I'm a nutritionist – here's 13 supplements to help you get a better night's sleep | The Sun

I'm a nutritionist – here's 13 supplements to help you get a better night's sleep | The Sun

SLEEP, the glue that holds us together. Without it, we’re often left feeling groggy, unproductive and pretty moody.

Despite sleep’s importance to our overall health and wellbeing, findings from a Stada UK study has found that UK adults actually sleep worse than the rest of Europe! But why? 

Over a third of Brits say that anxious thoughts keep them awake, with one in four adults blaming money worries. 

But, we’re on a mission to sort the UK’s sleep and it seems that half of Brits are on board, as over 50 per cent would consider using sleep aids to help improve their shuteye.

So what’s what when it comes to sleep aids?

We’ve dug out the latest and greatest bedtime additions along with the expertise of Nutritionist Gail Madalena…

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1. For no-frills sleep 

Kalms Night One-A-Night 21 tablets, £5, Tesco

Valerian is the main ingredient in this herbal medicinal product.

“Valerian is frequently used to aid with insomnia. 

“It is thought to increase the levels of a chemical known as GABA in the brain, which contributes to a calming effect in the body, which can help you drift off to sleep naturally,” says Gail.

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Is your BEDROOM to blame for your crippling insomnia?

Take a tablet one hour before hitting the pillow.

2. For pre-bed drinks

Dirtea Mushroom Cacao Super Blend, £39.99

Containing the mushroom Reishi, this mix is said to help prepare the body for sleep.

According to Dirtea, Reishi “helps improve sleep quality by relaxing the nervous system, releasing feel good serotonin and GABA which have calming effects on the brain and it also regulates cortisol levels, the stress hormone, which helps to promote healthier sleep patterns”.

Plus, Gail says the cacao in this blend contains serotonin and tryptophan, which can promote better sleep as they stimulate the production of the sleep hormone melatonin – which regulates your sleep/wake cycle.

“Reishi and ashwagandha are adaptogens, meaning they have the capacity to down-regulate our stress response by lowering levels of cortisol and promote feelings of calm,” says Gail.

“Coconut milk contains high levels of magnesium and potassium, two minerals that have a relaxing effect on muscles. 

“It also contains vitamin B which can modulate stress levels and higher levels of saturated fat, which is more satiating, leading to drowsiness.”

3. For clearing the airways 

Xlear Nasal Spray 45ml, £12.99, Amazon 

Filled with a drug-free formula, Xlear has been made to clear the airway and allow you to nose-breathe while you sleep. 

Sleeping with a partner who snores? Pop this on their bedside table…

4. For bathtime bliss 

Dr Teal's Pure Epsom Salt Soothe & Sleep with Lavender 1.36kg, £8.50, Boots

A bath before bed has been found to help with sleep. 

Studies have shown how the warmth of the water can help you drift off peacefully.

Fill the tub with Dr Teal’s to help settle your body and mind before bed.

5. For a touch of calm

Re:Nourish +CALM, £13.99 for 30 sachets

Filled with an abundance of sleepy ingredients, add a sachet to your bedtime drink. 

“Chamomile is known to have a slightly sedative quality and can therefore promote sleep,” explains Gail. 

Valerian root, passion flower, lemon balm and echinacea improve sleep quality and can provide relief from anxiety, she adds.

This can result in you falling asleep quicker. 

Added to this, acerola cherries are packed full of potent phytonutrients, which help your body ward off the detrimental side effects of oxidative stress. 

Oxidative stress can be caused by external factors such as smoking, pollution and chemicals.

“Vitamin B12 plays a role in the production of melatonin, a key hormone that helps regulate our circadian rhythm AKA our sleep/wake cycle. It also plays a key role in energy production,” adds Gail. 

6. For the juice lovers 

B.fresh SLEEP juice shot, £19 for 7 shots

A mini but mighty mix of fruits as well as L-tryptophan, which can lead to reduced anxiety levels and an increase in feelings of sleepiness.

“Kiwi, apple, cherry and orange all contain lots of vitamins and minerals,” says Gail, “most notably vitamins C and E which are natural antioxidants that can reduce the effects of oxidative stress and down regulate our stress response.”

