Sleep is integral for our overall health. When we do not sleep restfully we are not optimally functioning throughout our days. Getting to the root cause of why you are not sleeping well is addressing and diving into many different factors. Assessing your sleep patterns and asking yourself questions such as, are you having difficulty falling asleep, are you constantly waking throughout the night, do you wake feeling refreshed? Understanding and working with a health practitioner like a Naturopathic Doctor can help you navigate the many factors that go into having a great nights sleep.
Here are Dr. Stephanie Fairborn, ND Top Three Sleep Supplements she uses in her practice:
Melatonin helps to regulate the natural cycle of sleeping and waking. It has supportive research demonstrating the benefit of using it for individuals who do shift work, helping with jet lag circadian rhythm disorders. Melatonin is a hormone that is made in your brain, more specifically your pineal gland. Typically the pineal gland is activated and melatonin is released when there is a decrease in natural light. During the day with natural light, there is a smaller amount of melatonin in our bodies.
L-theanine is a great supplement and can be found in the leaves of tea. It has been shown to boost levels of GABA, serotonin and dopamine in the brain and these neurotransmitters can help calm and promote sleep. Research has also shown that L-theanine increases your ‘alpha brain waves’ which helps with relaxation and focus. L-theanine helps to improve relaxation and therefore has been shown to help improve the quality of sleep.
Magnesium is a mineral that plays such an important role in the body for many essential processes. Individuals with lower magnesium levels tend to have more restless sleeps and wake frequently during the night. It helps to regulate our stress response as well as maintain GABA levels and this helps to improve sleep.
Supplements can only take us so far- we need to be mindful that creating a great bedtime routine, having a safe and happy sleeping space as well as practicing proper sleep hygiene are the most important factors in getting a good nights sleep. It is also important to address any underlying health issues that can impact sleep and working with your health professionals is recommended as your first stop for getting started on your good nights sleep.