5 Natural Sleeping Aids
Stress at work, sweltering temperatures, and many more factors of daily life can all add up to equal a night of zero sleep. While strong prescription drugs are a common go-to for many, they can mess up your natural sleep rhythms, get you hooked, and leave you in a foggy trance. Skip the potent meds and find some peace with a few of these calming, natural, and effective remedies. Try adding one or a few of these to your nightly routine, and you’ll be resting easy and naturally.
Taking a few moments to concentrate on your breath can bring perspective and calmness to many areas of your life. If you are tossing and turning in bed, you can rein in on wandering thoughts and worries by focusing on the length of your breath. Try a continuous breathing exercise like counting to ten with each inhale and exhale. Expand your breath as much as you can and repeat as desired.
A little aromatherapy help can make this kind of breathing exercise even more effective. Lemon balm, chamomile, vanilla, sandalwood, and especially lavender oils can be used either on their own or in combination to make a sleepy-time scent. These oils are very concentrated, so start by just using a single drop on your pillow or invest in an aromatherapy diffuser to get a constant and gentle mist going in your room.
An oil massage can also be effective. Simply put a drop or two on the tips of your fingers along with a good mixer like almond oil. A little on your forehead, chest, and/or shoulders will do the trick. Another way to reap the benefits of these powerful oils and to get a nice beforebed cleanup is to hop in a warm bath with a few added drops of oil.
2. Supplemental Herbs
-Valerian is great for relieving tension and easing the mind. It’s a gentle but effective sedative and leaves no side effects or groggy feelings in the morning. Try a few capsules before bed. About four should be enough for four hours of sleep. Take a few more if you wake up in the night. One thing to keep in mind with valerian is that after some use, a tolerance can be developed. If you feel that you need to up your intake too much, take a break and try another helpful herb on this list.
– California poppy treats restlessness, calms the mind, and keeps anxiety at bay. This helpful herb will help you fall asleep and it will also improve the quality and depth of this rest. Try 30 drops a tincture of California poppy and get ready to sleep easy. This gentle herb is also safe for children.
– Passion flower is another helpful and natural remedy that is gentle enough for children. It’s a good aid to keep on your nightstand and to take in case your sleep is interrupted. It’s very gentle and can be taken in large doses. Try 40-60 drops of tincture or until you feel calm.
– Hops is great for digestion and stress. Grab a tincture or some tea and follow the written instructions. Due to the naturally existing steroids in hops, this remedy should not be used by children or pregnant women.
– Chamomile, catnip, and kava kava teas all provide a anxiety relief and help to calm the body and mind. Try a properly steeped cup before you go to bed and add some honey for an added sweet treat.
3. Other Natural Supplements
– Melatonin is a hormone produced by a gland in the brain. This important hormone is what controls your normal sleep patterns and its production is controlled somewhat by sunlight. You may have experienced this in the winter months when the sun goes down early and cause your energy levels to plummet. High levels of melatonin will help you get some rest and you can gain a boost by taking it in supplement form. Because it is a hormone, pregnant women and children should refrain from taking this supplement. It may change blood pressure levels, so speak to your doctor before trying it out.
– L-theanine is a handy amino acid found in green tea. Although green tea isn’t often thought of as a sleep aid due to it’s caffeine content, a cup of the decaffeinated beverage a few hours before bed can help to calm your system. The pure supplement is also a good way to get a natural, before-bed boost.
– Magnesium deprivation can cause restlessness and will make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. Throughout the day, munch on some magnesium-heavy food like leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, and almonds. For a more powerful boost, a magnesium supplement may be helpful, however be sure to check with your doctor as it is a powerful substance and could negatively impact some health issues.
4. Epsom Salts
A great way to get a magnesium boost without the supplements is to take an epsom salt bath. This old, trusty remedy is great for soothing tired muscles and relieving tension in the body. Get some warm water running and add a few cups of epsom crystals. The whole practice will have a soothing effect on your body and mind.
5. Natural, Breathable Linens
One of the best ways to settle in for the night is to make every effort to get your body comfortable. Your skin needs to breathe and the temperature of your environment needs to stay low. Invest in some quality pajamas and linens to keep yourself cool, comfy, and rested.
Problems with sleep can sometimes be an indication of anxiety, depression, or other disorders, so if sleeplessness persists, contact your doctor. Changes in your routine can help to get yourself ready for a deep sleep. Avoid your computer, tv, or other screens before bed. Journaling can help you ease a troubled mind as well as doing some yoga poses especially aimed at relaxation like Child’s Pose or Supine Twists.