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3 Natural Sleep Supplements You Must Know About

Pills and tablets of natural sleep suplements
Natural Sleep Suplements

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What Are Natural Sleep Supplements?

Natural sleep supplements are over-the-counter supplements designed to help you fall asleep faster or stay asleep throughout the night. They typically consist of plant-based ingredients, vitamins, or minerals that are already present in our diet, or supplemental amounts of substances produced by the body.

Although they are referred to as "natural," there are no strict guidelines regarding their classification, and sometimes they may contain synthetic derivatives, such as in the case of Melatonin.

While many people prefer natural supplements over medications, it's important to know that these supplements are not exempt from side effects. Some individuals should avoid taking them if they are allergic to any components, have specific medical conditions, or are taking certain types of medications. Therefore, it's always advisable to consult with a pharmacist or healthcare professional before taking them.


Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that naturally occurs in foods, such as pumpkin seeds, and is often added to processed foods. It is present in the body in bones, soft tissues, and blood. One of the many functions of magnesium is sleep regulation.

Some research suggests that magnesium supplementation may help reduce insomnia in older adults, whether used alone or in combination with melatonin and zinc. It may also reduce excessive daytime sleepiness in adults. Older adults are at a higher risk of magnesium deficiency.

In addition to consuming magnesium-rich foods, magnesium can be obtained through supplements available in pill and tablet forms, including multivitamins.

Magnesium aspartate, magnesium citrate, magnesium lactate, and magnesium chloride are the most easily absorbed by the body.

While magnesium is generally safe at normal dietary levels, high doses can cause side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps as it is filtered through the kidneys.

Magnesium can interact with certain medications and other supplements, and very high doses may lead to cardiac abnormalities, such as low blood pressure or hypotension, irregular heartbeats, and cardiac arrest.

Tryptophan/5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid of plant origin that is needed for in vivo protein biosynthesis. After consumption, it is metabolically transformed into bioactive metabolites, including serotonin, melatonin, quinurenine, and the vitamin niacin.

Tryptophan/5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is the intermediate metabolite of the essential amino acid L-tryptophan in the biosynthesis of serotonin. In addition to its effects in treating insomnia, it is often used to promote weight loss and improve mood.

5-HTP easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and effectively increases serotonin synthesis in the central nervous system. It is attributed with sedative effects, although the exact mechanism of action for these effects is not completely clear. However, the absence of side effects and the lack of long-term tolerance development are important factors for its use in treating insomnia symptoms (1).


Valerian

Valerian root has a characteristic and rather unpleasant odor. However, some studies suggest that valerian may help in falling asleep faster, improving sleep quality, and reducing the frequency of waking up during the night. Since experts have not identified a single active compound, it is speculated that the effect of valerian may be due to various compounds working together, or the amino acids GABA or glycine.

The roots and stems of the valerian plant are made into teas, capsules, extracts, and tablets. Valerian is generally more effective after being taken for several weeks. However, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness in treating insomnia.

Valerian is generally considered safe. Side effects are rare and tend to be mild.



REFERENCES

(1) Bruni, Violani, et al., 2004

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