In this guide, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of ten of the best natural sleep aids, explaining what they are, how they work, and their pros and cons. We’ll also discuss whether they’re safe to use and how you can achieve a deep and peaceful slumber. Read on from start to finish for a deep dive on natural sleep aids, or use the links below to get the answers you need fast.
- What Are Natural Sleep Aids?
- What Is the Best Natural Sleep Aid?
- Are Natural Sleep Aids Safe?
- Do You Need a Natural Sleep Aid?
- Tips for Better Sleep
- Wrapping Up: Best Natural Sleep Aids
What Are Natural Sleep Aids?
Natural sleep aids are considered home remedies, substances, or products that don’t require a doctor’s prescription and can help you achieve deep sleep.
Most sleep aids are unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so make sure the sleep aid you use is high-quality and produced by a reputable manufacturer. It’s also a good idea to speak with your primary care physician prior to taking sleeping supplements.
What Is the Best Natural Sleep Aid?
There are many natural sleep aids available, so the process of finding a suitable natural sleep aid for your situation can get a little overwhelming. To save you a bit of research, we’ve listed ten of the best natural sleep aids below.
Melatonin is a hormone that’s naturally produced in our bodies and responsible for the regulation of your sleep cycle. It’s released in response to light and the current time. For example, in the daytime, melatonin production may decrease while it increases at night. However, frequent exposure to blue light from electronic devices and age can hinder the release of this hormone, making it challenging to produce this hormone naturally. A melatonin sleep aid can supplement melatonin loss, helping you fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Melatonin can be useful during travel, as it can help against jet lag.
- Shift workers that have to sleep in the day may find melatonin useful.
- Blind individuals with delayed sleep and circadian rhythm sleep disorder can use melatonin as a treatment for insomnia.
- Melatonin is not recommended for long-term use. Individuals should stop taking melatonin after two weeks.
- Can cause side effects, including drowsiness, nausea, headaches, irritability, cramps, and dizziness. It can also cause feelings of depression, anxiety, and confusion.
- Not recommended for those with an autoimmune disease.
- Can interact with medication, including anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, diabetes and blood pressure drugs, and contraception.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid commonly found in marijuana and hemp that can alleviate symptoms of insomnia. But don’t worry; unlike marijuana, CBD will not get you high, as you can buy CBD without THC. Experts believe CBD works by interacting with the receptors of your central nervous system to help you sleep better.
- Can help with other health conditions, such as anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, and type 1 diabetes
- CBD side effects include dry mouth, diarrhea, fatigue, and reduced appetite
- Proper dosing is essential
- CBD derived from marijuana is only legal in some states
- Regular use of CBD in high doses can harm your liver
- CBD can negatively interact with your prescription medication
Lavender is an all-natural sleep aid that’s obtained from the lavender flower. Lavender is most commonly found as a fragrance in essential oils, candles, and perfumes, but it can also be made in tea for drinking. Lavender helps you fall asleep by easing symptoms of anxiety and acting as a sedative.
- Lavender has several medicinal properties that can help treat infections, insect bites, and burns. Research also suggests that it can stabilize the user’s mood, ease stomach pain, provide headache relief, improve blood circulation, relieve pain, and provide a calming sensation.
- According to the Endocrine Society, lavender has been found to disrupt the hormones in boys, leading to abnormal breast growth.
4. Valerian Root
Valerian root has been used for its medicinal properties since the second century A.D. Currently, many people use it as a sleep aid. Scientists believe that valerian can ease symptoms of insomnia by increasing the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which helps calm you down.
- Valerian is conveniently available in different forms, including tablets, capsules, tinctures, and tea
- It’s also used for anxiety, depression, and menstrual and stomach cramps
- Valerian can affect certain medications, increasing their effects. This includes anticonvulsants, anesthesia, and antidepressants.
- Side effects of valerian include headaches, irregular heartbeats, and upset stomach.
- There are mixed findings regarding the effectiveness of valerian.
- There’s not enough data that ensures valerian root is safe for lactating and pregnant women.
Chamomile is one of the most popular natural sleep aids, and for a good reason. Chamomile has been used for centuries in different parts of the world due to its medicinal, therapeutic, and tranquilizing qualities. The chamomile herb works by binding the chemical compound apigenin found in chamomile to receptors in the brain. In a study regarding the effects of apigenin, patients reported having experienced deep sleep for 90 minutes after drinking chamomile tea.
