We all have difficulty falling asleep from time to time. For many of us – the lucky ones – these periods of sleeplessness are short-lived, and go away quickly when they occur.
But, as studies have shown, up to two-thirds of Brits experience longer periods of sleep problems, ranging from difficulty falling asleep to waking up during the night and being unable to get back to sleep.
In some cases – again, for the lucky ones – these periods of sleeplessness can be corrected by developing a healthier sleep routine that includes:
- Exercising at least 10 minutes a day
- Avoiding caffeine, stimulants, and bright light sources before bedtime
- Limiting daytime napping to a maximum of 30 minutes a day
- Avoiding large meals and hard-to-digest fatty or fried foods before bedtime
What about the rest of us? Can herbal sleeping tablets really help us sleep better?
Yes. Effective natural sleep remedies do exist. And yes, they can be just as effective as prescription sleeping pills or over-the-counter sleep aids, and without the side effects those medications can come with. In this article, we provide information about herbal sleep products that can help you get the sleep you need.
Natural, herbal remedies to treat insomnia, sleeplessness and anxiety
Herbal sleep aids have been around as long as there have been people tossing and turning and trying to find a way to fall asleep.
Chamomile, an herb with proven sedative properties, has been documented to have been used as a sleep aid for hundreds of years in Europe and South America, and Valerian root has been used as a sleep aid for over a thousand years.
In this article we'll present some of the evidence that supports the use of these and other herbal products used in natural sleeping pills.
Prescription sleep medication vs. natural sleep medication
Let's start with an important fact. Sleep aids – whether prescription, over-the-counter, or all-natural supplements – are not intended for long-term use. They're intended to help people who have fallen into unhealthy or dysfunctional patterns of sleep "reboot" and establish a healthy nightly sleep routine that works on its own, so effectively that you can stop taking them.
That said, insomnia is terrible in itself, and the symptoms of the sleep deprivation it causes are often worse. If you find yourself experiencing such a period of sleeplessness, understandably, all you want to do is make it stop, so you can get some rest.
'Pros' and 'cons' of sleep medications
Prescription medications work to help you fall asleep. So do many of the best over-the-counter sleep aids. That's a big check in the 'Pros' column, so these medications can be a real blessing to someone who has been stuck in a cycle of sleeplessness for some time.
At the same time, these medications often have serious side effects, including the risk of dependence, and possible withdrawal symptoms when you stop using them.
Zopiclone, the UK's most popular sleeping pill, for example, should only be taken a maximum of 2-4 weeks. After that time, it stops having the same effects and is likely to become habit-forming. In this case, people end up taking higher and higher doses which leads to sleeping too deeply and suffering excessive sleepiness the next day.
Even some natural, herbal sleeping tablets have 'Cons'
At the same time, some of the most popular natural sleeping pills have some potential drawbacks as well.
Valerian root or its extracts are used by a number of people as an herbal sleep aid, and many find it effective. But just because it's natural doesn't mean that it's free from side effects. If it is not blended properly with a number of other ingredients to balance it, valerian root can cause headaches, impaired thinking, dizziness, irritability, and upset stomach.
Here at Utmost Me, we create all-natural sleep supplements that are as free from negative side effects as it's possible to achieve. Our product, Neuro Rest has been developed by a doctor, bioscientist and expert nutritionist. So in the following sections we'll share with you a few of our own findings in the search to find effective, safe herbal sleeping tablets and the ingredients we recommend to look for.
What it takes to make herbal sleeping tablets that work
First, our experience shows us that you have to start with the best ingredients you can find. Use only the purest, all-natural ingredients available.
Second, these herbs, minerals, vitamins, and other ingredients have to be combined in exactly the proper quantities. Not too much, not too little, "just the right amount".
Third, and finally, the beneficial effects of many of these ingredients can be amplified by combining them with other ingredients. Some natural sleep-inducing ingredients – such as Tryptophan and 5-HTP – work fine on their own, but they work much better when they are "stacked" with each other in the proper proportions. The result of proper nutritional "stacking" is a synergistic compound that works better than the sum of its parts.
What ingredients would we recommend?
The following sections describe the natural sleep herbs and minerals we have chosen to include in Neuro Rest and why.
Start with the "Big Three"
The most essential ingredients in a natural sleeping tablet are the ones that have the most evidence-based, clinical science behind them to prove their efficacy.
Magnesium is a mineral that is essential to many aspects of our health, not just sleep. But one of the most common symptoms that people experience when they're not getting enough magnesium is sleep difficulties.
There are at least 7 different types of magnesium. Not all of these types produce the same beneficial results for sleep. So, we recommend the types that are the most effective:
- Magnesium Oxide provides the most elemental benefits of magnesium
- Magnesium Citrate is absorbed by the body very easily
- Magnesium Bis-Glycerate has the highest bioavailability of all the forms of magnesium, while at the same time providing a high level of absorption.
So we recommend combining these three forms of magnesium.
5-HTP from Griffonia Seed Extract
Griffonia simplicifolia seeds contain 5-Hydroxytryptophan, a herbal compound more commonly referred to as 5-HTP. 5-HTP is a naturally occurring amino acid and works in the bra
in to enable it to produce serotonin. Serotonin is also one of the neurotransmitters that is most essential for sleep, because it reduces anxiety, promotes feelings of well-being, and fights the symptoms of insomnia.
L-Tryptophan is also an amino acid, but unlike 5-HTP it is classed as an "essential amino acid" because it is not produced naturally by the body. To benefit from L-Tryptophan, you have to ingest it in the form of food or supplements.
As mentioned earlier, L-Tryptophan is one of the ingredients that benefits from "stacking." It synergistically increases 5-HTP's ability to produce serotonin, and in a more controlled manner. The combination of L-Tryptophan and 5-HTP also has the benefit of allowing lower doses of 5-HTP, which reduces the risk of side effects.
Because the serotonin generated from this combination is a biological precursor to melatonin, the final process in the body looks like this:
Tryptophan > 5HTP > Serotonin >Melatonin
We would also recommend including fruit extracts that help you sleep We all know that fresh fruits are good for us, nutritionally. But did you know that they can also help you sleep?
Montmorency or sour cherries are primarily grown in southwest Asia and Europe, and are prized because of their high nutritive value. One serving provides 20 times more vitamin A and 5 times more antioxidants than sweet cherries.
They also contain large amounts of natural melatonin (the hormone that regulates sleep) and other compounds that that help the body synthesise serotonin and prolong its beneficial effects.
Grape skin extract
This fruit extract is also a natural source of melatonin. When combined with a healthy "winding down" sleep routine, it helps to signal the body that it is ready for sleep.
This fruit extract is high in L-Tryptophan to help with 5-HTP regulation, but it's also a natural source for mood-boosting magnesium.
Finally, we recommend supplementing with three more ingredients to further enhance their effect on improving sleep.
The herbal sleep remedies we've talked about so far are all great on their own, but as mentioned before, their effectiveness can be supplemented by "stacking" them with three other ingredients to further enhance quality sleep throughout the three stages of sleep:
- Falling asleep
- Staying asleep
- Waking feeling fully rested and alert the next day
Chamomile is calming and its anti-anxiety effects have been known for hundreds of years. This makes it an essential ingredient in any effective herbal sleep remedy.
L-Taurine is a naturally occurring amino acid that has a profound calming effect on the nervous system. It works by activating GABA receptors that inhibit nerve activity in the brain. This allows both brain and body to relax more thoroughly.
Biotin is the naturally occurring form of a B vitamin that contributes to normal healthy psychological functions. In itself, Biotin doesn't have a big impact on your sleep. But it's a real superstar when combined with the other ingredients we've recommended because it helps to convert these other nutrients into a form of energy that can more easily used by the brain.
So that's it – the ingredients we recommend that you look for in a natural or herbal sleeping tablet.
All of these ingredients are in Neuro Rest
All of the natural sleep aids that we have recommended are available in our advanced night time complex, Neuro Rest.
Our Sleep Quality Blend of magnesium, L-Tryptophan, and natural 5-HTP from griffonia seed extract reduces tiredness and fatigue while increasing production of the feel-good hormone serotonin.
Our exclusive Melo-Fruit® Sleep Cycle Support combines Montmorency cherry, grape skin extract, and watermelon extract to provide natural sources of melatonin, which regulates sleep cycles and signals the body that it is time for sleep.
And finally, the ingredients in our synergistic Mental Wellbeing Blend – chamomile powder, L-Taurine, and biotin – have been shown to help you switch off for a good night's rest.
97% of Neuro Rest customers fell asleep faster and 98% would recommend to a friend*