By now, most of us know how important getting a good night’s sleep is. The downsides of being sleep deprived (especially if you are constantly sleep-deprived) are numerous.
- Poor focus
- Fat gain may go up
- Your risk of injury goes up
- Inflammation can increase
- Immune function can be depressed
- Long-term heart health can be negatively affected
We could go on! From a habit’s standpoint, you should try to get enough sleep, create a bedtime routine, and avoid computer, TV, and phone screens at least 20 minutes before bed (but preferably an hour).
Sometimes, taking a supplement can help nudge your sleep habits or quality in the right direction. They aren’t a substitute for good sleep hygiene, but they can play a supporting role. But with so many sleep supplements out there, it’s hard to know which to take. We’re going to help you cut through the noise and walk you through the 4 you should consider and 1 to avoid.
4 Supplements To Try
Lavender comes in many different supplemental forms — pills, topical oils, and aromatherapy. This supplement can provide a mild calming effect that can help to clear racing minds, allowing you to drift into sleep a bit faster.
Lemon balm (also known as Melissa officinalis) can provide a pleasant and mild sedative effect. If you are going to take this supplement, be sure to do so in the hour before you fall asleep and avoid driving, just to be safe.
Like lavender, lemon balm can be taken as an oral supplement or used for aromatherapy.
Magnesium is a nutrient of concern for many people, as a large portion of the population under consume this mineral. Magnesium plays an important role in helping your nervous system to function optimally, and inadequate intakes can impair your sleep. By taking this before bed, you can achieve two goals:
- Get to sleep faster
- Ensure you are consuming healthy levels of magnesium
Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces to help regulate your sleep/wake cycles. Levels of melatonin in your body will naturally decrease in the morning and increase in the evening, letting your body know it’s time to go to sleep.
Melatonin, taken about 20–30 minutes before bed, may help you fall asleep quicker.
1 Supplement to Avoid
Caffeine (and stimulants in general) can really mess up your sleep quality. Even if it doesn’t affect how quickly you fall asleep, it can affect the quality of your sleep.
Caffeine can take a long time to be fully processed out of your body, so most scientists advise that you stop consuming caffeine-containing beverages (coffee, tea, energy drinks, etc) at least 6 hours before you intend to go to sleep.