We’re in the midst of a great time of unrest and upheaval and it’s starting to show in our health, especially an increase in cases of insomnia. In fact, insomnia is now categorized as a “casualty of the COVID-19 crisis.” You may not think this is too much of an issue. I mean, what’s so bad about a few restless nights?
Turns out, there are quite a few very serious health risk factors associated with too little sleep and insomnia including slower reaction times, — which has actually been linked to a higher risk of auto accidents — mental health disorders, — including depression, anxiety, and substance abuse — as well as an “increased risk and severity of long-term diseases or conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.”
This also doesn’t even touch the iceberg of insomnia’s effect on simply functioning normally from day-to-day. When your mind is sluggish and your body is tired, simple tasks such as taking care of your personal health — think showering, eating healthy foods, and exercising — doing well at work, — whether this is telecommuting or in-person — or caring for dependents, — such as your kids, elderly parents, or other dependents — become laborious tasks that you can’t seem to get done. Therefore, sleepless nights and even insomniac conditions are very serious issues! While there are plenty of tips and tricks that you can employ to boost the quality and success of your sleep including creating new and healthier routines, avoiding food and screens close to bedtime, decreasing caffeine, and even nixing that afternoon nap, sometimes you just need a bit more help.
This is where natural sleep aids come in handy! While prescription sleep aids come with a laundry list of unwanted side effects — including hallucinations! — natural sleep aids are designed to work with your body’s natural hormones and rhythms in order to help you get some shut-eye.
1. Natural Nutra Vegan Melatonin
Natural Nutra Vegan Melatonin/Amazon.com
This may be one of the most popular natural sleep aids and for good reason! Melatonin is a “hormone your body produces naturally, which signals your brain that it’s time to sleep.” The beauty of melatonin is that it’s “production and release is influence by time of day” meaning it also directly works with your circadian rhythm. Studies have shown that melatonin “appears to reduce the time people need to fall asleep and increases the total amount of sleep time.” This Natural Nutra Vegan Melatonin supplement will arrive to you in a BPA-free, fully recyclable glass! It’s also organic, vegan, and non-GMO. A 60-capsule bottle costs $16.95.
Shannon says “I’ve been using this product for my boys for over a year. My boys have autism and this has really helped them fall asleep and sleep through the night which means I get to sleep through the night now too! Chewable, so it’s easy for them to take, they certainly don’t love the flavor but take it without much fuss.”
2. NOW Valerian Root supplement
NOW Valerian Root Supplement/Amazon.com
Not quite as dependable as melatonin, valerian root is a popular natural sleep aid, as well as a natural treatment for “symptoms of anxiety, depression, and menopause.” A handful of studies have found that valerian root “taken right before bedtime may improve self-rated sleep quality.” This NOW Valerian Root Supplement comes from one of our most trusted vegan brands that is also always affordable! This supplement is certified and classified with all the best! They are free of soy, nuts, sugar, eggs, dairy, and corn, plus they’re non-GMO, vegan and vegetarian, and low sodium. On top of that, this supplement is GMP Quality Assured! A 250-capsule bottle costs $11.81.
Kitty Comeau says “I got this bottle of 250 Valerian root gelcaps to use as an alternative to Xanax. I still take Xanax if a panic attack becomes unbearable, but this has severely reduced my use. The stuff is a godsend. Need to fall asleep? Valerian. Need to calm anxiety? Valerian. Super angry and want to calm down? Valerian. When I was going through my antidepressant and mood stabilizer transitions I would take a handful of the stuff whenever I felt suicidal or the need to self harm or break something. Because I knew you couldn’t overdose on them, so I’d take em like a handful of popcorn, take a nap and wake up calm. That supplement literally saved my life.”
3. NATURELO Magnesium Glycinate supplement
NATURELO Magnesium Glycinate Supplement/Amazon.com
You can’t really get more natural than taking a mineral that you’re probably already consuming regularly via a plant-based diet. Magnesium is a “mineral involved in hundreds of processes in the human body,” but is supremely “important for brain function and heart health.” Along with these tasks, magnesium has also been found to “help quiet the mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep.” In fact, researchers have found that magnesium helps to “regulate the product of melatonin, a hormone that guides your body’s sleep-wake cycle.” This NATURELO Magnesium Glycinate Supplement is uniquely formed to promote sleep, reduce anxiety, and relieve stress, as well as alleviate muscle cramps, spasms, restless legs, and any other chronic pain. NATURELO provides a supplement that is non-GMO, 100 percent natural, vegan-friendly, and is free of gluten, soy, and artificial coloring and flavoring, or preservatives. A 120-capsule bottle costs $22.95.
