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Natural aid to improve sleep quality?
Grandote mentioned in the "8 mindless habits" thread using tart cherry for sleep and since I thought I had already tried everything natural under the sun to help improve sleep quality I was delighted to hear from the members hear something I hadn't.

Would anybody like to share any natural alternatives, and it also probably wouldn't hurt to mention things not to waste your money or time on, to aid in improving overall sleep quality?

I have trouble achieving full restful sleep cycles and would much rather prefer something natural and readily available to something that is not.

Thank You
Aromatherapy is an area I'm investigating. Essential oil of lavender is good for relaxation. There are others too like patchouli. I take a spoon of glycine at night. It is relaxing too and good for the health. There are others like melatonin, kava, etc.
I have heard good things about aromatherapy, granted most was from the people trying to sell it to me, but now that it was mentioned here I will check it out.

Glycine? Intriguing... Just checked, my favorite healthfood/supp vendor carries it and it's in my cart right now.

Melatonin never worked for me, but maybe I need to try more.

Kava, no there's an interesting bird. My physiology must be in the 1 percentile. Sometimes kava knocks me right out and other times it gives me this strange "go get em" energy, kind of like a stimulant but w/o the anxiety and much more enjoyable, that makes sleep impossible and lasts a crazy long time. If I could figure out a reliable way to predict the effects I would use it for one or the other regularly, but since I can't I generally stay away. Has anyone else had this experience with kava? Or more importantly anyone figure out how to achieve some level of control over what to expect with kava?
Funny, I discovered a bottle of tart cherry juice in the fridge that a family member brought home.

Decided to take a slug of it... WOW, it took about an hour for the pucker to wear off.

Take the "tart" part very seriously!
Lunar! Hey, I understand you have tried Kava, Melatonin and tart cherry juice? You discovered about Glycine? Which is interesting, as I had not heard that this specific proteinogenic amino acid induced sleep? I must research it. In the interim.

I too get euphoria from KAVA. I too have a hard time with it working for me. Sometimes it works like a charm. Like Melatonin and sometimes it does not?? Why!? That stuff is so expensive! Incumbent on how you get it (how it has been extracted) and how "fresh" it is at time of purchase. It can either be degraded too much from time or you get it fresh and much like anything else, it works one night, but the next it does not?!!

What I have found, that by combining a few extracts, tonics and some teas. And changing it up every other night, that I got a good thing going..

I do not know your diet. But I am sure you have heard that diet and the amount of water you consume in a day, believe it or not, has a lot to do with your sleeping patterns. I did not want to hear this crap, when I first discovered that 75% of my problem was diet. The rest was adjusted with supplements and vitamins, essential amino acids and natural herbs and remedies without refined sugars, caffeine, etc.. 

Not stating that you have to stop your normal routine. I am just not aware if you are a soda consumer, a coffee consumer or if you drink just water and frequency and all that? Like how often do you void? These are signs that can help me, help you get that sleep naturally. As an enthusiast for natural and entheogenic remedies and scholarly background with a touch of fine arts in design. I believe I can design something to tailor your needs. 

I am not aware if you eat sugary foods or not? I am going by your thread subject word NATURAL. 
And say, that you are conscious person on what goes in your body? Right? You want it Natural. 
Natural can mean a lot for many, so we are going to take this term and loosely use it for now. 

Here are some things that I known to work in inducing or aiding in sleep, other than kava, and melatonin. 
To prepare one for sleep naturally.

- Chamomile - "the renowned medicinal plant" It's protective and calming. It has moisturizing properties, anti-inflammatory properties and it is an over all soother or calmer.

- Hop Cones - contain Volatile oil, Valerianic Esters, Resins, lupline, humulone, mineral substances, tannin, flavonic by-products and estrogen substances. It lowers your blood pressure and has a sedative effect on your CNS. (Central Nervous System) Has anti-spastic qualities, much like a natural muscle relaxer.

- Lemon Balm - Both as an extract or tea. The lemon balm extract in vitro showed to be a very potent inhibitor of GABA transaminase. Which explains it's anxiolytic and natural calming effects it has in the tea.

- Linden - (Tilia Cordata) A flower that is so aromatic because it contains farnesol which is found in alcohol. The flowers have a neurosedative and antiseptic action. Mostly found in the Linden Flower Tea. Although traditionally this was primarily used for colds and flu's. This will also have the sedative effects one desires for sleep.

