You hit the day at a decent hour, thinking, “OK, tonight I’m going to get my sleep back on track.” One hour later, you’re staring at the ceiling, eyes wide open, and it seems like you can’t stop your mind from racing. With every passing second, you feel as if a good night’s sleep is a distant dream.
You’re not alone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70 million Americans struggle with chronic sleep issues. Also, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that about 35% of people deal with insomnia, which means they have serious problems falling asleep and/or staying asleep.
And up to 10% of adults deal with the longer-term type of insomnia, also known as chronic insomnia, which means they find it hard to sleep at least three nights per week for at least three months.
The first thing that may come to mind when you start realizing that it’s insomnia you’re dealing with is that you should try some sleeping pills. Well, they may work. Or not. But before doing this, you should know that there are some tips that can naturally induce relaxation, which will help you fall asleep faster and sleep better.
Here are 9 home remedies that can help you fight off insomnia!
There’s some evidence that shows lavender can help you improve the severity of your insomnia. According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, practicing sleep hygiene strategies can be more effective when combined with using lavender essential oil before bed.
The study involved 79 adults with self-reported sleep issues. Some of them were given patches with lavender essential oil to wear on their chests before sleep (they also used other tips for better sleep). The rest of them only practiced sleep hygiene.
The results indicated that those who were given lavender patches had better sleep quality than those who just practiced sleep hygiene. It’s noteworthy that other studies show that using lavender essential oil can have a negative impact on reproductive hormones (including androgen and estrogen) and may lead to some side effects. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor before trying this natural remedy.
2. Warm milk and honey
Ditch the glass of wine—hitting the day with a warm cup of milk and honey is one of the best natural remedies for insomnia. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the secret is in the combination of carbohydrates and tryptophan, an amino acid known to induce relaxation. Tryptophan boosts the amount of serotonin, a hormone that acts as a natural sedative.
Carbs, like honey, help transmit serotonin to your brain faster. If you’re looking for a late-night snack, a turkey sandwich can provide you with the best combo of carbs and tryptophan, or go with a banana with warm milk and honey to get some vitamin B6, which helps your body convert tryptophan to serotonin.
3. Turn off artificial lights, including screens
For those dealing with insomnia, a quiet, relaxing sleep environment is a must for uninterrupted slumber. According to a study published in Molecular Vision, removing electronics with glowing screens is perhaps one of the most effective ways to fight sleep issues. In other words, make sure you’re not using your cell phone, laptop, or tablet right before going to bed.
The experts found that blue light impairs your circadian rhythms, making it harder to fall asleep. In fact, even if you can fall asleep, the pings from your email or cell phone can disrupt your sleep cycle. Step up the game and make sure your shades are drawn against any outdoor lights. For maximum comfort, experts recommend a room temperature of 60 to 67 degrees.
While chamomile can be found in many teas marketed as sleep-inducing, the evidence behind this traditional sleep aid is scant. According to several studies, the herb may have a sedative effect. In addition, researchers also noted that chamomile has widely been used as an aromatherapy oil or tea to induce relaxation and relieve insomnia.
But there’s an interesting thing here. That cup of chamomile tea may help you drift off to sleep, and not just because the herb is sleep-promoting. In fact, when it comes to sleep, the placebo effect is quite real. So, if the taste, aroma, or simply the ritual of making that cup of chamomile tea seems to help you relax, stick with the habit.
According to sleep experts, a lot of people seem to improve their insomnia severity with placebo treatments. So, if something didn’t work for a friend, it may work for you, and vice versa. Our bodies function differently, so you may want to try several natural remedies until you find one that seems to help.
5. Adopt a bedtime ritual
Speaking of different bodies. A certain bedtime ritual may help some people dealing with insomnia but may not do anything for others. So if you’ve tried creating a bedtime ritual but it didn’t help, chances are those pre-sleep routines weren’t effective for you, so you may want to keep looking for other strategies.
According to a British study, kids tend to sleep better when they have a bedtime routine. And guess what? This is also true for adults, the National Sleep Foundation says. That’s why it’s important to make it a priority to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.
Introducing nightly habits like listening to music or reading before bed can also help to quiet your brain and prepare it for sleep.
6. Tart cherry juice
The juice of tart cherries, also known as sour cherries, has been found to improve the severity of insomnia. Its sleep-inducing properties are due to the presence of melatonin and tryptophan. You may already know that melatonin is a sleep hormone. Well, that’s secreted at certain times of the day and helps the body transition to sleep.
We do need more studies to support the idea that tart cherry juice helps improve sleep, but so far, the evidence seems to point in this direction. For instance, there was a recent study where 20 adults consumed either sour cherry juice or a placebo over the course of a week. It was found that in the cherry group, the level of melatonin was significantly higher than in the placebo group.
7. Hop in the tub for a bath
A bath can provide several benefits for sleep. The first one would be that a warm bath can change your body’s temperature. Our core body temperature tends to drop one hour before falling asleep as a part of the body’s natural circadian process.
But warm baths can help this process, starting by boosting your circulation. If baths are taken 1-2 hours before bedtime, the natural circadian process is improved, which can help you fall asleep quicker and experience better sleep quality.
Baths also aid in muscle relaxation, which can improve your mood and even alleviate some cold symptoms. Step up the game and listen to some relaxing music, use Epsom salts, and light a candle.
8. Quiet the noise
White noise is basically all audible frequencies that human ears can hear, played at the same rate across the spectrum. The result is a sound that many people find very relaxing.
If noisy neighbors or roadway noise tend to keep you awake at night, white noise is a simple and inexpensive method to block out disturbing sounds. You may need some time to get used to white noise if it’s the first time you use it. Any white noise app should work fine; the only thing you have to do is check with your partner to ensure they are OK with it.
Surprisingly or not, white noise can bother some more than others. But if you seem to like it, the severity of your insomnia should improve.
9. Slip under a weighted blanket
Another thing that may help your insomnia is using a weighted blanket. No, I’m not talking about a heavier blanket, but a specific blanket that is often filled with tiny beads. They add a bit of pressure, so it’s a different blanket than a typical one.
Pressure on your body—think of a hug—can release serotonin, which can improve your mood and help you relax to relieve insomnia. This is an easy and relatively inexpensive method to improve sleep without reaching for medication.
According to experts, the ideal weighted blanket should equal 10% of your body weight. This kind of blanket can take a bit of getting used to as your body adapts to the pressure. However, the elderly and anyone with health issues should check with a doctor before using a weighted blanket.
If you want to have a good night’s sleep you can try the CaliPM Valerian Root California Poppy Herbal Sleep Aid Tea.
You may also want to read: Here Are 11 Facts About Digestive Enzymes You’d Never Guess