Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that can disrupt your sleep patterns and impact your ability to get a good night's rest consistently. If not addressed, these problems can have a significant impact on various aspects of your life, including your overall well-being, productivity, weight management, energy levels, emotional state, focus, safety, interpersonal connections, and susceptibility to other health issues.

Hence, it is crucial to promptly seek a diagnosis and treatment if you suspect you may be experiencing any form of sleep disorder. A recent study reveals that over one-third of American adults do not get sufficient sleep regularly, indicating a concerning rise in the prevalence of sleep disorders (8).

The good news is that with some of the sleep issues, you can help yourself, by changing your diet, and behavior or applying other tips. When you eliminate the reasons why your sleep issues persist, your body will start to heal itself.
Still, to make the right decisions on what to change and how you need a good source of guidance. So, in this article, we want to offer you just that.

We have put together advice from different sources such as modern medicine and alternative medicine, like for example Chinese medicine and nutrient deficiency theory.
Here, you will also find a comprehensive list of different sleep disorders and useful tips on how to manage them naturally. 


What Are The Major Sleep Disorders? The Full List of Most Common Sleep Disorders 

There are various sleep disorders with different causes and symptoms, which are typically classified based on their effects, causes, and treatment options. Certain sleep disorders can arise due to health issues (sleep disorders can manifest as a symptom of another mental or medical health condition), whereas other sleep disturbances can be attributed to excessive stress or busy routines. Sleeping difficulties caused by underlying health conditions may eventually subside with appropriate treatment for the root cause.

Sleep disorders can be identified by signs such as excessive daytime sleepiness, irregular breathing, or increased movement during sleep. Additional symptoms may consist of an irregular sleep and wake cycle, as well as difficulty falling asleep.

1. Insomnia

The primary sleep disorder, insomnia, is characterized by difficulties in falling asleep, frequent awakenings throughout the night, or early morning awakenings. Coping with insomnia involves making changes to sleep habits, following good sleep hygiene practices, and considering the use of supplements such as magnesium and a good night sleep complex to induce relaxation and improve sleep quality. To learn more about the underlying causes, risk factors, and natural treatment options for insomnia, please explore the detailed information provided.

The main causes that may lead to insomnia include:

  • Stress, which is linked to significant life events or changes.
  • Environmental factors, such as noise levels or temperature.
  • Inconsistent bedtime and alterations to your typical sleep routine.
  • Exposure to blue light.
  • Psychological disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
  • Medications for the treatment of colds, allergies, depression, hypertension, and asthma.
  • Pain or discomfort that occurs at night.
  • The use of stimulants such as caffeine, tobacco, or alcohol.
  • Conditions related to the endocrine system, like hyperthyroidism.
  • Afflictions such as asthma, arthritis, gastrointestinal issues, nerve disorders, cancer, or acid indigestion.
  • Additional sleep conditions like sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome  (1).

2. Hypersomnia Also Called Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS)

Excessive daytime sleepiness accompanied by sleep attacks (a strong urge to sleep, often followed by a period of sleep) or prolonged sleep are the primary indicators of hypersomnia. It is possible to experience extreme sleepiness during the day, even after having slept for extended periods.

Hypersomnia can be triggered by various psychological and medical factors, including:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Furthermore, there are other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and periodic limb movement disorder (1).


3. Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder

Circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorder occurs when there is a mismatch between an individual's natural sleep-wake cycle and the desired sleep-wake cycle, influenced by environmental factors. This condition frequently leads to excessive sleepiness (hypersomnia) or difficulty falling asleep (insomnia).

Types of Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders include:

3. 1. Delayed sleep syndrome also called delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS)

In the majority of cases, individuals tend to fall asleep during the evening hours, typically between 10 and 12. However, in instances of delayed syndrome, sleep onset occurs 2-4 hours later than the usual time.

3. 2. Advanced sleep-wake phase disorder

Sleep tends to occur a few hours earlier than the usual or desired times, sometimes even exceeding two hours. However, this disorder of the sleep-wake phase should not pose any significant challenges in managing one's work and rest schedule.

3. 3. Irregular sleep-wake rhythm disorder

Individuals with this disorder experience irregular sleep patterns lacking a consistent rhythm or day-night cycle. For instance, sleep occurs each day, one hour later than the previous day. The sleep cycle associated with this disorder typically consists of short periods of sleep lasting four hours or less. Consequently, individuals frequently take naps during the day.

An irregular sleep pattern can lead to considerable stress, impacting not only the individual but also their family and relationships at work. Those with irregular sleep-wake rhythm disorder may also experience neurodegenerative or neurodevelopmental conditions like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's Disease, or developmental disabilities in children.

3. 4. Jet lag

Many individuals encounter jet lag following flights that cross multiple time zones. This phenomenon, characterized by temporary disruptions in sleep patterns and feelings of fatigue during the day, signifies an adjustment phase where an individual's internal body clock must align with the local time. Symptoms of jet lag typically manifest within one to two days post-flight and can persist for a period of one to two weeks.

3. 5. Non-24-hour sleep-wake rhythm disorder, also called free-running disorder

Non-24-hour sleep-wake rhythm disorder occurs when the internal clock fails to reset every 24 hours, primarily impacting individuals who are completely blind. Consequently, the typical sleep cycle of an individual constantly fluctuates. Those with this disorder may experience symptoms of insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness if their sleep patterns do not align with their social and occupational commitments.

3. 6. Shift work disorder

The condition of this sleep disorder is marked by both insomnia and an increased tendency to feel sleepy during the day. It is most commonly seen in individuals who have jobs that involve working late at night or in the early hours of the morning.
The majority of individuals affected by this condition experience a reduction of 1 to 4 hours of sleep within a 24-hour cycle. Shift work disorder poses a significant risk, as it heightens the likelihood of accidents occurring in the workplace or while driving. Studies suggest that up to 38% of shift workers may be affected by this disorder.

3. 7. Other circadian rhythm sleep disorders

Sleep disorders within this particular demographic are typically associated with underlying health conditions. They share similar symptoms with the aforementioned circadian rhythm sleep disorders, such as excessive daytime sleepiness and insomnia, but some individuals do not meet the necessary diagnostic criteria. These cases are infrequent and atypical, requiring personalized attention from a sleep specialist or medical professional. (2).Parasomnias_Sleepwalking

4. Parasomnias Such as Sleepwalking (Somnambulism), Sleep Terrors, Sleep Enuresis, Sexsomnia etc.

Parasomnia is a sleep disorder that involves atypical and undesired occurrences or physical activities that disrupt one's sleep patterns. These events can occur prior to falling asleep, during sleep, or upon awakening from sleep. Individuals experiencing parasomnia may display abnormal movements, speech, emotional outbursts, or engage in unusual behaviors.

You are actually asleep, despite the possibility that your bed partner perceives you as being awake. There are two distinct categories of parasomnias: those occurring during non-REM sleep, and those occurring during REM sleep (3).

Parasomnias that happen during Non-REM sleep include:

4. 1. Sleep terrors

Upon experiencing sleep terrors, one may abruptly awaken in a state of terror, potentially leading to screaming or crying out of fear. These episodes typically last for a short duration of around 30 seconds, although they can extend for a few minutes. It is important to note that sleep terrors differ from nightmares, as individuals do not dream during these occurrences. Additional symptoms may include an increased heart rate, dilated pupils, rapid breathing, and sweating (3).

4. 2. Sleepwalking (somnambulism)

Somnambulism is a unique state of consciousness characterized by a blending of sleep and wakefulness. Typically observed during the initial phase of sleep, sleepwalking episodes involve individuals getting out of bed and moving around with their eyes open, occasionally accompanied by sleep-talking. In some cases, sleepwalkers may even venture outside of their bedroom or home.

Hence, there is a considerable likelihood of experiencing severe harm during this particular incident. Sleepwalkers typically make their way back to bed quietly either by themselves or with the aid of another person. Upon waking up, it is usual not to have any recollection immediately after the episode or the subsequent morning (3).

4. 3. Confusional arousal

Confusional arousal and sleepwalking are intricately linked conditions. Those affected by confusional arousal often undergo intense panic attacks, restlessness, and a state of partial wakefulness. They may experience confusion and disorientation regarding time and space, along with vocalizations, crying, and vegetative reactions.

Those suffering from this disorder often spend their time in bed, although they may occasionally sit upright. Their eyes are open, and they may cry, speak slowly, struggle to grasp questions posed to them, or provide rational responses.

The occurrence of this phenomenon typically takes place in the initial trimester of sleep, spanning from a few minutes to several hours. Any endeavors made by external parties to influence this panic-inducing episode can intensify the fear and disorientation experienced. Confusional arousals are more prevalent in childhood, posing a significant risk of self-harm. Moreover, usually upon awakening, individuals usually have no recollection of the episode (3).

4. 4. Sleep-related eating disorder

In instances of sleep-related eating disorders, individuals consume food and beverages while in a partially awake state. It is not uncommon for them to consume items that they would not typically eat when fully awake, such as raw chicken or chunks of butter. However, this type of eating poses risks, as individuals may unknowingly consume inedible or toxic substances, as well as consume unhealthy or excessive amounts of food. Additionally, there is a potential for injuries to occur while preparing or cooking food in a partially awake state. (3)

Parasomnias that happen during REM sleep include:

4. 5. Nightmare disorder

Detailed recollections of vivid nightmares can lead to heightened anxiety, fear, and terror. These emotions may threaten your sense of dignity, survival, or security. Difficulty returning to sleep is a common issue in such cases. The risk of nightmare disorder is elevated if you are experiencing stress, have encountered a traumatic event, are suffering from a fever, illness, extreme fatigue, or have consumed alcohol. It is not uncommon for dreams to feature the same or similar frightening content repeatedly.

4. 6. Recurrent isolated sleep paralysis

In cases of recurrent isolated sleep paralysis, individuals experience an inability to move their limbs or body while asleep. This occurrence can manifest either before the onset of sleep or during the process of waking up. Typically lasting for a brief duration of seconds to a few minutes, these episodes often evoke distress and commonly trigger feelings of fear or anxiety. However, the presence of a bed partner who engages through physical contact or verbal communication can effectively terminate sleep paralysis.

4. 7. REM sleep behavior disorder (RSBD)

This sleep disorder, prevalent among older adults, involves individuals engaging in actions like talking, swearing, laughing, shouting, kicking, punching, or grabbing in response to violent dreams. Many affected individuals also have neurodegenerative conditions like multiple system atrophy, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, or Lewy body dementia (3).

Other parasomnias include:

4. 8. Exploding head syndrome

Individuals experiencing exploding head syndrome encounter a resounding noise or a forceful crashing sound within their minds as they transition into sleep or awaken. Additionally, they may involuntarily experience a sudden muscle spasm or perceive an illusionary burst of light.

4. 9. Sleep enuresis (bedwetting)

Bedwetting is common in children aged five and older, occurring at least twice a week for three months or longer. Sleep enuresis can also affect adults.

4. 10. Sleep-related hallucinations

Individuals afflicted with this disorder encounter hallucinations during the transition of falling asleep or waking up. They may perceive auditory or visual stimuli, experience tactile sensations, or sense movement that lacks any actual existence. In some cases, they may even feel compelled to leave their bed in an attempt to evade the distressing experiences they are undergoing.

4. 11. Sleep-related groaning (catathrenia)

Individuals experiencing this condition may have recurring instances of making groaning sounds (extended groans accompanied by sighs or grunts) while sleeping. 

4. 12. Sexsomnia

Individuals with sexsomnia engage in sexual activities while they are asleep. These activities can encompass masturbation, making sexual sounds, engaging in intercourse, committing sexual assault, or touching their bed partner in a sexual manner (3).


5. Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders Such As Sleep Apnea Syndrome

Sleep apnea is a prevalent sleep-related breathing issue that leads to nighttime snoring or interruptions in breathing, often going unnoticed by the person experiencing it. These signs disrupt sleep patterns and lower oxygen levels in the bloodstream. Sleep-related breathing disorders can manifest through symptoms like excessive sleepiness, daily fatigue, drowsiness, cognitive impairments, and memory and mood issues. The obstruction of the upper airway leads to sleep apnea.

Obesity and unique facial and respiratory features can increase the likelihood of developing sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to various health issues like hypertension, metabolic disorders, and even work-related accidents caused by drowsiness and fatigue (1).
The main types of sleep apnea are:

5. 1. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

The most prevalent type of sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the throat relax. Typically, obstructive sleep apnea is more severe during REM sleep and when lying on the back. Individuals with a large tongue, enlarged tonsils, micrognathia, a body mass index over 30, or a wide neck size (over 16 inches in women and 17 inches in men) may have a higher risk of developing this condition. Individuals who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea may also face a higher likelihood of experiencing mood disorders, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, sexual dysfunction, and memory dysfunction (4, 5).

5. 2. Central sleep apnea

Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send the right signals to the muscles responsible for breathing, affecting less than 5% of sleep apnea cases. Individuals with this type of apnea may wake up feeling breathless. In addition, experiencing trouble with falling asleep or staying asleep is also a possibility. If you happen to be male, older, have heart failure, use opioid medications for pain relief, or have had a stroke, you might have a higher chance of developing central sleep apnea (4, 5).

5. 3. Complex sleep apnea syndrome, also called treatment-emergent central sleep apnea

When someone experiences both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea, it results in this condition. It is a type of sleep-related breathing disorder where central sleep apneas occur repeatedly (for up to 5 hours) when obstructive sleep apnea events gradually cease with the help of positive airway pressure. If someone has complex sleep apnea syndrome, the central apneas that occur do not usually have a clear cause (5, 6).


6. Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD), Formerly Called Sleep Myoclonus Or Nocturnal Myoclonus and Restless Leg Syndrome

Periodic limb movement disorder often leads to involuntary movements and sudden, intense contractions of specific muscle groups. These movements can be seen as repetitive limb motions, frequent twitching, or shaking of the limbs. During sleep, movement problems often affect the lower extremities such as the big toe, ankle, hip, and knee. These issues, which typically happen in light non-REM sleep, can disrupt your sleep. Additionally, some individuals may also experience limb movements in their upper extremities.

The reasons behind this condition can differ based on age and overall health. The treatment options can also vary greatly, ranging from taking iron supplements to using specific medications. However, it's important to note that periodic limb movement disorder is distinct from restless leg syndrome (7).

The difference between periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) and restless leg syndrome (RLS):

  • Periodic limb movement disorder. PLMD is an involuntary condition where the person is typically unaware of these movements. Although periodic limb movements can occur during the day, they are often seen as a symptom of restless leg syndrome.
  • Restless leg syndrome, also called Willis-Ekbom disease. Restless legs syndrome, on the other hand, is marked by a voluntary reaction to an irresistible urge to move the legs caused by discomfort. In the evening, the symptoms of this condition often start, resulting in unpleasant sensations in the legs or arms and compelling the individual to move their limbs. Occasionally, the discomfort can be alleviated by standing up, walking, or gently massaging the affected limbs (7).

stress, fatigue and tiredness

7. Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a long-term neurological condition marked by an uncontrollable urge to take brief naps, often resulting in a sudden loss of consciousness (known as a narcolepsy attack) lasting around 10 to 15 minutes. During these episodes, individuals enter a deep sleep and find it challenging to awaken.
Individuals with narcolepsy frequently struggle with nighttime sleep and also experience unusual daytime sleep patterns. While most people without narcolepsy typically enter the REM sleep phase about an hour after falling asleep, many narcoleptic individuals enter this phase within minutes (9).

