Your Guide to Natural Sleep Aids in 2021

I’ve always found wellness regimes interesting. I’ve gone down the rabbit holes of information about herbs, teas, plants, and natural remedies that might be my next go-to well-being enhancer. When I jumped into the world of CBD and cannabinoids, I could tell things were changing. Because people are changing. More than ever, they’re looking for the best sleep aid for their particular lifestyle and, once they start asking questions, they discover that the world of wellness is saturated with info, products, and promises.

The past few years have proved two things. One, customers are clamoring to find the right solutions to combat sleeplessness, anxiety and sluggishness. And two, the world of natural wellness isn’t going anywhere.

I wrote this guide to be a valuable resource for people, like me, who want to cut through all the info quickly when deciding to buy sleep aids over the counter (or online).

Common Sleep Problems

People with trouble sleeping are always looking for information on how to treat insomnia. It’s not always an obvious answer since the root causes of not being able to achieve REM sleep aren’t obvious.

Transient Insomnia usually follows a stressful event, being overworked, or suffering from jetlag, among many other possible reasons. If you have intermittent difficulty winding down after the day, your sleep is interrupted, and you feel unrested after a few days to a few weeks, you may fall into this category.

Chronic Insomnia is categorized as a more long-term difficulty with a lack of restorative sleep. Even if it’s intermittent, if you’re not sleeping well for at least one month, you could be suffering from chronic intermittent insomnia.

Restless Leg Syndrome is a sleep disorder that causes a person to have an irresistible urge to move their legs. RLS causes an uncomfortable, sometimes painful tingling in your lower extremities, making it difficult to fall asleep and staying asleep.

Sleep Apnea is characterized by the interruption of a person’s breathing during sleep. They can be obstructive or central and can be potentially serious if untreated. In most cases, it causes a lack of restful sleep due to frequent wake ups.

Negative Effects of Poor Sleep

Poor concentration: When you’re overly tired, it’s hard to think about anything else right? Lack of sleep can cause sluggishness, low energy, the reduced ability to either make decisions and undertake creative tasks.

Mood Changes: Moodiness is probably one of the most well-known symptoms of not sleeping well. People with chronic insomnia are prone to mood swings, are more emotional and quicker to anger.

Increased Blood Pressure: Sleeping less than 5 hours a night can cause increased blood pressure, which can lead to serious health complications if it’s left unchecked.

Weakened Immune System:Sleep is also directly linked to your immune system, so if you’re consistently sleeping less than 7 hours per night, it takes a toll on your immune response which leaves you susceptible to viral infections.

Weight Gain and Digestive Problems: Sleep helps regulate leptin, the hormone that tells your brain you’re full, and ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates your appetite. Without sleep, your leptin levels lower and ghrelin levels rise, causing you to snack.

Practicing Sleep Hygiene

Because it can’t all be about the quick fixes of sleep aid products, wouldn’t want to make things too easy, right?

So what is sleep hygiene?

In short, it’s the practice of a lifestyle that promotes restful sleep. There are lots of different things you can do to get to sleep naturally, so it’s not an all or nothing situation.

Stick to a schedule: I know that Covid has thrown us all a curveball and our more sedentary life can cause some problems waking up and going to sleep at the same time. But we’re creatures of habit, and programming our bodies to rise and rest at certain times makes it easier for us to do so.

Don’t have caffeine afternoon: This one is tough for me because I love me some coffee. But it makes sense, if we’re too amped to come down in preparation for your bedtime, you might have increased trouble getting some Zs. So it’s safe to say that one of the best sleep aids is moderating your stimulants.

Avoid Napping and/or over napping: Naps can severely throw off your sleep schedule. What’s worse, your body will end up getting used to its nap time, so you’ll consistently have problems falling asleep at night.

Turn off your screens: Computers and phones take up a huge amount of our attention, so much so that’s it disrupting the times when our bodies and our minds should be powering down. All that stimulation needs to get phased out so you’re not so stimulated so close to bedtime.