Jessica says “I take these at night to help me relax. I deal with really bad anxiety at night especially. I have been taking these for a few weeks now and I not only get to sleep easier, I feel like I wake us less during the night. I have felt more rested and the next day I feel happier and uplifted. I would recommend.”
4. Naturenics Premium Lavender Essential Oil
Naturenics Premium Lavender Essential Oil/Amazon.com
Many people attest for and against lavender, but no matter what side of the fence you find yourself on, the science says you should give it a try! When cut and dried, lavender gives off an incredibly soothing fragrance, which is “believe to enhance sleep.” This is backed by several studies that show “smelling lavender oil for 30 minutes before sleep may be enough to improve the quality of sleep.” While you can definitely grow lavender in your garden or home, this Naturenics Premium Lavender Essential Oil allows you to receive a potent, therapeutic grade dose of lavender whenever you need it! Use this essential oil as aromatherapy via a diffuser or mix with a carrier oil, lotion, shampoo, or lip balm. A 30-milliliter bottle costs $22.99.
Amazon Customer says “Great quality and wonderful smelling stuff, I’m glad I researched until I found a real lavender oil. I’ve been using it in a diffuser and we’re sleeping better. I filled the roller ball bottle and gave it to my husband to keep in his truck too, such a nice little bonus. I’ve been using the oils in my diffuser for about a week now day and night and this bottle will probably last me at least 6 months so it’s a great value. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!”
5. BulkSupplements Passion Flower Extract Powder
BulkSupplements Passion Flower Extract Powder/Amazon.com
By the name, you may think passion flower gives you vitality but it turns out that this plant is quite calming. In fact, it’s been used as a “popular herbal remedy for insomnia.” This BulkSupplements Passion Flower Extract Powder offers a unique way to get this herbal remedy into your nightly routine! This powder is meant to not only promote sleep, calm, and relaxation, but also mental well being and digestive health. An 8.82-ounce pouch costs $16.96.
Pam PAULSON says “Passion flower is a potent relaxant. I combine this with valerian root for a very relaxing sleep. It has helped me overcome some intense anxiety. For me, the combination of passion flower, ashwagandha, and valerian root are as powerful as benzodiazepines without the hideous side effects and legendary withdrawal symptoms. It provides a true feeling of total relaxation rather than the blunted chemical relaxation I have felt from benzodiazepines. I highly recommend this product if you suffer from insomnia or anxiety. The taste can easily be disguised if you are so inclined.”
6. Doctor’s Best L-Tryptophan from Tryptopure
Doctor’s Best L-Tryptophan from Tryptopure/Amazon.com
You know how you get tired after eating turkey? Well, you can thank tryptophan for that! This essential amino acid has long been touted for its ability to make you tired and science says that it “may help improve sleep.” One such study found that at least “[one] gram per day … [helped to] improve sleep quality.” If you’re looking for dependable, vegan supplements look no further then Doctor’s Best! This Doctor’s Best L-Tryptophan from Tryptopure is uniquely designed to maintain serotonin levels, — essential for brain and emotional maturation, memory, cognitive function, and stress coping — balance your mood, and promotes normal restful sleep. A 90-capsule bottle costs $17.20.
Jim C. says “Two of these taken on an empty stomach about an hour before bedtime and you will have no problem falling asleep. Unfortunately, Tryptophan does not keep me asleep the entire night and I may need to also take melatonin or other sleep aids when I have to get up in the middle of the night. Tryptophan is about the only thing that I have ever taken that works every time I take it (as long as you do not take it with any protein or on a full stomach otherwise it will just be converted into protein and will not stay in its amino acid form). All other sleep aid formulas, etc. lose their effectiveness after you have taken them several days in a row.”
7. Micro Ingredients Maximum Strength Pure Organic Ginkgo Biloba Powder
Micro Ingredients Maximum Strength Pure Organic Ginkgo Biloba Powder/Amazon.com
This is probably one of the more obscure natural sleep remedies, yet you’ll find this natural herb hidden within many de-stress and bedtime teas or added to natural sleep or stress management supplements. Studies have found that “consuming 250 mg of [ginkgo biloba] 30 [to] 60 minutes before bed may help reduce stress, enhance relaxation, and promote sleep.” This Micro Ingredients Maximum Strength Pure Organic Ginkgo Biloba Powder offers a more versatile way to incorporate ginkgo biloba into your daily diet regimen! This powder can be added to smoothies, soups, stews, or even tea. Micro Ingredients prides itself on offering clean products. This powder follows suit and is free of GMOs, irradiation, additives, preservatives, fillers, artificial colors, and gluten and is also vegan-friendly! An 8-ounce bag costs $18.95.
Diana Jones says “I like this product and will keep using it. After purchasing multiple nootropics this is the only thing that has made a noticeable improvement in my memory.”
8. Sym Nutrition L-Theanine
Sym Nutrition L-Theanine/Amazon.com
Another amino acid, L-Theanine has been found to have powerful sleep-promoting effects. Studies show that “consuming a daily supplement containing 200 [to] 400 mg … may help improve sleep and relaxation.” This Sym Nutrition L-Theanine supplement has all the goods! It’s non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free. Plus, this supplement was also processed in a cGMP-registered facility and is certified for potency, purity, and integrity. A 360-capsule bottle costs $29.37.
Andrew says “I’ve been using it just about every night since I got it and sometimes after my morning workouts. I bought it initially thinking it would help me with sleep since that’s what a lot of reviewers said about it. I wouldn’t say it’s really helped me there but something about it has helped with my anxiety. Most days at work are pretty hard to find the motivation or clear-headedness to get things done, and while I may be overstating its helpfulness, I tend to be a bit more productive. At night when I come home from work, I’m usually so overwhelmed with things that I don’t know where to start and I end up feeling lost and just end up watching TV. If I take one of these when I get home from work I am 100% more productive. I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s just a placebo effect but it’s like the brain fog clears and I just get shit done. I initially looked up this brand because it’s in one of the pre-workout I use and I now swear by Preformix brand so I thought, what else do they make. The pre-workout drink has always been top of my list for the gym and now this is the top of my list for clear-headed thinking. I’m a fan and I’ve already told a few friends about it.”
9. Pure Encapsulations Glycine Hypoallergenic supplement
Pure Encapsulations Glycine Hypoallergenic Supplement/Amazon.com
Definitely an obscure one, glycine is an “amino acid that plays an important role in the nervous system” and has been found to “also help improve sleep.” While more research is necessary to understand the mechanism behind this sleep aid, it’s believed that glycine lowers the body temperature at bedtime, which signals sleep. This Pure Encapsulations Glycine Hypoallergenic Supplement is specifically designed to be hypoallergenic, which means it’s meticulously formulated using pure ingredients to benefit even the most sensitive of consumers. This supplement is free of wheat, gluten, egg, peanuts, magnesium stearate, hydrogenated fat, artificial sweeteners and colors, and other unnecessary excipients. Plus, it also eliminates other allergens such as soy, dairy, and shellfish! A 180-capsule bottle costs $26.30.
Anna Doyle says “If u want natural way to help you: with your anxiety, panic attacks, general stress, and sleep more soundly through the night, THIS IS IT!! U can even open the capsules and let it dissolve right in your mouth for fast effect! Read all directions though!”
10. SugarBear Sleep Vegan Gummy Vitamins
SugarBear Sleep Vegan Gummy Vitamins/Amazon.com
If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck to get some sleep, then these SugarBear Sleep Vegan Gummy Vitamins may be the best bet! They not only include natural sleep aid powerhouses melatonin, magnesium, valerian root, passion flower, and L-Theanine, but they also include more subtle sleep aids and relaxants lemon balm and 5-HTP. These SugarBear supplements come in super yummy berry-flavored chewable gummies that are vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and, of course, sleep-enhancing! A 60-piece bottle costs $29.98.
Cora says “First of all these taste amazing! I would eat them as candy so I was absolutely shocked when they actually worked so well!!! I am sometimes such a restless sleeper and toss and turn for hours. I took 2 of these before bed and was sound asleep within 45 minutes! I woke up to my alarm in the morning so rested and it felt great to have a full night sleep! Highly recommend!!!”
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