Better Nutrition|December 2019
Tossing and turning all night? You’re not alone. As many as 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, and roughly half of all adults experience occasional bouts of insomnia. That’s a problem: studies link lack of sleep with increased risk of heart disease, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and other health issues. Reduce your risk, and get ready to crash, with these supplements that guarantee you’ll snooze.
1. Melatonin, a hormone naturally produced by the pineal gland, signals your brain that it’s time to snooze. The production and release of melatonin are driven by the circadian clock, so levels are naturally higher in the evening and lower in the morning. As we age, the body produces less melatonin—one reason why older people have difficulty sleeping—and several studies show that melatonin can improve insomnia in the elderly. Taking melatonin also helps regulate sleep in those who work night shifts or are experiencing jet lag. Studies show that 2–5 mg of melatonin can significantly increase total sleep time, shorten the time it takes to fall asleep, and improve overall quality of sleep. Some research suggests that time-release formats are the most effective.
2. Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system, and insufficient levels of this mineral have been linked to insomnia and sleep disturbances, as well as depression—one key factor in restless sleep. It’s thought to work in part by regulating circadian rhythms, ensuring regular and tranquil sleep, and by decreasing cortisol, the main stress hormone.
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