Dr. Michael Newman, DNM., Ph.D., HHP.
Dr. Michael Newman, DNM., Ph.D., HHP.
June 6, 2024 ·  10 min read

Trouble Sleeping? Try One of These Natural Sleep Remedies


Recognizing the impact of sleep on our overall health is crucial, especially for children and teens. During sleep, our bodies diligently support healthy brain function and physical well-being, which are vital for their growth and development (Underwood, 2013). However, consistently not getting enough sleep can pose a risk of chronic health problems over time(Ramos et al., 2023).

Additionally, chronic insufficient sleep can increase the risk of developing a higher risk of hypertensive heart disease (Evbayekha et al., 2022). It can also interfere with metabolism and increase the risk of obesity (Papatriantafyllou et al., 2022). Beyond physical health, sleep deprivation can take a toll on relationships, both at work and at home, and can contribute to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety (Ford, 1989).

The effects of sleep deprivation can quickly compound, so it is crucial to address any sleep difficulties as early as possible. Prioritizing good sleep habits and seeking help for sleep-related issues can significantly improve overall health and well-being.

Signs and Symptoms of Lack of Sleep

Lack of sleep can lead to numerous signs and symptoms, such as feeling tired or lethargic throughout the day, experiencing irritability, shifts in mood such as feeling depressed, anxious, stressed, or paranoid, and even having suicidal thoughts.

Sleep deprivation and sleep insufficiency can lead to numerous amounts of symptoms that can affect various aspects of daily life. These symptoms may include reduced alertness and slower reaction times, making staying focused and paying attention difficult. Additionally, sleep deprivation can impair cognitive abilities and logical reasoning, leading to poor decision-making and judgment.

In terms of emotional well-being, sleep deprivation may cause mood changes, including irritability, anxiety, and even depression (Chapman et al., 2013). Furthermore, individuals may experience a reduced sex drive and a diminished quality of life due to ongoing tiredness and fatigue (Costa et al., 2017).

Physical signs of sleep deprivation can manifest as short incidents of falling asleep during the day, known as microsleeps, and unplanned naps. Additionally, the impact of sleep deprivation on social activities should be noticed, as individuals may find themselves participating less in social events due to feelings of tiredness and exhaustion (Des Champs de Boishebert et al., 2021).

It’s essential to be mindful of changes in sleep patterns, especially if you find yourself sleeping longer on days off or during periods without social plans. Suppose you consistently sleep significantly longer than usual on weekends or vacations. In that case, it may indicate that you are not getting enough sleep on regular nights, further highlighting the potential presence of sleep deprivation or insufficiency (Salam Al-Wandi & Ibrahim Shorbagi, 2020).

Signs and Symptoms of Insomnia

Insomnia is a prevalent sleep disorder characterized by trouble falling asleep, staying up too early, and struggling to return to sleep. People with Insomnia often wake up tired, resulting in decreased energy levels, mood disturbances, feeling easily agitated, exhausted, lacking energy, irritability, or fatigue while awake. It negatively impacts their health, work performance, and overall quality of life (Buysse, 2013). 

Why Do People Suffer From Sleeping Disorders?

Various factors can lead to sleep problems, including physical disturbances like chronic pain and headaches, unhealthy lifestyle habits, sleep-related breathing disorders, medical issues such as sleep apnea, modern lifestyle, and psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety disorders (Chen et al., 2024).

Different Types of Sleep Disorders

There are various types of sleep disorders, including sleep-disordered breathing, central disorders of hypersomnolence, circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders, and sleep-related movement disorders.

1. Sleep-disordered breathing 

Various factors, including issues with breathing control, upper airway obstruction, and chest wall mechanics, can cause sleep-disordered breathing. These factors can lead to compromised ventilation and increased resistance during breathing (Aboussouan, 2015).

2. Central Disorders of Hypersomnolence

The primary reasons behind hypersomnolence often stem from inherent irregularities in the central nervous system’s regulation of sleep-wake cycles. Central hypersomnia is typically categorized into three main subtypes: narcolepsy type 1, narcolepsy type 2, and idiopathic hypersomnia (IH). Additionally, other factors contributing to central hypersomnolence encompass Kleine-Levin syndrome, hypersomnia arising from a medical condition, medication or substance use, psychiatric disorders, and sleep insufficiency syndrome (Maski et al., 2021).

3. Circadian Rhythm Sleep-Wake Disorders (CRSD)

Circadian Rhythm Sleep-Wake Disorders (CRSD) has two leading causes: (1) when the environment does not align with the internal circadian timing, such as in shift work and jetlag, and (2) when the circadian timing system becomes altered relative to the external environment, as seen in delayed sleep phase syndrome, non-24, advanced sleep phase syndrome, and irregular sleep-wake rhythm (Ingram, 2020).

