In a fast moving world we live in, it seems like sleep is really hard to get these days. The average american spends a third of their life sleeping but as we get older it seems like we are getting less of it. Stress, anxiety, and physical deterioration along with many other factors impact our sleep. And believe it or not we all need help sleeping… So the biggest question is, do sleep aids really work?
For fitness enthusiasts, sleep is essential for physical recovery. For those in front of the computer screen all day long sleep allows the eyes to rest. The point is we all need adequate time for rest and we wanted to use this article to break down some ingredients that can help you along with some practice tips to instill healthy sleeping habits.
Melatonin is a natural hormone found in the body to help our bodies trigger when it’s time to go to sleep as well as waking up. Adding melatonin supplements to your sleep routine will help you fall asleep faster, allowing your body to wake up refreshed. Melatonin should be used as a short-term solution. So if you are a traveler or adjusting to a time zone or simply just aren’t getting enough sleep, melatonin is the way to go.
Valerian Root is a tall, flowing grassland plant used to help improve sleep quality without having harmful side effects. Some use the herb to help with anxiety and depression. How valerian root works is believed to increase the chemical in your brain called GABA ( gamma aminobutyric), which has a calming effect. If you are into having an overall healthier and happier mood, valerian root is a great sleep aid alternative.
Simply put, most Americans don’t have enough magnesium in their lives. Even though it’s unclear that low magnesium levels directly correlate to poor sleep, magnesium is known for its benefits of improving sleep. When used together with melatonin and zinc, magnesium is shown to help improve the quality of sleep in the elderly population.
L-theanine is a water-soluble amino acid found in mushrooms and green tea and is consumed for its relaxant effects with high levels of antioxidants. Green tea is known for its ability to revitalize and energize the body so if you are sensitive to the “caffeine” effect, L-theanine is probably not for you. But if you are a person of habit and routine and simply need to chill out, having a cup of tea before you sleep is a great way to go.
Now that we’ve covered some sleep aids and healthy supplements to improve sleep, let’s talk about your overall sleep habits. Most people that need supplementation in their lives are really not taking care of their bodies and we want to fix that. Supplements should be used to aid you for the time being, not become dependent on, so let’s talk about some ways to improve your overall sleep.
Have you thought of the reason why you need blankets to sleep? We get cold and if we get too cold our body will naturally react by producing heat for the body. But when things get too hot our body also reacts negatively the same way and therefore becomes uncomfortable. Allow your body to get into a natural state of temperature calibration by turning off your heat, wrapping yourself up in a blanket and relaxing.
We are all guilty of eating food way past our bedtime. Things like that will happen from time to time but have you taken a look at what you are eating when you do eat? Negative foods like high sugars and carbohydrates in the evening will spike your sugar and affect your sleep cycle. It is suggested to focus on eating higher proteins and lower carbs in the afternoon to allow your body to recover physically with the proper nutrition while you sleep. Having things like candy, ice cream, alcohol consumption will not help you sleep effectively.
Some of the worst things you can do for your body is to be inconsistent. Our bodies are naturally designed to survive so if you are out of routine with your sleep then your body will also continually adjust. When our bodies hit survival mode it’s trying to retain any resources that it has to maintain living. That means when you are inconsistent the body will increase its cortisol levels and stress levels and you are definitely not helping your sleep cycle the body needs doing so.
Make a commitment to yourself and turn off all of the lights at a certain time, place a reminder on your phone to start getting ready for sleep, and like all of our parents taught us growing up brush your teeth and get ready for bed. Any mental trigger that you can incorporate that communicates to the body “hey, it’s time for sleep,” the more success you will have sleeping.
Sleep is something we all need, no doubt about that. There are many theories and advice that scientists and others can share with you but the most important takeaway from this article is to get some sleep! Our bodies physically, mentally need to recover. There’s a reason why the sun sets and rises, everyone needs to reset. If you are like many Americans out there struggling with sleep, feel free to try some sleep aids to kick start your sleep cycles until you find a healthy routine. If you feel like sleep aids aren’t helping with sleep take a look at what you are doing before and give yourself the best chance to improve your sleep tonight!