According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, an estimated 30% of adults have insomnia. Around 10% of people have enough trouble sleeping that it messes with their daytime. Nothing drains your mind and saps your energy faster than sleepless nights.
Those with chronic sleep troubles are at increased risk of injury and even death. Relationships suffer. It's impossible to stay fully checked into life when you can't hold your eyes open, but a good night's sleep can work wonders for mental and physical health.
You may be wondering, "Can natural remedies really help me sleep?" Here's what you need to know to stop the nights feeling like this guy.
How natural remedies can help you sleep
Some natural sleep remedies interact with receptors in your body. These receptors "listen" to the environment in which cells live. Sometimes, their environment is all roses and buttercups. And sometimes the environment isn't ideal. Things like poor diet, lack of exercise, sickness or stress can generate this poor environment.
These receptors send signals to the brain through your nervous system. The brain responds by releasing hormones to help regulate the cell's environment.
If all is well, the brain may call for a release of serotonin, the happiness hormone. If it's time to relax, it may start releasing melatonin. If you're feeling extra nervous about your work presentation tomorrow, then it might pump adrenaline into the body, the fight or flight hormone.
Plant-based remedies often work with serotonin receptors and GABA receptors, among others, to produce more hormones that make you feel calm and relaxed.
It's not magic. It's simply organic organisms interacting with each other the way nature intended.
What's the proof that sleep remedies work?
It could be all in our heads, right? The placebo effect. You put some lavender or chamomile on your pillow and, voila!, you sleep better. The placebo effect is always a risk, so trustworthy scientists apply the scientific method to ensure that the benefits that people say they get actually exist.
The studies on natural remedies for sleep and anxiety are quite extensive. In fact, there is currently a major clinical trial underway on one type of natural sleep aid. They're focusing on the fact that this sleep aid may reduce anxiety to help people sleep.
Clinical trials are like the mother of all scientific studies. They're the kind of studies the FDA requires when they approve something. We look forward to seeing the outcome of this study.
Personal stories: Are they proof?
While it's easy to get impatient about studies that may take years, it's often the personal stories and many lesser studies that convince scientists that there's really something to those personal accounts. Clinical trials are expensive and labor-intensive. Institutions don't invest in them unless the proof is already mounting.
People are already enjoying the benefits of safe and natural, vegan-friendly substances that can help you sleep. Some are taken sublingually (under the tongue) 30 minutes before bedtime. Other can be taken orally.
It's important not to overuse some sleep aids as you may either become dependent or they may lose their effects, but you can certainly find sleep remedies on the market today for which neither of these is a problem.