Healthy Q & A: Sleep Aids

Q: I’ve had an awful time sleeping lately.  I’ve been under a lot of stress recently and can’t seem to wind down at night.  I’m exhausted, but I can’t stop thinking about things.  I’d rather not take a prescription, but I really need to sleep!  Any advice?


A: Stress is horrible, since it saps your energy during the day, but can leave you awake and restless at night.  Thankfully, there are a number of supplements which can help, without side effects or being habit forming like many prescription sleep aids.  The first thing I’d recommend is theanine, an amino acid derived from green tea which is fantastic for stress and anxiety.  While theanine doesn’t make you feel tired, it works very well to reduce anxiety and help you to feel more calm.  Research done on theanine and sleep found that people who took it before bed experienced better sleep quality.  It works by encouraging alpha brainwaves, the brainwaves associated with a calm, relaxed state.  Theanine is also very effective for stress and anxiety during the day.

There are also a number of herbs which can be helpful as sleep aids.  Valerian is an herb that works very well to help with relaxation after a busy day.  Most people report that taking valerian before bed actually helps them to “feel tired”.  For that reason, valerian is usually best reserved for taking before bed, since valerian may make you feel too sleepy if taken during the day.  Passionflower, hops, and kava are other herbs which work very well to help to relieve stress and anxious thoughts so you can sleep.

Come by the store and we’d be happy to help you find the product that’s right for you.  Sleepless nights are no fun, though thankfully we have a number of supplements which work very effectively to help achieve a proper night’s sleep.