Supplements address a wide variety of wellness needs, but when it comes to finding the best option for sleep, you’re probably wondering—which one is right for me? Well, that depends on your goals and overall health. However, a handful of sleep supplements fit into just about any lifestyle, making them an ideal place to start.
The trick, of course, is to experiment with the different choices and find one that works best for you. Some supplements can help you fall asleep faster or improve your overall sleep cycle, while others can encourage deeper sleep. Given how important sleep is to feeling and performing at your best, finding a supplement that works with your body can make a world of difference.
Below, you’ll find a breakdown of our top 7 sleep supplements, including their impact on sleep and how they work in the body.
Grown all over the world, lavender is most famous for its fragrant aroma and vibrant flowers. However, take the time to examine lavender’s chemical structure, and you’ll find it has a few tricks up its brightly coloured sleeve.
Inside lavender is a sophisticated blend of terpenes—small molecules with the potential to influence the human body. Researchers have found that terpenes such as linalool (the main terpene inside lavender) can decrease the time it takes to fall asleep.
This is excellent news if you struggle to unwind at night, as not only is lavender safe to consume, but it’s widely available as a tea, fragrance, or edible oil. Try to take lavender about 15 minutes before you get into bed, as this gives the terpenes time to circulate the body and work their magic.
5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan, plays a fundamental role in the production of serotonin—the “happiness molecule”. More than that, though, serotonin is a chemical precursor to melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate when we sleep and wake. We’ve thrown a lot of technical terms at you, so let’s quickly walk it backwards to demonstrate how taking 5-HTP could improve sleep quality.
When you take 5-HTP, the body converts it into 5-HT (serotonin). Now, serotonin’s main function is to stabilise our mood and promote feelings of happiness. This alone can improve sleep quality; but given its role as a precursor to melatonin, serotonin can benefit sleep from multiple fronts. The greater the melatonin level before sleep, the quicker and easier it is to drift off. In essence, 5-HTP kick-starts a chemical chain reaction that can ultimately lead to reduced sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep).
Growing natively across much of Western Europe, India, and Asia, chamomile has a long and vibrant history of holistic use. Like lavender, the core of chamomile’s impact stems from its terpenes and flavonoids. This time, however, we have a different terpene to thank for helping us drift off.
Chamomile’s sedative-like effects are thought to be the work of the terpene apigenin, although researchers suspect there may be other compounds involved too. Regardless of which compound we have to thank, chamomile has an incredibly low toxicity, is easy to get hold of, and comes backed by 5,000 years of use, making it ideal as a safe sleep supplement.
The ancient Greeks were the first to stumble across the sleep-inducing powers of valerian. They quickly found that the plant’s dried roots had a profound impact on people suffering from insomnia. Of course, what they didn’t know at the time was why. Thankfully, we have modern science to shed some light on the mechanisms at play.
It appears that valerian root contains two potent antioxidants—hesperidin and linarin. Together, these compounds work alongside valerenic acid to influence a messaging system in the brain called GABA. The GABA system plays a crucial role in how the body manages stress, behaviour, and cognition to keep sleep conditions such as insomnia in check.
Magnesium is a mineral that often flies under the radar. Not because it isn’t useful, but because other sleep supplements take the limelight. However, with magnesium supplements widely available and boasting several sleep-encouraging qualities, this mineral could be the perfect addition to your daily routine.
The benefits of magnesium for sleep appear vast. Not only does the mineral help to regulate neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, but balanced magnesium levels encourage pineal gland efficiency. The pineal gland controls the release of melatonin, the essential sleep hormone that tells the body when to sleep and when to wake.
Although not the most well-known cannabinoid, CBN (cannabinol) has a lot of potential when it comes to its effect on sleep function. However, we should point out that research into the sedative-like potential of CBN is still in the preclinical phase. Still, early results point to some promising interactions.
Much of the interest in CBN stems from its lack of toxicity, synergy with other natural ingredients, and impact on the endocannabinoid system (ECS)—the body’s “universal regulator”. With this in mind, it’s thought that CBN could encourage the physiological state needed to enter restful sleep. After all, we are most likely to fall asleep when our bodily systems are balanced and working efficiently.
Melatonin may be naturally occurring inside the body, but several factors can diminish levels of this essential hormone. As melatonin levels tell the body when to sleep and wake, low levels at night can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Unfortunately, blue light from electrical devices, poor food choices, and stress can all disrupt melatonin production.
Supplementing melatonin is an excellent way to boost sleep quality. However, it’s best to use the supplement as a short-term aid to sleep while you focus on reducing the disruptions highlighted above. Taking melatonin regularly can cause your body to become reliant on external sources of the hormone rather than encouraging natural production.
Regardless of the supplement, the most important thing is to find what works best for you. Given that all of the options above are well-tolerated in humans, it’s definitely worth experimenting with various supplements.
For an exclusive range of natural sleep supplement infused with wellness-boosting cannabinoids, browse the Sleep section of the Cibdol store. Or, to learn more about the importance of practising good sleep hygiene, visit our CBD Encyclopedia.
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