14 natural ways to help you sleep

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Although insomnia is occasionally insomnia, insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or excessive waking at night, making daily activities difficult. Of the natural remedies, three have been shown to be beneficial, while others have some preliminary but inconclusive evidence .

Watch it now: Natural remedies for insomnia

Since chronic sleep deprivation can be associated with a number of health problems (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression), it is important to consult a doctor and avoid self-medication with alternative medicine. While you may be tempted to turn to over-the- counter sleeping pills , there are many natural remedies to consider, like the 14 below.

Melatonin

Melatonin supplements are widely recommended for a variety of sleep states, but the best evidence is in helping with sleep problems caused by shift work or jet lag. Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle in the brain. It is produced from serotonin when exposure to light at night is reduced .

It is used for sleep disorders due to low levels of melatonin at night, such as aging, mood disorders (such as depression), sleep disorders or jet lag . Melatonin supplements can improve sleep quality and morning alertness in older adults with insomnia .

Sustained-release melatonin is used to treat primary insomnia in people over 55 years of age in the European Union and other countries. In most studies of melatonin for insomnia in the elderly, melatonin was taken two hours before bedtime for up to 13 weeks .

Timing is important: When melatonin is taken in the morning, it slows down circadian rhythms, but speeds them up when taken in the afternoon or early evening.

Exposure to light

Phototherapy is used as part of sleep treatment plans. If you have trouble falling asleep at night or have delayed sleep phase syndrome, you may need more light in the morning.

Exposure to light plays a key role in telling the body when to go to sleep (increasing melatonin production) and when to wake up. Walking outside in the morning or phototherapy for 30 minutes can help.

On the other hand, if you wake up too early in the morning or have developed sleep phase syndrome, you may need more light in the afternoon and you can try walking outside or doing phototherapy for two to three hours at night. .

There are home phototherapy machines available that your doctor or sleep specialist may recommend for use in conjunction with sleep therapy.

Meditation and relaxation techniques.

Regular meditation practice can help improve sleep by slowing breathing and reducing stress hormone levels. Meditation is a technique that involves consciously directing attention to an object of attention (such as breath, sound, or word) to increase awareness. , relax your body and calm your mind.

Some types of meditation include guided meditation, vipassana meditation, yoga nidra, or body scan. Also try:

  • Visualization : Visualization involves the active imagination of a relaxing scene. You can try it in bed for 20 minutes before falling asleep. Include all of your senses. If you feel like being on a tropical island, think about how the warm breeze feels on your skin. Imagine the sweet scent of flowers, look at the water and listen to the waves. The brighter the display and the more senses you use, the more effective it will be.
  • Relaxation Response: This is a mind / body response that occurs after following certain instructions similar to the Transcendental Meditation pattern.
  • Mindfulness: This type of meditation essentially involves keeping the mind focused on the present.

Preliminary evidence suggests that meditation techniques can improve sleep. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says that relaxation techniques have enough evidence to suggest that they may be helpful for insomnia. But more research is needed.

Yoga

A system of relaxation, breathing, exercise, and healing dating back to Indian philosophy, yoga has been described as a union of mind, body, and spirit. A 2017 review study found evidence that yoga (as well as mindfulness and tai chi-based stress management) can alleviate insomnia symptoms .

Hypnosis

Hypnosis is a state in which a person is more focused, aware, and open to suggestions. Although it is not known how it works, hypnosis can induce physiological changes in the body, such as a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, and alpha waves in the brain, similar to meditation and other types of deep relaxation.

Hypnosis can be helpful in improving the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation techniques. But the research done so far is poorly designed .

Acupuncture

Acupuncture and acupressure can help with insomnia. Research has shown some evidence that acupressure can help and mixed evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture .

Aromatherapy

A 2011 analysis found no studies rigorous enough to provide conclusive evidence that aromatherapy can help you fall asleep . However, aromatherapy English lavender oil has long been used as a popular remedy to help people fall asleep. It is one of the most calming essential oils available.

Try putting a sachet of lavender under your pillow, or putting a drop or two of lavender essential oil on a handkerchief , or adding a few drops of lavender oil to your bath; Lowering your body temperature after a warm bath also helps you sleep.

Other aromatic oils that can help you sleep include chamomile , patchouli , and ylang ylang .

Food and diet

What you eat and what you don't eat can affect your ability to fall asleep and sleep .

  • Limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine . Caffeine and nicotine can have a profound effect on sleep, causing insomnia and anxiety. In addition to coffee, tea, and sodas, look for hidden sources of caffeine such as chocolate, cough and cold medications, and other excessive amounts of caffeine. over-the-counter medicine. Drinking alcohol can lead to wakefulness at night.
  • Cut back on your sugar intake . While sugar can provide an energy boost, it is short-lived and can cause uneven blood sugar levels. This can interrupt sleep in the middle of the night due to falling blood sugar levels.
  • Eat foods that help you sleep . Tryptophan is a naturally occurring amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin. Research shows mixed evidence on the effectiveness of L-tryptophan. Eat carbohydrate snacks like whole grain crackers before bed. Also include foods rich in vitamin B6, which is found in wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and bananas, which improves the conversion of tryptophan in the body. Please note that L-tryptophan supplements are not recommended as they are associated with eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome .
  • Eat foods rich in magnesium. The mineral magnesium is a natural sedative, and some research suggests that supplements can help with insomnia. Magnesium deficiency can cause sleep problems, constipation, muscle tremors or cramps, anxiety, irritability, and pain. Magnesium-rich foods include legumes and seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, molasses, brewer's yeast, and whole grains. In addition to incorporating these whole foods into your diet, you can also try juicing dark leafy green vegetables.

Vitex Agnus Castus

The herb Vitex agnus castus (chaste tree) can help with insomnia and sleep disorders associated with menstrual periods and menopause. In one study, women were treated with a combination of vitex agnus castus and magnolia extracts combined with soy isoflavones and lactobacilli and followed for one year. This treatment has proven to be safe and effective .

However, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, no one should take chaste berries while taking birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, or dopamine-related medications .

Valerian

Valerian ( Valeriana officinalis ) is a herbal home remedy, brewed as a tea or taken as a supplement, commonly used to reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and act as a sedative. Clinical trials of valerian for insomnia have produced conflicting results.

Studies that measured sleep quality found no difference between people taking valerian and those taking a placebo. However, a significant number of people in the studies informally reported that their quality of sleep improved with valerian supplementation .

Valerian is believed to affect the levels of one of the body's anxiolytic neurotransmitters, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It also relieves muscle cramps and is believed to help relieve pain during menstruation.

Valerian is usually taken one hour before bedtime. The standard dose is 450 milligrams (mg). Valerian can cause drowsiness when taken during the day; it is often taken in two or three 300 mg doses with meals.

Lemon balm

Lemon balm ( lemon balm ) is a tea and herbal supplement that is said to relieve anxiety and calm nerves. It can be seen in supplements that also include valerian.

While a 2013 study found this to be beneficial, research reviews found no evidence for lemon balm or other herbal "sleep formula" supplements.

Chinese traditional medicine

In Traditional Chinese Medicine , insomnia is usually caused by energy weakness in the kidneys . In Western medicine, this syndrome is not necessarily associated with kidney disease.

Some signs of kidney energy weakness are low back pain, tiredness and fatigue, and a burst of energy around 11:00 pm. Menopausal women often suffer from this type of insomnia.

People taking anti-estrogen medications such as tamoxifen also experience this type of insomnia, however they should not take herbal combinations such as the herbal formula liu wei di huang , which can increase estrogen levels .

Ayurveda

In Ayurvedic medicine, insomnia is often associated with a vata imbalance. Vata regulates respiration and blood circulation. People with a vata imbalance often notice irritability, anxiety, and fear with insomnia.

An Ayurvedic treatment consists of applying oil to the head and feet. For the pitta type, coconut oil is used at room temperature, for the vata type, warm sesame oil is used, and for the kapha type, warm mustard oil is often used.

camomile tea

Clinical trials have not shown that chamomile helps with insomnia. Chamomile is an herb traditionally used to reduce muscle tension, digestion, and anxiety, which can help induce sleep.

After dinner, have a cup of hot chamomile tea. But don't drink it too close to your bed, or you may have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

Hops , passionflower, and kava are other herbs that are often used for insomnia. As with chamomile, it has not been shown in studies to be effective .

Other natural remedies

  • For hot flashes, a thin, flat foam pillow called a Chillow can help keep your scalp cool overnight .
  • Soft, slow music is another remedy that can help improve sleep. Music therapy has been found to improve sleep quality, reduce nighttime awakenings, lengthen sleep times, and increase sleep satisfaction .
  • Although kava is sometimes recommended for anxiety-related insomnia, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a recommendation to consumers regarding the potential risk of serious liver damage from the supplements they contain. kava .
  • Lack of exercise can contribute to poor sleep. The body accumulates muscle tension and stress. Exercise can help promote sound sleep that night. However, vigorous exercise too close to sleep can increase adrenaline levels and lead to insomnia.

Upgrade your bedroom with Feng Shui

Feng Shui, which has its roots in the Chinese philosophy of Taoism, teaches how to organize rooms, furniture, offices, homes and other devices to maximize the beneficial flow of energy in living spaces. You can use the Feng Shui tips for your bedroom.

Frequently asked questions

Do natural sleeping pills have any side effects?

Some natural sleeping pills can have side effects. For example, certain herbs or food additives can cause allergic reactions in some people. Melatonin can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and excessive drowsiness (the "hangover effect"). Drug interactions can also occur, so it's important to check with your doctor before taking any new supplements.

Are Natural Sleep Remedies Safe For Pregnant Women?

Certain natural sleep aids, such as yoga, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques, are great for pregnant women to keep their bodies and minds healthy and relaxed. It is even better if these methods help you sleep during pregnancy. However, some supplements, aromatherapy, herbs, and teas may not be safe to use during pregnancy, and you should consult your doctor before trying any of these methods.

Get the word of drug information

Talk to your doctor before taking any natural remedy. Chronic insomnia can be a symptom of another condition, such as depression, heart disease, sleep apnea, lung disease, hot flashes, or diabetes .

Think of insomnia as a wake-up call and make sure you get early treatment for potentially serious medical conditions. The Doctor Discussion Guide can help you start a conversation with your doctor.

Guidelines for Discussion with an Insomniac Physician

Get our printable guide to your next doctor's appointment to help you ask the right questions.

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