The Mystery Behind The Smell"The pungent odor of Valerian root comes from the valerenic acid." Valerenic acid is very similar in structure to the neurotransmitter, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter responsible for calming the nerves and reducing excitation. Valerian root contains a bounty of compounds including but not limited to valerenic acid, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), hesperidin,valerenol, and a myriad alkaloids
Sleep Like a Baby with Vita ZZZ’s Our sleep is precious time that allows our bodies to heal and rejuvenate, and without enough sleep, our health suffers dramatically. That means we must find ways to get proper rest. Unfortunately, many people either can’t sleep or don’t get enough sleep, which is where a Vita ZZZ’s comes in.
The amount of sleep needed each night varies, but for adults, getting at least 7-8 hours every night is crucial to having a healthy mind and body. And when we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies aren’t the only things that suffer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a whopping 49 million people have trouble with focus due to lack of sleep, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that millions nod off while driving!
Luckily, this problem doesn’t have to continue. It’s all about making some lifestyle changes, like using a high-quality safe, natural sleep supplement, such as Vita ZZZ’s and focusing on getting the sleep you need, in order to stay refreshed, alert and at your absolute best.
Vita ZZZ’s – A Natural Sleep Solution – Give Your Body What It Needs to sleep Like a Baby. We have a natural sleep-wake cycle called circadian rhythm. By being in sync with that rhythm, we can easily improve our sleep. A regular sleep/wake pattern helps you feel refreshed and ready for your day.
Having good sleep habits are crucial, such as avoiding stimulants like too much coffee to prevent caffeine overdose, and we’ve all been told to get those electronics far from the bedroom, both for better sleep and to avoid smart phone addiction.
Thankfully, good sleep habits combined with a natural sleep supplement can make all the difference in getting some body-craving restful sleep. Calcium, magnesium, valerian root and a few more we’ll talk about below all help to naturally put you to sleep.
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
It’s no secret that good sleep provides better function at work and home, along with even better fitness and athletic performance. The National Sleep Foundation released a poll taken in 2015 that clearly indicated quality of life is far better for those who had a good night sleep of at least seven hours.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following amount of sleep for varying age groups:
- Newborns: 14–17 hours
- Infants: 12–15 hours
- Toddlers: 11–14 hours
- Preschoolers: 10–13 hours
- School-aged children: 9–11 hours
- Teens: 8–10 hours
- Adults: 7–9 hours
- Older adults: 7–8 hours
Symptoms of Insomnia. How do you know if you have a true case of insomnia? This may seem like a silly question, but it’s common that most people experience some form of insomnia, known as acute insomnia, without it truly being a chronic problem.
Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and is often considered chronic if it happens at least three nights per week for three months or longer. The question remains: How do you know if you have insomnia that requires treatment?
While sleeping pills can seem to be the perfect quick fix, you might be surprised to learn that there are numerous natural remedies for insomnia, with little to no side effects, that provide better sleep long term.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests these guidelines, which were derived from a physician group. If you have one or more of the following symptoms, you may need to seek some sort of treatment and take more natural sleep aids:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Difficulty staying asleep throughout the night
- Trouble getting back to sleep
- Waking up too early
- Not feeling refreshed after sleep
- Feelings of fatigue, low energy or being always tired
- Struggles concentrating
- Mood swings, aggression and irritability
- Problems at work, school or in relationships
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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Calcium for Relaxation. Did you know that calcium has an effect on our sleep cycle? It’s true. According to the European Neurology Journal, calcium levels are at their highest during our deep rapid eye movement (REM) sleep periods. What this means is that if you never get to the REM sleep phase or if it’s limited, it could be related to a calcium deficiency. Researchers indicate that the calcium is important because it helps the cells in the brain use the tryptophan to create melatonin — a natural body-producing sleep aid.
Vitamin B6 to Combat Stress and Reduce Anxiety. B vitamins help to combat stress and stabilize your mood. Vitamin B6, in particular, serves as a natural remedy for anxiety because it works to boost mood, balance blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy nervous system. In fact, symptoms of a vitamin B6 deficiency include anxiety, irritability, depression, changes in mood, muscle pains and fatigue. In addition, Vitamin B12 is also important for fighting chronic stress, mood disorders and depression. It helps to improve your concentration, improve energy levels and allow your nervous system to function properly.