Tart cherry in particular contains melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone, says one study.

“Honey may promote melatonin formation due to its tryptophan content, which can help initiate sleep as well as promote the release of hormones that facilitate whole body recovery during sleep,” explains Gail.

7. For drifting off calmly 

Starpowa Snooze gummies, £19.99 for 30, Holland & Barrett

Formulated for a restful sleep, these delicious black cherry flavour gummies contain 5-HTP, L-Theanine, chamomile and lavender (to name just a few ingredients), as well as less than 0.1g of sugar per gummy. 

L-theanine has been shown to have an effect on the chemicals in the brain which affect our mood and sleep as well as stress levels.

8. For a natural sleep…

Pukka Night Capsules, £7.45 for 30 capsules, Lloyds Pharmacy

This herbal supplement contains a natural blend of valerian, ashwagandha and gotu kola (a herb from the parsley family), to help restore healthy, undisturbed sleep patterns without next-day drowsiness. 

“Being adaptogens, ashwagandha, gotu kola and valerian have properties that can improve the functioning of the endocrine and nervous system,” explains Gail. 

The endocrine system helps to make hormones in the body.

“These ingredients also act as anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. 

“These can help people to fall asleep faster, spend more time asleep and experience better sleep quality. 

“Plus, they’ve been shown to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, which can feed into insomnia.”

9. For a total blowout 

LYMA supplement, £149 a month

The creme de la creme of supplements.

It’s extortionate, that’s for sure and something we’ll unlikely be splashing out on. 

But if you do happen to have spare funds kicking about and want to invest in the monthly fee, then expect a raft of fancy ingredients including Levagen+, the star of the show in LYMA’s formula. 

It's been proven in the Journal of Sleep Science Practice to help people fall asleep three times faster compared to a placebo.

“Levagen+ contains fatty acids, along with curcumin (the active form of turmeric) which are both powerful anti-inflammatories,” says Gail.

“This supplement also contains the adaptogen ashwagandha and nootropics which can help with energy production and feeling rejuvenated post-sleep.”

10. For pre-bed gummies

Nourish The Sleep Tight Stack, £37.99 a month

Sweet tooth? Nourish have released a pretty slick, and moreish, ‘stack’ of chewy ingredients to help promote sleep. 

Gail explains that the amino acid 5-HTP in this supplement is the precursor to serotonin, our ‘happy hormone’ and therefore increases its production in the body. 

“When serotonin is introduced to darkness it becomes melatonin, our sleep hormone.

“More melatonin makes us feel sleepy and encourages us to fall asleep more easily.”

She adds: “Vitamin D3 is also involved in the pathways of production of melatonin, which helps regulate circadian rhythms and overall sleep quality. 

“Zinc has also been shown to be beneficial for sleep, causing less wake ups in the night and having calming and anti-depressant effects.”

Oh, and these taste great too!

11. For the modern era of sleep

Dragonfly CBD 500mg, £19.50 for 10ml, Boots

CBD (cannabidiol) has made big waves on the sleep scene in recent years. 

Although research is still ongoing into CBD, studies have found it to be beneficial for treating insomnia.

It might take a few nights to find the dose that suits you. 

Start with a full pipette held under the tongue for two minutes, about 20 minutes before bed. 

12. For a bedtime cuppa 

Vitabiotics, TEA+ Sleep Vitamin Tea, £3.95 for 14 tea bags

Pop the kettle on for this blackcurrant and cherry flavoured tea.

“Rooibos is naturally caffeine free and contains high levels of antioxidants. 

“It’s low in tannins and is said to have a relaxant effect on the body, without being a sedative,” says Gail. 

There’s also stress-relieving magnesium.

“Passion flower, chamomile and lavender are all herbs that assist in the production of melatonin, as well as modulate the stress response to increase relaxation and enhance sleep quality,” adds Gail.

13. The apps to try…

Sleep School app, free for 7 days, £29.99 for the year, iOs and Android

Made by sleep doctors to help you sleep better, for longer.

Filled with courses and guides for plenty of sleep support.

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Calm App, Free, iOs and Android

The number one meditation and sleep app to help you drift off peacefully.

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