If you’ve ever sat up awake at night contemplating how to sleep better, you are not alone. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, approximately one in three people suffer from at least mild insomnia1. Despite these numbers, insomnia is very under-diagnosed and underrated, leaving the majority of its victims wondering what the most effective sleep aid is. While many over the counter sleeping meds are available, the root of the problem might be in your head.
Insomnia occurs when a person has difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. The three main causes are stress, anxiety, and depression. Ironically, these three symptoms are also what occur when a person does not get the sleep they need. A 2007 study published in Science Daily found that chronic insomnia can lead to anxiety and depression2. The study stated that stress may cause a high level of insomnia that lasts for weeks before turning into depression and anxiety.
Likewise, anxiety and depression may cause insomnia. Approximately three-quarters of depressed patients experience insomnia as one of their primary symptoms3. When compared to non-depressed individuals, depressed subjects tend to have increased periods of wakefulness, reduced sleep efficiency, and shortened rapid eye movement (REM) latency3. They also fall asleep later and their total time of sleep is significantly reduced3.
The same results were found to be true with anxiety. One study found that insomnia was a trait marker for people at risk of developing anxiety4. People who tend to be “worriers” often find themselves having trouble sleeping through the night. Worrying about your lack of sleep only enhances your insomnia and anxiety. The best way to truly cure insomnia is to break the cycle between stress, anxiety and depression.
While it may sound like a good idea to use antidepressants as sleep aids, they may come with dangerous side effects. According to a 2016 study, common side effects of taking an antidepressant for insomnia included withdraw problems (73.5 percent), sexual impairments (71.8 percent), weight gain (65.3 percent), feeling numb (64.5 percent), and addiction (43 percent)5.
Furthermore, taking an antipsychotic medication for either depression or anxiety has been associated with an increased risk of mortality6. Antidepressants have also been shown to increase the risk of stroke and ultimately death in postmenopausal women7. Finally, antidepressants may double the risk of suicide and aggressive behavior, especially in children8, making the need for an herbal remedy clear.
You’ve probably heard of taking herbs to improve your health, but many people don’t know there are herbs to help you sleep. Many natural sleep herbs don’t just help you fall asleep faster. They also treat the root of the problem by reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Sleep Elixir is a safe and all-natural product containing the following herbs that have been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, which is one of the best ways to fall asleep and stay asleep:
According to a 2016 study, melatonin protects against neuropsychiatric disorders, such as anxiety and depression9.
Valerian root extract contains anti-anxiety properties that are safer than many prescription sleep medications10.
B vitamins are effective in treating both anxiety and depression, according to a 2013 study11.
Magnesium is the official “chill” mineral as it has a calming effect on HPA axis deregulation that causes anxiety and depression12.
A 2013 study found that zinc supplementation significantly decreased major depressive symptoms in six weeks13.
A 2017 study found that 8 weeks of l-theanine supplementation had numerous positive effects on sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairments. The amino acid was also found to be completely safe14.
L-tryptophan works within the central nervous system to improve mood, lower anxiety, and increase cognitive function15.
According to a 2007 study published in Alternative Medicine Review, a GABA deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and epilepsy16.
A 2009 study showed that taking chamomile in capsule form improved anxiety17.