Whether street noise, stress, the Apple TV light or Little-Miss-Chia-Seeds in the apartment below making another mid-night smoothie is to blame, sleep struggles can come in many different forms.
Long-term lack of quality sleep is enough to make anyone crack, but Nutritionist Jacqueline Alwill from The Brown Paper Bag says there are several natural ways to improve sleep without prescription-only assistance. “Before prescribing or taking medicating the priority would be addressing sleep hygiene,” she suggests.
Instead, look to these four natural options first to turn your bed into a paradise, not a warzone.
Credit: Instagram @Vanessa_Moody
This is one of the key hormones that control the body’s circadian rhythms. “We need melatonin to regulate our sleep and wake cycles but without a combination of a healthy diet and good quality rest our bodies may struggle to produce it in adequate amounts,” explains Alwill, who says melatonin supplements are fantastic for night owls and jetlag, as they can help clock your body into a better rhythm.
There are some mild side effects though. “Vivid dreams, lower body temperature and sometimes changes in blood pressure can happen, so it is best to consult a health care practitioner before undertaking any supplementation,” says Alwill.
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Valerian root can have a sedative effect and help you fall asleep faster. “It’s often prescribed with other complementary herbs and supplements (hops lemon balm and passionflower), where it can be of similar benefit to melatonin, without the possible side effects,” says Alwill. While research is mixed, any potential results will take a few weeks of regular dosage to take effect.
Most commonly used to support muscular function, reduce tension and cure cramps, however some studies show magnesium can also assist sleep by helping your brain to settle down at night. Maggie Gyllenhall and Gwyneth Paltrow’s go-to wellness specialist, Dr Frank Lipman, recommends taking 1000mg before bed to help sleep. If it’s good enough for Gwynnie…
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chamomile and lavender
These two classic herbs perhaps won’t help those with chronic insomnia, but do have very gentle relaxing properties. Experts say that having a cup of chamomile tea or a relaxing lavender bath before bed can have a calming effect. Worth a shot, right?
Cover Image: Instagram @Ireneisgood