According to a government survey released by the CDC back in 2013, nearly 50-70 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation or a sleep disorder, 9 million of which are prescribed a sleep aid. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average healthy adult should aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. However this study reveals that merely a third of americans meet this recommendation.
Getting the recommended amount of sleep can boost your energy and mood, help you maintain a healthy body weight, improve and/or manage your heart health, decrease inflammatory markers in your body, sharpen your focus and so much more! However, as research has proven, falling asleep and staying asleep without a sleep aid can be a bit tricky for some. Below are a list of natural sleep aids to give a try to further support your nightly slumber.
Research shows that magnesium deficiency can greatly impact one’s ability to get a good night’s rest due to the inability to balance the stress hormone cortisol. Furthermore, studies have revealed that magnesium can be absorbed better when combined with a regimen or diet that consists of a well rounded diet containing calcium. Foods that contain magnesium include kale, black beans, baby spinach, dark chocolate, collard greens, whole grain bread, peanut butter, almonds, swiss chard, etc.
As stated above, when combined with magnesium, this mineral can work wonders for your sleep. According to ASA, American Sleep Association, calcium helps process hormones such as melatonin and tryptophan which has been discovered to improve your quantity and quality of sleep. You can get this mineral by consuming a balance of calcium rich foods such as raw milk, collard greens, kefir or yogurt, sesame seeds, okra, watercress, cheese, broccoli, almonds, spinach and more!
Lavender has been found to aid in depression, anxiety and stress-related disorders. In one study, this herd was found to ease the nervous system creating a calming and relaxing state of mind and body. You can try diffusing lavender oil in your bedroom at night as you sleep or grind the lavender in a herb or coffee grinder and add to your favorite bedtime tea.
You may have heard about this amino acid in relation to your thanksgiving meal staple, turkey. Tryptophan helps the brain obtain a calm state much like melatonin and serotonin. In a 2015 study published in Sports Medicine of France, elite soccer players were found to have improved sleep after consuming carbohydrates like whole grain bread with honey, as well as some form of protein like turkey, nuts or seeds. So try getting more tryptophan by eating carbohydrates such as brown rice, corn, quinoa and whole grain oats.
You should always discuss your use of any sleep aid(s) with your doctor before use. For additional tips on how to improve your sleep at night check out our Sleep Health blog.
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– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey