As I have written about previously, sleep is one of the most essential parts of an athlete’s life.
Regardless of how well you train or diet, proper sleep is required to stay healthy. The average adult needs to sleep for 6-8 hours per night, and athletes need even more rest for their muscles to recover. However, many people suffer from stress and anxiety in their busy lives, which is the root cause of insomnia and other sleep issues.
Even if you do not have full-blown insomnia, a stressful life can cause you to have less than perfect quality of sleep, something which as an athlete you cannot sacrifice! Fortunately, there are many natural nighttime sleep aids which can improve your sleep without making any other changes to your routine.
These sleep supplements can give you an edge in terms of creating a perfect sleeping pattern each night! Many people try OTC sleep aids or other prescription sleep aids to deal with sleep issues. However, I only believe in using natural sleep supplements.
For More Information: What are OTC Sleep Aids?
Best Nighttime Sleep Aids
If you need a nighttime sleep aid, I am confident in each of these natural supplements. I have used these products on their own and in combination with other supplements before, which is why I want to recommend them to you.
Regardless, you should consult your doctor before taking any product that you are not comfortable with! For those of you looking to try something to improve your quality of sleep, here are a few natural nighttime sleep aids that will help you have a better sleep.
Melatonin is widely considered one of the best natural supplements for those that are suffering from sleep problems due to scientific backing, as well as general small side effects.
According to a study published in Neuro-Signals,
“melatonin significantly augmented sleep quality and decreased the number of awakening episodes in patients with sleep disturbances associated or not with depression. Estimates of next-day alertness improved significantly only in patients with primary insomnia.”
If you are living in a city where your sleep pattern is unusually abnormal, or you work in a job which involves a large amount of traveling and time zone changing, melatonin could be especially helpful for you!
Melatonin is a hormone which is naturally produced in the human body, and amongst other activities it controls the sleep-wake cycle. It helps us to stay alert during the day, and relaxed at night. If your body is not consistently producing melatonin at an appropriate rate, supplementation could very well help regulate your body and sleep cycle.
Generally, only 1-3 mg of melatonin per night is necessary to see an impact.
I have personally found this supplement extremely helpful when changing tie zones, as it helps regulate your bodies sleep-wake cycle quicker than otherwise!
You can also check out my other article to see my opinion on the best melatonin supplement.
See Also: Why Can’t I Sleep?
According to a study published in Nutrition Today,
“Purported health benefits for Tulsi and other Ocimum species include relief of stress and treatment of respiratory, gastrointestinal, and kidney ailments, as well as blood disorders and skin and eye diseases, to name a few.”
If you are having issues of stress or anxiety, holy basil could be right for you! With stress being a common issue nowadays, it is one of the main reasons that keeps many of us awake at night.
Using a supplement with holy basil can help control your anxiety and it will help you from waking up again and again during the night. Holy basil has been utilized in herbal medicines for literally thousands of years, and is well reported to have a wide range of positive benefits.
Furthermore, Holy basil can be especially useful in calming an over-alert mind, as well as regulating depression-like symptoms.
If you would like to try a Holy Basil supplement to help you sleep, my product suggestion is:
Valerian root is another herbal medicine which can significantly help those who have the issue of waking in the middle of the night with an over-stimulated mind. Valerian root will help create a level of calmness, and aid in relaxing your nervous system.
According to a study published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior,
“Valerian produced a significant decrease in subjectively evaluated sleep latency scores and a significant improvement in sleep quality; the latter was most notable among people who considered themselves poor or irregular sleepers, smokers, and people who thought they normally had long sleep latencies.”
Although it can be purchased in supplement form as well, Valerian Root tea can be especially calming as well as a more natural form of intake.
If you would like to try Valerian Root tea, I suggest you try:
Often a stimulated brain through depression-like symptoms can be the cause of sleepless nights, which can be positively impacted by 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP).
However, it is essential that you use 5-HTP correctly. As stated in a study published by the journal Neuroscience,
“The results of the present study suggest that the complex effects of 5-HT on sleep depend on the degree and time course of activation of the serotonergic system such that 5-HT may directly inhibit sleep, yet induce a cascade of physiological processes that enhance subsequent sleep.”
Using 5-HTP is a more scientific approach to sleep help, as it is an engineered supplement which works to stimulate a state of calmness in your brain. Especially in the months of the year when there is little or less sunlight to moderate your brains psychology, this supplement could be especially helpful.
5-Hydroxytryptophan is a modern medicine that has been widely used to treat depression and deal with the problem of insomnia.
If you would like to try a 5-HTP supplement, a great option that I have used myself is:
Generally speaking, I am very against any form of synthetic nighttime sleep aid.
These products can often cause dependence and do far more long-term damage than good. The nighttime sleep aid supplements which I have listed above are far more natural and have a very high potential to help with any sleep issues you are having.
Remember, it is always wise to consult a doctor if you’re going to be starting any new supplement or diet plan. However, the supplements mentioned above certainly have the potential to improve your sleep on their own!
Additional Resource: How Sleep Impacts Your Ability to Stay Healthy