Do you find that a cup of decaffeinated green tea helps inspire sleep readiness just before bedtime?
If you asked your patients to track their sleep and mood patterns for the past several months, you should not be surprised to see a steady downward trend in both. Given your patients’ increased concerns about both their mood and quality of sleep, they will likely be seeking advice on possible natural alternatives to standard medications to inspire sleep.
Sleep and mental health
On the whole, Americans were sleep deprived long before the current health state of affairs. According to Harvard Medical School, anywhere from 10-18% of Americans were affected by some type of chronic sleep problem last year.1 In comparison, 50-80% of those with a psychiatric condition reported having difficulty sleeping.
Anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder are most commonly associated with chronic sleep issues. Furthermore, anywhere from 65-90% of adults with major depression also suffer from some type of sleep disorder.1 Given such high numbers, it only makes sense for you to recommend natural sleep and mental wellness supplements to inspire sleep readiness for your patients.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is perhaps one of the most exciting, yet often misunderstood, natural alternatives to standard pharmacological treatment for sleep and mood to come along in recent years.
CBD supplements have been shown to not only improve sleep and mood, but also improve chronic pain and reduce inflammation.2 Because of the legal status of CBD, it is important to understand the regulatory rules governing CBD products in your state before suggesting them to your patients.2
A 2018 crossover-design paper from Frontiers in Pharmacology examined the effect of CBD on anxiety and the sleep-wake cycle in healthy subjects.3 A group of 27 test subjects were given either placebo or 300 mg of CBD (at doses given to treat anxiety) before eight hours of sleep. The treatments were switched for the following night. During sleep, all subjects underwent polysomnography testing, and cognitive and subjective testing after waking up to assess any residual effects from the CBD.3
The researchers found that CBD, given at doses to treat anxiety, did not interfere with the body’s normal sleep-wake cycles, nor did it have any significant unpleasant side effects. The researchers further suggested the need for further study in a larger group of patients, using different doses of CBD.3
Do you find that a cup of decaffeinated green tea helps inspire sleep readiness just before bedtime? If so, you aren’t alone in experiencing the effects of the amino acid L-theanine, which regulate levels of the neurochemicals GABA, serotonin and dopamine.
These neurochemicals can improve mood, cognition and sleep, while reducing stress. A recent article in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition pooled together findings from nine studies on the effects of L-theanine on stress and anxiety to potentially strengthen their conclusions.4 In comparing the findings from all the papers, the researchers found that anywhere from 200-400 mg per day of L-theanine helped reduce anxiety for people undergoing stressful situations.4
Inspire sleep readiness with valerian root
Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal treatment for a number of mental health conditions, including anxiety, panic attacks, and general restlessness. It has also been used for insomnia and other sleep issues.
Valerian root works similar to L-theanine by regulating those neurochemicals that affect sleep and mood. A 2010 article, published in the journal Australian Family Physician, evaluated the results from 16 papers that studied the effects of valerian root, or valerian root combined with hops, on quality of sleep latency and quality.5 Twelve of the 16 studies showed positive results for either valerian alone, or in combination with hops, for treating primary insomnia.
Although these results are promising, the researchers cautioned that more studies, particularly using similar methodologies, are needed to verify their initial findings.5
- Sleep and mental health. Harvard Mental Health Letter. Updated March 18, 2019. Accessed Aug. 22, 2020.
- Beychok T. Explaining CBD versus hemp oil for pain to patients. Chiropractic Economics. Jan. 2, 2020.
- Linares IMP, Guimaraes FS, Eckeli A, et al. No acute effects of cannabidiol on the sleep-wake cycle of healthy subjects: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Frontiers in Pharmacology 2018;9:315.
- Williams JL, Everett JM, D’Cunha NM, et al. The effects of green tea amino acid l-theanine consumption on the ability to manage stress and anxiety levels: A systematic review. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition. 2020;75(1):12-23.
- Salter S, Brownie S. Treating primary insomnia – the efficacy of valerian and hops. Australian Family Physician. 2010;39(6):433-437.