Natural Sleeping Aids

By: Adrian Cruce

Experts remain uncertain of how effective supplements are, given limited scientific testing and potential risk for certain health conditions. Furthermore, no clear evidence shows they actually improve sleep.

However, many people turn to natural sleep aids such as melatonin, valerian root extract and tart cherry juice as alternatives to prescription drugs for sleep aiding purposes. These may include melatonin, valerian root and tart cherry juice as potential solutions.


Chamomile is an herb used for centuries as a natural sleep aid, offering mild sedative properties to help people fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep throughout the night, so they wake up feeling rested and rejuvenated. Chamomile can improve sleep quality and lower risk of depression while its soothing properties have even been used to ease menstrual cramps and anxiety levels. Although Chamomile can have many health benefits for certain conditions or during pregnancy, it should be used with caution.

Chamomile has soothing properties due to the presence of flavonoids like apigenin, which bind to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain to produce a sedative effect. Furthermore, antispasmodic properties help ease menstrual cramps and tension as well as its antispasmodic qualities; one study showed how inhalation of chamomile oil reduced stress-induced increases in ACTH levels by up to 71%! Flowers are usually steamed or boiled into an herbal infusion before bedtime or used topically on skin issues or irritations caused by skin conditions or irritations caused by other skin conditions or skin issues.

Researchers publishing in the Journal of Advanced Nursing found that drinking chamomile tea improved physical symptoms associated with sleep insufficiency for postpartum women. For two weeks after starting this trial, 40 women received daily chamomile tea while another group received no treatment – after two weeks, those drinking tea displayed less depression and better restful sleep than the control group; however, this difference disappeared four weeks post study conclusion.

Chamomile tea is a well-known herbal remedy, safe for most adults to consume. However, pregnant women or those experiencing any health conditions should consult their physician prior to using chamomile as it could potentially interfere with pregnancy or cause miscarriage. Chamomile may be useful as an alternative sleep aid such as melatonin or valium; however it should be consumed cautiously if allergic to plants in the daisy family such as Ragweed; also avoid drinking chamomile when taking antidepressants or sedatives such as Acetaminophen as this could interfere with its effectiveness and possibly harming potential side effects.


Passionflower has long been used as an herb to aid those suffering from insomnia, anxiety and other sleep-related problems. A powerful nerve tonic, it can help soothe minds before bedtime to make sleeping easier for many people. Women experiencing menopausal hot flashes may also benefit from Passiflora incarnata’s medicinal properties; there are approximately 500 species worldwide of this plant species. Native Americans and European settlers both employed passion flower for medicinal use, and it remains popular medicine today in several countries. Studies have proven its efficacy at relieving insomnia and anxiety symptoms. Leaves, flowers and fruit of this plant all contain sedative properties. A study comparing 45 drops of standardized passionflower extract to oxazepam (a benzodiazepine medication) demonstrated its efficacy at relieving anxiety without impacting job performance or creating any drowsiness issues in the workplace.

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Passionflower was found to reduce the time it took rats to fall asleep while increasing slow-wave sleep and decreasing rapid eye movement sleep, helping the animals remain asleep for longer periods of time. Passionflower also has antidepressant and anxiolytic properties which may help with depression and stress relief; its antioxidant compounds such as vitexin, isovitexin, kaempferol, apigenin and quercetin glycosides help combat depression as do its indole alkaloids, fatty acids sugars and trace amounts of volatile oils present within.

passionflower supplements are generally safe when taken according to instructions, though those taking other drowsy-inducing drugs should avoid taking passionflower. Furthermore, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not consume this herbal product.

Dietary supplements are not regulated like prescription drugs, so it’s wise to seek advice from a health care professional before taking them. A health care professional can provide valuable insights about quality, potential side effects and third-party tested brands for safety and purity. When making decisions about taking supplements it is wise to speak to both your physician or registered dietitian nutritionist (RD or RDN).

Magnolia bark

Magnolia bark has long been used as a natural sleeping aid and to alleviate stress. Magnolia bark contains bioactive compounds which interact with neurotransmitter systems in your brain and help you feel calmer. Magnolia bark also helps people sleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night – an invaluable option for people living with insomnia.

Magnolia provides its soothing effects through the presence of two chemical compounds known as honokiol and magnolol, which work to relieve anxiety and promote sleep by engaging GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) receptors in the brain, as well as by decreasing activity on HPA axis which controls fight or flight response and stress hormone production such as cortisol production.

One animal study discovered that honokiol reduced anxiety and improved sleep duration in mice. Another animal experiment demonstrated magnolol’s effectiveness by shortening time it takes mice to fall asleep and increasing REM cycles; yet its efficacy as a sleep supplement remains to be proven in human clinical trials. Magnolia bark can also support digestion and gut health – one mouse study indicated magnolol reduced intestinal inflammation, balanced bacterial levels, and regularized the mice’s bowel movement frequency.

Sleep is essential for overall well-being and will benefit your mood, skin and energy levels while helping manage stress and weight management. Incorporating quality restful sleep into every stage of life – menopause to fertility and beyond – will enable holistic women’s wellness.

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magnolia bark can not only improve sleep quality, but can also assist with managing menopausal symptoms and relieving stress. It may decrease hot flashes while improving your mood as well as lower the risk of cardiovascular disease or atherosclerosis; additionally it has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties.

Magnolia bark can serve as an effective natural sleep aid, but you should consult with a healthcare provider prior to using it. Magnolia bark may interact with certain medications such as anticoagulants and central nervous system depressants as well as with certain sedatives and sleep aids such as benzodiazepines or Lunesta and can cause dizziness or drowsiness; moreover it could potentially increase risk for certain cardiovascular problems and hypertension.

Tart cherry juice

Tart cherry juice has recently garnered widespread recognition for its potential sleep-inducing benefits, thanks to the rich source of melatonin and tryptophan found in cherries – essential components that aid sleep promotion and help people fall asleep according to one recent randomized controlled trial study. It found that drinking tart cherry juice twice daily for two weeks reduced subjective reports of insomnia among older adults experiencing chronic insomnia; researchers compared effects between proprietary tart cherry blend (CherryPharm Geneva NY) vs placebo in terms of subjective reports of subjective reports of insomnia improvements by subjects’ subjective reports of insomnia improvement as per subjective reports of improvements from this study vs placebo effects using proprietary blend (CherryPharm Geneva NY).

Results from the study demonstrated a dramatic increase in sleep time among those who consumed tart cherry juice compared to controls, perhaps as a result of elevated melatonin levels or its ability to increase bioavailability of tryptophan. Drinking tart cherry juice improved self-reports of sleep quality and duration as well.

Sleep-promoting properties aside, juice also has many health advantages including aiding muscle recovery. This is due to its anti-inflammatory polyphenol compounds which reduce oxidative stress and inflammation following strength or endurance exercise.

Cherry juice has long been recognized for its therapeutic effects in combatting sleep issues and is also well-regarded by those suffering from gout, as its high antioxidant content helps fight off the buildup of uric acid which often contributes to its symptoms.

Natural sleeping aids offer another advantage over their prescription counterparts: no adverse side effects. Furthermore, many medications contain drug-nutrient interactions which worsen symptoms they are designed to relieve.

Tart cherry juice offers many health advantages and can be found at most grocery stores. But be mindful of your consumption – as tart cherry juice has an increased sugar content than many beverages available for sleep aid use, opt for an unsweetened version to minimize consumption of additional calories.