Use soothing smells: One of the reasons I like usingmy sleep patches so much is that they have a relaxing lavender scent. So a good pro tip is to have a calming aroma in your bedrooms like a cream, oil or candle to help nurture healthy sleep habits.

A dark room is your friend: Close your bedroom door, get some blackout curtains and again, turn off that phone. A dark room sends a clear message to your brain that it’s time to sleep, so make sure your room is the perfect dimly-lit venue to drift off.

Natural Remedies for Sleep

Let’s get to the good stuff! These compounds are natural sleep aids known for their ability to make you drowsy, regulate your body and help you get some rest. People across the world use plants and herbs for sleep, so let’s break them down.

Melatonin

Melatonin for sleep is a widely popular sleep aid since it’s a hormone that’s naturally produced in the body. Synthetic melatonin is sold as a sleep aid over the counter to help people who may need help falling asleep. The interesting thing is that the hormone doesn’t make you fall asleep, it just signals the body that it’s time to sleep by reducing your core temperature.

With that in mind, you should be mindful of your dosage, since using melatonin for sleep won’t be as effective if you’re sleeping habits don’t include the low stimulus and dark rooms that tell your body it’s time to go to bed.

Valerian Root

Valerian root is a natural sleep aid that’s known as nature’s valium, and for good reason. It acts as a sedative by easing anxiety and relaxing your mind to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Particular research has found that valerian root has a positive effect on symptoms of restless leg syndrome.

Valerian has no known side effects and is remarkably safe to use every day. The fact that it’s a plant has made it a popular choice for many lifestyles looking to purchase a sleep aid over the counter that isn’t synthetic.

Lavender

The lavender plant is widely used in many circles as a soothing herb that stimulates feelings of relaxation. It’s why lavender-scented products dominate the market as the scent of choice for essential oils, bubble baths, natural sleep aids, and topical creams.

Studies on this pacifying plant have shown that it’s an effective anxiolytic that increases feelings of relaxation, soothes the nervous system, an antibacterial, and even as an analgesic.

Lavender can disrupt how hormones work in the body, so consult a physician to make sure using lavender for sleep is right for you.

Magnesium

Using magnesium for sleep has gained a lot of popularity over the years for its ability to regulate melatonin receptors and help you fall asleep. As one of the most common minerals on the planet, selling magnesium to customers has been quite easy, since our body uses it anyway.

The Best Sleep Aid Products

Now that we know our natural sleep aids better, we can start talking about the best ways to introduce them into your system. From teas and pills to sleep patches, we’ll explore the most popular ways to get natural sleep remedies to work best for you.

Pills

The most predominant way to introduce anything into your body is pills. If you think of purchasing pain relief, vitamins and sleep aids over the counter, they’re most certainly available in tablet form. Although they’re convenient and effective, they come with many documented problems such as poor dose control, stomach pain, and diarrhea.

Teas

Sleepytime and chamomile teas are famously the choice of many people who struggle to fall asleep. Herbal teas can be a great source of vitamins and antioxidants, depending on what kind of tea you brew. I love making tea, but it’s can be a bit of a chore at times (I use loose tea), so if you’re trying to do it on the daily and you’re easily distracted, it might not be the best solution as your main sleep aid.

Patches

Sleep patch technology is made famous by the nicotine patch, and although the technology is very similar, it hasn’t broken into the wellness market too much. Sleep patches bypass the stomach by delivering active ingredients through the skin, which gives the benefit of controlled, slow-release vitamin absorption that can help you fall (and stay) asleep.Some vitamin patches use lavender, magnesium and melatonin for sleep, but they can be used in many ways. The biggest draws are ease of use since there’s nothing to prepare, you just stick it on and you’re done; but they’re a great way to give your stomach a break, too. Many people like the idea of not having to ingest more pills.

Oils

Passionflower and lavender essential oils are very popular as topical or even ingestible natural sleep aids. They’re convenient and their aroma alone is enough to relax people into a state of sleepiness. Oils are abundant and easy to purchase so they’re a pretty attractive alternative to pills. Just be wary of price points as cheaper products will use synthetics rather than real extracts that could cause adverse reactions. Also, always be aware of dosage since oils tend to have a high concentration of their active ingredient.


Overcoming Pill Culture

This section begs to be addressed because, as we still love in pill culture, new solutions are being made available that directly combat some of the larger problems with pills. If your current wellness ritual relies heavily on pills and powders, you understand what I mean. You seem to be constantly ingesting and digesting supplements between meals which is tedious and overwork your digestive system. There are also other concerns.

Problems with dosage control:

Whether people are impatient or think their body needs more supplementation, does control is a problem even if we’re not talking about pain killers and opioids. Even natural amino acids and hormones need to be regulated so they don’t cause chaos in your body’s inner workings.

What is the first-pass effect?

The first pass effect is the scientifically-proven phenomenon that occurs when you ingest a drug orally. By going through the stomach and the liver, the tablet’s bioavailability is reduced to a fraction of what it was due to the immense biotransformation it undergoes when it’s processed by your body. This means that your body isn’t absorbing the amount of the active ingredients of oral drugs that you think it is.  


Does Transdermal Sleep Aid Work?  

 Much like the birth control and nicotine patch, vitamin patches deliver their active ingredients through the skin. And much like birth control’s 99% effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, sleep patches can help deliver sleep-inducing hormones and nutrients to give you an amazing night’s sleep.

It’s not a new technology but it’s pretty new in the field of general well-being, so it naturally comes with its skepticism, but the technology has been in use for years and has yielded positive results. In the case of using a sleep patch, many have found it effective because it’s so simple to use, delivers active ingredients without having to ingest pills, and some are evenlavender-scented to help ease you into a restful sleep.


Conclusion

When it comes to having a restful sleep, there is a lot to consider. The most important thing you can do for your overall well-being and your sleep is to eat right, exercise, ease up on the caffeine and practice sleep hygiene methods to help your body and your mind ease into a sleep routine.

As always, everyone is different, so I urge you to do your research and consult professionals if you’re unsure what sleep aid regime is right for you.

Your Guide to Natural Sleep Aids in 2021

I’ve always found wellness regimes interesting. I’ve gone down the rabbit holes of information about herbs, teas, plants, and natural remedies that might be my next go-to well-being enhancer. When I jumped into the world of CBD and cannabinoids, I could tell things were changing. Because people are changing. More than ever, they’re looking for the best sleep aid for their particular lifestyle and, once they start asking questions, they discover that the world of wellness is saturated with info, products, and promises.

The past few years have proved two things. One, customers are clamoring to find the right solutions to combat sleeplessness, anxiety and sluggishness. And two, the world of natural wellness isn’t going anywhere.

I wrote this guide to be a valuable resource for people, like me, who want to cut through all the info quickly when deciding to buy sleep aids over the counter (or online).

Common Sleep Problems

People with trouble sleeping are always looking for information on how to treat insomnia. It’s not always an obvious answer since the root causes of not being able to achieve REM sleep aren’t obvious.

Transient Insomnia usually follows a stressful event, being overworked, or suffering from jetlag, among many other possible reasons. If you have intermittent difficulty winding down after the day, your sleep is interrupted, and you feel unrested after a few days to a few weeks, you may fall into this category.

Chronic Insomnia is categorized as a more long-term difficulty with a lack of restorative sleep. Even if it’s intermittent, if you’re not sleeping well for at least one month, you could be suffering from chronic intermittent insomnia.

Restless Leg Syndrome is a sleep disorder that causes a person to have an irresistible urge to move their legs. RLS causes an uncomfortable, sometimes painful tingling in your lower extremities, making it difficult to fall asleep and staying asleep.

Sleep Apnea is characterized by the interruption of a person’s breathing during sleep. They can be obstructive or central and can be potentially serious if untreated. In most cases, it causes a lack of restful sleep due to frequent wake ups.


Negative Effects of Poor Sleep

Poor concentration: When you’re overly tired, it’s hard to think about anything else right? Lack of sleep can cause sluggishness, low energy, the reduced ability to either make decisions and undertake creative tasks.

Mood Changes: Moodiness is probably one of the most well-known symptoms of not sleeping well. People with chronic insomnia are prone to mood swings, are more emotional and quicker to anger.

Increased Blood Pressure: Sleeping less than 5 hours a night can cause increased blood pressure, which can lead to serious health complications if it’s left unchecked.

Weakened Immune System:Sleep is also directly linked to your immune system, so if you’re consistently sleeping less than 7 hours per night, it takes a toll on your immune response which leaves you susceptible to viral infections.

Weight Gain and Digestive Problems: Sleep helps regulate leptin, the hormone that tells your brain you’re full, and ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates your appetite. Without sleep, your leptin levels lower and ghrelin levels rise, causing you to snack.

Practicing Sleep Hygiene

Because it can’t all be about the quick fixes of sleep aid products, wouldn’t want to make things too easy, right?

So what is sleep hygiene?

In short, it’s the practice of a lifestyle that promotes restful sleep. There are lots of different things you can do to get to sleep naturally, so it’s not an all or nothing situation.

Stick to a schedule: I know that Covid has thrown us all a curveball and our more sedentary life can cause some problems waking up and going to sleep at the same time. But we’re creatures of habit, and programming our bodies to rise and rest at certain times makes it easier for us to do so.

Don’t have caffeine afternoon: This one is tough for me because I love me some coffee. But it makes sense, if we’re too amped to come down in preparation for your bedtime, you might have increased trouble getting some Zs. So it’s safe to say that one of the best sleep aids is moderating your stimulants.

Avoid Napping and/or over napping: Naps can severely throw off your sleep schedule. What’s worse, your body will end up getting used to its nap time, so you’ll consistently have problems falling asleep at night.

Turn off your screens: Computers and phones take up a huge amount of our attention, so much so that’s it disrupting the times when our bodies and our minds should be powering down. All that stimulation needs to get phased out so you’re not so stimulated so close to bedtime.

Use soothing smells: One of the reasons I like usingmy sleep patches so much is that they have a relaxing lavender scent. So a good pro tip is to have a calming aroma in your bedrooms like a cream, oil or candle to help nurture healthy sleep habits.

A dark room is your friend: Close your bedroom door, get some blackout curtains and again, turn off that phone. A dark room sends a clear message to your brain that it’s time to sleep, so make sure your room is the perfect dimly-lit venue to drift off.


Natural Remedies for Sleep

Let’s get to the good stuff! These compounds are natural sleep aids known for their ability to make you drowsy, regulate your body and help you get some rest. People across the world use plants and herbs for sleep, so let’s break them down.

Melatonin

Melatonin for sleep is a widely popular sleep aid since it’s a hormone that’s naturally produced in the body. Synthetic melatonin is sold as a sleep aid over the counter to help people who may need help falling asleep. The interesting thing is that the hormone doesn’t make you fall asleep, it just signals the body that it’s time to sleep by reducing your core temperature.

With that in mind, you should be mindful of your dosage, since using melatonin for sleep won’t be as effective if you’re sleeping habits don’t include the low stimulus and dark rooms that tell your body it’s time to go to bed.

Valerian Root

Valerian root is a natural sleep aid that’s known as nature’s valium, and for good reason. It acts as a sedative by easing anxiety and relaxing your mind to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Particular research has found that valerian root has a positive effect on symptoms of restless leg syndrome.

Valerian has no known side effects and is remarkably safe to use every day. The fact that it’s a plant has made it a popular choice for many lifestyles looking to purchase a sleep aid over the counter that isn’t synthetic.

Lavender

The lavender plant is widely used in many circles as a soothing herb that stimulates feelings of relaxation. It’s why lavender-scented products dominate the market as the scent of choice for essential oils, bubble baths, natural sleep aids, and topical creams.

Studies on this pacifying plant have shown that it’s an effective anxiolytic that increases feelings of relaxation, soothes the nervous system, an antibacterial, and even as an analgesic.

Lavender can disrupt how hormones work in the body, so consult a physician to make sure using lavender for sleep is right for you.