Magnesium to Help You Get the Sleep You Need. Now let’s roll into more about magnesium and how it can help you get a good night’s sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, it could be due to a magnesium deficiency.
Studies have shown that higher magnesium levels can help induce a deeper sleep, and as I noted, this is especially true when taken together with calcium for better absorption. Research from the Biochemistry and Neurophysiology Unit at the University of Geneva’s Department of Psychiatry indicate that higher levels of magnesium actually helped provide better, more consistent sleep since magnesium is a calming nutrient.
L-Tryptophan to Help Your Brain Relax. It’s a well-known fact that having a heavy meal just before bed can cause you to have a poor night of rest, but did you know that there are some foods that could help you sleep better? That doesn’t mean you need to add calories necessarily or eat a huge meal right before bed, but it could mean that you can incorporate some of these foods into your dinner or as a small after-dinner snack.
Probably the most commonly known characteristic that can help through food is tryptophan, yes, that sleepiness from the Thanksgiving turkey is no joke. Tryptophan is an amino acid that can help the brain get into a relaxed state, similar to serotonin and melatonin
A study published in Sports Medicine out of France was conducted to help better understand ways to improve the sleep of elite soccer players given their chaotic schedules, late-night games and need for recovery through a good night of sleep. The study found that by consuming carbohydrates, such as honey and whole grain bread, and some forms of protein, especially those that contain serotonin-producing tryptophan like turkey, nuts and seeds, it helped promote restorative sleep.
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. 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.
Goji (Wolfberry) for Anxiety and Insomnia. This high-antioxidant fruit, also known as wolfberry, has been used in the Himalayas as a traditional treatment for emotional disturbances, including anxiety and insomnia. This traditional use has earned goji the nickname "happy berry" in much of its native range. In a small-scale pilot study published by the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, participants drinking goji reported better sleep, easier awakening and higher energy levels than people who were drinking a placebo. Goji fruit is also potent source of carotenoid nutrients like lycopene, which, according to the American Cancer Society, might help to prevent several common forms of cancer.
Chamomile to Calm Nerves and Reduce Anxiety. Chamomile is used to calm nerves and reduce anxiety because of its mild sedative and relaxation-promoting properties. A study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that when chamomile oil is taken orally, it causes a significant reduction of anxiety and depression symptoms when compared to a placebo.
Lemon Balm improves mood, concentration and sleep. Traditionally, lemon balm has been used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Its mild sedative effect is a well-known feature. These claims seem to stand up to scientific scrutiny, as well as extend beyond treating general anxiety.
For example, lemon balm improves hyperactivity, concentration problems and impulsiveness in elementary school children. Taken internally in food products, it also seemed to enhance mood and/or cognitive performance in a study involving young adults.
A natural sleep aid, it also seems to help reduce symptoms of insomnia and sleep disorder, including during menopause when such symptoms are very commonplace.
Passion Fruit for Calming and Restful Sleep. Passion fruit and passion flower both contain medicinal alkaloids, including the sedative compound Harman. According to the National Institute of Health, these botanical medicines have traditionally been used to treat anxiety, insomnia and restlessness. The compounds found in this versatile fruit might also theoretically treat asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory infections.
This shows that passion fruit is one of the most powerful anti-anxiety natural sleep aids that doesn’t cause lingering tiredness the next day.
The amino Acid L-Taurineto Improve Sleep. Vegetarians are at high risk of taurine deficiency. Taurine raises the chemical transmitter GABA, which has a calming effect on the nervous system. Taurine can lower anxiety and the production of stress hormones that hinder rest.
Taurine does have benefits, such as potentially helping keep the heart healthy, working as an antioxidant, helping stimulate the muscles to offer better performance for athletes, and providing relaxing, sedative effects that could help someone with neurological disorders.
Hops to Reduce Restlessness. Hops is the plant that is best known as an ingredient in beer. Like valerian, hops has also been used for hundreds of years as an herbal medicine to treat sleep problems as well as anxiety, irritability, excitability, and restlessness.
Hops also works to enhance GABA levels in the brain. Research also indicates that the sedative effects of hops may come from its ability to lower body temperature. Lowering body temperature helps to bring about drowsiness and is an important part of the body’s sleep process.
