Top 10 Alternatives to Melatonin
Melatonin is the body’s natural sleep hormone that it produced within the body at nighttime, it can also be taken exogenously as a supplement. Melatonin cannot be bought over the counter in the UK.
This is due to some long-term safety concerns, in thinking that by taking it you could deplete your own body’s natural production of melatonin. This theoretically could end up disrupting your sleep over time if it were to be true, there is no evidence to support this theory though as it is deemed to be safe to take.
Do doctors prescribe melatonin?
Yes, doctors do prescribe melatonin in the UK, but they often try to work out if there are other ways to help your sleep without turning to melatonin.
That’s why people often search; is there an alternative to melatonin?
Yes, there are alternatives available that can help your natural production of melatonin. some of these can improve your sleep markers. Unfortunately there are some people that turn to online sleeping pills uk that are more dangerous & should only be used for a short space of time.
Fortunately, there are now natural sleep aids available that can help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer & get deeper sleep.
Natural sleep aids uk
Below are a selection of different natural sleep aids uk that can help you optimise your sleep. Some are supplements, some are tips & techniques that can help you boost your own melatonin naturally, to save you from having to supplement with it. These are deemed more natural alternatives.
Magnesium glycinate uk is a popular & well tolerated type of magnesium, it is a good alternative to melatonin that can be used before you go to bed. It is very good at reducing the stress hormone ‘cortisol’, which if high at night it can disrupt sleep dramatically.
Magnesium glycinate is often added into help with recovery from athletic performances, because of these cortisol reduction effects.
Magnesium glycinate also binds to the GABA receptor in the brain, this helps slow your brain activity down so that you can relax. Being able to unwind is an issue for some individuals, so implementing magnesium glycinate into your nighttime regime might be beneficial for those people.
Doses tend to be around 400-500mg for magnesium glycinate. Always speak to your doctor first before taking any supplements.
You can find out more details about the mechanism of magnesium for sleep here.
L-theanine is very commonly used along side magnesium for sleep purposes, it is often seen stacked against other natural supplements as it has a calming affect. When used in the mornings along side coffee, it can reduce caffeine anxiety & calm the ‘jitters’.
When L-theanine is used in a nighttime setting, it is good to take it around 30 minutes before your intend to go to sleep.
L-theanine works by slowing down/blocking the production of excitatory neurotransmitters, these can often keep you awake by increasing your brain activity.
It is known enhance alpha brain waves. These alpha brain waves are known to be produced when you’re feeling calm & relaxed.
When you’re lying down relaxing before you go to sleep, you’ll be starting to produce these alpha brain waves. Being able to enhance the alpha brain waves can promote even more relaxation, which in turn can promote a faster onset of sleep.
A good dose for sleep is said to be between 200-300mg per day.
5HTP for sleep
5HTP is comes from the substance L-tryptophan, which is the sole precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is the precursor to the sleep hormone melatonin, which is why 5HTP is seen as a melatonin free sleep aid, as it helps you naturally produce the hormone through other means.
Other effects of 5HTP are noted to be a mood enhancement & also have potential to help depressive symptoms, due to it being the precursor to serotonin.
There needs to be more studies on this matter as the evidence in inconclusive for these hypothesis as stated in this study.
Best time to take 5HTP as melatonin alternative
The best time to take 5HTP for sleep would be 30-45 minutes before bedtime, with a dose of around 200mg.
Do not take 5HTP if you’re currently taking SSRI medication & always speak to a doctor before taking any new supplements.
Glycine for sleep
Glycine is an amino acid that is also a neurotransmitter that the human body creates from biochemical compounds. Glycine can be consumed through a lot of meats, fish & eggs.
It can help you fall asleep more quickly, as it can be an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This means that it can reduce neuron firing within the brain, which makes your brain is less active so that you can fall asleep.
Glycine can help lower the body’s core temperature, which as we know having a lower body temperature can increase the production of melatonin & improve your sleep quality, as shown by this study. You can read more on how to get to sleep fast here.
When to take glycineFor sleep, you should look to take 3-5g about 30-45 minutes before your bedtime. That way it has enough time to be absorbed by the body, so that it can help you fall asleep faster once you go to bed. As always, speak to your doctor every time you’re considering adding a new supplements to your regime.
When to take holy basil for sleep
Holy basil has been around for thousands of years, it has been used in Indian medicine for an array of conditions. Holy basil is considered to be good for the body, mind & spirit.
This holy herb has been noted anecdotally to potentially reduce anxiety in some individuals & improve. In this study it was said that sleep problems & feelings of fatigue reduced, this it thought to have been due to the reduced stress levels of participants.
Holy Basil for high cortisol
There’s still a lot more research needed to be done on this plant, but it could be useful for some individuals due to its potential cortisol reducing effects.
We know that sometimes when we have high cortisol, it can really disrupt sleep. This is why holy basil is being used more often for sleep issues & anxiety issues caused by high cortisol.
Holy basil dose
One study showed that taking 500mg of holy basil made people feel less anxious, stressed & depressed.
But doses range from 300mg-2000mg & for sleep it would be beneficial to take holy basil 30 minutes before you go to bed.
As always, its best to speak to your doctor before taking any new supplements or medications.
Lavender has been found in studies to help reduce anxiety & promote sleep via the way it interacts with the GABA receptors within the brain. Hemp has also been shown to increase sleep duration help manage REM sleep in some studies.
Best eye mask for sleeping
Darkness is essential for natural melatonin production to be at its most optimal levels. In todays society, it can sometimes be extremely hard to have a sleep environment that is completely dark.
Sleep masks help trick your brain into thinking it’s completely dark, even when its not. This is a good way of being able to increase your natural production of melatonin throughout the night, meaning that you can improve your sleep quality.
A 3D Sleep Mask was shown to increase overall sleep time, REM Sleep & recovery which is a huge boost in a sleep score.
Sleep masks are seen as another melatonin alternative. It’s no surprise that as people become more health conscious & want to take care of their wellbeing, they are implementing sleep masks into their daily sleep routine habbits.
Best blue light blocking glasses for sleep
Blue light blocking glasses are a recent revelation & have been implemented into people’s nighttime routines to improve overall sleep quality.
These red lens glasses are a melatonin alternative because of the mechanism of blocking out blue light, it means that the human body will naturally upregulate and produce more melatonin naturally, which improves sleep.
This is important in modern day lifestyles because humans are surrounded by screens that emit blue light, which is sleep disrupting when absorbed in the evening. Humans were not designed to see blue light after sunset, but with the rapid introduction of technology & screens humans haven’t had time to adapt to this excess exposure.
Noted in this study, adding blue light blocking glasses to your routine can improve your onset time to sleep & sleep quality, due to the increase in melatonin serum in the body when worn 3 hours prior to sleep.
Magnesium Flakes for sleep
Magnesium flakes have gained popularity as a natural remedy for improving sleep quality. Magnesium flakes are a highly absorbable form of magnesium that can be easily absorbed through the skin during a relaxing bath.
The warm water and the magnesium flakes work together to soothe muscles, calm the mind, and promote a sense of relaxation, making it an excellent choice for those who struggle with insomnia.
The use of magnesium flakes for sleep is also supported by research. Studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can improve sleep quality, reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, and increase sleep duration.
Reduced sleep disruptions with magnesium
In one study, researchers found that participants who took magnesium supplements experienced fewer awakenings during the night and felt more rested in the morning than those who took a placebo.
The high absorbability of magnesium flakes also makes them an effective option for those who have difficulty swallowing pills or digesting oral supplements.
Additionally, it is crucial to use high-quality magnesium flakes from a reputable source and follow the recommended dosage instructions to avoid any potential side effects.
Cold showers before bed are now known to help increase overall sleep markers. This is due to the drastic drop in body temperature which ‘primes’ you for sleep. The drop in temperature in the evening helps your body start to release melatonin, which prepares your body & mind for sleep.
How to use a cold shower for sleep
When you have finished cleaning yourself in the shower & you’re ready to get out;
Turn the shower down to the coldest setting and try and stay under for 1-5 mins.
Start small & build up over the coming days. This will take some testing, as a certain (small) percentage of people might actually end up feeling stimulated after cold water therapy, meaning this wouldn’t be optimal for sleep for these people.
Cold showering is a really cheap alternative for you to try / add to your sleep routine! You can also use a cold bath, but cold shower is the easiest and quickest tool to add into your sleep regiment.