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Eric First, M.D., FAIS and Matthew Roberts, Ph.D
Are you having too many sleepless nights?
Tossing and turning at night is no fun. Sleeplessness is an extremely common issue, affecting most adults at some point in their lives. Many people deal with acute, or short-term, sleep troubles, which only lasts for a few days or weeks and is often caused by stress. However, some people have chronic sleep problems, which can be a near-constant struggle for years.
The symptoms of sleep troubles can be extremely troublesome, and they can affect more than just the rest you get at night. Since sleep troubles can take away the sleep that you need to function optimally, it’s associated with trouble focusing during the day. Stronger sleep-wake cycles translate into a more consistent sleep routine. When your bio clock is in sync, it can help improve your mood. Too many sleepless nights can start to cloud your daytime thinking, making you less productive and accident-prone. Seep troubles can also mess with your memory – lack of sleep often makes it harder to keep track of everything you need to accomplish in a given day.
If you’re dealing with sleep troubles, you might be tempted to start using high-strength sleep aids or “downer” substances like alcohol to wind down at night. Some people take antihistamines like diphenhydramine (which is made for combating allergies) for the side effects of drowsiness, to help fall asleep. But like any drug, you should proceed cautiously as a tolerance can be formed quickly. Long-term use will create tolerance build-up and the sedative effects will likely make you less sleepy over time. Additionally, there can be side effects when using diphenhydramine such as daytime drowsiness and constipation.
Not to fret, there’s now an even better way to calm your mind and get the rest you need each night – botanical supplements sourced from Nature’s Medicine Cabinet®
While melatonin, the hormone that helps control your natural sleep-wake cycle, is one of the most popular supplements that is recommended for sleep problems, it’s far from your only option. In fact, melatonin supplements are often used in combination with other soothing, sleep-supporting ingredients such as valerian root, L-theanine, lavender, or chamomile.
Recently, however, studies have uncovered numerous cases where the stated melatonin content was inaccurate or contained other ingredients that were not listed on the packaging, such as serotonin and magnesium.
Therefore, in this post, we’ll be discussing three of the best melatonin-free sleep aids for 2021. Each of these botanical ingredients is also included in R3SET’s signature Unwind formula.
Common Causes of Sleep Problems
Before we start exploring solutions for sleep troubles, let’s begin by discussing some of the most common causes of sleep problems. Understanding the factors that are causing your sleep troubles is one of the most important aspects of finding a solution that works for you.
Below are some of the factors that have the greatest potential to cause sleep problems, including acute sleep troubles.
Stress. As you might have guessed, stress can have a major negative impact on your sleep. If your days are full of stressful situations and emotionally exhausting circumstances, your nights are likely to be spent tossing and turning restlessly. Stressful life events are some of the most common causes of acute, or short-term, sleep troubles. Experiences like a breakup, a divorce, the loss of your job, a traumatic event, or just an embarrassing moment can keep you up at night, filling your mind with troubled thoughts.
Bad nighttime habits. What you do before going to bed can have a profound effect on your ability to fall asleep once your head hits the pillow. For example, eating too much late at night can leave you with indigestion, which can make it tough to settle your body down and fall asleep. In addition, spending too much time looking at screens before bed can contribute to feelings of restlessness and trouble falling asleep.
An irregular sleep schedule. If your wake-up time and bedtime are unpredictable and wildly inconsistent, it can be tough to fall asleep. Factors like travel and late work hours can make your sleep schedule inconsistent and can disrupt your body’s natural cycle of waking and sleeping.
Now that you know more about the causes of sleep troubles, let’s explore some of the best melatonin-free sleep aids to try this year.
Valerian is an herb native to parts of Europe and Asia. The herb’s roots have been used as a natural sleep aid for centuries, and they can also be steeped to make a calming cup of tea.
Valerian root can help to calm your mind and get you wound down and ready for bed by positively interacting with your brain’s levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA, which is an amino acid that serves as a neurotransmitter, is a chemical essential for regulating the activity of your nervous system and keeping stress from negatively affecting your physical and emotional state. Many medications that are prescribed to treat sleep troubles and other problems work by inhibiting the breakdown of GABA within your brain, helping to maintain feelings of calm and relaxation.
Research about valerian root’s impact on sleep has shown that the natural remedy may help you fall asleep faster. If you tend to struggle to slow your racing mind at night, this natural sleep aid makes a perfect addition to your evening routine.
Valerian root is also commonly used as a natural treatment for symptoms of anxiety, depression, and menopause.
Many people enjoy a cup of chamomile tea before bed to calm their minds and get themselves ready for bed. However, in addition to being drinkable in the form of a soothing tea, this popular calming herb can also be taken as a supplement.
Research has shown that taking a chamomile supplement may improve sleep quality, making it easier to fall asleep and calm down before bed. In addition, like valerian root, chamomile is associated with GABA activity in your brain*.
You can reap the benefits of chamomile for sleep by drinking the herb in tea or by taking it as a supplement. Chamomile supplements tend to contain a higher concentration of the herb than you would be able to get from several cups of tea, which makes a chamomile supplement a quicker way to get more benefits from this soothing herbal remedy.
GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, is the neurotransmitter that we previously discussed in our section on valerian root. This compound is naturally produced by your body, and it’s also found in a variety of foods, including seafood, eggs, some nuts, berries, and more.
Taking a GABA supplement may help to calm your mind and signal to your brain that it’s time for bed*. Increased GABA activity is associated with a more peaceful mental state, as well as better sleep.
You can get GABA from foods, supplements, or some beverages, including green, black, and oolong tea. In addition, other supplements, including chamomile and valerian root, have been linked with higher levels of GABA activity in your brain. Taking these natural botanicals in tandem with GABA can help you create a powerful supplement routine for bedtime*.
If you’re struggling to get the sleep you need each night, adding natural sleep aids like GABA, chamomile, and valerian root to your bedtime routine can help to calm your mind and get you ready to rest while being generally safer with fewer side effects than prescription sleep aids*. In addition, building up a consistent unwinding regimen can help to keep racing thoughts and the stress of the day from interfering with a good night’s sleep.
In addition to chamomile, valerian root, and GABA, R3SET’s Unwind capsules contain a multitude of calming ingredients, including lemon balm, passionflower, ahiflower oil, beta-caryophyllene, and more.
To learn more about calming supplements and the science behind stress prevention, make sure to visit the R3SET blog. There, you’ll find plenty of information to equip you for your stress-fighting journey.
Ready to learn about our once-daily and once-nightly calming capsules Calm and Unwind? Explore your path to stress support and better sleep here.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease