Many struggle to get adequate sleeping in our busy, modern world. Some attempt to burn the candle at both ends, but others simply find that they either lack the ability to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night. People tell horror stories about sleep aids like Ambien and react negatively to medications to help with sleep, like Trazodone. If sleep is a problem for you, I recommend trying one or more of the natural remedies below, all of which can be ingested or topically applied.
One of the simplest suggestions on this list (and one that doesn’t require you to eat or drink anything) is to use lavender. Essential oil diffusers have become a very trendy item, and they are very easy to operate. You simply fill the diffuser with water, add a few drops of oil, and start about 30 minutes before bedtime. If you don’t want to go the diffuser route, you can also apply the oil to your pillow directly, or obtain some lavender and keep it in a small bag within your pillow. Extra bonus: lavender smells great, so your bedroom will be delightfully scented in addition to more relaxing.
Many people enjoy hot tea, especially in the evening. People have used chamomile as a sleep aid for thousands of years. A 2016 study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing found that women who drank chamomile tea nightly for two weeks reported better sleep efficiency and less depression. The change in your body temperature from hot to cold also increases natural sleep hormones. Therefore, a glass of tea before bed can certainly do the trick.
Your body naturally produces melatonin to aid in sleeping. However, some people do not naturally produce enough to accurately induce sleep cycles as intended. Melatonin supplements have become a readily available over the counter item. It comes in chewable, pill, and gummy form, so there are options for anyone. Be careful with this, though, as it can potentially throw off your body’s natural production if taken for long periods of time or in large enough doses.
The supplement valerian root, like melatonin, aids in sleep, especially for those with insomnia. There have been several studies that show positive results with this supplement, though there can potentially be reactions with certain medications, so consider consulting your doctor before trying this one.
Studies have shown that drinking one ounce of tart cherry juice before bed significantly increases natural melatonin production. It also helps increase sleeping time. There don’t seem to be any potential negatives here, unless you don’t like the taste. This can be a great one to try with children who have difficulty sleeping as well.
Honey + Salt
Like the tart cherry juice, enjoying a small amount of honey with a sprinkle of salt has been shown to jump-start production of sleep hormones, too. You only need half a teaspoon, and this one tastes great, too.
The best thing you can do to help with your sleep is to create a consistent sleep routine that includes good sleep hygiene practices, but if you find that you are struggling, these are all items that you can try with just a simple trip to the grocery store. The best part is that these occur naturally on our planet, meaning no artificial chemicals enter your body. None of them will impact your diet or weight. None of them require trips to the doctor to approve refills or dosage changes. May you find something that works soon: wishing you sweet dreams next time you climb into bed.