Everyone experiences sleep difficulties periodically throughout their lives, but many people can suffer more serious signs and symptoms of the sleep disorder insomnia.
If you suffer from insomnia, or just struggle with falling asleep, there are some natural remedies you can try that can help relax muscles, promote better sleep, and give you the good night’s rest you’ll be dreaming about.
1. Magnesium & Calcium
I’ve written about the importance of magnesium in your diet, and how it can significantly affect your health if you’re deficient in it, but magnesium and calcium also play a role in your quality of sleep.
Magnesium works by relaxing your muscles, so if you’re body is feeling tight, achy, tense, cramped, or stiff, you likely have a deficiency in magnesium. Taking a combination of magnesium and calcium is not only super beneficial to your overall health, but the pairing of these two minerals will help your body relax, and promote better quality sleep. I get my magnesium lotion here.
I love aromatherapy, and always use different combinations of essential oils for natural remedies from headaches to weight loss. A great combination of essential oils is lavender and chamomile, which are both very relaxing and calming oils to help promote better sleep.
What To Do
- Use 1 drop each of Lavender & Chamomile essential oil and dab just under your nose. Close your eyes and inhale slow and deep, letting the aroma penetrate your senses and relax your body.
- Add 10 drops each of Lavender and Chamomile essential oil to a hot bath, and soak for 30 minutes before bedtime. For an added relaxation bonus, add some magnesium flakes to your bath to soothe sore muscles.
If you’re thinking of beer right now, you’re on the right track. Hops is one of the main ingredients in beer that gives it a very distinct taste, but the hops plant itself is said to help promote calming and relaxation. This is why most people feel a bit sleepy after having a few pints of beer, although that could just be the alcohol talking…
The hops itself won’t get you buzzed, but can help promote better sleep and relaxation if you suffer from insomnia. Try taking a dose of hops extract right before bedtime, but be sure to follow it with water as the taste of hops can be quite potent.
L-theanine is an amino acid found primarily in green tea, which is what helps give you a nice calming alertness throughout the day, and a wonderfully deep sleep at bedtime. It’s also been shown to produce more alpha-waves in the brain, which gives you a relaxed state of mind.
Studies have shown that insomnia sufferers who took 200mg of L-theanine supplement daily felt more refreshed after a night’s sleep, even if their quality of sleep stayed the same. Unfortunately, green tea on its own doesn’t carry enough of L-theanine to make a significant impact for insomnia sufferers, so it’s better to take a pure L-theanine supplement for maximum effectiveness.
5. Valerian Root
Valerian root has been used for centuries to treat sleep disorders, as the plant exhibits a very relaxing and sedative effect on the body. Studies have shown that long-term use of valerian root can help you fall asleep faster, have deeper sleep, and improve overall sleep quality. Take a dose of valerian root extract before bed to help your body relax.
Melatonin is a hormone that our bodies naturally create when it’s time for bed, but some people may lack a production of this natural hormone, which can lead to sleep disorders like insomnia. Luckily, there are melatonin supplements that can help our bodies out when we’re just not producing enough of it on our own.
Studies have shown that lower doses of melatonin over time is more effective than taking large doses at once. Take a single dose of a quality melatonin supplement before bedtime, about 30 mins prior, to help your body naturally get into a state of relaxation.
7. Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is a natural source of melatonin, and the amino acid tryptophan (the same thing in turkey that makes you sleepy after eating). A 2010 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food showed that participants who drank tart cherry juice twice a day, fell asleep sooner than when they were given a placebo beverage. This study found that drinking tart cherry juice twice a day resulted in sleeping 84 minutes longer each night!
8. Mediation & Yoga
It’s no surprise that meditation and yoga are both very relaxing exercises for the body, which is why it makes a great natural remedy for sleep disorders.
Try doing a few easy yoga stretches, about an hour before bedtime, to help stretch and relax the muscles, and follow with a simple meditation. Sit in a comfortable position (you can lie down as well), and close your eyes while concentrating on nothing else but your breathing.
9. Binaural Beats
This is one of my absolute favorite natural remedies for insomnia, and it is so effective that I use it more often than anything else. Binaural beats use the power of your brain to induce different brainwave states that can help with insomnia, relaxation, mental focus, meditation, creativity, and other desirable states.
It works by playing a specific audio frequency in one ear, with a slightly different audio frequency in the other, which produces a phenomenon in the brain that registers each frequency as a completely separate frequency all together.
For instance, if 315 Hz was played in one ear, and 325 Hz was played in the other, your brain would register the difference in sound as 10 Hz. This is called a Binaural Beat. It only works if wearing headphones, though, as listening to it through speakers will be ineffective.
Each frequency the brain registers the binaural beat as, correlates with a specific brainwave which results in different mental states. For instance:
Brain Sync is one of the top companies specializing in brainwave technology and binaural beats, and they have a vast selection of audio programs for whatever you’re looking to do. I’ve used them for years, and they really do have top notch quality when it comes to binaural beats.
Their deep sleep programs are so effective that I have fallen asleep listening to them without even realizing it, and they give me a really deep sleep to where I feel refreshed in the morning. You can check out their entire collection of audio programs, and more information on how they work, at their website www.brainsync.com.
Additional Sleep Tips
In addition to the natural remedies listed, there are several other things you can do to help you get into a relaxed state of mind and body to help get a good night’s rest.
- Take a hot bath 30 minutes before bedtime to induce relaxation.
- Blue light emitted from TVs and computer screens trick the brain into thinking it’s daylight, even if it’s dark outside. Turn the TV and computer off 30 minutes before bed to help your body power down.
- Add a red filter to your smartphone and computer screens to help reduce the blue light. I use f.lux for my computer screen, and an app called Twilight for my smartphone.
- Block out any disrupting sounds by playing some white noise in the background while sleeping. I use a fan in my room, but also have this white noise machine that helps me sleep like a baby.
- Darken your room with a room darkening shade, or tint your windows to help reduce outside lighting or morning sunlight.
- Exercise early in the day to create a physical fatigue that will help promote melatonin production before bedtime.
- Keep your room at a comfortable temperature between 72 and 76 degrees.
Do you have trouble sleeping? What are your favorite remedies to fall asleep?