Magnesium

Using magnesium for sleep has gained a lot of popularity over the years for its ability to regulate melatonin receptors and help you fall asleep. As one of the most common minerals on the planet, selling magnesium to customers has been quite easy, since our body uses it anyway.


The Best Sleep Aid Products

Now that we know our natural sleep aids better, we can start talking about the best ways to introduce them into your system. From teas and pills to sleep patches, we’ll explore the most popular ways to get natural sleep remedies to work best for you.

Pills

The most predominant way to introduce anything into your body is pills. If you think of purchasing pain relief, vitamins and sleep aids over the counter, they’re most certainly available in tablet form. Although they’re convenient and effective, they come with many documented problems such as poor dose control, stomach pain, and diarrhea.

Teas

Sleepytime and chamomile teas are famously the choice of many people who struggle to fall asleep. Herbal teas can be a great source of vitamins and antioxidants, depending on what kind of tea you brew. I love making tea, but it’s can be a bit of a chore at times (I use loose tea), so if you’re trying to do it on the daily and you’re easily distracted, it might not be the best solution as your main sleep aid.

Patches

Sleep patch technology is made famous by the nicotine patch, and although the technology is very similar, it hasn’t broken into the wellness market too much. Sleep patches bypass the stomach by delivering active ingredients through the skin, which gives the benefit of controlled, slow-release vitamin absorption that can help you fall (and stay) asleep.Some vitamin patches use lavender, magnesium and melatonin for sleep, but they can be used in many ways. The biggest draws are ease of use since there’s nothing to prepare, you just stick it on and you’re done; but they’re a great way to give your stomach a break, too. Many people like the idea of not having to ingest more pills.

Oils

Passionflower and lavender essential oils are very popular as topical or even ingestible natural sleep aids. They’re convenient and their aroma alone is enough to relax people into a state of sleepiness. Oils are abundant and easy to purchase so they’re a pretty attractive alternative to pills. Just be wary of price points as cheaper products will use synthetics rather than real extracts that could cause adverse reactions. Also, always be aware of dosage since oils tend to have a high concentration of their active ingredient.

Overcoming Pill Culture

This section begs to be addressed because, as we still love in pill culture, new solutions are being made available that directly combat some of the larger problems with pills. If your current wellness ritual relies heavily on pills and powders, you understand what I mean. You seem to be constantly ingesting and digesting supplements between meals which is tedious and overwork your digestive system. There are also other concerns.

Problems with dosage control:

Whether people are impatient or think their body needs more supplementation, does control is a problem even if we’re not talking about pain killers and opioids. Even natural amino acids and hormones need to be regulated so they don’t cause chaos in your body’s inner workings.

What is the first-pass effect?

The first pass effect is the scientifically-proven phenomenon that occurs when you ingest a drug orally. By going through the stomach and the liver, the tablet’s bioavailability is reduced to a fraction of what it was due to the immense biotransformation it undergoes when it’s processed by your body. This means that your body isn’t absorbing the amount of the active ingredients of oral drugs that you think it is.  


Does Transdermal Sleep Aid Work?  

 Much like the birth control and nicotine patch, vitamin patches deliver their active ingredients through the skin. And much like birth control’s 99% effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, sleep patches can help deliver sleep-inducing hormones and nutrients to give you an amazing night’s sleep.

It’s not a new technology but it’s pretty new in the field of general well-being, so it naturally comes with its skepticism, but the technology has been in use for years and has yielded positive results. In the case of using a sleep patch, many have found it effective because it’s so simple to use, delivers active ingredients without having to ingest pills, and some are evenlavender-scented to help ease you into a restful sleep.

Conclusion

When it comes to having a restful sleep, there is a lot to consider. The most important thing you can do for your overall well-being and your sleep is to eat right, exercise, ease up on the caffeine and practice sleep hygiene methods to help your body and your mind ease into a sleep routine.

As always, everyone is different, so I urge you to do your research and consult professionals if you’re unsure what sleep aid regime is right for you.

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