8. Cataplexy

Cataplexy is a brief and sudden episode of muscle weakness that can vary from a slight relaxation of the facial muscles to a total paralysis of the muscles resulting in a postural collapse. During cataplexy, the individual remains conscious, can breathe, and can move their eyes.

  • Symptoms of cataplexy. During a cataplexy episode, one may experience various symptoms. These can include facial twitching or grimacing, unusual movements of the tongue, jaw shaking, head or jaw falling, knee tremors or bending, drooping eyelids, and difficulties with speech. When a cataplexy attack occurs, speech may become blurred and vision may be affected, such as experiencing double vision or difficulty concentrating. However, hearing and awareness will remain unaffected. In some cases, the person may even collapse completely and become immobile.
  • Causes of cataplexy and narcolepsy. Cataplexy is most commonly linked to narcolepsy, affecting approximately 70% of individuals with narcolepsy. While cataplexy without narcolepsy is uncommon, it can also occur in other rare conditions like Niemann-Pick type C disease, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Wilson's disease. Additionally, it can sometimes be observed in medical conditions such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, head injury, and encephalitis. The symptoms of cataplexy associated with narcolepsy can manifest at any point in life, but they often emerge during childhood and adolescence, typically between the ages of 7 and 25.
  • Triggers of cataplexy. Cataplexy is often triggered by intense emotions such as laughter, crying, fear, sudden physical activity, surprise, or other sudden stimuli. However, cataplexy attacks can sometimes happen unexpectedly without any emotional stimulus.
  • Duration of cataplexy attacks. Cataplexy attacks are typically brief, lasting anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, with most episodes being less than 2 minutes long. Afterward, the muscles quickly regain their normal tone and function. The nature of cataplexy seizures can vary greatly. Some may be mild and hardly noticeable, primarily affecting the jaw, neck, or knees. On the other hand, some can be severe, resulting in collapsing. The episode goes by without any medical intervention. Nonetheless, it's crucial to ensure that the individual doesn't harm themselves in case of a fall. Moreover, safety precautions should be implemented to prevent severe injuries resulting from falls. Even in the case of a complete collapse, individuals typically manage to avoid getting hurt. This is because they become adept at recognizing the signs of an impending cataplexy episode, and the fall tends to occur gradually and slowly. When the person lies down comfortably, the seizure may transition into drowsiness, hypnagogic hallucinations, or a sleep-inducing REM period.
  • Treatment of cataplexy. Cataplexy cannot be fully treated, but the main goal is to manage and reduce symptoms by practicing good sleep habits and, if necessary, taking medication (9, 10, 11).

What Nutrient Deficiency Theory According to "Self Healing Handbook" Says About Sleep Issues

According to self-healing handbooks about nutrient deficiency, there are either nutrient deficiencies or excesses, or some other extra causes for sleep issues. Here we cover some information about insomnia and sleepiness.

Insomnia according to "Self Healing Handbook"

The theory suggests that there can be many reasons behind insomnia. There can be either nutrient deficiencies or too much of nutrients in the body. Also, there can be psychological reasons and other factors to take into account when struggling with insomnia. 

It is said that a person should determine if they have too much or too little of these nutrients: 

  • B vitamins
  • A vitamin
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Iodine
  • Zinc
  • Potassium
  • Tryptophan
  • Tyrosine
  • Gamma-aminobutyric acid.

The psychological and other reasons that can cause insomnia according to nutrient theory can be:

  • Not trusting life
  • Guilt
  • Fear
  • Being too emotional 
  • Restlessness
  • Wrong breathing
  • Wrong diet
  • Stress
  • Acidosis
  • Dysbacteriosis
  • Breathing polluted air
  • Not getting enough protein (27).

Sleepiness according to "Self Healing Handbook"

It is said that sleepiness can also be caused by too many or too little of these nutrients: 

  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • Boron
  • Isoleucine
  • Manganese
  • Iodine
  • Potassium (27).