Abnormal movements during sleep can occur due to disorders related to motor control excitation or disinhibition, often leading to sleep disturbances. The causes of different movement conditions during sleep vary depending on the specific disorder. For instance, restless legs syndrome (RLS) may stem from genetic and familial factors or iron deficiency (Merlino & Gigli, 2011).

Read More: Sweating In Your Sleep? 7 Possible Reasons for Night Sweats

Lifestyle Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep!

For a good night’s sleep, it’s essential to establish a sleep-friendly environment in your bedroom. This means ensuring it’s quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature. Staying consistent is important, so try to go to bed and wake up simultaneously every day, even on weekends. A crucial step in this process is removing electronic devices like TVs, computers, and smartphones from your bedroom, as they can significantly disrupt your sleep. The following is an analysis of the scientific evidence supporting various recommendations for improving sleep quality, such as managing caffeine intake, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, engaging in regular exercise, managing stress, minimizing noise disturbances, maintaining consistent sleep schedules, and regulating daytime napping (Irish et al., 2015).

Natural Evidence-Based Sleep Remedies

1. Valerian Root

Valerian is considered a safe option for promoting sleep, as it is generally well-tolerated by most individuals. While experts are still researching how Valerian promotes sleep, it may elevate brain gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels. GABA is a neurotransmitter known to have a calming effect on the nervous system, contributing to feelings of relaxation and improved sleep quality (Bent et al., 2006).

Product: Healthology SLEEP-GREAT SLEEP FORMULA

SLEEP-GREAT is a complete formulation that helps you fall asleep quickly, stay asleep and achieve deep, restful sleep. This product contains some of the best sleep aid ingredients, allowing you to relax and calm your neurological and mental health. These ingredients include Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis), Melatonin, L-Theanine, L-Tryptophan, GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), Skullcap Herb, and Passionflower Herb.

2. Melatonin

In four separate studies, researchers evaluated the effectiveness of melatonin in improving sleep quality for individuals with insomnia. Two of these studies showed no clear preference for either melatonin or the control group. In contrast, the other two studies, one large-scale investigation, indicated that melatonin supplementation improved sleep (Wade et al., 2010) (Pevet & Challet, 2011). There is growing concern among people with mental health conditions that consuming melatonin may cause symptoms of depression and other mood disorders or make existing symptoms worse in some people (Won et al., 2021). 

Product: Nature’s Way Melatonin, Sleep Support / 60 gummies

Delicious melatonin gummies help people who fall asleep slowly reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. Nature’s Way Melatonin Gummies help increase total sleep time in people suffering from sleep restriction or an altered sleep schedule. These delicious strawberry-flavoured gummies are 100% vegetarian and help reset the body’s sleep-wake cycle.

3. Chamomile

Chamomile preparations are widely utilized to alleviate various human ailments, including hay fever, inflammatory issues, muscle spasms, and insomnia. They may also help people relax and fall asleep (Gupta, 2010s). For generations, chamomile has been utilized to create soothing tea and calming essential oil aromatherapy, as well as to alleviate insomnia and promote relaxation. It is commonly recognized for its gentle, tranquillizing, and sleep-inducing properties (Gould et al., 1973).

Product: New Roots Herbal Sleep 8 Ultra

New Roots Sleep8 Ultra Strength is a natural sleep aid made with a unique mix of natural ingredients to help you sleep better and feel relaxed. These ingredients help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling refreshed. They include chamomile extract, GABA, L-Theanine, Hops, Passionflower, Whole skullcap, Qiye Shen’an Pian (Panax notoginseng) leaf extract, Lemon balm, Catnip, and Melatonin.

Takeaway

Research has extensively examined the various factors that can contribute to sleep disturbances. These encompass physical disruptions, such as persistent discomfort due to conditions like arthritis, headaches, and fibromyalgia, as well as medical issues like sleep apnea. Additionally, psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety can also significantly impact sleep quality, as can the use of certain medications, frequent travel, and poor sleeping habits.

Acknowledging all the signs and symptoms of sleep problems is crucial in identifying potential solutions. Implementing techniques such as meditation, establishing consistent sleep and wake times, minimizing the consumption of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol before bedtime, and engaging in regular physical activity during the day (at least 5 hours before bedtime) can all help address sleep dysfunction. Additionally, evidence-based supplements such as Valerian Root, Melatonin, and Chamomile may be beneficial individually or as part of a sleep-aid formula.

Quality sleep is vital for optimal brain function, mood regulation, and overall health. Conversely, inadequate and poor-quality sleep can regularly heighten the risk of developing numerous disorders and diseases.

Read More: 14 Foods To Help You Sleep (+ Foods to Avoid)

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    Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.