Help You Feel Rested

10 Best Natural Sleep Aids to Help You Feel Rested

Changes in sleeping patterns, habits or lifestyle can negatively impact your health. Getting an adequate amount of restful sleep is necessary to live a happy and healthy life.

With so many people struggling to get a good night’s sleep, the sleep supplement business is flourishing. More and more people are coming and searching for natural sleep aids. So here we take a look at some of the best natural sleep aids proven to help you feel rested:

1. Magnesium

Magnesium is amongst the foremost common minerals on Earth and has been considered one of the simplest and natural sleep aids. It binds to neurotransmitter receptors to calm your mood, lower stress levels, and assist you to unwind for sleep.

Consuming sufficient amounts of magnesium maintains your sleep-wake cycle and ceases sleep problems.

2. 5-HTP

It is also known as L-5 hydroxytryptophan, and is a naturally-occurring chemical in your body.

Eating foods high in tryptophan such as nuts, seeds, tofu, beans and oats etc.[1] can help you feel sleepy fast and increase your overall sleep time. Once eaten, your body turns tryptophan into serotonin. Then, serotonin is converted into melatonin to help you fall asleep.

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5-HTP is the solution to making all of this happen, as it’s the primary chemical that transforms tryptophan to serotonin.

3. Jujube

The Jujube plant is loaded with nutrients and used as a natural remedy against gastrointestinal problems, boosts heart health, cuts back stress, and shields against harmful cancer cells.

And also, jujube berries contain two phytochemicals— saponins and flavonoids, which can help fight insomnia.

4. L- Theanine

It is a sleep-inducing amino acid found naturally in tea leaves. It increases serotonin, dopamine, and GABA levels, while decreasing levels of chemicals associated with stress and anxiety. Plus, this amino acid activates the release of alpha brain waves— these are present during REM sleep and promote relaxation.

5. Kava

Kava plant is used to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, stress and promote a state of relaxation. The kava plant contains compounds called kavalactones, which bind to different neurotransmitters, including GABA receptors, to decrease brain activity and cause you to feel sleepy.

6. Passion Flower

It is a most strong aid for alleviating symptoms of anxiety and inducing a sense of calmness to help you get better sleep. Like a lot of other natural remedies, we’ve discussed and recommended, passionflower works primarily by increasing GABA levels and decreasing brain activity.

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7. Valerian

It is a dietary supplement that has been used since ancient days for sleep disorders like insomnia and nervousness. Valerian root can help you better sleep by raising your gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, receptor levels. This neurotransmitter decreases neuron activity in the brain, quietens the central nervous system, and boosts drowsiness to help you sleep soundly.

8. Melatonin

It is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in the brain of the human body as well as in the animal body. It plays a leading role in regulating sleep and circadian rhythms.

The melatonin sold in over-the-counter pills are synthetic, but chemically it’s the same as the stuff the human body makes. It helps the certain problem to sleepers get to bed at night.

The natural production of melatonin is triggered by the absence of light, allowing this natural sleep aid to regulate the body’s internal clock, ensuring we are tired at night and mentally and physically alert during the day.

Research has also shown it can help battle inflammation, promote weight loss, and maybe even help children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

According to Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona, “melatonin is very safe if taken in normal doses,” which is something in between 0.5 mg and 5 mg.[2] According to him, a 0.5 mg dose may be all that’s needed for sleep-cycle regulation and should be taken three to five hours before bed. For people who want to take melatonin just before bed, a 5 mg dose is much suitable.

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If taken in high doses, or more frequently, people have reported headaches or stomach problems as a side effect. Other side effects include drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, mild tremor, irritability, low blood pressure, stomach cramps, and even temporary feelings of depression.

9. Glycine

Glycine is an amino acid that plays an essential role in the nervous system. Recent studies show it may also help improve and get better sleep. A study states that people suffering from poor sleep may take 3grams of glycine or a placebo immediately before bedtime.[3] This would make you feel less fatigued the next morning.

Glycine supplements also helped participants fall asleep faster.

10. Lavender

It is naturally soothing and hence plays an efficient role in relaxing your nervous system. Doctors have increasingly used lavender to help relieve the symptoms of and even treat certain neurological disorders.

The scent of lavender is instantly calming and relaxing— and it’s not uncommon to see lavender essential oils, shampoos, lotions, candles, and bedtime teas sold as a solution to restless nights.

Bonus: Ways to Fight Insomnia Naturally

Here’re some bonus natural sleep remedies to fight insomnia:[4]

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Sip Warm Milk and Honey

Winding down the day with a warm mug of milk and honey is one of the better natural sleep remedies. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the secret is in the combination of tryptophan, an amino acid known to induce sleep. Tryptophan increases the amount of serotonin, a hormone that works as a natural sedative, in the brain. Carbs, like honey, help transmit that hormone to your brain faster.

Turn off Artificial Lights

For those people who are suffering from insomnia, a peaceful, calm and relaxing environment is very crucial for uninterrupted slumber. So one of the most effective natural sleep remedies is removing electronics that having glowing screens such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops, etc. It is found that the blue light disturbs your circadian rhythms, making it difficult to fall asleep.

Take a Hot Bath

According to a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, women take a hot bath before bedtime fall asleep faster[5] and states the higher and good quality of sleep than women who simply go to bed.

Drink Herbal Tea

A study from Australia’s Monash University says that people who want to improve their nightly sleep quality, should start drinking one cup of passionflower tea before bed.[6] Similarly, a cup of chamomile before bed also has a relaxing effect on the brain. Another herbal solution, Valerian tea, a dietary supplement used for insomnia and nervousness, can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and produces a deep, satisfying rest and reduced nighttime awakenings.

Manage Stress with Exercise

Try natural sleep remedies like yoga, meditation or writing a journal before bed if anxiety or stress is keeping you up at night. It helps to reduce stress, feel calmer and relaxes your mind and body, helping you sleep faster and better.

Read a Book/Novel

As per a study conducted in 2009 by researchers at the University of Sussex, reading before you go to bed can help you cope with insomnia.[7] The study showed that 6-7minutes of reading reduces stress by 68%. This helps clear the mind and prepare the body for sleep.

A sleeping disorder like insomnia is among the most disrupting of rest and sleep conditions, and following the above mentioned aids and tips can certainly help you manage your sleep better.

More to Help You Sleep Better

Featured photo credit: Joanna Nix via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Bijal Panchal

Brand Planning: Managing Sleep Diagnostic, Sleep Therapy & Reusable Mask Portfolio

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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