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Can’t seem to catch your zzz’s? Feel like you rarely get a good night’s sleep? You’re not alone. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) reports that 48% of adults suffer from occasional insomnia, and 22% say they have trouble sleeping all the time. It’s all too easy to pop a sleeping pill when you’re having trouble sleeping (more than 9 million Americans do), but do you really know how safe they are or how they’ll interact with other medications you take? Fortunately, there are a number of natural ways to improve your sleep, from changing your daily and evening habits and altering your diet to using all-natural herbs and supplements and aromatherapy for sleep. Read more to learn how to sleep better at night naturally.
What are the best Natural Sleep remedies?
Instead of turning to man-made prescription or over-the-counter medications that could contain potentially harmful chemicals or additives, there are a number of natural sleep aids to help you relax when it’s time for bed.
Herbs & Supplements For Sleep
|Stash Tea Chamomile Herbal Tea|
Chamomile Tea For a Tasty Lullaby
Chamomile tea is a soothing, non-caffeinated tea that’s traditionally used to lull children to sleep. It’s also known for its stomach soothing qualities. To get the optimal medicinal benefits, boil three or four bags and cover the lid so the calming oils don’t escape the pot. We recommend Stash Chamomile Herbal Tea.
|Source Naturals Melatonin|
Regulate Your Sleep Cycle with Melatonin
Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps us regulate the sleep-wake cycles (our circadian cycles). It’s especially good for jet lag and other sleep disorders. Melatonin comes in immediate-release or extended-release formulas. If you have trouble with waking up during the night and difficulty resting again, experts recommend the extended release. Melatonin is considered safe for short-term use, but with long-term use there’s a concern for risk of bleeding (especially for those on blood-thinners) and seizures (for those with brain disorders). Source Naturals Melatonin Supplements are all natural, made without chemicals, pesticides or genetically engineered materials.
|Starwest Botanicals Organic Valerian Root Powder|
Calm Your Mind with Valerian
Valerian root has been used for thousands of years to combat anxiety, and some studies have shown that it’s effective in helping you fall asleep and get a better night’s sleep. Valerian root works best over time – you’ll see better results if you take it every evening (for up to four to six weeks). Some complain about upset stomach or headaches associated with its use, but valerian root generally is a mild supplement. We recommend Starwest Botanicals Valerian Root Extract Organic, but some people don’t like the slight bitter taste of valerian which you will taste in this powder.
Note: Valerian actually acts as a stimulant in a small percentage of people so test it before you go all in to make sure it is helping you rest vs. waking you up.
Aromatherapy for Sleep
|Majestic Pure Lavender Essential Oil|
Relax with Lavender
The scent of lavender has been shown to induce relaxation and sleep. Put a few drops of lavender oil on a tissue and place it under your pillow or use an aromatherapy diffuser in your bedroom. We recommend Healing Natural Oils Lavender Oil, which is all-natural and extracted from the highest quality French lavender flower buds.
Rest Soundly with An Herbel Insomnia Blend
There are many herbal blends that have been created to remedy sleepless nights. Our pick is Healing Natural Oils H-Insomnia Formula which is a beneficial aromatherapy product that’s FDA listed, all-natural and safe. H-Insomnia Formula contains apium graveolens, a soporific active principle and other natural herbs that help you doze off. Just put a couple of drops on each temple before bed.
Foods for Sleep
Never mind warm milk before bed, these foods are likely to help you provide a more restful night so you can have a better tomorrow.
New research has found that tart cherries or cherry juice are excellent sleep enhancers. Cherries are one of the only natural sources of the sleep-wake cycle hormone melatonin and amino acid tryptophan. A 2014 study by Louisiana State University researchers found that drinking cherry juice twice a day resulted in an average of 84 minutes increased sleeping time per night. And no, we’re not talking about Kool-Aid. Look for low-sugar content juice or eat real cherries which contain fiber to help metabolize the sweetness or the sugar may keep you awake at night.
Bananas are a good source of potassium and magnesium, which are natural muscle relaxants. They also contain the amino acid L-tryptophan, which the brain converts to melatonin and serotonin (a relaxing neurotransmitter).
Toast and other carbohydrate-rich foods trigger your body to produce insulin, which speed up the release of brain chemicals (serotonin and tryptophan) that relax you and help you sleep. Of course, keep your portions moderate so you’re not going to bed on a full stomach.
Why is Your Sleep Environment so Important?
Your body and mind need the right conditions to shut down for the night and to stay asleep. Too much light can disrupt your sleep cycle, even if you’re not fully conscious of it at the time. And some people need soft background noise to sleep. Putting up blackout curtains in your bedroom and getting a white noise machine can help create good sleeping conditions.
Obviously comfort is a key factor. Make sure your bedroom isn’t too hot or cold at night (the ideal average temperature is 65° F). And your pillow and mattress can make or break your ability to sleep. See our articles on Best Organic Pillow and Best Organic Mattress for some tips and recommendations.
Does a Routine Make a Difference?
People who make sleep a priority as part of their daily routine fare much better against insomnia, say experts. And there are many things you can incorporate into your daily and bedtime routine to get your shut-eye, including:
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule (avoid sleeping in on weekends)
- Eat a healthy diet every day
- Exercise regularly and early in the morning or on your lunch hour
- Avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco products at night
- No large meals just before bedtime
- Keep your bedroom free from electronics
- Wind down with a warm magnesium salt bath before getting in bed
Is a Good Night’s Sleep Overrated?
Absolutely not, say experts. In our daily lives, it’s easy to sacrifice sleep when your to-do list is calling your name. But several large studies have linked sleep deficits with poor work performance, driving accidents, relationship problems, illness and mood problems like anger and depression. A chronic lack of sleep also has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. More recently, scientists have discovered that the brain physically cleanses itself while you’re sleeping. The following video explains how this cerebral disposal system works.
What are your favorite natural sleep remedies?