It’s 4:00 am, and you’re still up. Truth is, you haven’t slept a wink. You’re debating on whether to just get up and start the morning ritual of preparing breakfasts, school lunches for the kids, a packed salad for the husband and loading at least one load in the washer. Oh, yes, the dishwasher needs to be emptied, too. It’s 4:00 am, should you just start your day? It’s too late now to take anything for sleep, even if they’re natural sleep aids, right?
Welcome to my world. Does this describe you, too? Many nights, I lie wide awake in bed. Even if I close my eyes, I still don’t drift into dreamland. Wynken, Blynken and Nod have not seen me in a long time. I miss them, too. When I was in college, I could sleep without a problem. When my head hit the pillow, I was gone. It was blissful. I had no need for any sleep aids!
My friend Myra, who practices yoga told me to seriously check out natural sleep aids. She advised me to do my due diligence (I work in the financial field, so indulge me when I use terms like this), and see what’s out there. She had a point, she said it’s a numbers game. Of the many available, at least one, should work for you, she said.
So I began my research and my search for natural sleep aids that will help me fall asleep. I discovered melatonin. This hormone is produced in the pineal gland in the center of our brains. Melatonin regulates the body’s circadian rhythms! Yes, it’s also called the sleep-wake cycle. In studies done, melatonin was found to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep (sleep latency) and increases the feelings of sleepiness. It also may help extend the duration of sleep. Of the many natural sleep aids, was this the one for me?
I also learned about Valerian, which is an herbal extract and the leading ingredient for natural sleep aids in the market. It is used also for managing anxiety and insomnia, and has no grogginess as a morning side effect. This sounds promising.
Next on the list was chamomile, a popular sleep remedy best taken as tea. This has been a favorite of the natural sleep aids for centuries. Chamomile has a calming effect in the body.
One of the most intriguing was Kava. This herbal remedy is also used for stress, anxiety and insomnia. Kava, induces relaxation, but without hindering memory or motor function. Trouble is Kava can cause liver damage and has actually been banned in several countries, so I crossed that off the list!
So which one actually worked for me? I tried them all, but on their own I didn’t get a great result. In the end I found a combination of sleep promoting substances which worked a lot better. You do have to be a bit careful when mixing herbal remedies, even when they’re completely natural. But if you find the right combination of natural sleep aids, then they can work synergistically together and their effect is heightened.
So far so good! Tonight, I am having tea with Wynken, Blynken and Nod!