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    Wellness tips for better sleep

    • 3 min read

    Written by the Smart Solutions Education Team

    Sleep is an essential measure of our overall health throughout life. Unfortunately, sleep difficulties are commonplace, affecting up to 35% of adults. When sleep quality is poor, most aspects of health and well-being suffer.

    In fact, research tells us that sleep deprivation is associated with impaired memory, increased stress, decreased work performance, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality 1.

    Whether you have difficulty falling asleep, wake up frequently throughout the night, or do not feel rested upon waking, read on for tips to improve overall sleep.

    A holistic approach to addressing insomnia and sleep issues involves basic self-care practices, as well as natural sleep aids for your unique needs.

    Step 1 – Self-care

    1. Set up a routine! Go to bed and wake up at regular hours every day. Also, adopt a relaxing bedtime ritual: warm bath, herbal tea, reading, or meditation are great options.
    2. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine close to bedtime. Also, limit alcohol, which can reduce melatonin production 2.
    3. Blue light can disrupt the circadian rhythm 3. Avoid all blue light 2 hours before bed (TV, phones, tablets, and computers).
    4. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day (but, refrain from exercising in the evenings).
    5. Limit daytime naps to no more than 30 minutes. Longer naps can leave you feeling groggy and disrupt nighttime sleep quality.

    Step 2 – Natural, non-habit-forming sleep aids

    5-HTP: As an immediate precursor to serotonin, 5-HTP plays a role in sleep regulation 4.

    Catnip: Effective herbal for nervousness and agitation 5 .

    Chamomile: Classic phytotherapeutic for restlessness and / or nervousness 6.

    Hops:  A plant with scientifically validated sedative properties, typically used as a sleep aid 7.

    L-Theanine: An amino acid found in tea leaves, L-Theanine boosts GABA, Serotonin and Dopamine in the brain8a, 8b.

    Magnesium: An essential mineral, magnesium has been shown to improve subjective measures of insomnia 9.

    Melatonin: Among the most popular sleep aids, melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, increases total sleep time and prevents/reduces jet lag 10.

    Passionflower: A herbal ingredient traditionally used as a sleep aid, for restlessness and/or nervousness11.

    Skullcap: A plant of the mint family with demonstrated calmative and sedative properties 12.

    Valerian: A classic herbal indicated for nervousness, agitation, and sleep difficulties13.


    Obviously, stress is a big factor in your ability to sleep. Click through this link to learn more about helping your body adapt to stress!   



    1. Goran Medic, Micheline Wille, Michiel EH Hemels. (2017). Short- and long-term health consequences of sleep disruption. Nat Sci Sleep. 9: 151–161. doi: 10.2147/NSS.S134864.
    2. Tracy L Rupp, Christine Acebo, Mary A Carskadon. (2007). Evening Alcohol Suppresses Salivary Melatonin in Young Adults. Chronobiol Int. 24(3):463-70. doi: 10.1080/07420520701420675.
    3. Leena Tähkämö, Timo Partonen, Anu-Katriina Pesonen. (2019). Systematic Review of Light Exposure Impact on Human Circadian Rhythm. Chronobiol Int. 36(2):151-170. doi: 10.1080/07420528.2018.1527773.
    4. 5-HTP

    Health Canada. 5-Hydroxy-L-tryptophan Monograph. Accessed May 25th, 2020 at:

    1. Catnip

    Health Canada. Catnip Monograph. Accessed May 20th, 2020 at: bdipsn/

    1. Chamomile

    Health Canada. German Chamomile Matricaria Chamomilla Oral Monograph. Accessed May 20, 2020 at:

    1. Hops

    Health Canada. Hops – Humulus lupulus Monograph. Accessed May 20th, 2020 at:

    8a. L-Theanine  

    Health Canada. L-theanine Monograph. Accessed May 20th, 2020 at:

    8b. Pradeep J Nathan, Kristy Lu, M Gray, C Oliver. The Neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): A Possible Neuroprotective and Cognitive Enhancing Agent. (2006). J Herb Pharmacother. 6(2):21-30.

    1. Behnood Abbasi, Masud Kimiagar, Khosro Sadeghniiat, Minoo M Shirazi, Mehdi Hedayati, Bahram Rashidkhani. (2012). The Effect of Magnesium Supplementation on Primary Insomnia in Elderly: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. J Res Med Sci. ;17(12):1161-9.
    2. Melatonin

    Health Canada. Melatonin Oral Monograph. Accessed May 20th, 2020 at:

    1. Passionflower

    Health Canada. Passionflower – Passiflora incarnata Monograph. Accessed May 20th, 2020 at:

    1. Skullcap

    Health Canada. Skullcap – scutellaria lateriflora Monograph. Accessed May 20th, 2020 at:

    1. Valerian

    Health Canada. Valerian Valeriana officinalis Monograph. Accessed May 20th, 2020 at: