Sleep disorders such as insomnia, circadian rhythm disorder, sleep apnea, and hypersomnia can be caused by a number of different events including:
- Substance abuse (alcohol, smoking, illicit drugs and medications).
- Physical disturbances like ulcers or acute pain in the body.
- Medical issues like asthma.
- Psychiatric disorders (depression and anxiety disorders including anxiety about not being able to sleep).
- Extreme temperature fluctuations.
- Environmental noise or changes.
- Medication side effects.
- Hormone Imbalance.
- Disruption to the regular sleep pattern (shift work and jet lag).
By far the biggest culprit for sleeping disorders however is stress in all its forms:
- Family stress
- Relationship stress
- Workplace stress
- Environmental stress
Lifestyle can also affect insomnia: studies have shown that consuming alcohol or caffeine and smoking cigarettes before bedtime acts as a stimulant and disrupts sleep, as can excessive napping in the afternoon or evening.
Other types of sleep disorders include:
Sleep Apnea: You wake up in the morning feeling tired or and drained of energy even though you have had a full night of sleep. During the day, you may feel fatigued, have difficulty concentrating or you may even unintentionally fall asleep. This is because your body is waking up numerous times throughout the night, even though you might not be conscious of each awakening.
The most common symptom of sleep apnea is snoring. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.
Hypersomnia: A group of sleep disorders that causes a person to be excessively sleepy. People with a hypersomnia may fall asleep at times that are inconvenient or even dangerous, such as at work or while driving.
Circadian Rhythm Disorder: Conditions in which the sleep times are out of alignment. A patient with one of these disorders does not follow the normal sleep times at night.
Here are some suggest steps that may provide relief:
- Establish a consistent bedtime routine. Take a warm bath, go for a relaxing stroll, or practice meditation/relaxation exercises as part of your regular nighttime routine.
- Try to go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time each morning, including on weekends.
- Get plenty of exercise during the day. Studies have shown people who are physically active sleep better than those who are sedentary. The more energy you expend during the day (preferable earlier in the day) the sleepier you will feel at bedtime.
- Reduce your intake of caffeine and alcohol, particularly in the evening.
- Avoid large meals late in the evening.
- Learn and use a relaxation technique regularly. Breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga are good examples.
- Use “white noise” devices to block out surrounding environmental noise.
- Don’t obsess about not sleeping. Not surprisingly, studies have shown that individuals who worry about falling asleep have greater trouble dropping off. It may help to remind yourself that while sleeplessness is troublesome, it isn’t life-threatening.
- Short naps are good. Try to get into the habit of napping: nap for no longer than 10 to 20 minutes in the afternoon, preferably lying down in a darkened room.
- Spend some time outdoors as often as you can to get exposure to bright, natural light. If you are concerned about harmful effects of solar radiation, do it before 10 a.m. or after 3 p.m. and use sunscreen.
- Try to give yourself some time (up to an hour) in dim light before you go to sleep at night. Lower the lighting in your house and bedroom and if other members of the household object, wear sunglasses.
- Supplement with powerful nutrients of the highest quality and purity (preferably pharmaceutical-grade supplements).
Best Supplements for Better Sleep
Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin B-6, Eleuthero Root Extract, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), 5-HTP, GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid), GABA + 5-HTP together, L-Tryptophan, Skullcap Extract, Ashwagandha Extract, Bacopa Monnieri Extract, Valerian Root Extract, Passion Flower Extract, Hops Extract, Chamomile Extract, Melatonin, and L-Theanine.
The Most Effective Natural Herbs and Supplements to Help You Sleep through the Night
Natural sleep supplements, such as vitamins, minerals, and healthy herbs can help us to stimulate the calming and drowsy sleep receptors in the brain—helping to prepare us for a night of deep rejuvenating sleep that restores energy and enhances mental and physical performance, not inhibit it the following day.
These kinds of supplements can actually help you get your circadian rhythms regulated; allowing you to maximize your daytime energy levels and enhance performance in all you do. Let’s talk about the best, proven sleep supplements…
5-HTTP: Why 5-HTP is one of the Best Sleep Supplements
In humans, 5-HTP is the immediate nutrient precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) and it converts into serotonin in the brain. Your body uses tryptophan to manufacture 5-HTP, which is part of the reason for all the mythology about turkey making you sleepy from all the tryptophan. Serotonin is, of course, profoundly important for sleep and mood, as well as learning, sexual behavior, and hormone regulation among its many other roles in the human body.
One reason 5-HTP is such a good supplement for sleep is that it helps replenish the serotonin we naturally lose as we age. So, 5 HTP can help alleviate serotonin deficiencies as we age and help manufacture new serotonin as well.
Serotonin also helps us to manufacture melatonin, which is vitally important for sleep and is the chief hormone that controls our wake-sleep cycle. In several studies, 5-HTP has been shown to be beneficial in treating insomnia, especially in improving sleep quality by increasing REM sleep.  The research is clear that 5-HTP is one of the best sleep supplements.
GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid): Why GABA is one of the best sleep supplements
GABA (gamma butyric acid) is a naturally occurring chemical compound produced in the brain that helps to calm the excitability of neurons. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain which has suppressive effects upon the excitatory neurotransmitters norepinephrine and glutamate. And it’s one the top sleep supplements.
GABA is also intimately tied to the parasympathetic nerve system, which is our “rest and digest” system – the polar opposite of our sympathetic nervous system’s fight or flight mechanisms in the body.
People who have chronic sleep problems typically have GABA levels that are 30% below normal, as do people with mood disorders, like depression, which are tied to insomnia as well. 
GABA helps to activate calming neurotransmitters in the brain helping us to get naturally sleepy. As an added bonus, GABA can also help relieve anxiety and relax the body and muscles as well. Users say taking GABA at night helps them feel very calm, drowsy, and ready for a good, long night of sleep.
In a study at UCLA School of Medicine of 18 people with sleep disorders, individuals who were given a GABA supplement were able to fall asleep in almost half the time it took those taking placebos and increased their time spent sleeping by approximately 73%. Before supplementation, the duration of their sleep was about 5 hours, and after supplementation, it increased to about 6.83 hours. There was virtually no change in the placebo group. 
Recently, researchers found that natural GABA has various sleep-improving effects. The researchers measured brain waves using electroencephalography (EEG) after participants took 100 milligrams (mg) of natural GABA or placebo.  Those who took GABA fell asleep faster and had longer quality sleep time. They also experienced enhanced periods of REM sleep and reported feeling more energized in the morning.
In a 2013 study on elderly men with frequent night urination, GABA proved to enhance sleep length, quality, while helping them wake up feeling less groggy in the mornings and greatly curbing nighttime urination. 
GABA is one of the best natural sleep supplements around for helping you get truly restorative sleep.
GABA + 5-HTP Together
When combined with 5-HTP GABA has proven effects of improving sleep quality and sleep duration as well. In fact, a new paper published in Life Sciences reports that a combination of GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid) and 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) improved sleep and sleep duration more than the use of either of the two amino acids alone.
Although this study was conducted upon fruit flies, the results are significant as these flies are often used in scientific studies because, as these researchers note, “Homeostatic and circadian regulation in Drosophila are comparable to findings from mammalian sleep research.”
The reasons why these supplements work so well synergistically is because insomnia is a product of both low GABA and low serotonin levels in the brain, and when combined, these supplements boost both, greatly enhancing serotonin, GABA, and tryptophan production in the brain, helping you to get to sleep fast and deeply. 
L-Theanine: Why L-theanine is one of the best sleep supplements.
L-theanine is one of the most amazing sleep supplements. L-theanine is an amino acid that is found in abundance in some teas, especially green tea. What L-theanine does is to increase alpha wave activity in the brain, mimicking brain waves during deep sleep phases. Because of this, L-theanine increases the production of dopamine, serotonin, and GABA, which all promote sleep and elevate mood.
In a recent study of young males with ADHD, L-theanine improved sleep quality and length of time spent sleeping, and typically, all children with ADHD have much trouble sleeping. They also reported feeling more refreshed after sleep, that they had fewer nightmares, decreased anxiety and more relaxation at bedtime, and more energy throughout the following day as well. 
One great asset of L-theanine is that it does not cause grogginess or become addictive over time, as most sleep aids do. L-theanine has also been found to counteract the effects of caffeine (in studies with rats, to note) and promote sleep even when excessive caffeine is in the system. 
In another recent study, l-theanine helped subjects with major depressive disorder to get more restful sleep, and also produced positive effects like reducing anxiety and elevating mood. 
Vitamin B-6: Why B-6 is one of the best sleep supplements
Vitamin B-6 converts a small amount of the tryptophan in your body to niacin, or vitamin B-3, and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep patterns. By failing to obtain an adequate amount of vitamin B-6 in your diet, your body’s metabolism of tryptophan may be disturbed. This may limit the amount of serotonin in your body, potentially leading to disturbed sleep patterns and insomnia. A deficiency in B6 will cause insomnia and difficulty sleeping. 
B6 has proven to stimulate the brain during sleep phases of REM, and individuals often say it gives them more vivid dreams. 
