Is it the combination of the calming adaptogenic herbs that can be found in sleep teas, or is it the therapeutic act of chilling out with a warm mug of tea that helps us drift off? We don’t know and we don’t care.
However, there are ancient tales and modern research done on the effect of apigenin, an antioxidant found in camomile that binds to receptors in the brain to induce sleep. Similarly, valerian root works to increase GABA, our calming neurotransmitter, increasing feelings of calm. Other soothing herbs include passionflower, lemon balm and lavender.
Magnesium, on the other hand, works directly as a muscle relaxant and on the nervous system (it also has many other wonderful functions, but we’ll stay on topic). Sipping on a glass of water spiked with magnesium bisglycinate can be incredibly useful if you’re struggling to chill out.
Of course, as with all minerals, it is important to keep an eye on areas you may be lacking or consuming too much, as a number can work antagonistically. Take caution when supplementing at first, as it really can be a muscle relaxant, and we don’t want you up all night running to the loo. Start with a low dose but always speak with your health care professional first.
A note on melatonin, for the worst insomniacs out there.
Melatonin, as we learnt earlier, is a hormone that regulates sleep and it can be supplemented with when issues falling and staying asleep occur. However, as with all supplements, it’s always best to edge on the side of caution.
Whilst it is without a doubt powerful, supplementing melatonin for some people can cause further disruptions and dependencies, as well as leaving the consumer feeling groggy and fatigued upon waking.
It’s only available on prescription in some countries, including the UK, sold over the counter and in health food shops such as WholeFoods in the US. What do we think? Consume melatonin rich foods that stimulate production before bedtime, such as tart cherries, eggs and salmon.