Some other causes might be: 

  • Not drinking enough water
  • Not breathing right
  • Problems with blood circulation
  • Stress
  • Breathing in air that has too little humidity
  • Wrong diet (27).

What Chinese Medicine Says About Sleep Issues

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) describes the ideal sleep as consisting of three distinct stages:

  • easily drifting off to sleep,
  • remaining in a deep and uninterrupted slumber,
  • and awakening feeling rejuvenated. 

Sleep is thought to be closely connected to two distinct forces within the body: Blood and Yang Qi, which circulate in unique patterns to support overall functioning during the day (28).

Throughout the day, the energies of yin and yang in our bodies fluctuate. When night falls, the coolness of yin becomes dominant, while during the day, the heat of yang takes control (29).
There are various factors that can trigger insomnia, which are believed to disrupt the balance of the two forces, Blood and Yang Qi. 
These factors include excessive thinking, anxiety, intense dreaming, waking up too early, emotional problems, and many more (28).

7 Tips For Improving Sleep Based on Chinese Medicine Principles

1. A suggestion is, to eat more ‘yin’, and avoid eating ‘yang’

Having difficulty falling asleep? An overactive liver could be the culprit. Try easing the load on your stomach by steering clear of alcohol, caffeine, and yang (heating) foods like sweet, pungent, or spicy dishes.
Instead, focus on consuming foods that are mostly yin (cooling) in nature.
Yin foods are typically green or pale in color and have a high moisture content. Opt for ingredients like tofu, cucumber, bananas, watermelon, and green beans as they perfectly fit this category. It's worth noting that certain foods like pork and fish are considered neutral (29).

2. Ingredients are essential for individuals who struggle with sleep

Chrysanthemum tea can help cool down the liver and soothe your nerves. Try adding goji berries to harmonize the yin properties of chrysanthemum and support liver health.

Restful sleep can be enhanced by incorporating other ingredients such as the longan fruit. This fruit is believed to have the ability to improve circulation. You can enjoy the longan fruit in various ways - whether it's raw, dried, or steeped as tea. 
For an added boost to your circulation, try adding a few red jujubes and a handful of goji berries to your tea (29).

3. Acupressure massage

An acupressure point known as anmian, meaning “peaceful sleep,” can be located behind the ear and is utilized for treating insomnia. This specific point is situated between the ear and the base of the skull, near a bone known as the mastoid process.
Press your finger gently on this indentation and use a circular motion to apply pressure and massage it. After completing 100 circles, you will notice a significant increase in relaxation, leaving you feeling more at ease and prepared for rest (29).

4. Treat yourself to a relaxing foot bath in warm water

Giving your lower legs and feet a nice massage can actually promote better blood circulation away from an overstimulated brain. 
Even more beneficial, soaking your feet in warm water helps to widen the blood vessels in your lower legs, which encourages blood to flow downwards.
Look for a bucket or plastic tub that can comfortably fit both of your feet, and slowly fill it with hot water to prevent any accidental burns.
Fresh or powdered ginger is believed to boost the body’s yang energy, and incorporating it into the soak can benefit individuals with cold extremities. 
You may end the soak once you begin to perspire slightly, signaling that the body’s blocked energy channels have been cleared (29).

5. Make sure to maintain a consistent bedtime routine

Getting a good night's sleep and waking up with the sun helps maintain a balance between our bodies and the natural yin and yang energy. However, sleeping at irregular hours can disturb this harmony, leading to insomnia and preventing us from experiencing deep, rejuvenating sleep (29).

6. Go to bed between 9 pm and 11 pm

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), different organs in the body rejuvenate at specific times throughout the day. While we sleep, the gallbladder and liver work on repairing themselves. 
The gallbladder influences emotions and decision-making, while the liver is in charge of circulation and emotional health. 
Staying up late can drain the energy levels of these organs, potentially causing poor judgment and emotional imbalance (29).

7. Make sure to set aside some time for meditation before going to sleep

Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners hold the belief that when we experience anger or frustration, it is a manifestation of excessive heat in the liver. 
This emotional turmoil disrupts the body's harmony and hinders the flow of qi, which can interfere with our ability to sleep. Therefore, it is crucial to calm our minds before bedtime. 
One effective method to achieve this is by practicing mindfulness meditation while lying in bed. By solely focusing on our breath and taking deep inhales and exhales, we can let go of any unpleasant or worrisome thoughts (29).

7 Supplements For Insomnia

If you're struggling with insomnia, these supplements might be worth considering. However, it's important to remember that your sleep issues could be a symptom of a more serious health condition. That's why it's crucial to consult your doctor to address the underlying illness first.

1. Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by your body to signal your brain that it's time to sleep. The production and release of melatonin are influenced by the time of day - levels increase in the evening and decrease in the morning. This is why melatonin supplements are commonly used as a sleep aid, particularly when the natural melatonin cycle is disturbed, like in cases of jet lag. Studies suggest that melatonin can help shorten the time it takes to fall asleep, potentially leading to longer and better quality sleep (13, 14, 15).

2. Valerian

Valerian is commonly utilized as a natural solution for anxiety, depression, and menopause symptoms. It's a well-liked dietary supplement that may enhance sleep quality and alleviate sleep disorder symptoms for certain individuals. Nevertheless, further studies are required to ensure the safety of prolonged usage (13, 16).

3. Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium plays a crucial role in numerous processes within the human body, supporting brain function, muscle health, and heart health. Moreover, magnesium has the ability to calm both the mind and body, ultimately aiding in better sleep. Research indicates that magnesium's calming properties may be linked to its ability to regulate melatonin production.

Magnesium has been found to have a positive impact on the levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), a calming brain messenger. As a result, it promotes relaxation in both the body and the brain, leading to improved sleep quality. You can easily find high-quality and easily absorbed magnesium supplements online.

4. Tryptophan (L-Tryptophan)

L-tryptophan can be found naturally in both animal and plant proteins, and it is classified as an essential amino acid since our bodies are unable to produce it on their own. This amino acid plays a crucial role in the growth and operation of various organs in the body.

Once L-tryptophan is taken in from food, the body transforms it into 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) and eventually into serotonin. Research suggests that this crucial amino acid may aid in falling asleep quicker and enhance sleep quality (13, 21, 22, 23, 24).

5. L-theanine

Taking a daily food supplement with a maximum of 400 mg of this amino acid could potentially aid in relaxation and enhancing sleep quality. Research on animals indicates that it might have better results when paired with GABA (13, 25, 26).

6. Red passion flower, also known as Passiflora incarnata

This well-known flower species, known for its sleep-improving properties, originally comes from North America but is now cultivated in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. A recent research study on individuals suffering from insomnia revealed that those who consumed passion flower extract for a period of 2 weeks experienced notable enhancements in specific sleep aspects when compared to the group that received a placebo.

The factors considered were the length of sleep, how efficiently one sleeps (meaning the percentage of time spent sleeping versus time spent in bed), and the time it takes to wake up after going to bed. Therefore, while more studies are necessary, passion flower tea or extract could potentially enhance the quality of sleep for certain individuals (13, 17).

7. Ashwagandha root extract

A recent study has shown that this natural compound, which has the ability to induce sleep, is easily tolerated and enhances both the quality of sleep and the time it takes to fall asleep in individuals with insomnia. The recommended dosage is 300 mg of the extract taken twice daily (12).

Please be aware that the information shared here is solely for informational purposes. It should not be regarded as healthcare or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is important not to view this information as a guarantee for the desired outcomes. Furthermore, it is not a substitute for consulting with your physician or any other healthcare professional.

Furthermore, it is important to refrain from utilizing it to diagnose or address any health issues. Prior to altering or ceasing your current medication, treatment, or care, or incorporating any dietary supplements, it is crucial to seek guidance from your healthcare professional or doctor. This is especially necessary before embarking on any diet or program, or if you have any concerns regarding a potential medical condition.
Written by Maria-Helena Loik and Cärolin Leht
This article was first published on

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