Finding a remedy to have a better night’s sleep is something millions of Americans constantly seek. According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), about 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems and its associated injuries, diseases, and illnesses.1Though there’s a general consensus regarding the significance of how lack of sleep affects a person’s health, there is much discussion about what the best course of action is.
Due to the addictive nature of certain medications, many choose alternative routes containing natural solutions, one of which is a melatonin supplement. Melatonin is one of the most popular supplements people use to get a better night’s rest. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body produced by the pineal gland, which is often referred to as the “sleep hormone.” It’s commonly used among those who have trouble falling or staying asleep, as a result of insomnia, jet lag, shift work, and other conditions that affect a person’s natural circadian rhythm.
However, a melatonin supplement doesn’t work for everyone and can cause side effects that may result in feeling groggy the next day. Fortunately, there are several other natural ingredients that also help with relaxation and inducing sleep, such as valerian root. The GEM Sleep Essentials bite combines several plant-based ingredients that work well together to promote better sleep without resulting in the melatonin-induced fog.
When highlighting the differences between each, it’s helpful to learn about the ingredients in GEM Sleep Essentials and how they may better benefit sleep and overall health and compare with how melatonin helps with sleep, as well as its common side effects. The main difference between GEM and melatonin is that GEM delivers a blend of natural ingredients, all holistically working together to promote sleep and benefit overall health without the side effects melatonin supplementation may bring.
Benefit of GEM Sleep Essentials
GEM Sleep Essentials are plant-based bites that use real food ingredients and are free of synthetics, artificial ingredients, added soy, sugar, dairy, gluten, and animal products. They are designed to target your specific needs and work together to nourish your body. Each bite has
10 valuable ingredients, all designed to give the body what it needs when it’s time to relax and rest.
Not only is Cacao delicious, but it is also rich in magnesium which can help reduce stress and promote sleep because of its mood-supporting compounds. One study conducted over a two week test period concluded that consumption of 40 mg of dark and milk chocolate daily appeared to be effective in reduced perceived stress, particularly in females.2
Cherries and Dates
Dried fruits like cherries and dates are full of vitamins and minerals that benefit the body. They’re rich in vitamin A, C, and B-vitamins, as well as calcium, potassium, and dietary fiber, all which help to support digestion, immunity, and sleep.
GABA is a naturally occurring amino acid in the body that has a calming inhibitory neurotransmitter which promotes calm and mental clarity. Evidence has shown that use of GABA one hour before sleep over a period of four weeks reduced sleep latency and increased total non-REM sleep time.3
High levels of stress is one of the main factors of lost sleep, which is why golden chlorella is an effective ingredient in GEM Sleep Essentials. It contains zinc and b-complex which eases stress and supports the immune system simultaneously.
L-theanine is an amino acid sourced from green tea that also serves as a natural relaxant. Research has shown that it helps relax the mind without causing drowsiness and helps to reduce acute stress and anxiety in people experiencing high-stress situations.
A review of five randomized controlled studies with L-theanine administered 200-400 mg/day to a total of 104 participants for up to eight weeks found there were significant improvements in reducing stress and anxiety, when compared against a placebo, or an anti-anxiety medication as one study tested.4
Magnesium is a common mineral found in the body and a natural relaxer that helps promote deep and restful sleep. When there’s a deficiency in the body, it can lead to several adverse health effects, including sleep disorders. However, research shows a supplementation of 500 mg of magnesium has been associated with significant improvement in sleep time, sleep efficiency, and sleep onset latency. It’s also beneficial in producing melatonin and serum cortisol.5
Prebiotics are part of maintaining a healthy gut, which has a direct correlation with the production of important sleep chemicals. By helping to balance the digestion system, it further prepares the body for rest.
Pumpkin seeds offer an extra dose of magnesium, as well as protein and zinc, to provide nutrients to the body that promote overall health.
Rosemary has been known to improve clarity and mood, as well as help promote better sleep. It’s a powerful antioxidant that helps bring balance back to the body.
Valerian root is a medicinal herb that has been used for centuries as a way to reduce stress and induce calm. Valerian root for sleep is a natural remedy that is often used.
Many different factors can change a person’s sleep habits over time, and getting the right amount of ingredients everyday through diet alone is challenging. A daily essential bite packed with a specific mix of amino acids, compounds, and other natural ingredients make it easier to take care of your health.
