You’re not alone if you usually fall asleep thinking about how lucky you are to get a few hours of sleep each night after counting sheep (in the thousands) and making a wish upon a star.
Even though the American Academy of Sleep Medicine advises that adults get seven hours of sleep each night, about 35 percent of Americans say they get less.
Insomnia can be caused by several things, including a difficult day at work, an argument with a significant other, or watching too many episodes of your favorite show late at night. A quick treatment, such as medicine, is not an issue if your inability to sleep is only transitory and its cause is short-lived.
But it can be very upsetting if you’ve been struggling to fall or stay asleep for no apparent reason. Despite your hopes, a miraculous recovery is quite unlikely.
Neither the cause nor the cure for insomnia can be found overnight. Taking sleep aids long-term may not be effective for those with chronic insomnia because they don’t go to the root of the problem. It takes time and effort, but you can improve your sleep without medication.
In this post, we’ll look at some effective home remedies, relaxation strategies, physical activities, good sleep hygiene practices, and other habits that might help alleviate insomnia.
Why Does Insomnia Happen?
Insomnia can be either short-term or chronic. However long you’re forced to endure it, it’s never pleasant.
Most of us will suffer from a brief, unpleasant case of insomnia at some point in our lives. Drugs such as antidepressants, blood pressure medications, allergy medications, and corticosteroids can disrupt sleep and are common causes of insomnia. The good news is that your sleep pattern will typically return to normal once you figure out how to deal with the circumstance.
However, sleeplessness can occasionally become a chronic condition. Depression, anxiety, and sleep apnea are a few more serious medical conditions that might cause this.
Insomnia can also result from poor nocturnal routines, such as consuming too many caffeinated beverages or fatty foods before bed. Sleeping in an inconvenient location or staying up late to check social media can be other reasons for the cause of insomnia.
Either way, you won’t be able to operate well during the day if you don’t get enough sleep the night before. And it can lead to weight gain, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease over some time.
Insomnia can be frustrating, but there is typically a solution to address the underlying cause of the problem and begin sleeping better, regardless of how long it has persisted. The good news is that you can pick from a variety of options.
Why Refrain From Taking Sleep Meds?
Insomnia medication is useful when only a short-term treatment is needed, such as during travel. However, many people widely use them.
However, many of the most commonly prescribed sleep aids have undesirable side effects, including but not limited to the following: headaches, muscle soreness, constipation, dry mouth, daytime lethargy, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, and more.
When added together, they’re as terrible as, if not worse than, chronic sleep deprivation.
While some people may be able to take sleeping drugs without experiencing negative effects, this is not the norm. The sedative effects of sleeping medications quickly wear off for most people. As a result, you’ll need to take increasingly large doses to achieve the same impact, or the drugs will stop functioning entirely.
Unfortunately, none of these solutions are viable over the long haul. Taking sleep aids is a lot like going on a sudden diet. Yes, both have a chance of succeeding in the short run. But if you want to improve your sleep for the rest of your life, you should now form good, pro-sleep behaviors.
The best part is that it’s easier to do that than you would think. Below, we’ll examine the many major and small modifications that you may apply to your daily routine to improve your quality of sleep.
We’ll also look into tried and true herbal therapies that can help you unwind in times of extreme stress without the negative side effects of prescription drugs.
14 Home Remedies to Treat Insomnia Naturally Without Medication
Sleeplessness is common because of people’s dietary and lifestyle decisions. Despite its widespread occurrence, many people only experience its short-lived consequences. In many cases, insomnia is only a temporary problem. Therefore it makes sense to cure it using things you already have at home.
Below, we will examine many natural remedies for insomnia, including regular exercise, a good diet, yoga, and many others.
1. Lavender Oil
The lavender plant is the source of an essential oil known as lavender oil. It has been a go-to for anyone looking to increase their quality of rest and experience some much-needed Zen for millennia.
A 2015 study and a 2020 review of plant extracts for sleep disturbances revealed that lavender enhanced sleep start, sleep duration, and sleep quality in college students when used with basic sleep hygiene practices.
Lavender oil is a natural relaxant that may be found in various sleep aids, such as pillow mists, patches, aromatherapy oils, and aromatic diffusers.
While lavender is generally safe to take as a nutritional supplement, there have been rare drug interactions. As a result, those who are currently taking prescription medications, particularly those for sleep or high blood pressure, should consult their physician before beginning to take lavender oil supplements.