- Unlike other teas, chamomile doesn’t have caffeine, making it a great option for those looking to drink something warm and soothing before bedtime.
- Chamomile can be drunk as tea or inhaled via fragrant essential oils. You can also reap the benefits of this herb by taking it in a tablet format.
- Chamomile also has added benefits and can treat anxiety, digestion issues, fever, menstrual cramps, ulcers, inflammation, and hemorrhoids.
- Chamomile may not be suitable for those with pollen allergies, pregnant or lactating women, and individuals with a medical history of uterine fibroids, cancer (breast, ovary, or uterus), or endometriosis.
- May cause adverse side effects, such as nausea and vomiting.
- Can interfere with certain medications, including blood thinners.
GABA is a primary inhibitory neurotransmitter and amino acid that’s naturally produced in our brain and spinal cord. Like melatonin, GABA can also come in the form of a supplement to improve how well you sleep during the night.
- GABA supplements can also assist with anxiety, burning fat, lower blood pressure, and alleviate stress
- There’s not enough evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of GABA supplements or their effects
7. Weighted Blanket
As the name implies, a weighted blanket is a heavy blanket that provides extra weight on you, delivering a nice and comforting effect to help you fall asleep quicker.
- Ease feelings of anxiety
- Reduce symptoms of restless leg syndrome
- Improves sensory processing disorder
- May be difficult to wash
- Can be more expensive compared to traditional comforters
Layla Sleep’s® Weighted Blanket is comfortable and luxurious at an affordable price. Delivering Deep Touch Pressure, sleepers wrapped in our weighted blanket will experience gentle pressure across their body that mimics a calming hug, helping you fall asleep quicker.
Make sure to take a look at our weighted blanket buying guide to understand what to look for when searching for a weighted blanket.
8. Comfortable Mattress
When looking for natural remedies to help you sleep, a comfortable mattress may not cross your mind right away. However, natural remedies can also be about changing up how you sleep, and this includes investing in a comfortable mattress.
So, what type of mattress do you need? There are several types of mattresses, but none compare to the memory foam and hybrid mattresses from Layla Sleep. Whether you’re a side-sleeper or you like taking a snooze on your tummy, our collection of mattresses will adjust to your needs.
9. Proper Bedding
Just like the remedy above, proper bedding is equally important for a good night’s rest. This means looking into replacing your comforter and sheets, which can be a worthwhile investment, depending on the cause of your sleep issues.
For instance, if you’re struggling with insomnia due to high temperatures, a down alternative comforter or bamboo sheets could be the solution to your problem because they’re lightweight, breathable, and don’t trap heat. Either of these can help you keep your sleep environment at the best sleeping temperature.
Exercising before bed can be a good way to get your body tired and help you achieve a deep and peaceful slumber. However, make sure you exercise at least two hours before bed, as exercising too close to bedtime can result in restlessness.
- In addition to improving your sleep, exercising can encourage weight loss, boost your mental health, and help you get stronger
- It can actually keep you awake since endorphins are released and your body’s temperature increases if you work out late at night
So, what’s the most effective sleep aid? Ultimately, the best sleep aid for you will depend on your specific situation and needs. Each sleep aid has varying effects that will affect each person differently, so try one natural sleep aid at a time to see what works for your lifestyle.
Are Natural Sleep Aids Safe?
In general, natural sleep aids are safe to use when the proper dosage is taken. Keep in mind that naturally derived sleep aids sourced from herbs and plants are not regulated by the FDA. That said, there’s always a risk of taking natural sleep aids inappropriately since there’s no oversight, and manufacturers can incorrectly label their products. This may increase the likelihood of negative side effects and tainted sleep supplements.
Natural sleep aids may still be a better alternative for individuals that don’t want to expose their bodies to medication. If you’re worried about the risks mentioned, make sure to purchase natural sleep aids from reputable brands.
You also want to prioritize research on the sleep aid you’re interested in and speak with your doctor to ensure a natural sleep aid is the right option for your sleep problems. This is especially important if you’re an expecting mother or lactating, as some home remedies may not be appropriate for a developing fetus or baby.
