As someone who’s lived with insomnia, as well as adrenal fatigue, I’ve used a number of natural sleep remedies.
I’m a big proponent of not using the same thing too many nights in a row, whether it’s an herb, essential oil or dietary supplement. For me, I get much better results when I switch things around.
So I’ve used a combination of things. This includes prayer, visualization, tapping, herbs, supplements, homeopathy, Bach flower remedies and essential oils. Also, I’ve reduced my level of stress in order to break the vicious cycle of sleeplessness.
Thankfully, insomnia is no longer my constant companion. I rarely struggle with it now, after years of having it practically run my life.
Natural Remedies For Not Sleeping
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If you’ve tried other natural sleep remedies, perhaps a 5-HTP stress formula is one you may want to also consider. This chemical, which our body makes naturally, is converted into serotonin. This neurotransmitter helps regulate our sleep cycle.
Burke Lennihan, author of Your Natural Medicine Cabinet, recommends 5 HTP as a “quick fix” for insomnia. Her book also contains a number of other drug-free sleep solutions for “ongoing care.” These include various herbal and homeopathic remedies, as well as reducing our exposure to electronics a couple of hours before bedtime. Lennihan is a well-known homeopath who practices in the Boston area.
Anyway, Lennihan notes that 5-HTP can also help with depression, as well as with overeating.
(However, please remember that clinical depression is serious and requires professional help. So work closely with your medical team.)
Does 5 HTP Increase Serotonin?
The chemical name for 5-HTP is 5-hydroxytryptophan. This compound isn’t found in our food supply. Instead, we produce it from an amino acid known as tryptophan, which is found in foods. Good sources of tryptophan include turkey, chicken, potatoes, sunflower seeds and collard.
Tryptophan, as I mentioned above, helps our body produce serotonin. So, yes, 5-HTP can help boost our natural serotonin production.
Serotonin appears to affect our mood and our appetite, as well as our ability to get adequate sleep. Some researchers believe that clinical depression may be caused by an imbalance in serotonin.
Will 5 HTP Help Me Sleep?
There’s a relatively large amount of research devoted to 5 HTP, which has been found to help with depression, fibromyalgia, migraines, obesity and, yes, insomnia as well.
Serotonin has wide ranging effects on the body. Production of this important neurotransmitter decreases with age, and also with stress. Stress and insomnia, as you probably already know, if you’ve read this far, are closely connected.
One study found that people who took a 5 HTP supplement enjoyed better sleep, although they had to take it for a number of weeks in order to see a positive effect, according to information on the University of Maryland Medical Center website.
I do need to stress that I’m not a healthcare professional. So I can’t give medical advice. Anyone considering 5 HTP should check with their own doctor for an dosage and for possible followup care. If it were me, I’d also want my doctor’s guidance on how long I should take 5 HTP. The UMMC warns against giving this supplement to children or taking this supplement in excess, which can lead to toxicity. Also, it should not be taken by people who are taking prescription antidepressants.
Where Can I Buy 5 HTP?
You can buy 5 HTP supplements from a number of sources. However, the brand I’m showing below is the one recommended in Burke Lennihan’s book, Your Natural Medicine Cabinet. I put a lot of stock in her supplement suggestions. That’s because she ran a health food store before becoming a natural healer. So she had a front-row seat into which brands her customers liked. This is the brand she recommends on page 106 in her book. (I’ve owned this book for a couple of years, and I absolutely love it.)
Natural Sleeping Supplements
Natural Factors 5 HTP is just one of the supplements Burke Lennihan recommends for sleeping. There are also a couple of herbal remedies she says are appropriate for “ongoing care.” These include Gaia Herbs Sound Sleep, which you can see below. This formula contains a number of herbs that have long been used for insomnia and anxiety, including Passionflower, kava kava, skullcap, valerian, blue vervain and others. It’s believed that mixing different herbs together creates a more positive synergy.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
This article is not intended as medical advice. People with depression should consult with a professional. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not take dietary supplements unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.