The safest way to reap the advantages of lavender oil is to stick to supplements containing 80 milligrams or less.
Other plant extracts, such as valerian and chamomile, were also recognized in the 2020 review for their efficacy in reducing insomnia’s negative effects.
The body makes its supply of magnesium, a mineral. Relaxation of muscles and stress relief are two more benefits. Furthermore, some researchers have noticed that this practice promotes a more normal sleep-wake cycle.
People with insomnia who take magnesium supplements daily have better quality sleep and more total hours of sleep, according to a study from 2012. However, more study is required to verify its efficacy.
Eating magnesium-rich meals before bedtime has been suggested to help you relax and get a good night’s rest. Bananas, warm milk, and small bowls of whole-grain cereal are all good sources of magnesium. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) of the United States recommends consuming them about an hour before bedtime.
As unbelievable as it sounds, physical activity and exercise help you unwind and get a good night’s rest. Activities like yoga and foam rolling might help you unwind. Unfortunately, our lives are hectic, full of to-do lists, work deadlines, and new daily responsibilities.
Stress begins to build up in our systems. Stretching, massaging sore muscles, and maintaining an exercise routine are all excellent ways to reduce stress and make it easier to relax and let go. Two, the more vigorously we exercise, the more our body will rely on sleep, promoting a higher quality of sleep.
However, you should get your workout in before 2 p.m. to give the endorphins plenty of time to circulate before night.
4. Exposure to Sunlight
It’s unlikely that today’s youth will ever see the sun, thanks to the widespread illness resulting from recent pandemics. However, going outside into the sunlight is the finest home treatment for insomnia. The circadian rhythm, often known as the body’s internal biological clock, controls our sleep/wake cycles.
For the body’s internal clock to work normally, sunlight is crucial. So to help you get a good night’s sleep, one natural remedy for insomnia is to take a short stroll in the morning sunlight.
5. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This sleep-inducing technique, also known as progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) or Jacobson relaxation, involves systematically relaxing one’s muscles one by one. Muscles are contracted and released one at a time. Those who have trouble drifting off at night might find this useful.
To cure persistent insomnia, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests trying relaxation techniques like PMR. Yet, mastery of the method requires practice. In the initial weeks, working on your skills during the day can be best.
The quality of sleep has shown tremendous improvement after practicing yoga. In addition, yoga’s potential benefits are reduced stress, enhanced physical performance, and sharper mental focus.
Instead of focusing on complex physical movements, pick a practice that emphasizes moving meditation or breath exercises. You can focus on the here and now with deliberate, slow motion. Yoga styles like yin and restorative are ideal.
Aim for daily self-practice of at least 20 minutes, with occasional longer sessions during the week. Then, relax and unwind with the aid of these postures before bed.
Do not force yourself into a stance if it doesn’t feel natural. Injuries could occur if you try to force it. Also, what makes a person’s physical self happy might not make another, and vice versa.
7. Lemon Balm
For those who prefer natural remedies, lemon balm is another option. Lemon balm may be more effective at reducing anxiety and facilitating sleep when coupled with other calming herbal remedies like chamomile, hops, and valerian. Find out what doses are best for you from a doctor.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try steeping a few grams of dried lemon balm herb in a cup of hot water. Then, brew a cup and sip no more than four times daily. Doses of 300–500 milligrams (mg) are administered three times a day or as directed.
Aromatherapy, in which potent essential oils are used mostly through massage or inhalation to achieve specific improvements in wellness, can sometimes be helpful for persons with trouble sleeping.
Aromatherapy supplies, such as incense, massage oils, bath treatments, pillow sprays, smell diffusers, and more, are widely available and simple to use.
Body lotions and other self-care items with aromatherapy scents can be a relaxing and delightful addition to a nighttime ritual. Essential oils like lavender, bergamot, chamomile, sweet orange, and damascene rose are commonly used for calming and sleeping.
The plant Valeriana officinalis is commonly used in herbal medicine. Please take it as a supplement or brew it into tea. Numerous applications include:
- Calming the nerves
- Enhancing the Quality of Sleep
- To induce sleep
Clinical investigations of valerian for insomnia have yielded mixed results. Studies comparing valerian to a placebo have found no difference in sleep quality.
However, anecdotal evidence from the studies suggests valerian may help some people get better sleep.
Valerian may alter gamma-aminobutyric acid levels (GABA). That hormone in your brain helps you relax. The valerian root can also help ease muscle spasms. This is said to reduce the pain associated with menstruation.