St. John’s Wort Can Help Provide Sleep Through Less Depression. Depression is a common characteristic that can lead to lack of sleep. St John’s wort may be able to help.
More recent studies indicate that chemicals, such as hyperforin and adhyperforin, are found in St. John’s wort, acting as little messengers in the brain that drive mood and work as powerful antidepressants.
The National Sleep Foundation reports that insomnia is common among those who are depressed and notes that people with insomnia have a much higher risk of becoming depressed. Research from the Department of Psychology at the University of North Texas shows that depression may affect many aspects of sleep, from getting to sleep to staying asleep. By treating depression using St. John’s wort, you may be able to find that restful sleep your body and mind longs for.
GABA for Reducing Anxiety in Your Nervous System. GABA is an amino acid that is responsible for decreasing anxiety in the nervous system, and it also helps to relax your muscles. It’s used for a number of conditions, in addition to relieving anxiety, including reducing PMS, relieving insomnia, stabilizing blood pressure, treating ADHD, burning fat and relieving pain. GABA is also an inhibitory neurotransmitter that can cause a sedative effect, helps regulate nerve cells and calms anxiety. Anti-anxiety drugs, like Xanax and Valium, work to increase the amount of GABA in the brain.
Skullcap Can Help You Get Some Shut-Eye. While skullcap may help with anxiety, it also can help those who experience insomnia and other sleeping problems, such as restlessness, muscle tension and clenching the jaws. Skullcap could be useful before bed to help you relax, ward off any anxiety and give you some well-deserved and much-needed sleep.
L-Theanine to Improve the Quality of Your Sleep. L-theanine promotes relaxation and facilitates sleep by contributing to a number of changes in the brain: L-Theanine boosts levels of GABA and other calming brain chemicals. L-theanine elevates levels of GABA, as well as serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals are known as neurotransmitters, and they work in the brain to regulate emotions, mood, concentration, alertness, and sleep, as well as appetite, energy, and other cognitive skills. Increasing levels of these calming brain chemicals promotes relaxation and can help with sleep.
With its ability to increase relaxation and lower stress, L-theanine can help in sleep in a number of ways. L-theanine may help people fall asleep more quickly and easily at bedtime, thanks to the relaxation boost it delivers. Research also shows L-theanine can improve the quality of sleep—not by acting as a sedative, but by lowering anxiety and promoting relaxation.
There’s evidence that L-theanine may help improve sleep quality in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A study examined the effects on the sleep of boys ages 8-12, and found that the supplement worked safely and effectively to improve the quality of their sleep, helping them to sleep more soundly.
L-theanine is what’s known as an anxiolytic—it works to reduce anxiety. Some anxiolytics, such as valerian and hops, have sedative effects. L-theanine, on the other hand, promotes relaxation and stress reduction without sedating. L-theanine can help foster a state of calm, attentive wakefulness. L-theanine has positive effects on both the mental and physical symptoms of stress, including lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Research suggests that L-theanine can help reduce anxiety in people with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.
Ashwagandha is a natural remedy for anxiety & stress. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen herb that is often used as a natural remedy for anxiety because it helps to stabilize the body’s response to stress. In a systematic review that assessed data on the effectiveness of ashwagandha as a treatment for anxiety, researchers found that most studies concluded with significant improvement in anxiety symptoms with ashwagandha therapy.
However, ashwagandha is not only a stress reliever. It also protects the brain from degeneration and it works to improve anxiety symptoms by destroying free radicals that cause damage to the brain and body. Research shows that ashwagandha helps to improve focus, reduce fatigue and fight anxiety without the side effects of most anti-anxiety medications.
Inositol. Many healthcare experts use this little-known member of the B-vitamin family to promote more restful sleep at night and create a more even-tempered mood during the day.
Inositol is nature’s sleeping pill. Taken before bedtime, it can significantly improve sleep quality. People who take it report a general relaxed feeling similar to having a few calming sleepy-time teas.
Supplementing with inositol promotes calmness, and studies show it can alleviate a wide range of mental health disorders including depression and anxiety, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive behavior.
Inositol supplements come in capsules or powder. For insomnia, take inositol with water before bed. For difficulty falling or staying asleep, combined with other sleep-aiding nutrients like melatonin work well.
5-HTP For Sleep Moodiness and Headaches. Supplementing with 5-HTP, which is synthesized from tryptophan (an essential amino acid that acts as a mood regulator), can help to treat a number of issues that are associated with anxiety, including trouble sleeping, moodiness and headaches. 5-HTP increases serotonin, which is a calming neurotransmitter that transmits signals between the nerve cells and alters brain functions that regulate your mood and sleep patterns. Studies show that 5-HTP therapy is associated with a significant reduction in anxiety due to its calming effects. However, it’s important that you do not take 5-HTP with any prescription anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications.
Melatonin the Natural Sleep Aid. Melatonin for sleep is by far its best-known usage as a natural remedy. When it comes to sleep trouble, conventional medical treatment typically involves pharmaceutical drugs, but these medications frequently lead to long-term dependence and come with a laundry list of possible side effects. This is why many people want to find something more natural to help them have a more restful night’s sleep.
Research suggests that supplementing with melatonin can help people with disrupted circadian rhythms, such as people who work the night shift and people who have jet lag. Melatonin supplementation may also help individuals sleep better who have chronically low melatonin levels, like people with schizophrenia, who have poor sleep quality.
A recent study analyzed the effects of melatonin in the treatment of insomnia in patients 55 years or older. In the European Union, melatonin is approved for the treatment of insomnia characterized by poor sleep quality. The random, double-blind trial found that small doses of melatonin given one or two hours before bedtime was associated with significant improvements compared to a placebo in sleep quality and length, morning alertness, and health-related quality of life. The study also found that whether the melatonin dosage was short-term or long-term, there was no dependence, tolerance, rebound insomnia or withdrawal symptoms.
Sleepiness Can Cause Accidents & Death. Sleep deprivation was a factor in some of the biggest disasters in recent history such as the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the incredibly massive Exxon Valdez oil spill, the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, and more.
But sleep loss is also a big public safety hazard every day on the road. Drowsiness can slow reaction time as much as or more than driving drunk! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue is the cause of 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 crash-related deaths per year in the U.S. The problem is greatest among people under 25 years of age.
Studies show that sleep loss and poor-quality sleep also leads to accidents and injuries on the job. In one study, workers who complained about excessive daytime sleepiness had significantly more work accidents.
Sleep Loss Makes You Dumb. Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning. Lack of sleep hurts these cognitive processes in many ways. First, it impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. This makes it more difficult to learn efficiently.
Second, during the night, various sleep cycles play a role in “consolidating” memories in the mind. If you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be able to remember what you learned and experienced during the day.
Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Serious Health Problems. Sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss can put you at risk for:
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
According to some estimates, 90% of people with insomnia also have at least one another health condition if not more.
Lack of Sleep Kills Sex Drive. Sleep specialists say that sleep-deprived men and women report lower libidos and less interest in sex. Depleted energy, sleepiness, and increased tension may be largely to blame.
For men with sleep apnea, a respiratory problem that interrupts sleep, there may be another factor in the sexual decline. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests that many men with interrupted sleep also have low testosterone levels. In the study, nearly half of the men who suffered from severe sleep apnea also secreted abnormally low levels of testosterone during the night.
Sleepiness Is Depressing. Over time, lack of sleep and sleep disorders can contribute to depression. In a 2005 Sleep in America poll, people who were diagnosed with depression or anxiety were more likely to sleep less than six hours at night.
The most common sleep disorder, insomnia, has the strongest link to depression. In a 2007 study of 10,000 people, those with insomnia were five times as likely to develop depression as those without. In fact, insomnia is often one of the first symptoms of depression.
Insomnia and depression feed on each other. Sleep loss often aggravates the symptoms of depression, and depression can make it more difficult to fall asleep. In fact, treating sleep problems can help depression and its symptoms.
Lack of Sleep Makes You Look Older. Most people have experienced sagging skin and puffy eyes after a few nights of missed sleep. But it turns out that chronic sleep loss can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, wrinkles, and dark circles under the eyes.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.
Sleep loss also reduces the body’s ability to produce human growth hormone, the youth in a bottle hormone. When we’re young, human growth hormone promotes growth. As we get older, it helps increase muscle mass, thicken skin, and strengthen bones.
“It’s during deep sleep that growth hormone is released. It seems to be part of normal tissue repair, patching the wear and tear of the day.
Sleepiness Makes You Forgetful.
Trying to keep your memory sharp? Try getting plenty of sleep.
In 2009, American and French researchers determined that brain events called “sharp wave ripples” are responsible for consolidating memory. The ripples also transfer learned information from the hippocampus to the neocortex of the brain, where long-term memories are stored. Sharp wave ripples occur mostly during the deepest levels of sleep.
Lack of Sleep Can Make You Gain Weight. When it comes to body weight, it may be that if you snooze, you lose. Lack of sleep seems to be related to an increase in hunger and appetite, and obesity. According to a 2004 study, people who sleep less than six hours a day were almost 30 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept seven to nine hours.
Recent research has focused on the link between sleep and the peptides that regulate appetite. “Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin signals fullness to the brain and suppresses appetite. Shortened sleep time is associated with decreases in leptin and elevations in ghrelin.
Not only does sleep loss appear to stimulate appetite. It also stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods. Ongoing studies are considering whether adequate sleep should be a standard part of weight loss programs.
Lack of Sleep May Increase Risk of Death. In the “Whitehall II Study,” British researchers looked at how sleep patterns affected the mortality of more than 10,000 British civil servants over two decades. The results, published in 2007, showed that those who had cut their sleep from seven to five hours or fewer a night nearly doubled their risk of death from all causes. In particular, lack of sleep doubled the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
Sleep Loss Impairs Judgment, Especially About Sleep. Lack of sleep can affect our interpretation of events. This hurts our ability to make sound judgments because we may not assess situations accurately and act on them wisely.
Sleep-deprived people seem to be especially prone to poor judgment when it comes to assessing what lack of sleep is doing to them. In our increasingly fast-paced world, functioning on less sleep has become a kind of badge of honor. But sleep specialists say if you think you’re doing fine on less sleep, you’re probably wrong. And if you work in a profession where it’s important to be able to judge your level of functioning, this can be a big problem.
“Studies show that over time, people who are getting six hours of sleep, instead of seven or eight, begin to feel that they’ve adapted to that sleep deprivation -- they’ve gotten used to it,” Gehrman says. “But if you look at how they actually do on tests of mental alertness and performance, they continue to go downhill. So there’s a point in sleep deprivation when we lose touch with how impaired we are.”
The Problem with Sleeping Pills
As mentioned above, sleeping pills are a quick fix, but why use them if natural sleep aids can solve the problem better? It’s really important that you take the time to understand why sleeping pills may not be the best idea.
They’re placed under a category called sedative hypnotics and include benzodiazepines and barbiturates. You’ve probably heard of the benzodiazepines, or psychotropic drugs, called Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Librium, which are also known as common anti-anxiety medications. Because they can induce drowsiness, they can help people sleep, but these drugs can be addictive too — and that’s not a good thing.
Barbiturates can cause a sedative state because they relax the central nervous system. These are more commonly called sleeping pills and usually the drug of choice for heavy sedation in anesthesia. There are also less powerful, yet still sleep-inducing, drugs that are over-the-counter prescriptions, such as Lunesta, Sonata and Ambien.
We always suggest a natural remedy over a synthetic drug option, and the reason is pretty clear. In the case of sleeping pills, they typically slow your breathing and may cause you to breath much more shallow than normal. This could be problematic, and even dangerous, for someone with asthma or other lung-related problems like COPD, a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that makes it hard to breathe. Sleeping pills also commonly have numerous side effects, such as:
- Burning or tingling in the extremities, such as hands, arms, feet or legs
- Changes in appetite
- Gas, constipation and/or diarrhea
- Dizziness and problems with balance
- Drowsiness during the day
- Dryness in the mouth or throat area
- Difficulty doing common tasks the next day
- Trouble with memory
- Stomach pain
- Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- Affected dreams
- Feelings of weakness
Final Thoughts on Natural Sleep Aids. Sleep is a crucial part of our health and healing. Take it seriously, and seek out the help of a naturopathic practitioner if you can’t get your sleep under control.
Stay away from synthetics and stimulants, and try Vita ZZZ’s, you’ll be so glad you did! Sweet dreams!