Natural sleep aids are also not intended for long-term use. If you’re still having trouble sleeping after two weeks of using natural sleep aids or if symptoms become worse, consult a healthcare professional as it may be a sign of an underlying condition.
Here are a few extra precautions to take while using sleep aids that can help you stay safe:
- Don’t mix sleep aids with alcohol—Some sleep aids already have properties that sedate you. Mixing them with alcohol can exasperate this effect.
- Closely follow the dosage instructions—If you’ve discussed using a natural sleep aid with your doctor, they’ll provide you with instructions that you should follow. If not, follow the recommended dose on the packaging.
- Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery—Some sleep aids can make you very drowsy, so it’s best not to drive or operate heavy machinery.
Are Natural Sleep Aids Safe for Children?
Like natural sleep aids for adults, the effectiveness and safety will depend on the product itself. Although some home sleeping remedies can significantly help children fall asleep faster, natural sleep supplements are not approved by the FDA.
If your child is having trouble sleeping and you’re considering a natural sleep aid, talk to a pediatrician first. They’ll be able to guide you in the right direction, so you can support your child with their sleep.
Are Natural Sleep Aids Addictive?
Generally, natural sleep aids don’t pose the threat of addiction. However, as with any supplement, individuals can become dependent the longer they use them.
Do You Need a Natural Sleep Aid?
So, do you need a natural sleep aid? If you’re tossing and turning well into the night and want to avoid using sleep medication, a natural sleep can help you find some relief.
It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about your sleep issues so they can assist you in developing a proper treatment plan for your specific situation. Remember, each body is different, and finding the most effective natural sleep aid for you will require a bit of trial and error.
In case a natural sleep aid doesn’t work for you, a doctor may recommend moving away from natural remedies and using something stronger, like a prescription, so that you can get some well-deserved sleep.
Tips for Better Sleep
It’s important to remember that natural sleep aids won’t solve all of your sleeping problems, which is why it’s essential to have proper sleep hygiene. Use the tips below to help you improve your sleep hygiene:
- Sleep at the right temperature — Did you know your room’s temperature can affect how well you sleep? The best sleeping temperature for adults is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit or 15.5 and 19.4 degrees Celsius.
- Limit caffeine consumption—Caffeine and sleep don’t go hand-in-hand. Consuming caffeine can interfere with melatonin and hinder your ability to fall asleep. Food and beverages like coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, and energy drinks can all increase your caffeine intake.
- Turn off digital devices 30 minutes before bed— Electronic devices, including tablets, cell phones, and televisions, emit blue light from their screens, which can limit melatonin production, preventing your mind from shutting off and going to sleep.
- Find time to unwind prior to bedtime—Relaxing before bedtime can help you clear your mind from concerning and anxiety-inducing thoughts. Practice activities like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, journaling, and reading.
- Have a sleep schedule—Creating a sleep schedule and sticking to it can not only help you fall asleep faster, but it can also help you sleep through the night, increasing the amount of deep sleep you receive.
There’s no denying the importance of getting a good night’s rest. After all, lack of sleep can result in several health consequences. This includes:
- Making you sleepy during the day
- Affect your alertness and ability to process and retain information
- Raise your stress levels
- Make you more moody
- High blood pressure
- Premature wrinkling
- Dark circles and baggy x eyes
- Heart failure or attacks
Daytime and nighttime sleepiness can also increase the likelihood of traffic accidents. In fact, there are about 100,000 crashes due to drowsy driving reported to the police every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration.
Try using one or more of the sleeping tips mentioned in this section to stave off potential health-related issues due to insufficient sleep.
Wrapping Up: Best Natural Sleep Aids
Sleeping well at night is essential to your overall health and can prevent you from developing chronic illnesses or getting into an accident due to fatigue. However, sleep doesn’t always come easily for some people. If you’re struggling with falling and staying asleep, a natural sleep aid like the ones mentioned in this guide can help you achieve the sleep your body needs to function.
That said, natural sleep aids alone may not be enough to improve your sleep. Besides using a natural sleep aid, you can make sleep a priority with Layla Sleep. At Layla Sleep, we carry an array of products specially designed to improve the quality of sleep you receive, encouraging you to receive a good night’s rest. Browse through our selection of sleep mattresses, pillows, bedding, and accessories today and see the difference Layla Sleep can make for you.