After hitting snooze for the third time, you know you’re at a critical juncture—either get out of bed and start your day or risk sleeping through the next alarm. It’s tempting to give yourself just five more minutes, especially when you had only fallen asleep two hours ago.
Insomnia or another sleep disorder, can zap your energy levels and have a negative impact on your mood, general wellness, and outlook on life. Aside from sticking to the same daily sleep schedule, avoiding spicy foods, or sipping chamomile tea before bedtime, you may be reluctant to take a sleep aid.
Some prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids may help, but they can also leave us feeling drowsy or grappling with brain fog the next day. Fortunately, some natural nootropic supplements may aleve our sleeplessness without replacing it with unnecessary and unwelcome side effects.
Sleep disorders and insomnia
Sleep, stress, and modern life
Our bodies aren’t designed to remain in go-mode for long periods of time. Yet, with the hustle, bustle, and stress of everyday life, many of us may find ourselves there—and in the end, overworked and exhausted. The bottom line is, we need adequate and restorative sleep to function at our best.
What are sleep disorders?
Whether you’re tossing and turning or can’t fall asleep for hours (if at all), sleep disorders are as diverse as each of us. The Mayo Clinic defines a sleep disorder as “conditions that result in changes in the way you sleep.” This may include insomnia, Restless Leg Syndrome, sleep apnea, or even narcolepsy (where you could fall asleep suddenly during the day).
What is insomnia?
If you’ve ever struggled to fall asleep, much less stay asleep, then you may have grappled with insomnia. Research suggests that insomnia could also mean the following:
“(1). difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or nonrestorative sleep; (2) this difficulty is present despite adequate opportunity and circumstance to sleep; (3) this impairment in sleep is associated with daytime impairment or distress; and (4) this sleep difficulty occurs at least 3 times per week and has been a problem for at least 1 month.”
Why is sleep so important?
Our bodies require adequate, restorative sleep to top-up, so that we can feel energized and at our best throughout the day. Research reports that sleep is vital for maintaining “good health and wellbeing.”
At night, our bodies start to repair themselves. During this time, we produce new brain cells, release hormones, and renew our energy levels. So, when we lose sleep, we may feel multiple side effects, including: moodiness, fatigue, low daytime energy, weight gain, insomnia, lack of focus, etc.
Nootropics and sleep
How do nootropics help with sleep and insomnia?
At their core, nootropics may help improve our cognitive functioning. Commonly known as “smart drugs” or “cognitive enhancers,” they can help our bodies relax, boost our energy levels, help us fall asleep and stay asleep, and improve our focus and concentration. There are three categories: natural, synthetic, and prescription-based.
Research suggests they can regulate our neurotransmitters and even stimulate the release of dopamine, which directly impacts our sleep cycle.
Are nootropics safe to take for sleep every night?
In general, nootropics are safe to take. It is important to consult your doctor or healthcare professional before starting a nootropic. Your medical history and current medications or supplements are relevant in order to avoid any side effects with a nootropic.
Top nootropics for sleep and insomnia in 2021
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known as Indian ginseng, winter cherry, and poison gooseberry, grows throughout Asia, parts of Africa, and the Middle East. Its roots and leaves are adaptogenic, meaning they can help lower our cortisol levels, resulting in a calming effect.
Will it help me sleep?
According to the Sleep Foundation, ashwagandha may help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and experience restorative sleep. The active ingredient in ashwagandha is withanolides, which can help reduce stress, and the symptoms of anxiety, helping us relax.
Recommended dosage: You can purchase ashwagandha over the counter in the US, UK, across the EU, and elsewhere. It comes in capsule, powder, and extract form. Whilst a recommended dose doesn’t exist, 500mg to 600mg daily is typical.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland. It’s primarily responsible for your sleep-wake cycle, causing your body to wake up at a certain time, and fall asleep at another. At night, our bodies produce melatonin, signaling it’s time to unwind and head to bed. When our sleep cycles go haywire, it may mean that we aren’t producing adequate levels.
Will it help me sleep?
People with occasional insomnia or other sleep disorders may benefit from taking a melatonin supplement. In particular, those who may struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep most of the night may benefit. For those traveling across time zones, melatonin can also help improve the symptoms of jetlag.
Recommended dosage: Supplements are available in capsule, gummie, powder, and liquid form. It’s best to take melatonin before bedtime, ideally one hour beforehand, as drowsiness can occur. There is no recommended dosage, however, quantities of 0.5 mg to 5mg daily are generally safe.
Magnesium is a vital mineral responsible for the maintenance of our central nervous system and bones. Much of our daily intake can come from food such as spinach, eggs, and nuts, but we may also need to supplement.
Will it help me sleep?
When our bodies are deficient in magnesium, we can experience fatigue and muscle weakness. We may also feel moody and anxious. A magnesium supplement could improve our energy levels, level out our mood, and relax our nerves, and in turn, help us fall asleep sooner and achieve better quality sleep.
Recommended dosage: The average daily intake ranges from 320 to 420 mg daily. It is also best to take magnesium 30 minutes before bedtime, as it can relax you.
Lavender (Lavandula) is a flowering plant from the mint family. It grows across Europe, Asia, and northern and eastern African nations.
Will it help me sleep? Lavender may combat insomnia by inducing relaxation in our bodies. Its antioxidant properties can also fight inflammation in our bodies. It can also reduce our blood pressure and slow our heart rate, helping us feel more relaxed before bedtime.
Recommended dosage: Lavender is versatile in its form. You can purchase it as an essential oil, pillow spray, and an infused, sleepy-time tea.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a bright-yellow spice that comes from the roots of the Cucuma longa perennial plant, in the ginger family. It is indigenous to the tropical regions in South Asia. Its active ingredient is curcumin, and it’s been used in ancient Indian medicine for centuries.
Will it help me sleep? Because of turmeric’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and Ayurvedic properties, it can help relax you by lowering elevated levels of cortisol. It is also known to help detoxify your liver, lower your blood sugar, and aid in digestion—all of which can help you get a better night’s sleep and wake up the next day feeling well-rested.
Recommended dosage: You can purchase turmeric as a spice, in powder form and in capsules. Some people enjoy a tablespoon stirred into a glass of warm milk before bedtime (otherwise known as, Golden Milk). There is no official recommended dosage, but taking 500mg to 2000mg daily may provide the most benefits.
In need of a good night’s sleep?
Sleep-deprivation and exhaustion can often put us in a foul mood, which can affect our relationships and ultimately our well being. When you’ve done everything in your control to improve your sleep hygiene, sometimes an all-natural boost can nudge you into a peaceful slumber.
Earths Secret’s Sleep Complex is an allergen-free, vegan-friendly, non-GMO, and preservative-free supplement that blends Ayurvedic herbs with all-natural ingredients that can help you relax, rest, and wake up rejuvenated. When taken before bedtime, the Affron Saffron, Passion Flower, Tart Cherry, Lavender, and Chamomile combine to relax you, readying your body to drift off comfortably until morning.