Whether your mind is racing or you aren’t able to stay asleep, your health may be suffering from lack of sleep. As a nutritionist, this is one of the most common concerns I am approached with. Sleep issues are so common that the CDC has declared lack of sleep a public health problem. Beyond mental health and behavioural changes, there are several supplements I use to battle sleep issues. The root of every sleeping problem is different and every treatment must match the individual’s needs. Read on to find out what might work best for your situation.
1 . Melatonin
Melatonin is the hormone that your body naturally produces in response to darkness. It’s production signals to your body that it’s time to sleep. The effectiveness of melatonin is quite hit or miss; either it works fantastically or it has little to no effect. In my opinion, it is a good place to start when diving into working with a sleep problem. Use a liquid melatonin supplement and administer 3mg before bed time. It’s great for regulating sleep patterns and can be used to reduce jet lag or help people who do shift work. If you know that your issues are rooted in stress and an inability to “turn off”, read on.
2 . Magnesium
An alarming number of people are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium acts within the central nervous system to calm the mind and body. It regulates the production of melatonin and binds to GABA receptors in the brain. GABA is the neurotransmitter responsible for calming nerve activity. By reducing the activity of the nervous system, magnesium puts your mind and body into a state of relaxation. Natural Calm is a powdered magnesium that is activated into it’s ionic form when you add hot water. Add 1 tsp to a small amount of hot water and allow the mixture to fizz up. Top with more hot water and sip 30 min to 1 hour before bed. It has a great flavour and is also available in a kids formula.
3 . Ashwagandha Root
If stress is at the root of your sleep problems, ashwagandha might be the answer for you. Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that has been shown to control and limit cortisol production. Elevated cortisol levels has a clear connection to sleep disturbance. Cortisol naturally lowers in the evening to prepare for sleep but stress can cause cortisol levels to stay elevated. Ashwagandha keeps the body in a prime position for sleep by keeping cortisol levels at bay. Ashwagandha also helps to control uneven blood sugar levels, which also directly affects sleep.
4 . Sleep + Time Release
This formula is for people whose issues lay with falling asleep and then waking up in the night. Passionflower is a herb known for it’s powerful relaxation properties. It promotes a calm, relaxed mind and reduces stress and anxiety. If you lay awake at night thinking about the stressors in your life, passionflower is for you. The passionflower begins working right away. A time released melatonin ensures a peak release ~3 hours after the pill is taken, helping to keep you asleep until morning.
5 . Ortho Sleep
Ortho-sleep contains many of the active compounds we have already talked about, and then some. It is a very comprehensive formula that combines herbs and natural hormones to help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed. The only issue I have with this formula is that it combines so many sleep remedies that you don’t know what exactly is helping. I would recommend this if sleep problems arise sporadically and in response to stressful situations as opposed to as a chronic issue. If this sounds like you, this formula is an excellent option to help you get a great sleep.
If you are experiencing sleep problems, contact a holistic practitioner in your area who can assess your medical history and create a personalized treatment plan. Sweet dreams!
Last modified: September 14, 2017