- Passion Flower (the alkaloids of this ornamental flower have low-sedative properties) proven to fight anxiety and depression and has an over all calming effect. It was introduced in the mid 19th century as a medicine in the US. 

- Raspberry - Specifically the extract. It contains; AHA, vitamin C, flavonoids and tannins. AHA (Alpha Hydroxyl Acids) IT alone helps one prepare for sleep.

- Onion - A different usage. ( A popular belief that garlic wards off vampires, the onion in the raw, cut and placed in a jar and covered with a cheese cloth or coffee filter, can help one prepare for sleep by taking several sniffs of this incredible bulb!) -also noted in Aromatherapy. 

-Valerian Root (Nature's Valium) - Takes place of natural remedy for benzodiazepines as the root contains anxiolytic and sedative properties. It has been compared to a natural form of diazepam (valium). For over 1000 years it has been used as a somniferous. It has a calming effect on the CNS and is used against insomnia. I found a combination of Valerian root, lemon balm and passion flower, work wonders in aiding sleep! 

See Valerian Oil.

- Valerian Oil (Aromatherapy) Grandote had mentioned aromatherapy. There is essence or volatile oils, just take some
of these and look them up and it will lead you down the rabbit hole.

Aromatherapy & Tonics

- Calamus - Some volatile Oil. (volatile oil is the essence of the plant) The scent of this plant is pleasant. The taste has a somewhat aromatic and bitter taste, reminiscent of many Italian based liquors that are aperitif (aid in opening one's appetite) or digestif's (aiding in digestion of foods). Such as Campari, Aperol and Amaro to name a few..As a tonic it has powerful tranquilizing properties, which can induce a pleasant deep sleep.

- Elecampane - It has been used since Roman times as a medicinal plant and as a condiment. Hence the mention of the liquors. These people know herbs and plants that aid in sleep! Not to mention spirits! Enough on that. The root extract is what you are after. This hard to find extract, can help with so many ailments. From fighting against hair loss to peripheral blood circulation, this plant is not new. It was discovered medically in the early 19th century. Known to calm the irritability state, inducing a tranquil state and finally sleep!!

- Lavender - Everyone knows this flower that grandmas around the globe will tell you to hang in your closet to protect you from
moths invading your closet. It's renowned smell has been borrowed by the perfumery industry for decades. Dried stalks of the flowers that are blue-violet in hue and are used for various instances. The scent aromatic and the taste bitter these fresh flowers will contain (0.5 - 1% Volatile Oil) therefore making it very distinguished from the rest of the "wild flower" kingdom. While the dried ones contain (1 - 3% Volatile Oil) Due to these strong components it aromatizes strongly with a local antiseptic action. The smell of Lavender induces a state of tranquility therefore, making it a good scent to have around before bed time. Not to mention fleas hate it! So if you have pets, you kill two birds with one wild flower! Amazing..

- Onion - A different usage. ( A popular belief that garlic wards off vampires, the onion in the raw, cut and placed in a jar and covered with a cheese cloth or coffee filter, can help one prepare for sleep by taking several sniffs of this incredible bulb!) Repeat
from above.

- Sage Aromatic perfume or Tea - The flowers are used for gargle or to manufacture sage vinegar. The leaves are collected before the blossoming period. The sage tea fortifies the organism, protects you against seizures and it has favorable effects in paralysis. The sage tea is used in combination with other plants and herbs for insomnia.

- Tutsan - Commonly known as "sweet-amber" Tutsan oil is beneficial for wounds, having a calming, anti-anflimmatory and cicatricizing effect. Tustan tea is used in nervous damage or nervous conditions of any sort, bringing relaxation and installing the
calm necessary for sleep.

I hope this helps! If you have any questions, feel free to ask. If you want to know about supplements that aid in sleep, I have a list. As well as vitamins and minerals that aid in the help of sleep. Some of these can be used together to help you achieve that sleep you yearn for. Thus, maybe try a few of them and see what might work for you.

While, the other aspect is the vitamins and minerals we lack as a Nation. Such as Magnesium. 800, 000 people are deficient of this amazing mineral. You would be surprised what it does when taken regularly with Calcium. There is also vitamin B6 which helps with mood stability as well as some other mental benefits. 

There are supplements, vitamins, minerals and elements that may aid you in your journey to find that right fit for you. Feel free to ask away. I love NERDing out on this stuff!