How Melatonin Helps with Sleep
Melatonin supplementation helps with sleep latency and quality sleep by regulating your body’s temperature, blood pressure, and levels of certain hormones, like dopamine which is what keeps you awake.
Melatonin is a hormone interlinked with your body’s circadian rhythm, which is your body’s natural way of telling you when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to sleep. An imbalance can occur for multiple reasons, leading to reduced quality sleep, insomnia, and/or irregular sleep patterns. Lifestyle factors, such as high stress, too much blue light from electronics, and shift work are all examples of ways melatonin production can be affected.6
Additionally, melatonin levels decrease with age in addition to a dramatic decrease of non-rapid eye movement, which is why older adults are typically more prone to experiencing sleep disorders. When your body releases lower levels of melatonin, it can cause you to have trouble going to sleep and staying asleep through the night.
An analysis of 19 studies involving 1,683 test subjects investigated the efficacy of melatonin in improving sleep parameters in patients with sleep disorders, including sleep latency, total sleep time, and overall quality of sleep. The analysis showed melatonin aided in all three by reducing sleep latency by 7.06 minutes, increasing total sleep time by 8.25 minutes, and improving overall sleep quality, when compared to placebo.7
There has also been research pointing to how melatonin supplements may help shift workers at bedtime. A review of seven studies including 263 shift worker participants found those taking melatonin may sleep approximately 24 minutes longer during the day but other aspects of sleep behavior, such as time needed to fall asleep may not change.8
As an alternative to medication and other sleep therapies, melatonin supplements can be effective and are generally easy to obtain as a temporary or permanent aid in sleep. However, there are concerns with taking melatonin as well.
Side Effects of Melatonin
Taking melatonin supplements means you may be ingesting it at doses higher than what the body normally produces. Although short-term use is deemed mostly safe, there are a few long-term safety concerns that may affect a person’s response to using it.
Mild side effects and adverse reactions may include headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Additionally, melatonin may interact with a variety of medications, such as blood thinners, blood pressure medications, oral contraceptives, and antidepressants, to name a few. In particular, people with epilepsy or who are taking blood thinner medications should be under medical supervision when taking melatonin supplements.8
There is also the possibility of allergic risk, particularly if you’re unsure of what ingredients are included in the supplement. It’s important to read supplement labels regarding other ingredients it may contain and how it may interact with other medications or affect your health.
One study tested 31 different melatonin supplements from grocery stores and pharmacies and found most did not match the amount of melatonin listed on the label. Additionally, 26% of the supplements contained serotonin, which could have adverse effects, even at low levels.8
Furthermore, there are safety concerns for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as older adults. For example, the American Academy for Sleep Medicine recommends against the use of melatonin for people with dementia.9 Depending on these various factors, consider if melatonin is the right sleep aid solution for you.
Fortunately, melatonin isn’t the only natural remedy available. GEM Sleep Essentials chewable combines clean ingredients the body responds to best in order to promote a better night’s sleep. Maintaining a regular sleep pattern allows you to properly restore your body and recharge overnight. Take advantage of GEM’s plant-based solution to help you fall asleep faster and receive consistent, quality sleep.Sources:
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleep and Sleep Disorders. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_us.html#
- Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Dammam, Saudia Arabia. Al Sunni, Ahmed and Latif, Rabia. Effects of chocolate intake on perceived stress; a controlled clinical study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4350893/
- Department of Psychology, School of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom, et. al. Hepsomali, Piril, et. al. Effects of oral gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration on stress and sleep in humans: a systematic review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4350893/
- University of Canberra, Australia and University of Newcastle, Australia, Everett, J.M., et. al. Theanine consumption, stress and anxiety in human clinical trials: A systematic review. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352385915003138?via%3Dihub
- Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta, et. al. Schwalfenberg, Gerry K. and Genuis, Stephen J. The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5637834/
- Healthine. How Melatonin Can Help You Sleep and Feel Better. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/melatonin-and-sleep
- University of São Paulo Medical School, São Paulo, Brazil, et. al. Ferracioli-Oda, Eduardo, et. al. Meta-analysis: Melatonin for the Treatment of Primary Sleep Disorders. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3656905/
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Melatonin: What You Need to Know. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/melatonin-what-you-need-to-know
- Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. An American Academy of Sleep Medicine Clinical Practice Guideline. https://aasm.org/resources/clinicalguidelines/crswd-intrinsic.pdf