Propolis is the glue the bees make out of plant substances to stick their hive together. Propolis contains hundreds of nutrients such as amino acids, polyphenols and coumarins which have anti-inflammatory properties. We know that inflammation of the nervous system may inhibit the ability to get to sleep and can, therefore, be beneficial to those of us who suffer from sleep problems.
Chamomile is a flower which helps to maintain optimal relaxation and helps with the promotion and maintenance of sleep. Chamomile contains substances including chamazulene, apigenin and bisabolol. These substances have a sedative effect and help to induce calmness and act as a mild sedative. Chamomile tea has been taken for many years to help us calm down and unwind.
Lavender is a herb native to the Mediterranean and supports healthy and good quality sleep, particularly slow wave sleep (stage 3 and 4 deep sleep). Poor sleep occurs when there is a lack of slow wave sleep which can leave you feeling unrefreshed. Lavender promotes calmness, relaxation and helps you to unwind, essential for sleep induction as well as promoting deep sleep quality. As well as having lavender in a supplement, try having some under your pillow or even adding some to your bath!
Hops, also called humulus lupulus is most known for being an ingredient in beer! But don’t worry – it does have health benefits too! Hops contains phenolic compounds and aids with calming down, acts as a sedative, soothes the mind, promotes healthy sleep and increases sleep duration. Hops may, therefore, help to relieve anxiety and help you have a stress free sleep.
Montmorency cherry is a sour, light red cherry and contains a natural source of melatonin. Melatonin is the brains natural sleep regulator. It aids with the onset of sleep, especially in response to dim light. Melatonin helps the body to keep sleep in a rhythm and is the reason for jet lag when travelling through time zones which upsets the regulation of melatonin. Melatonin is an essential hormone for good quality sleep. As well as having Montmorency cherry in a supplement, try snacking on them before bed – delicious!
5HTP, also called 5-Hydroxytryptophanis a compound made naturally in the body from L-tryptophan and is the precursor to serotonin and melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles and induces sleep in the presence of dim light and Serotonin is known as “the happy hormone”. 5HTP levels decline as we age, leading to less quality sleep.
Saffron comes from the flower of Crocus Sativus. Saffron contains the active constituents crocins and crocetin which may have a beneficial effect on the brain and may have mild sedative properties promoting deeper and more restful sleep. Adding it to food can be beneficial too in a small way but is also very expensive so only use a small amount!