8 Sleep Ingredients to Keep You Snoozing Better
Roughly 50–70 million Americans experience poor sleep, with up to 30% of adults in the United States reporting they sleep for less than 6 hours each night. Whether it’s poor sleep quality or issues falling asleep, the following herbs, elements, and extracts have been found to help improve individuals’ sleep quality along with their ability to fall asleep.
PASSIONFLOWER AERIAL POWDER
This climbing vine is native to Central America and historically used as a sedative. Recent research suggests that passionflower might help to reduce nonspecific anxiety and appears to boost the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. This compound lowers brain activity, acting as a sleep aid for many.
MAGNOLIA BARK EXTRACT
There are more than 200 types of magnolia trees that exist worldwide, but Magnolia Officinalis, commonly known as magnolia bark, has been found to help induce and improve sleep. Magnolia bark could be used as a remedy for insomnia or simply to promote better sleep overall. In fact, a study found a dose of 2.3–0.9 mg per pound of bodyweight increased REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep in mice.
Hops are the female flowers from the Humulus lupulus plant. After becoming an important ingredient for beer manufacturing, the effects on the body became well-known -- namely, its sleep aid benefits. Some studies suggest hops may help improve sleep quality, as the journal PLOS found that women who drank non-alcoholic beer with hops a few hours before bedtime showed improvements in their sleep quality.
LEMON BALM EXTRACT
This lemon-scented herb is native to Europe, North Africa, and West Asia and is traditionally used to improve mood and cognitive function, but the potential benefits don’t stop there. Researchers have found the combination of lemon balm and valerian root may help relieve restlessness and sleep disorders such as insomnia.
Valerian root often referred to as “nature’s Valium,” has been used to promote tranquility and improve sleep. Research suggests that valerian root may help ease anxiousness in response to stressful situations.
This powerful amino acid found primarily in green and black tea is said to help ease anxiety, stress, and reduce insomnia symptoms. One study found the combination of GABA/L-theanine created positive effects on sleep quality and duration.
Lavender is known for a variety of therapeutic properties, from relaxation to treating burns, bites, and more. With this, researchers have found those supplementing with lavender experienced increased slow- and deep-wave sleep. As well, these participants reported feeling “higher vigor” the next morning.
The body naturally makes the hormone melatonin, nicknamed the “sleep hormone” as high levels can induce sleep. However, melatonin is just part of the equation; it simply lets the body know nighttime is near to help trigger relaxation and drowsiness.
Keep in mind many lifestyle factors contribute to sleep quality as well. Keeping a steady bedtime, reducing artificial light a few hours before, and other good sleep practices should be maintained before turning to sleep supplements.
However, the supplements above are a great way to increase the likelihood of achieving restful sleep. They are most effective when used in combination (like that of 4 Sleep Capsules) with good sleep practices and habits.