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Top 10 Natural Sleep Aids (9 and 10 Will Surprise You!)
Achieving a deep and restful night's sleep is a challenge for many in today's fast-paced world. While some might consider medicinal solutions which can provide excellent results, others may opt for natural options which can help improve the quality of your sleep in a variety of ways. In this article, we will introduce 10 natural aids to assist in better sleep, including a couple of options which may surprise you.
Can natural sleep aids improve sleep quality?
Yes, natural sleep aids can indeed improve sleep quality for many individuals. Recently, a number of different natural plants and herbs have been used for the treatment of insomnia and have become popular as an alternative medicine (Zhenzhen Hu et al, 2018). Not only are they effective at improving sleep quality, but they are also safe and well-tolerated by the population (Guadagna et al, 2020).
1 - St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
St. John's wort is a perennial herb known primarily for its potential antidepressant properties, especially in treating mild to moderate depression. The compounds hypericin and hyperforin are believed to be responsible for its effects. While some people find relief with this herb, it's not without side effects, such as increased sensitivity to sunlight and gastrointestinal disturbances. St John’s Wort can also be used to help improve sleep, particularly in perimenopausal women. It helps to decrease the scores of the sleep problem scale compared with a placebo in perimenopausal women after 12 weeks of oral administration (Al-Akoum et al, 2009).
2 - Kava Kava (Piper methysticum)
Kava kava, often simply referred to as "kava," is a drink made from the roots of the Piper methysticum plant, native to the South Pacific islands. It has been consumed by Pacific Island cultures for centuries during social gatherings and ceremonies. Kava is especially useful for helping treat sleep issues associated with anxiety. Sleep disturbances associated with non-psychotic anxiety disorders can be effectively and safely treated with kava extract (Lehrl, 2004).
3 - Valerian Root (Valerinana officinalis)
Valerian root comes from the valerian plant (Valeriana officinalis), a perennial flowering plant native to Europe and Asia. For centuries, valerian root has been used as a herbal remedy for a range of ailments, most notably for sleep disorders and anxiety. Studies found that valerian may improve sleep quality, but the methodologic problems of the studies limit the ability to draw firm conclusions (Bent et al, 2006).
4 - Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata)
Passion flower, scientifically known as Passiflora incarnata, is a plant native to the southeastern parts of the Americas but is now found in various parts of the world. It's known for its beautiful and intricate flowers as well as for its traditional use as a herbal remedy. Passion flower induced a significant increment in total sleep time, meaning that it can help you to sleep longer (Ayala Guerrero et al, 2017).
5 - Lavender (Lavandula)
Lavender (genus Lavandula) is a group of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It's native to the Mediterranean region, though it's now cultivated in various parts of the world. Lavender is renowned for its aromatic flowers and numerous applications in medicine, cuisine, and cosmetics. Having lavender in your bedroom when you sleep can actually help you to sleep better. Lavender serves as a mild sedative and has practical applications as a novel, nonphotic method for promoting deep sleep (Goel et al, 2005).
6 - Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
Chamomile is a common name for several daisy-like plants of the family Asteraceae. Chamomile has been consumed for centuries for its health benefits and as a remedy for various ailments. Chamomile decreased sleep latency by approximately 16 minutes (Zick et al, 2011). Sleep latency refers to the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep. This means that consuming chamomile can help you to fall asleep quicker.
7 - Hops (Humulus lupulus)
Humulus lupulus is the scientific name for the hop plant, commonly referred to as "hops." It's a climbing plant native to Europe, Western Asia, and North America. Hops are best known for their role in beer brewing, but they have other uses and benefits as well. Whilst hops alone may not be beneficial for sleep, the administration of non-alcoholic beer would be recommended due to its hop content and consequent sedative action, which would be an aid to nocturnal sleep (Franco et al, 2012).
8 - Magnesium
Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg and atomic number 12. It's a shiny grey solid and has several essential characteristics and roles, especially in biological contexts. Magnesium, in small amounts, can also be used as a supplement. Supplementation of magnesium appears to improve subjective measures of insomnia, helping symptoms such as sleep efficiency, sleep time, sleep onset latency, and early morning awakening (Abbasi et al, 2012).
9 - Cannabidiol (CBD)
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over a hundred cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabis is completely legal for usage in the UK. As long as you have a valid prescription and can prove that you do then you are able to carry and consume medicinal cannabis. CBD has gained significant attention in recent years for its potential therapeutic effects, without causing the "high" that's typically associated with another major cannabinoid, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Studies have shown that on average, anxiety and sleep improved when patients used CBD products, and these improvements were sustained over time (Shannon et al, 2019).
10 - Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the body. It is used to help regulate sleep and wakefulness. The level of melatonin in the body is directly affected by the sun, with the body typically producing more at night. Melatonin is available to purchase in supplements such as Circadin. Melatonin is a safe first-line sleep aid that may help promote a regular sleep cycle. In addition, melatonin is one of the few supplements that healthcare providers can recommend for insomnia (Savage et al, 2022).
Natural Sleep Aid
Effects on Sleep
|St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
|Helps sleep in perimenopausal women
|Kava Kava (Piper methysticum)
|Helps people with anxiety to get better sleep
|Valerian Root (Valerinana officinalis)
|Can help with sleep disorders and anxiety
|Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata)
|Can help you to sleep longer
|Acts as a mild sedative to improve sleep
|Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
|Helps you to fall asleep quicker
|Hops (Humulus lupulus)
|When consumed in non-alcoholic beer, can help improve sleep
|Helps improve symptoms of insomnia
|Helps improve sleep and combat anxiety
|Helps to regulate sleep and wakefulness
What sleep treatments are available at UK Meds?
Whilst some people may use natural sleep aids to help improve their sleep, others may use medication to help with their sleep, particularly if they are affected by sleep conditions such as insomnia. At UK Meds, we provide a number of different sleep treatments, including:
Scott is an experienced and professional content writer who works exclusively for UK Meds.