Are you one of the many struggling with insomnia but do not want to meddle with prescription sleep-aiding drugs? I don’t blame you. Lack of quality sleep can be detrimental to your overall health, but prescription insomnia medications can also have dangerous side effects, such as:
- Changes in appetite
- Drowsiness during the day
- Headaches and body pain
Lucky for you, several alternative options are just as effective as prescription medication without the side effects.
Here are three natural remedies that will help you get the rest you deserve and save you a trip to the doctor’s office:
Since its recent legalisation, experts have performed studies on the cannabis plant (also known as ‘hemp’). They found that the plant offers natural cannabinoid health benefits for:
- Chronic pain
- Digestive problems
CBD, a prevalent non-psychoactive cannabinoid in the plant, is responsible for many of these benefits. In 2019, a study found that people taking between 300–600mg of CBD had lower cortisol levels. This is the stress hormone that the body releases most in the morning, but those with insomnia tend to experience high cortisol levels at night.
Since CBD and other cannabinoid research is fairly new, there is not enough information to determine the long-term risks of CBD usage, so we advise speaking with a professional to determine if this treatment is right for you. However, the research is showing positive results for people with insomnia.
Magnesium is a natural mineral that improved most bodily processes. It regulates muscle and nerve function, supports a healthy immune system, and can relieve stress.
Research shows that low levels of magnesium can contribute to poor sleep quality and short-term insomnia. It can also lead to anxiety and depression, which are both side effects of insomnia.
Other studies have found that insomniac patients who increase their magnesium intake fell asleep faster and had higher sleep efficiency. They also experienced increased concentrations of melatonin and decreased concentrations of cortisol.
If you also suffer from restless leg syndrome that disrupts your sleep, magnesium is for you. It’s used to treat RLS, especially when it is caused by magnesium deficiency.
You can purchase a magnesium supplement over the counter at a pharmacy or a health food store. You can also increase your magnesium by eating a magnesium-rich diet with leafy greens like spinach and chard, nuts, legumes, yogurts, whole grains, and soy products.
One tried and true supplement to support healthy sleep is melatonin, which is naturally released in the brain with serotonin.It kicks in a few hours before sleep and regulates your sleep cycle. It is triggered by reduced light exposure in the evening. However, because of smartphones, TVs, and computers, we are constantly exposed to light after-hours, which prevents natural melatonin release. You might find that you transition from screens to bedtime better with the help of a melatonin boost.
Luckily, melatonin comes in pill form, and you can purchase it over the counter. Generally, doses of melatonin can be found from 0.5 to 10 milligrams. However, be aware that higher doses of melatonin can increase daytime grogginess, so start at a lower dose and increase as needed.
If you are unsure what dose is right for you, talk with a doctor for advice.
Lying awake in the middle of the night trying to get some shut-eye as the clock ticks away is excruciating. Don’t settle for poor sleep or the nauseating effects of prescription-strength medication. If you struggle with short-term insomnia, these supplements paired with healthy lifestyle choices are there to support you.
Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.