Did you know that nearly half of all Australians are experiencing sleep issues? Is this you? Looking for what may help you sleep?
According to GO Healthy’s resident sleep expert, Olivia Arezzolo, a good night’s sleep is essential for more than just making it through the day, but for our overall health and wellbeing too. “Sleep is crucial for our health – after just one night of insufficient sleep our stress hormone, cortisol can increase exponentially, leaving us anxious, stressed and overwhelmed,” Olivia says. Ahead of World Sleep Day, Olivia shares her top herb, mineral, and oil recommendations to help you sleep better!
As the primary mineral to relax the nervous system, magnesium is widely regarded as the leading sleep supplement. Recent clinical trials have found that magnesium can reduce anxiety by 31%, which can help keep those sleep inhibiting thoughts and restlessness at bay.
Olivia says that it’s important to note that when it comes to sleep, not all magnesium is created equal. “There are over 200 different types of magnesium so it’s imperative to have the right formulation for sleep. I recommend seeking out magnesium glycinate, bi and di-glycinate, citrate and chelate – the best forms for a restful night’s sleep.”
2. Lavender Oil
“One of the most popular oils used in aromatherapy, lavender, is a calming, safe and natural sedative. Lavender oil has been found to be extremely effective for anxiety in clinical trials,” Olivia says.
Studies have shown that capsules with lavender oil reduce anxiety by as much as 45% which was seen as just ‘as effective’ as other pharmaceutical options. Another clinical trial found that lavender improved sleep quality by 45%, making it an exceptional natural choice for a restful night’s sleep.
The traditional Ayurvedic herb, Ashwagandha is best known for its stress-relieving properties, making it yet another powerful and natural choice for supporting a better night’s sleep.
“Ashwagandha can help individuals fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and deeper, with less wakeful periods. Studies have shown that it can also improve mental alertness upon waking, which for many is a huge battle within itself!”
“As ashwagandha is an adaptogen it can also improve our resilience to stress – which can often contribute to problematic sleep.”
A traditional herb used in Western herbal medicine, hops is believed to enhance GABA, the neurotransmitter that helps us feel calm, and reduce nervous tension. For those who have difficulty falling asleep, Olivia recommends integrating hops into the bedtime routine.
“There’s nothing worse than watching the clock, desperately hoping to fall asleep but failing to do so. Hops is an extremely valuable addition to consider for supporting the transition from awake to asleep. Clinical trials have found that hops can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep by as much as 52%.”
Passionflower is another herb used in traditional Western herbal medicine, originally used in the Americas and Europe as a calming remedy for anxiety, insomnia, hysteria and even seizures.Today, it is commonly used to treat insomnia and lower anxiety.
“Studies have shown that passionflower has the ability to increase GABA, which in turn helps you to feel more relaxed, making it easier to fall asleep,” Olivia says.
Olivia concludes that “by incorporating natural herbs, minerals and oils into our bedtime routine, you’re certain to be on the road to a better night’s rest,” but please remember always consult your health care professional for advice when considering any health supplements.
Advice provided by Olivia Arezzolo for GO Healthy.
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