natural sleep aid

The 5 Best Natural Sleep Aid Supplements

March 13, 2018 Published by

Medical professionals recommend that we need to get about eight hours sleep each night. Kinda crazy to think that 1/3rd of the day is meant to be spent asleep. Just imagine, if you live to be 90 years old you will have slept 30 of those years.

That probably sounds kind of disconcerting; 30 whole years doing nothing but laying in bed with your eyes closed.

The reality is if you do not take those 30 years to rest and recuperate you will never make it to 90 anyway. Bounties of clinical research draw a sharp correlation between sleep deprivation and disease, persistent illnesses, weight problems, stress and anxiety, diabetes, oxidative stress, muscle atrophy (shrinkage), and even sudden death. Yes, being chronically sleep deprived can literally kill you.

In this article, we’re going to divulge the drastic effect poor sleep habits have on your body composition. We will also detail the top five sleep aid supplements that you can use to enhance the length and quality of your sleep.

How Much Sleep is Best Per Night?

It appears that while sleep length is crucial, quality is even more important.

For example, in a recent research study, subjects that got fewer than six hours of sleep per night had a 250% higher gain in visceral body fat (potentially harmful internal fat tissue) than those who got between 6-8 hours.

Curiously though, individuals who slept longer than eight hours per night likewise had nearly a 170% higher gain in visceral body fat than those who slept between 6-8 hours. Basically, you don’t want to sleep too long nor too short (assuming you get quality, deep sleep).

With the plethora of sleep-tracking gadgets being used around the world today, there has never been a better time to be meticulous about your sleep habits. Be methodical about tracking your sleep length and quality so you can assess what works best for you.

5 Best Natural Ingredients to Help You Sleep

Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in your brain; it controls your internal body clock to induce drowsiness. The body produces melatonin by metabolizing the neurotransmitter serotonin. Melatonin secretion is also modulated by the hormone/neurotransmitter norepinephrine.

Direct exposure to light environments (such as daytime sunlight) blocks melatonin synthesis by impeding the release of norepinephrine, whereas direct exposure to dark environments does the opposite.

Therefore, it is simpler for individuals to go to sleep when it’s dark outside rather than daylight. This is why routine body clocks are important for appropriate melatonin production and a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Graveyard shift employees might have a hard time staying asleep for more than a couple hours daily; their body is basically on an inverted schedule in regards to the circadian clock.

There are a host of advantages from supplementing with melatonin, thanks to its potential for correcting irregular sleep patterns; when body clocks and sleep patterns are erratic, a multiplicity of illnesses become more likely.

For that reason, people with sleeping maladies like insomnia, and those that work the graveyard shift and/or get jet lag from taking a trip, should definitely consider using supplemental melatonin.

Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant with immune-enhancing properties. Antioxidants are compounds that decrease oxidative stress caused by reactive oxygen substances in the body; in turn, they are key for health and longevity.

Melatonin is also non-habit forming; interestingly, some data contends that melatonin can be taken throughout the day to treat stress and enact other therapeutic benefits.

Overall, the main benefits of melatonin include:

  • Supports healthy sleep-wake cycles and circadian rhythms
  • Enhances glutathione production and immune function
  • Encourages healthy hormone production
  • Helps treat sleep disorders and jet lag
  • Increases relaxation and calmness

L-Theanine

L-theanine is a natural non-dietary amino acid present in green tea leaves. This amino acid can enhance your mood and sleep by increasing alpha-brainwave production. Unfortunately, drinking green tea will only give you nominal amounts of L-theanine; it is best to supplement with an efficacious dose by taking ZEN PM before bedtime.

5-HTP

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a metabolite of the essential amino acid L-tryptophan; it is ultimately necessary for your body to manufacture the “feel good” neurotransmitter serotonin (which induces calmness). 5-HTP is readily extracted from the plant species Griffonia simplicifolia. Research suggests that taking 5-HTP about one hour prior to bedtime can increase the total time spent asleep and reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. It also appears to be a strong appetite suppressant.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxal phosphate) is an essential micronutrient that works in conjunction with 5-HTP to help your body make key neurotransmitters that are necessary for enhancing your mood and ability to sleep (especially serotonin and melatonin). Some sleep supplements, like ZEN PM, contain melatonin along with vitamin B6 as they work synergistically to convert the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate to the calming neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

Bioavailable Magnesium

Of all the minerals, magnesium is ostensibly the one most humans are deficient in. Magnesium is an imperative cofactor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. Lacking nominal amounts of magnesium in your body can lead to deleterious health conditions, including depression, insomnia, fatigue, and poor bone health.

Thus, supplementing with a highly bioavailable form of magnesium will help encourage bone mineralization, muscle building, physical performance, nerve impulse transmission, and sleep quality.

The best magnesium supplements come in the magnesium citrate (or magnesium chelated to amino acids). Be wary as many magnesium supplements contain the rather worthless form of magnesium (magnesium oxide) which has very low bioavailability (roughly only 2% of magnesium oxide you ingest is useful to your body).2  

Key Takeaways

  • Sleep length is important but less so than sleep quality
  • Aim for between 7-8 hours of sleep per night
  • A premium sleep aid supplement will contain proper doses of the five ingredients covered herein
  • We recommend taking ZEN PM Sleep Aid each night, roughly 30-45 minutes prior to bedtime

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Elliot Reimers

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