More Than Melatonin
Seven Supplements to Help You Sleep
Melatonin is a sleep hormone produced naturally by the pineal gland in the brain that tells the body when it’s time to relax and go to sleep. However, with upwards of 30% of Americans suffering from inadequate sleep, melatonin has become increasingly popular in supplement form to help people fall asleep and stay asleep. But, there are many other natural sleep support ingredients that can boost your chances of getting some quality shut-eye. Here are seven other dietary ingredients that can help you wind down to get a solid night of sleep, several of which can be found in Kore’s Sleep and Recovery formula.
Chamomile is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind. The daisy-like flower is commonly used to make medicinal herbal infusions and teas that acts to promote feelings of tranquility. It contains the antioxidant apigenin, which binds to receptors in your brain that help promote feelings of calmness and help initiate sleep.
Gamma aminobutyric acid, known as GABA, is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain from the amino acid glutamate that relaxes the nervous system, supports relaxation and promotes restful, tranquil sleep, partly by helping you to fall asleep more quickly. Foods that contain GABA are fermented ones like kimchi, miso and tempeh, along with cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, but GABA can be taken in supplement form.
Valerian is an herb, native to Europe and parts of Asia, but grown in other parts of the world. The flowers were historically used to make perfume, and the roots have been used for medicine for 2000 years. Valerian contains valerenic acid, isovaleric acid and a variety of antioxidants, including hesperidin and linarin, that help promote relaxation, ease tension and support restful sleep. Valerenic acid has been shown to inhibit the breakdown of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, promoting a feeling of calm. It can be taken as a supplement in capsule or liquid form or can be made into tea.
4. Lemon Balm Leaf
Lemon balm is, not surprisingly, a lemon-scented herb from the same family as mint. It is native to Europe and Africa but is grown all over the world, and has long been used to soothe the symptoms of stress and to promote restful sleep, relaxation and overall serenity. Lemon balm can be consumed in a tea, taken as a supplement or extract, or applied to the skin in oil form. It has traditionally been combined with valerian.
5. Hops Flower
Hops are most commonly known as the flowers that produce the bitter flavor of beer, but they have been used traditionally for centuries to manage everything from nausea to stress. Their calming properties were first noticed when workers harvesting the flowers fell asleep on the job, and studies have since shown the effectiveness of hops at producing a sense of calm and improving sleep.
L-Theanine is an amino acid that elevates levels of GABA, serotonin, and dopamine. Increasing amounts of these calming neurotransmitters supports relaxation and can improve sleep. While it was discovered in Japan in 1948 as a constituent of green tea, it is found in nearly all teas, and also in other plants, like mushrooms.
5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, is a chemical byproduct of the amino acid L-tryptophan that can also be produced commercially from the seeds of the African plant Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-HTP helps increase the synthesis of the hormone serotonin, which plays a central role in promoting feelings of happiness, bliss and satiety from food.
Ashwagandha is an Indian plant that has been traditionally used in ayurvedic medicine to help with sleep promotion; it is classified as an adaptogen, which means it can help the body manage stress. The leaves of the ashwagandha plant contain triethylene glycol, which has been found to induce sleep. Ashwagandha can be taken in powder or capsule form.