Whether you’ve been diagnosed with insomnia or just have trouble staying asleep during the night, the battle for a good night’s rest can be frustrating. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 25 to 30 percent of the general adult population have complaints of sleep disruptions or disorders. Those who suffer from sleep disturbances or insomnia report waking up at odd hours of the night, feeling anxious about the past and future before bed and struggling to fall asleep after laying in bed for hours.
If you are someone who experiences symptoms, there a chance you may have sleep disturbances. While acute insomnia symptoms doesn’t generally require treatment and will usually go away on their own, there are some natural sleep aids for problem sleepers. When counting sheep just isn’t cutting it, here are 6 natural sleep aids known to calm the mind and body for a more restful night.
The antioxidant known as apigenin is attributed to the calming effects found in Chamomile tea. In fact, it has been regarded as a mild tranquilizer and has been traced back to being used by the ancient Egyptians for its benefits. Studies show that it has increases in the quality of sleep among those who drank chamomile. This is another great option for someone looking to try the herbal route for their sleep disorder.
Valerian has history that stretches back more than 1,000 years. It was used in ancient Greece to ease nervousness, insomnia and stress. Today, this medicine, made from the root of the valerian herb, is most commonly used for sleep disorders. It works as a sedative to the nervous system and brain. The root can be ingested via tincture, capsule or tea. Due to the odor many find unpleasant, this supplement is best suggested as administered with a capsule.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the chemical compound found in the cannabis plant known to have a wide range of benefits associated with it. While scientists still have more studies to conduct on the different ways CBD affects the receptors in the human body, it has most notably been linked to helping with chronic pain and anxiety. CBD has been thought to “increase overall sleep amounts, reduce sleep difficulties, improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia.” CBD oil can be ingested via tincture, capsule, and isolate or applied topically. While more clinical trials may be necessary to study the link between insomnia and CBD, research has looked to be promising for promoting sleep quality.
The lavender plant has been linked to aromatherapy benefits for unwinding and rejuvenation and is one of the most studied essential oils in terms of relaxation. According to a study done by the University of Southampton, participants reported better sleep quality when a lavender essential oil was diffused in the room. There are a few simple ways to incorporate lavender into your nighttime routine. You can dab a bit of the oil on your wrists or neck, add oil to your bath, or place the oil into a diffuser to disperse while you sleep. Alternatively, if you have lavender growing in your garden, you can harvest the buds and put them in a bowl next to your bed.
The passion flower is a climbing vine that is native to North America and is usually taken orally to help relieve anxiety, nervousness and ADHD. In recent years, an increase in studies have been conducted on the benefits of passion flower as a natural sleep aid. It can help relax the nerves in the brain enough to promote a sleep state. This is a good option for people have trouble calming down the mind before bed.
This is a natural hormone found in the body and its main job is to regulate night and day cycles. Darkness signals the body that it is time for sleep and your body produces more melatonin. This hormone can also be made synthetically and is usually taken orally as a tablet and absorbed directly into the body. It can help shift the body’s internal clock and is typically used for jet lag; however, insomniacs have also used this to help regulate their sleep cycle. This is a great option for those who experience sleep disturbances in the night.
Healthy Habits for Sleep
While these sleep aids have been known to help bring a better quality of sleep by those who take them, there are some other lifestyle changes you can make to help get a good night’s rest.
When considering exercise as a way to get a better sleep, consider the intensity of the workout. Be sure to keep high-intensity workouts to more than three hours before bed otherwise, this workout could have an adverse effect to sleep. Wind down close to bedtime with a few calming stretches or yoga to promote a restful night’s sleep.
A Nighttime Routine
Creating nightly rituals helps to train your mind that it’s time to rest and help ready your body for a sleep state. This might include a warm bath, a cup of herbal tea, or listening to relaxing music or nature sounds. Getting into the habit of doing calming rituals can help bring peace to the mind before you fall into slumber.
A Relaxing Bedroom
Our physical environment plays into our emotional state. It is suggested to bring relaxing elements to your bedroom so your mind can associate your bedroom with sleep. It is not recommended to use your bed as a place to do office or school work, as it may encourage anxious thoughts. Try to also keep a tidy sleep area to keep your mind at ease. When you walk into your bedroom, the goal is to feel a sense of calm.
This one may be one of the more obvious if you are a problem sleeper or insomniac. Caffeine can be one of the common culprits for an uneasy sleep. Try to limit the amount of caffeine you have in one day and don’t ingest any four hours before you are ready for bed. If you are a heavy tea or coffee drinker, try to gradually reduce your intake by introducing decaf coffee or caffeine-free herbal tea.