You are wide awake at 3am in the morning, having a strong sense where there will be a harsh day ahead if you still don’t fall asleep immediately. Apparently, counting imaginary sheeps on your mind does not work at all.
Living in this busy urban life, you are definitely not alone on this struggling experience. Today, more than 26% of adult Malaysians are facing difficulties in falling asleep, leading to problems like headache, fatigue, mood swings and trouble thinking and concentrating on the next day.1
Before considering caffeine in early morning, you should also think about these 5 supplements that will help you sleep like a baby!
You could have heard about magnesium before, but might not know that it is involved in numerous processes in our body, including brain function and heart health. Magnesium may help to quiet down your mind and body, helping you to fall asleep easier.2
Magnesium also plays role in the production of Melatonin, a hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle and biological clock. In addition, magnesium also binds to GABA receptors in our body which will calm your mood, lowers your stress level and thus helping you falling asleep.2
2) Tart Cherry
We mentioned about Melatonin before. As night falls and you are exposed to less daylight, your body starts to produce melatonin, which helps your mind and body to sleep. As the night goes on, your body continues to produce melatonin as you sleep.3
Synthetic melatonin supplement is not widely available in Malaysia. However, this naturally occurring hormone can be found in tart cherry! To you, tart cherry sounds like an ingredient in a fancy cocktail than a way to help you sleep.
Besides tart cherry juice, you could also take supplements containing natural tart cherry extract. Consuming tart cherry half an hour to one hour before sleep will give a boost for you to fall asleep, as well as lengthening your sleeping duration.3
Lavender could be the most well-known substance on this list. It is very common to see lavender bath oils, shampoos, candles, lotion and essential oil available in the market to meet the demand from people with sleepless nights.
As it is available in many forms, lavender would be your finest choice, if you are looking for some add-ons, on top of consuming sleeping aid supplements. Studies also show that recently doctors have used lavender to help reduce the symptoms or even treat certain neurological disorders.4
It won’t be a bad choice to appreciate the benefits of Ayurvedic medicine with profound history. Ashwagandha is a herb used in traditional Indian medicine. Various parts of the plant are used, but the most common is its root extracts. 5
Some studies have shown that ashwagandha has certain anti-anxiety benefits. 52% of sleeping problems in Malaysia are caused by depression and anxiety. So if you are having a hectic lifestyle and always have sleep problems, try to take Ashwagandha supplement to fight insomnia.5
5) Valerian Root
Valerian has been a common herb for treating anxiety and insomnia for more than two thousand years. Researches have found that valerian root helps in relaxing your body muscle, reduce anxiety, and regulate your sleep-wake cycle. It may reduce the time taken to fall asleep.6
Valerian root supplements may have milder effects than other sleeping-aid supplements, but it is also more likely to be free of side effects.6 However, its safety remains uncertain for long-term use, especially in special population such as pregnant women.2
Bear in mind that taking supplements is only one of the many ways to help you sleep well. Doing exercises regularly, having a healthy diet and ensuring a soothing environment in your bedroom can also help you sleep like a baby.
And last but not least, always get a professional consultation from your pharmacist, nutritionist or doctor before taking any sleeping –aid supplements. Sweet dream!
1)Infographics: Malaysian Sleeping Habits. (Web assessed: November 2019). Web link: https://www.nst.com.my/lifestyle/heal/2018/10/421370/infographic-malaysian-sleeping-habits
2)9 Natural Sleep Aids That Are Backed By Science. Healthline. (Web assessed: November 2019). Web link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sleep-aids
3) Does Tart Cherry Help You Sleep? Sleep Help Organization. (Web assessed: November 2019). Web link: https://www.sleephelp.org/tart-cherry-juice/
4) Peir H.K. et al. Lavender and the Nervous System. Evidence Based Complement Alternate Medicine. 2013: 68130.
5)Ashwagandha. Examine. (Web assessed: November 2019) Web link: https://examine.com/supplements/ashwagandha/
6)Key Ingredients in Over-the counter Sleep Aids. National Sleep Foundation. (Web assessed: November 2019) Web Link: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/key-ingredients-over-counter-sleep-aids