Perpetual optimism in your self or any organization is a force multiplier. Wink
Thank you all for the information I will be trying some of these.I have not had a good nights sleep in a long time.
Great write up, Phobiartz... will be saving it as a reference.

I felt pretty sleepy when I got to the end of it!
Wow, thanks Phobiartz for all the great info. I guess I've got some experimentation to do.

My diet is pretty good. Low to almost no sweets and I drink almost a gallon of water a day. Although I was using caffeine regularly for more years than not and am currently weening myself off. Today I used 50mg in the morning, via green tea extract.(Honestly there is a very good likelihood that this will solve my problem and in that case forgive me for wasting everyone's time.)

So, when you said, "What I have found, that by combining a few extracts, tonics and some teas. And changing it up every other night, that I got a good thing going." was that with respect to the kava? Have you figured out a way to get reliable results with this plant?

What does "How often do you void" mean?

Most nights I have have no problem falling asleep, it's staying asleep and sleeping deep enough to complete a full sleep cycle in order to wake feeling rested that is the challenge.

Natural is preferred because I do care about what I put into my body, but at this point I just want sleep. It would be nice to know that I've exhausted all my options before settling on a relationship with a synthetic compound as a permanent fix. But I'm not too keen on this idea and I think if I found something synthetic that worked I would not use it everyday and would instead create a schedule, alternating it with natural things, so as to minimize side effects and tolerance for both.

I have found some things that work. Phenibut, I know it's not natural but it hands down works the best. On it sleep is sound and restful, usually only waking once during the night. But the body developes a tolerance to this compound quickly and there are mild WDs, like sleeplessness ironically, to consider. So I use it irregularly, saving it for times that I need to wake early and work an extra long day.

The other thing that I've found works well(not great, but good enough) is actually a proprietary blend containing several of the items you mentioned.
calcium 40mg
mag 30mg
Valerian 100mg
Chamomile 75mg
Hops 75mg
Skullcap 75mg
L-Taurine 50mg
Passonflower 50mg
GABA 25mg
melatonin 3mg

But I have to take four to five of them before they help. Now that I think about it, I've never looked it up and am only assuming that amount is safe because it's natural. Actually until I sat down and wrote this, I thought the serving size was two caps but it's in fact one. Haha I thought I was only taking twice as much as the rec dose, but I've been taking 4-5 times as much. Jeeze

I've also tried benzos, and though they induce good sleep I don't like how I feel the next day. Like not as alive and vibrant as normal if that makes any sense. So they are not really an option. Ambien has worked, but since I only had a couple to try, I can't be sure it wasn't a fluke.
Lots of good advice in this thread. Melatonin is well established as helping sleep.

My tip is 5-HTP or 5-Hydroxytryptophan (from Griffonia seeds). Take about 30-40 mins before you want to be asleep. I take it as I'm winding down for bed. I would ideally be in bed about 20 mins after swallowing 100mg. My Fitbit tracker suggests that leads to me being asleep in 11 mins which is very good for me.

N.B. 5-HTP is a chemical precursor to serotonin, so keep that in mind if you are taking SSRIs or similar.
Remember to take enough magnesium during the day. Most people do best with supplements because its harder to get enough just from diet. Magnesium not only aids in relaxation but is super good for us. Over 400 some odd processes in the body depend on mg as one of the components. A good way to pick up some mg is a warm bath with epsom salts added to the water. Epsom is mg sulfate and can be absorbed through the skin.

Some of the things mentioned need to be used with caution. 5htp for example has been linked to heart valve problems though the evidence is not strong enough to take it off the market. I use it rarely. Calamus root is very strong, read about these things before trying them.

We always look for a cure in a pill but one of the best things you can do to get better sleep is to work on relaxation. This is especially true for those of us who tend to get wound up during the day and have a racing mind at night when we want to sleep. Relax all parts of the body one after the other then go back and get rid of any residual tension that might remain or which has crept back. Waist an shoulder area often hold tension and if its not all let go it will creep into other areas you relaxed. The face and scalp too can hold tension and this contributes to tension headaches.

Learn the acupuncture areas and massage them. A good trick is to have a roller on the floor and run your feet over it until you feel you have wiped out all the tense spots. This all by itself can relax the body and take away pain. The bottoms of the feet have hundreds of pressure points.

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