Three All-Natural Sleep Aids

It is estimated that over 30 percent of Americans have some level of insomnia and complain of poor sleep. The majority of these people look to drugs to help them get a good nights sleep. With so many pharmaceuticals and over the counter drugs available, it’s not surprising that the majority of us are unaware of the various natural sleep aids available.

“I won’t sleep in the same bed as a woman who thinks I’m lazy!” Homer J. Simpson

These completely natural supplements work just as well as the drugs without the side affects and addictive qualities of some prescription medication.

Most sleeping drugs fall under that category of sedative or hypnotic. Many of them can pose the risk of mild to more serious side effects including:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn
  • Weakness
  • Dry-mouth

The most undesirable risk associated with sleeping drugs is their addictive nature. Unless your okay with being hooked on a drug for the rest of your life you’ll want to avoid these pharmaceuticals at all costs.

The body has specific hormones that it releases to help make you relaxed and calm when it’s time to go to sleep. Some people may lack sufficient amounts of these hormones in their bodies, which is why it makes sense that replacing or adding more of these hormones would help these individuals. The three supplements mentioned below work in this manner.

1. Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that’s produced in the pineal gland of the brain when its dark outside. Its main function in the body is to regulate sleeping cycles. The body cannot tell the difference between man-made melatonin and the melatonin that your body produces. This safe and effective supplement is non habit forming and presents no risk of serious side effects. It can be purchased very inexpensively from most health-food stores or online.

2. Valerian

Valerian is a well known herb that has been used for many years as a sleep aid. Valerian is thought to work by increasing the amino acid neurotransmitter GABA, which can create a sense of calming over the body. This non-addictive sleep aid, that is many times included in “sleepytime” teas, will not leave you feeling groggy the next morning, but rather refreshed and energized.

3. L-Tryptophan

L Tryptophan is an essential amino acid found in many foods. This amino acid is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulates sleep and mood among other human functions. L-tryptophan, unlike serotonin, is able to cross the blood brain barrier before it converts into serotonin, making it effective.

There are supplements available now that may include each of these ingredients, as well as others in an attempt to create a multifaceted approach to curing insomnia.

Even though all of these sleep aids are considered safe, natural and non habit forming, it is important to first assess your tolerance by using small doses and gradually increasing. These supplements may not be the answer for everyone, but if you suffer from sleeplessness or insomnia they are definitely worth a try. It is important to remember that there are other more basic avenues that should be used before resulting to supplements. The most common reasons people experience sleeplessness include:

  • Stress
  • Bad diet (too much sugar, alcohol or caffeine)
  • Lack of exercise

With that being said, if you are having trouble sleeping be sure that you include lots of raw, organic fruits and vegetables in your diet, take a multivitamin and be sure to get regular exercise.

Other ways to reduce stress and improve sleep include:

  • Aroma therapy (light a candle with a relaxing scent before bedtime)
  • Music (Try listening to music with soft and relaxing tones before bed)
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Massage


John McKiernan is a blogger at CNA Info

One thought on “Three All-Natural Sleep Aids

  • July 28, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Great tips. I use yoga and guided meditation, ideas I tried after reading Belleruth Naparstek’s articles about the subjects. I have found guided meditation effective because it includes built-in audio that lets me know exactly how to fall into a state of relaxation. Some other forms of meditation I have tried did not work as well for me because I had trouble relaxing.


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