What are sleep aids?
Whatever helps you fall asleep is known as a sleep aid. It can include anything from sticking to a strict bedtime regimen, meditation, a glass of warm milk or even medication. In this blog post, we will talk about food supplements that can serve as sleep aids.
Why sleep aids?
Your body has a natural sleep-wake cycle called the circadian rhythm (1). Every individual has a different circadian rhythm that is partly controlled by the length of the day and night.
Your sleep-wake cycle has an effect on hormone release, body temperature and even your digestion. When this is disrupted therefore, you can feel more fatigued, irritated or lethargic. On the long-term, studies have shown an increased risk of heart attacks, obesity, diabetes and breast cancer (2).
Using a sleep aid is therefore recommended to help maintain the balance of the circadian rhythm and thus, one’s wellbeing. The following supplements are recommended as sleep aids.
As night falls and it gets darker, a master clock in your brain is activated. This triggers the release of the hormone, melatonin (1). Melatonin in turn, causes you to feel sleepy.
Poor (non-restorative) sleep quality and non-dipping nocturnal blood pressure are proven to be due to melatonin imbalances. Thus, a lack of adequate or timely melatonin production can cause sleep disturbances and even insomnia.
Is melatonin supplementation safe?
The positive effects of melatonin treatment have been demonstrated in placebo-controlled trials in humans (3). In general, the short-term use of melatonin is safe, even in extreme doses (4). Randomized clinical studies similarly indicate that long-term melatonin treatment causes only mild adverse effects comparable to a placebo.
What dosage of melatonin should I take?
The EFSA states that the alleviation of subjective feelings of jet lag is obtained with a minimum intake of 0.5 mg melatonin (5). This dose must be taken close to bedtime on the first day of travel and on the following few days after arrival at the destination.
Melatonin can also reduce the time taken to fall asleep when consumed at a dose of 1 mg close to bedtime (5).
In the UK, 2mg slow-release tablets are usually prescribed for adults aged 55 years and older (6).
Did you know that insufficient levels of magnesium in your body may be linked to troubled sleep and insomnia? (7). Amongst its many other functions, this important mineral is known to play a role in the relaxation of muscles before sleep (8). Increasing GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) production and even melatonin production are other sleep-related functions of magnesium. It thus, contributes to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue (5).
Magnesium supplementation may just, therefore, help you have a good night’s sleep.
Why liposomal magnesium supplementation?
As with many other nutrients, PlantaCorp has demonstrated that our liquid liposomal magnesium product is 5.18 times more bioavailable than non-liposomal magnesium supplements of the same dose.
Contact our Business Development Team today to request a copy of this study.
Another study demonstrated the benefit of liposomal magnesium supplementation particularly as a treatment for insomnia (9). In this study, a combination magnesium-melatonin-vitamin B complex (one dose containing 175 mg liposomal magnesium oxide, 10 mg vitamin B6, 16 μg vitamin B12 and 1 mg melatonin) was used. Taking this supplement once a day, 1 hour before sleep, for 3 months had a beneficial effect on the treatment of insomnia, regardless of cause.
Vitamin B complex
The EFSA authorizes claims for riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and vitamin B12 as contributing to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue (5). No wonder then that a previously cited study used a combination of vitamin B complex in insomnia treatment (9).
How do the B vitamins promote sleep?
Like melatonin, serotonin is a hormone that can control our sleep-wake cycles. The area of the brain that is stimulated by serotonin and which serotonin receptor is used, has an effect on whether you sleep or wake (10).
Of the B vitamins, vitamin B12 contributes to melatonin secretion (11). Vitamin B6 is involved in the synthesis of serotonin from tryptophan and vitamin B3 may increase the availability of tryptophan for serotonin and melatonin synthesis (11). Vitamins B9 and B6 are involved in the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin.
Thus by increasing the synthesis and secretion of the sleep hormones, the B vitamins can work as sleep aids.
A plant commonly found in Europe and Asia, the root of the valerian plant (Valeriana officinalis) is used in herbal remedies for insomnia (12). In addition to evidence from clinical trials, there is cultural evidence regarding its efficacy. Several different species of Valeriana have been used for sedation and sleep in many different cultures throughout the world, including in India, China and Japan (12).
How does valerian supplementation work?
Studies have shown that components of valerian inhibit the breakdown of GABA in the brain. This induces sedation and a decrease in central nervous system activity in mice. Patients taking valerian had an 80 % greater chance of reporting improved sleep compared with patients taking placebo (12).
Valerian may be an attractive sleeping agent because of the lack of a hangover effect (12). Further, most studies have not described adverse events related to even high dose valerian supplementation.
Market for sleep aids
Sleeping disorders affect nearly 30% of the adult population (13).
Western Europe was the largest global market for sleep aids, such as melatonin, in 2016 (14). The retail sales value was USD 804 million. The market of traditional sleep aids continued to grow and reached USD 1.3 billion in 2018 (13). This was a positive growth by 4% compared to 2017. In 2018, 51% of the market share was in Europe.
In Germany, the herbal/traditional products sector within sleep aids, has dominated the market (15). This is possibly because many Germans perceive natural products to be less harmful or have fewer side effects. Valerian is thus, the most commonly used herbal product to induce sleep in both the United States and Europe (12).
The negative impact on the physical and mental health of many consumers due to the CoVID 19 global pandemic, led to an increased search for ways to alleviate stress in 2020. The resulting sleep problems, led to an increase in demand for sleep aids (15).
Now is therefore, a good time to invest in the global sleep aids supplement market. Do contact our Business Development Team to learn how.
The list we have provided you with here is by no means exhaustive. Still, we do hope that you have realized how some simple supplementation can help you sleep better, whatever the reason may be.
Do remember though, that this blog does NOT provide professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician before starting a new health regime. Do not self-medicate, ignore or delay seeking medical advice because of what you have read on this blog.
- Jet lag, change of time (daylight savings) and stress, amongst other factors, can lead to poor sleep quantity and quality.
- In the short-term, it can lead to feeling more fatigued, irritated or lethargic. Long-term effects include an increased risk of heart attacks, obesity, diabetes and breast cancer.
- Melatonin is a key hormone that helps maintain the body’s circadian rhythm.
- Exogenous melatonin supplementation or supplements aiding the production of melatonin (magnesium, vitamin B complex, valerian root extract etc.) can help restore melatonin imbalances.
- The market of traditional sleep aids reached USD 1.3 billion in 2018. The trend continued to increase in 2020 due to the SARS-CoV2 pandemic.
- [Online] [Accessed on: 28. 10 2021.] https://nigms.nih.gov/education/fact-sheets/Pages/Circadian-Rhythms.aspx – Find Out More.
- Daylight Saving Time and Artificial Time Zones – A Battle Between Biological and Social Times. Roenneberg T, Winnebeck EC, Klerman EB. s.l. : Front Physiol., 2019.
- Meta-Analysis: Melatonin for the Treatment of Primary Sleep Disorders. Ferracioli-Oda, Eduardo. s.l. : PLoS ONE, 2013.
- The Safety of Melatonin in Humans. Andersen, Lars Peter Holst. s.l. : Clin Drug Investig, 2016.
- [Online] [Accessed on: 29. 10 2021.] https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/claims/register/public/?event=register.home – Find Out More.
- [Online] [Accessed on: 04. 11 2021.] https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/melatonin/ – Find Out More.
- [Online] [Accessed on: 28. 10 2021.] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sleep-aids#melatonin – Find Out More.
- The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. – Find Out MoreAbbasi, Behnood. s.l. : J Res Med Sci., 2012.
- The Effects of Magnesium – Melatonin – Vit B Complex Supplementation in Treatment of Insomnia. Djokic, Gorica. s.l. : Open Access Maced J Med Sc, 2019.
- [Online] [Accessed on: 05. 11 2021.] https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/serotonin – Find Out More.
- Sleep and Nutrition Interactions: Implications for Athletes. Doherty, Rónán. 4, s.l. : Nutrients , 2019, Bd. 11.
- Valerian for Sleep: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Bent, Stephen. 12, s.l. : Am J Med., 2006 , Bd. 119.
- [Online] [Accessed on: 29. 10 2021.] https://www.nutraingredients.com/News/Promotional-Features/Natural-sleep-aids-a-growing-and-promising-market.
- [Online] [Accessed on: 27. 09 2021.] https://www.euromonitor.com/global-trends-in-sleep-aids-and-stress-management/report – Find Out More.
- [Online] [Accessed on: 29. 10 2021.] https://www.euromonitor.com/sleep-aids-in-germany/report# – Find Out More.