There are usually three main reason when a potential client comes to see me: stress, weight loss or lack of sleep. Not surprisingly the three are linked because if you weren’t sleeping it was most likely due to stress (and you probably had a weight problem).
At least a third of Canadians over the age of 15 years old have either trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. That translates to approximately 12 million Canadians which is why I’m sharing my go-to list of top 5 natural supplements for better sleep.
The reason why I left melatonin off this list.
People are probably most familiar with melatonin. Our bodies naturally produce this hormone when it’s time to fall asleep. But taking this supplement doesn’t always work – mostly since half the time the sleep issue isn’t fall asleep but staying asleep.
Taking melatonin for short periods of time – especially during travel and jeg leg can be beneficial but you don’t want to make this a long-term habit. You will also find supplementing with melatonin right before bed during periods of stress in your life isn’t really effective. Instead you may want to consider these top 5 natural supplements for better sleep.
Magnesium – probably the most essential mineral to a human being’s diet. Magnesium is found in leafy green, nuts and pure dark chocolate (my personal fav). It is the “chillout” mineral because it helps your body and brain relax.
Insomnia and feeling restless at night are a common signs of a magnesium deficiency. Got restless leg syndrome? You gotta consider adding this supplement to your nighttime routine.
Magnesium and GABA are BFFs (best friends forever – because they support one another). Maintaining healthy magnesium levels often leads to deeper, more sound sleep. Magnesium maintains a healthy level of GABA which supports a deeper and more restorative sleep. More magnesium = increase GABA production.
GABA which is short for Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (please don’t ask me how to pronounce this) is a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. Low levels of GABA can prevent the body and mind from relaxing. So supplementing with GABA can help you sleep more soundly at night with minimal interruptions.
It’s pronoun exactly as it sounds (ash-wa-gand-ha). Ashwagandha – is a powerful adaptogen that has been used in India for 5,000 years. Have trouble staying asleep at night? Do you often find yourself waking up in the middle of the night and you cannot fall back asleep because your mind is racing? I coined this “midnight insomnia”‘.
What is most likely happening is your adrenal glands have released the hormone cortisol making it very difficult to fall back asleep. This is where ashwagandha comes in. This adaptogen helps your body handle stress and changing environments. Reach for it during periods of stress in your life – like planning a wedding, moving homes and caring for a terminally sick family member will help you get a more sound sleep. It has so many benefits but in terms of sleep, but it’s also known to help stabilize blood sugar and lower cholesterol. You can read more about it here.
Ashwagandha is a perimenopausal or menopausal women best friend.
If you are waking up in the middle of the night with hot flashes. During periods of internal stress such as a massive shift in the body’s hormonal level, consider adding this herb to your routine.
L-theanine is an amino acid found in tea leaves as well as some mushrooms. I definitely noticed an increase in recommendations for this product by health care practitioners to their clients. Several studies have suggested that L-theanine could help people relax before bedtime, get to sleep more easily, and sleep more deeply.
At the same time it is increasing chemicals that promote feelings of calm, L-theanine also reduces levels of chemicals in the brain that are linked to stress and anxiety. This may also be a way that L-theanine can protect brain cells against stress and age-related damage.
L-theanine is non-drowsy which means you can take it during the day to help you relax and relieve anxiety without falling asleep. However, when taken at bedtime it can help you get to sleep more easily.
5. Lavender Essential Oil
Try diffusing a little lavender essential oil your room when it’s bedtime to help your body relax and unwind. Making this a daily habit will overtime signal to your brain it’s bedtime automatically. There has been numerous studies showing that lavender increased slow-wave sleep which is the deep sleep in which the heartbeat slows and muscles relax. During this phase, the brain is thought to organize memory, as well.
My ultimate favourite lavender blend is called Serenity from Doterra and you can learn more about it here.
All of these top 5 natural supplements for better sleep are readily available online or at your local health store and are relatively inexpensive.