Sleep is certainly one of my all time favorite activities! However, I often suffer from poor sleep and/or lack of sleep, just like many of my clients. Before reading on, be sure to check out part I of this sleep hygiene series where I will walk you through my Good-Sleep-Hygiene checklist. The checklist reviews all of the lifestyle changes you can consider incorporating to help improve your sleep. Now, if you still struggle with sleep, here are some additional hacks to try out:
Remedies to Support Sleep:
0.3-5mg, immediate or sustained release formulasTake tablet 30-60 minutes before bedtimeRegulates your body’s clock (circadian rhythm). Consider using when traveling or when you are adjusting to changes in your sleep/wake schedule.
|Remedy||Dose||How to Take||Why it works|
|2. Lemon balm||80mg extract in combination with 160mg valerian root extract||Take 2-3 times per day||Produces a calming and sedative effect that helps to improve the quality and quantity of sleep|
|3. Chamomile||Tea||Per label instructions||Mild hypnotic and sedative effect and improves time to sleep onset|
|4. Valerian root||400-900mg||Take 30min to 2 hours before bedtime||Reduces time to sleep onset and improves subjective quality of sleep. Best if used by those who have trouble falling asleep. Long term use (over 6 weeks) is not advised.|
|5. Lavender||Essential oil aromatherapy||Use lavender oil in a vaporizer overnight||Seems to induce relaxation and sedation|
|6. Passionflower||Tea||Drink tea 1 hour before bedtime||Improves measures of sleep quality as it has a sedative, hypnotic, and analgesic effects|
|7. Magnesium||200-1000 mg/day||Taking a hot bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) allows absorption through the skin. Or, take magnesium glycinate capsules.||Regulates your body’s clock (circadian rhythm), promotes relaxation|
|8. 100% Tart Cherry juice||2, 8-ounce servings||Drink one cup in the morning and one cup 1-2 hours before bedtime||Naturally contains melatonin and tryptophan, which help regulate and induce sleep|
|10. L-Tryptophan||1 g||Take 30-60 minutes before bed||Raises level of serotonin which promotes relaxation. Do not take if you are taking antidepressants.|
|11. 5-HTP||50-100 mg||Take 30-60 minutes before bed with a carbohydrate like fruit||Treats insomnia associated with depression. Do not take if you are taking antidepressants.|
|12. L-Theanine||100 -200 mg, Suntheanine||Take 30-60 minutes before bed||Seems to relieve anxiety and cause relaxation|
Talk to your doctor before starting any herbal remedies to improve sleep as they may interact with some medications. Lastly, remember that no amount of supplement can override poor sleep hygiene. So, make sure to work on modifying sleep related behaviors before starting a supplement regimen.
Jonathan Prousky, N. M. (2012). Integrative Clinical Nutrition. Toronto: CCNM Press Inc.
LifeExtension. (2013). Disease Prevention and Treatment, 5th edition. Life Extension Media .
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. (2014, April 28). Retrieved from Natural Medicines in the Clinical Management of Insomnia: http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/ce/CECourse.aspx?cs=CEPDA~MBR&pm=5&s=nd&pc=11-101&searchid=46283749#keywordanchor