Imagine it’s Sunday evening once again and you’re tossing and turning in your bed, unable to fall asleep. Maybe you slept in too late that morning, drank too much coffee throughout the day, or you’re stressed about the upcoming week and simply can’t get yourself to snooze. And the later it gets, the more worried you are about starting off the week on a bad note due to lack of sleep.
Fortunately, there are several natural sleep remedies available that can help you avoid frustrating sleepless nights such as these. And even better—these natural remedies don’t have addictive properties and unwanted side effects like prescription sleep medications do. However, it’s important that you practice these natural remedies early on and on a regular basis for best results.
Maintain a Daily Routine
While it’s a nice treat to stay up late on the weekends and sleep in on Saturday and Sunday mornings, it’s even better to maintain a regular sleep schedule all week long—weekends included.
According to an article written by Natalie Dautovich, Ph.D., and published by the National Sleep Foundation, our bodies need consistency, even when it comes to sleep. Regular activities help to prepare our bodies for upcoming events, including our regular bedtimes and wake-up times. Naturally, we become more alert closer to our wake-up times, and it’s why we sometimes end up falling asleep on the couch if we don’t go to bed early enough.
It may take some getting used to, but the benefits will far outweigh the cons if you modify your weekend sleep schedule.
Perform Daily Exercise
According to Psychology Today, ongoing exercise can improve sleep quality; however, the effects of exercise do not provide instant benefits. For this reason, adults should engage in regular exercise for at least several months to improve ongoing sleep quality.
Additionally, Psychology Today reported that daytime exercise may improve an individual’s quality of sleep even more so than evening exercise. Daytime exercise has been shown to stimulate extended periods of slow-wave sleep, which is when we experience our most restorative periods of sleep.
Practice Evening Yoga and Meditation
While exercising before bed probably won’t help you to fall asleep, gentle yoga and meditation will. Harvard Health Publications reports that mindfulness meditation fights insomnia and improves sleep quality. Additionally, it can help to reduce fatigue, symptoms of stress, and depression.
According to a study conducted by JAMA Internal Medicine, 49 middle-aged or older adults suffered from insomnia until they began practicing mindfulness meditation once a week for two hours. Half of the patients completed a mindfulness meditation approach, while the other half participated in a sleep education course. After only six meditation sessions, the meditation group noticed a vast improvement in their overall sleep quality.
Additionally, practicing light yoga and gentle breathing exercises can be an effective natural sleep remedy. According to Yoga Journal, practicing a series of 15 calming yoga poses before bed time can lead to a better night’s rest. The recommended bed time routine begins in Child’s Pose and ends in Savasana. Try the free bed time routine here.
How Acupuncture Promotes Rest
If you’re not frightened by needles, you may be interested in giving acupuncture a try. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that acupuncture has a 90 percent success rate in the treatment of insomnia. Acupuncture works to increase the amount of certain substances in the brain, including serotonin. Healthy levels of serotonin help to promote sleep and relaxation.
The Healing Benefits of Massage
Also according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, nighttime massage helps to relax individuals before bed time, improving overall sleep patterns. But in addition to massage being a comfortable way to relax and wind down after a busy day, a massage with added aromatherapy (specifically lavender essential oil) can help to keep you relaxed for a good night’s sleep ahead.
Focus on your breath
Every breath should represent a relaxed body and mind. Do not let your breath be like your physical or mental state. When we’re stressed, our breath tends to be shorter which leads to a lack of oxygen. The less oxygen, the more stressed our body and mind will turn to be. Keep in mind that to effectively calm yourself down, your breathing should be diaphragmatic.
Natural Supplements That Promote a Good Night’s Sleep
Natural supplements are also available to help stimulate a good night’s sleep. If you’re struggling to fall asleep at night and you wake up groggy in the morning or drag your feet all day long, you may be interested in giving these natural supplements a try. However, it’s important to ask your physician or naturopathic practitioner for advice before starting a new supplement or vitamin, especially if you take any prescription medications.
Non-addictive natural sleep aids that promote healthy sleep include the following:
- Melatonin: Melatonin supplements help to regulate night, day, and sleep cycles in the body, helping people to feel more well-rested. However, melatonin should be taken several hours before bed time for best results.
- Serotonin: You’ve probably heard of how serotonin affects mood—but it also positively affects your sleep! Taking tryptophan supplements (an amino acid) can help to naturally increase serotonin levels in the brain.
- 5-HTP: Also known as 5-Hydroxytryptophan, 5-HTP is a herbal supplement that helps to reduce a wide range of symptoms, including depression, ADHD, anxiety, fibromyalgia, migraines, and sleep disorders.
- Magnesium: Magnesium naturally relaxes muscles, and it also helps to induce sleepy sensations that help people to fall asleep more easily. Try taking an Epsom salts bath shortly before bed, or rub magnesium oil on your skin before going to sleep.
- Tart Cherry Juice: Cherries—could they really be any more wonderful for your health? Turns out—they also help to promote sleep! Tart Cherry Juice helps to naturally produce melatonin and tryptophan in the body. Tart cherry supplements are also available.
- Valerian and Chamomile: For a restful night’s sleep, try sipping on a cup of valerian or chamomile tea several hours before heading to bed. Alternatively you can also take a valerian supplement before bedtime.
- Catnip: Turns out—catnip isn’t only for your kitten! Catnip has been used as a natural sleep aid for hundreds of years. You can get catnip as a supplement, drink it as a tea, or stuff a small bag of dried catnip under your pillow while you sleep.
As you can see, there are plenty of natural sleep remedies available to try that don’t come with unwanted side effects. In most cases, these natural remedies will only help to improve all aspects of your life—including the quality of sleep you experience daily.
With good quality sleep comes improved mental clarify, reduced stress and anxiety, less headaches, and less drowsiness. And what happens when you eliminate these uncomfortable symptoms that interfere with your daily life? A happier and healthier mind and body.
What else do you use to relax yourself at night? Please enter your comments below.