Trouble Sleeping? 10 Natural Sleep Remedies To Help You Catch More ZZZs
There are few things more frustrating than insomnia, and a sleepless night usually means a stressful day, too. You can usually bounce back after a good night’s sleep, but if you’re too stressed to drift off when you finally hit the sheets, the problem can quickly spiral out of control.
Life doesn’t stop because we’re tired or stressed, so it’s hardly surprising that the chronically sleep-deprived are desperate for solutions. However, prescription sleep medications have an incredibly high potential for dependency and abuse, not to mention an eye-watering list of nasty side effects.
If you’re looking for a healthier option to help you sleep, what can you do instead? Here are our top 10 natural remedies for getting a great night’s sleep…
1. Increase your melatonin levels
Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by your body to induce sleep. It starts to rise in the evening after sunset, creating that familiar drowsy feeling.
As melatonin is released when it is dark, and light tells our body it is time to wake up, trick your body by ensuring your room is dark. Black-out blinds could be a simple but effective way of increasing your melatonin levels which, in turn, will help you sleep.
Magnesium has many essential roles in the body, one of which is regulating your natural melatonin production.
Magnesium is an essential mineral for good health. Find out more about “The missing mineral – magnesium”
You can get magnesium naturally from leafy greens, eggs, nuts and wholegrain cereal. However, if you’re not getting enough magnesium from your diet, you can also use a supplement, a cream, or even a bath soak.
Promote deep sleep.
Improve sleep quality.
Help you fall asleep quicker.
Promote wakefulness the next morning.
Soothe stress and anxiety.
Research suggests that lavender is most effective in oil capsule form, but you can also use topical creams, essential oils and pillow sprays for a calming, sleep-inducing effect.
4. CBD oil
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a rising star in the wellbeing market. Derived from the hemp plant, the wildly popular oil is said to help with everything from chronic pain to digestion issues.
While research into these benefits is in the very early stages, the results so far are looking incredibly promising. Recent studies suggest that CBD oil can promote good sleep by:
A word of caution: CBD is a new and rapidly growing industry and regulation hasn’t yet caught up. It’s hard to know which brands are trustworthy, so buy from a retailer like CBD Shopy that applies strict quality criteria to the products they stock and is a member of the UK Cannabis Trades Assoctaion. Their handy review of the Top 7 CBD Oils to Buy in the UK breaks down their favourite products and explains what you should be looking for and why.
Chamomile has been used for centuries as an herbal sleep remedy. Its mild sedative effects are thought to come from compounds called terpenes and flavonoids, which act on benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. It’s also thought to lower blood pressure, soothe anxiety and relax the body.
Chamomile tea is widely available in supermarkets and health stores. For a natural, restful sleep, drink a cup 30 minutes before bedtime.
Passionflower is another ancient herbal remedy for anxiety and sleep. The data isn’t as strong as it is for chamomile, but multiple studies have shown increases in sleep quality and time spent in deep, restorative sleep.
For a double dose of relaxation, try a tea with a blend of passionflower and chamomile before bed.
7. Valerian root
Valerian is one of the most popular herbal sleep aids in the world. Often referred to as ‘nature’s Valium’, valerian is jam-packed with antioxidants like hesperidin and linarin. Like Valium, these compounds have a notable anti-anxiety effect. They also protect the neurochemical GABA, promoting feelings of tranquillity and wellbeing, and they reduce activity in the area of the brain responsible for your emotional response to stress, anxiety and fear.
Valerian is widely available from health stores as a supplement or tea.
The amino acid L-theanine is thought to help improve the quantity and quality of sleep by increasing levels of GABA, serotonin and dopamine in the brain, creating a state of relaxation and wellbeing. It also helps to reduce neurochemicals that cause stress and anxiety, regulates the physical and mental symptoms of stress, and helps to enhance the brain waves associated with restfulness.
The best dietary source of L-theanine is black or green tea, but you can also get it in supplement form at all major health stores.
Tryptophan is an amino acid your body uses to produce serotonin, which is a precursor to melatonin production. Tryptophan-rich foods like turkey have long been associated with sleepiness, and studies support its sleep-boosting effects.
While it is available as a supplement, research indicates that it’s best to get your tryptophan from dietary sources. As well as turkey, you can get a healthy helping from foods like cheese, almonds, milk and bananas.
Another amino acid called glycine is thought to lower your temperature before bedtime, signalling to your body that it’s time to sleep. Studies have reported that glycine helps you to fall asleep faster, and also fights fatigue and boosts mental clarity the next day.
Glycine is available in supplement form, but you can also up your intake by eating foods like meat, eggs, fish, poultry, beans, leafy greens and bananas.
Looks like the answer to your insomnia may have been sitting there in your kitchen all along! The next time you find yourself counting sheep in the thousands, reach for one of these all-natural sleep aids instead.