The typical valerian dosage is one capsule given about an hour before bedtime. The average recommended dose is 450 milligrams. It can cause drowsiness if consumed during the day. It’s common to split a 300mg tablet into two or three doses and take them with meals.
10. Warm Milk And Honey
Instead of wine, try unwinding with a cup of warm milk and honey. The National Sleep Foundation claims that the magic ingredient is a carbohydrate-tryptophan combo. Serotonin, a hormone that acts as a natural sedative, is produced in greater quantities in the brain when tryptophan is consumed.
Sugars and starches, like honey, speed up the release of this hormone in the brain. Try eating a turkey sandwich for a snack because it has both tryptophan and carbs, or have a banana with milk because vitamin B6 is essential in converting tryptophan to serotonin.
11. Chamomile Tea
One word sums up these three qualities: simple, delicious, and efficient. However, even though chamomile tea, as a stress reliever, has a long history of use, this practice is no longer considered a home cure solely.
According to one review, anxiety and sleeplessness are reduced, and nerves are calmed; hence, the substance may be considered a mild sedative. Feel free to concoct a potent beverage. According to some authorities, two or three tea bags may be necessary to receive the full, sleep-inducing impact.
According to Ayurveda, a healthy body requires a delicate equilibrium between the components of air (Vata), fire (pitta), and water (Kapha). Yet, many individuals have used “Ayurveda” as a medical system despite the lack of scientific publications supporting the claims.
It is recommended in Ayurveda that you rub heated sesame oil into the scalp and soles of your feet before bedtime to help alleviate insomnia. So, give a sesame oil foot and scalp massage a try and see if you like it!
You might have read that melatonin pills are useful for falling asleep. The available data suggests that they are the most effective treatment for insomnia by rotating shifts or jet lag.
This hormone, melatonin, occurs in the body normally. It aids in maintaining a healthy sleep-wake cycle in the brain. So when the sun isn’t out, your body can repair itself. Older persons with insomnia may benefit from taking melatonin supplements, leading to better sleep and greater alertness upon waking.
Timed-release To combat sleeplessness, melatonin is prescribed to those over 55. Melatonin was typically taken for up to 13 weeks, beginning two hours before night.
The timing of melatonin intake is critical. For example, melatonin may mess with your circadian rhythm if you take it in the morning. The quality of sleep, however, has been proven to be enhanced if the medication is taken in the early evening or late afternoon.
14. Create a Nighttime Routine
Because of our ingrained propensity toward routine, developing a regular pre-sleep ritual can help us fall asleep more quickly and enjoy a more deep slumber. Examples of a good pre-bedtime ritual include:
- The soothing warmth of a bath or shower, accompanied by the aroma of calming essential oils, is what you need to wind down and get some shut-eye.
- Dim the lights at night; the blue light emitted by phones and other gadgets harms our circadian rhythm.
- Decrease the brightness of your screen if you must use your phone in the bedroom. Some of the blue light may be muted in night mode, which may be an option.
- Get yourself ready for sleep through mindfulness and relaxation methods like yoga.
- Relax with a warm beverage before bed, but steer clear of caffeine. You can’t go wrong with any milky or malty beverage, oat milk, or chamomile tea.
- Taking care of yourself can be as easy as remembering to put on lotion or massaging in some hand lotion.
- Even the most fundamental parts of getting ready for bed can be integrated into a soothing ritual.
Some routines may be done at night to help you unwind, such as changing into pajamas, brushing your teeth, or even just turning off the lights.
If you’re having difficulties falling or staying asleep, you can try several natural solutions. Research has confirmed several of these. There needs to be a clear consensus about the worth of other people.
Melatonin, getting sun, meditating, and doing yoga may help some people. Additionally, acupressure has shown promising results. On the other hand, hypnosis, acupuncture, and aromatherapy have weaker supporting evidence.
In the hours before bed, you may find that you sleep better if you avoid sugar, coffee, and alcohol. In addition, some foods aid in relaxation and sleep.
Supplements and herbal teas have been used to cure insomnia for a long time. However, a lack of supporting evidence limits their usefulness.
Traditional Western treatment isn’t the only option; music, exercise, and alternative practices like Ayurveda and feng shui can also help.
After exhausting all possible natural remedies for insomnia without success, it’s time to see a doctor. You can talk to them about your symptoms and see if they hint at any underlying health problems that could prevent you from getting to sleep. And if you’re worried that a medication you’re taking keeps you awake at night, they can also look into that.