Melatonin: Why melatonin is one of the best sleep supplements
Melatonin is best known as a natural cure for jet lag. However, many studies have shown it to be very effective for insomnia — it is one of the absolute most effective sleep supplements. In a 1996 study on 15 healthy, middle aged men and women, just 1.0 mg of melatonin proved to enhance many aspects of sleep including:
- Actual total sleep time
- Sleep efficiency
- Non-REM Sleep
- REM Sleep Latency (how fast you get into deep sleep) 
In a 2005 meta-analysis of 17 studies on the efficacy of melatonin supplementation on individuals with insomnia and other sleep disorders, researchers found overwhelming that melatonin is a highly effective sleep supplement. As the researchers explain…
“A meta-analysis essentially tells ‘yes’ or ‘no’–that a treatment does or does not have a significant effect,” Wurtman said. “When a meta-analysis says ‘yes,’ there should no longer be any controversy about whether the treatment works.” The melatonin meta-analysis delivered a definitive “yes.” 
In a more recent 2008 study, 5 mg of melatonin taken daily helped shift-work nurses fall asleep more easily as well. In fact, melatonin is particularly effective helping people to fall asleep who typically have trouble falling asleep. 
But if you take melatonin, it’s important to be mindful of the dose, as it’s important to not overdo it.
Passion Flower: Why passion flower is one of the best sleep supplements.
Passion flower is a popular supplement and tea that has been found very effective for helping to relieve both anxiety and insomnia. What passion flower does is to boost the level of sleep promoting GABA in the brain. Passion flower also helps to quiet brain activity, helping individuals relax, quiet the mind, and sleep better. In a 2004 study of 40 individuals with insomnia, passion flower proved to enhance sleep significantly more than the placebo. 
It has also been found to be highly effective for relieving anxiety, depression, and insomnia in women going through menopause. 
Magnesium: Why magnesium is one of the best sleep supplements
Magnesium is involved in more than 300 metabolic reactions. It is essential for bone strength, a strong immune system, muscle contractions and a healthy nervous system, and it’s one of the best sleep supplements.
Magnesium deficiency can result in neural over-excitation causing anxiety and restlessness and excess physical tension, insulin resistance, increased blood pressure, fatigue, irritability, poor cognitive function, lethargy, and sleep problems.
It’s important to note that magnesium deficiency is very common in the U.S. and the many other developed countries. And there is indeed research showing that magnesium supplementation can improve sleep significantly.
One study published in the journal of Pharmacopsychiatry measured hormonal and electrical changes in the brain of older persons during sleep and found that magnesium supplementation improved both hormonal and electrical patterns in the brain during sleep. 
Chamomile: Why chamomile is one of the best sleep supplements.
Chamomile has long been revered for enhancing relaxation and promoting sleep. Chamomile is rich in a flavonoid called apigenin that binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain.
In a recent 2016 study, women with postpartum depression who supplemented with chamomile experienced improved sleep and alleviated depression as well. 
Another double-blind study revealed that chamomile can help users moderately improve many aspects of sleep latency, night time awakenings, daytime functioning, and fatigue severity. 
Valerian: Why valerian is one of the best sleep supplements
Valerian root has been found to be a highly effective sleep aid supplement for persons with insomnia and other sleep disorders.
In one recent double-blind study, valerian was found to yield nights of perfect sleep for 44% of participants and improved sleep for 89% of participants. 
Valerian Root to Induce Sleep
Valerian root is a plant with roots that contain many healing properties, in particular for a relaxation and sedative effects. It’s often found in combination with chamomile in a tea. By increasing the amount of gamma aminobutryic acid (GABA), it helps calm the nerve cells in the brain, resulting in a calming effect. GABA works by blocking brain signals that cause anxiety and that ongoing trickle effect that can come from it. This calming effect has made it a favorite natural remedy for anxiety too. (9)
Passion Flower for Calming and Restful Sleep
There are numerous benefits in Passion Flower including calming and anti-anxiety effects. When we have anxiety, it can greatly affect how we sleep because you just cannot seem to turn the brain off… especially while you’re trying to rest. Passion flower can provide the calming effect needed to help stop that vicious circle of thought.
Clinical trials have shown that passion flower can reduce anxiety as effectively as the prescribed drug known as benzodiazepine oxazepam. A four-week, double-blind study of patients with generalized anxiety disorder compared passion flower to the common anti-anxiety drug. While the oxazepam worked a little faster, both were the same in terms of effectiveness — however, the passion flower did not cause problems with job performance, such drowsiness while on the job, unlike the oxazepam. (8)
This shows that passion flower is one of the most powerful anti-anxiety natural sleep aids that don’t cause lingering tiredness the next day.
Want to know how to get these powerful nutrients into your body each day? Ask me how…