Updated: Jul 7, 2019
You’ve been tossing and turning for hours, no – years! You’ve always had difficulty sleeping and you have tried or at least considered asking your doctor for sleeping pills. Or maybe you have a few more things on your mind lately that aren’t allowing you to get the shuteye that you need. Sleep is extremely important to many aspects of your health and sometimes taking a pill to help you to sleep is very necessary. But if you aren’t ready for sleeping pills or if you’re interested in alternative options, take a read through my Top 5 Supplements For Sleep.
L-theanine is an amino acid that is found naturally in green tea. Taken at the right dose, L-theanine supplements can help to promote relaxation by calming racing thoughts.
GABA naturally occurs in your brain as a neurotransmitter that can dampen excitatory brain activity, which reduces fear and anxiety. Interestingly, the GABA that you take in a supplement is too big of a molecule to cross the blood brain barrier to reach your brain. However, I’ve seen GABA work for many patients. Whether it figures out a way to get to your brain or if it acts on your nervous system in some other way, GABA works great for encouraging restfulness and providing a sense of calm.
Lavender is an anxiolytic, meaning that it decreases anxiety. Lavender has been shown to diminish stress post-surgery when diffused in recovery rooms. It has also been proven to promote slow wave sleep, aka deep sleep, which is when you make memories and your brain recovers from daily activities. I often suggest putting a few drops of essential oil on a tissue by your pillow or in a water bottle to spray around the bedroom near bedtime for a more restful sleep.
Amazingly, there is a lot of research out there on drinking teas and using certain herbs for sleep. The best botanicals for sleep are passionflower, hops, valerian (beware – it smells like stinky socks!), chamomile, and lemon balm. Not only do the botanicals in the tea promote relaxation, but also the act and ritual of preparing and drinking a cup of tea can get you ready for sleep.
I bet you’re wondering about melatonin! Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in our brain to induce sleep. Melatonin also comes in tablets that either release over a few hours (extended release), or enter your bloodstream soon after popping it into your mouth (immediate release). The type of melatonin to use is important. I recommend the extended release for people who can’t stay asleep and immediate release for people with difficulty falling asleep. Curious if you’re producing enough melatonin? Using a simple saliva test, I can send your sample to a lab to determine your personal melatonin levels.
Sometimes getting the right choice of supplement or the right combination of supplements takes time. There are several professional supplement brands that I use in my practice that work astoundingly well. They combined with therapeutic doses of a combination of many of the recommendations mentioned above,
If you’re looking to fast track your sleep troubles and to catch some quality shuteye, I’d like to work with you. Come book online here for a complimentary 15-minute meet-and-greet in Nova Scotia or PEI.
If you'd like my free handout on Sleep Hygiene that outlines numerous tips and ideas for a better sleep, send me an email at Info@DrMeganBernard.com and I'll send it along to you!