If you ask us, there’s just about nothing better than waking up refreshed after a solid seven to nine hours of rejuvenating sleep.
Whether you’re an early bird who gets the worm with a morning sweat sesh at the gym or spend your mornings prepping school lunches for your little ones, a good night’s rest can make the difference in how you start the day. But it’s not just your morning that your sleep can impact — it’s your mind and body too.
You see, when you catch enough quality zzzs, you’ll reap a number of great benefits, including boosted immunity, a healthier heart, and a sharper mind. This is because your sleep is directly tied to your emotional health, stress levels, energy, and much more.
So when you don’t get enough restorative shut-eye, on the other hand, it’s easy to see how everything from your mood and appetite to even your ability to make decisions can be negatively affected.
In other words, the sleep you get directly correlates with living a healthy and happy life.
If we were living in an ideal world, you’d be able to drift off to dreamland the moment your head hit your pillow, snooze peacefully through the night, and wake up feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
But unfortunately for many of us, getting a good night’s sleep is much easier said than done.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than a third of adults in the U.S. struggle to find sleep. In fact, sleep deprivation is so common that experts have recognized it as a “public health epidemic.”
With this in mind, it makes perfect sense why melatonin supplements are on the rise among adults. But what if you wanted to steer clear of melatonin— are there any alternatives? As a matter of fact, there are — and we’ll tell you all about them.
But First, What Exactly Is Melatonin?
Simply put, melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone that is produced in the pineal gland of your brain and plays a crucial role in controlling your internal body clock — aka circadian rhythm.
Melatonin is also found in certain foods, such as eggs, nuts, tart cherries, and oats.
In addition, many sleeping aids contain melatonin. These popular supplements tend to be most beneficial for those with sleep disorders. Those who experience jet lag or work the night shift may often find success with supplemental melatonin, too.
How Does Melatonin Work?
Sometimes called the “vampire hormone" or the “hormone of darkness," melatonin supplements change how the body responds to darkness, ultimately helping you enter a nighttime drowsiness rhythm.
In other words, these popular sleep aids essentially trick your body into feeling like it’s bedtime.
The snoozy hormone doesn’t make you sleep, but as your melatonin levels rise, it puts you into a peaceful state of quiet wakefulness that induces sleep. You see, high melatonin levels cause blood pressure and body temperature to drop, putting you in a sleepy mood that’s ready to hit the hay and catch some zzzs.
Why Does Melatonin Have Such a Bad Rap?
After doing a quick search on the all-knowing Google, you’ll discover that melatonin supplements are a pretty controversial topic. This is because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies melatonin as a dietary supplement.
Unlike prescription medications, dietary supplements are not tested for quality and safety. This means that the quality and amount of melatonin per dose can vary widely from bottle to bottle. In fact, one recent study found that a whopping 71 percent of melatonin supplements contained a significantly different amount of the hormone vs. what was listed on the bottle.
In addition to not being regulated, melatonin supplements come with a few potential side effects, such as:
- Dizzy spells
- Head and neck tension
- Daytime sleepiness
- Poor mood
What’s more, some experts have raised concerns about whether synthetic melatonin could negatively affect pregnancy.
The decision to use melatonin is ultimately up to you, but if you’re expecting within the next nine months, you may want to opt for a sleep remedy that’s proven to be pregnancy-safe.
Consult your OB/GYN and discuss which sleep aids would be A-OK for you to try.
Melatonin-Free Sleep Remedies To Help You Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep
Melatonin can be a great tool to promote sleep. But if you want to avoid the supplement until it has gone through further testing, you’re in luck because there are many great alternatives. Here are some of them:
#1. Passion Flower
Passionflower is a beautiful plant that has been used since the 16th century to help soothe tension, combat sleep troubles, and ease discomfort. And according to one recent study, researchers found that a cup of passionflower tea may also boost sleep quality by around five percent.
#2. Warm Baths
A warm, relaxing bath before bedtime can bring a sense of calmness to the body, especially for pregnant mamas. According to a recent study by Sleep Medicine Reviews, warm baths taken an hour or two before bed may help regulate core body temperature and improve sleep quality.
Sprinkle Therapeutic Bath Salts into warm bath water, and enjoy a relaxing soak to help calm the mind and ease any tension in the body.
Make sure the water temperature is below 100 degrees, as pregnant women shouldn’t let their core body temperature exceed 102 degrees Fahrenheit. It only takes 10 minutes in a hot bath to raise your temperature to potentially unsafe levels.
Ah, magnesium. You’ve likely heard about this vital mineral as it is essential for more than 300 processes in your body. But what you may not have known is that it also has the potential to help you sleep better.
You see, magnesium influences sleep because it regulates the hormone melatonin naturally. In addition, this essential nutrient binds to GABA receptors, which is the same neurotransmitter responsible for calming down nerve activity. By helping calm the nervous system, magnesium may help prepare your body and mind for slumber.
You can find magnesium in certain foods, like nuts, spinach, and legumes. But to help you find calm and catch some Zzzs, we recommend our Organic Sleepy Body Lotion. This hydrating magnesium-rich formula is perfect for moms-to-be struggling with restless legs or anyone hoping for a deeper and more restful snooze. What’s not to love?
Another fantastic option to help you get some shut-eye is chamomile — a plant that promotes rest, thanks to its sedative effects. In addition, chamomile contains a powerful antioxidant called apigenin, which is well-known for its ability to induce muscle relaxation and sleep.
To reap the snoozy benefits of this popular sleep aid, we suggest sipping on a soothing cup of our Organic Chamomile Bedtime to help you unwind before bed.
First discovered in green tea, L-theanine is an amino acid that is not a sedative but an anxiolytic — aka anxiety reducer. This means that it can help relax the mind without causing drowsiness.
Along with healthy sleep habits and a consistent bedtime routine, L-theanine can be another great tool in your wellness box to help you manage stress and find sleep.
A Final Word
Whether you decide to use over-the-counter melatonin or prefer a more natural sleep aid like our magnesium-rich Organic Sleepy Body Lotion, don’t forget to incorporate good sleep practices into your nighttime ritual, such as keeping electronics and blue light out of the bedroom.
Of course, the sleep remedies listed above may increase your likelihood of achieving a restful slumber. But you’ll likely notice that they are most effective when combined with healthy sleep habits. So, create a bedtime routine if you don’t already have one and stick to it — sweet dreams ahead!