The Best Natural Sleep Remedies
Sleep is vital for everyone. It restores and rebuilds muscles, promotes growth and healing, boosts our immune system, and improves our mood and cognitive awareness.
Many of us are not getting the adequate sleep our body is in dire need of, for it is recommended that adults should get at least 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep, 9 to 10 hours for teenagers, 10 to 11 hours for grade school children, and 12 to 14 hours (including naps taken during the day) for children who are 1-5 years in age.
Lack of, or poor quality sleep, can cause you to feel drowsy, fatigued, irritable, anxious, mood swings, decreases your immune system, and can increase the odds of developing chronic illnesses.
Below, is a list of the top ten remedies than can easily be incorporated into your daily routine, in order to help you fall asleep faster at night, while giving you a more deep, better quality, and restful night’s sleep. So, that you can wake up each morning feeling more refreshed, renewed, and full of energy, to tackle all that life throws at you.
1. Be Active & Exercise During the Day
The more active you are during the day, and the more physical excursion your body undergoes, can help you significantly in developing better sleeping habits.
It has been proven, that thirty minutes of exercise a day, helps stimulate the production of endorphins, which help to improve your mood, reduces anxiety, decompresses the mind, and acts as a natural painkiller.
Regular exercise will also help to reduce cortisol levels, which helps regulate your metabolism, maintain good blood sugar levels, aid in memory formulation, and may reduce inflammation.
Reducing stress in the mind, and tiring the body out during physical activity, will not only help increase sleep quality, but may also improve the duration of sleep.
The time of day you exercise however, makes a big difference on whether it is improving, or disrupting your sleep.
Exercise releases endorphins in the body, which is a chemical that raises activity in the brain, making some people feel more alert and awake.
It can take a minimum of 1 to 2 hours for the endorphins to fully work their way through the brain, this can result in keeping you awake, if you were to work out just before going to bed.
Exercise raises body temperature, which triggers the body to wake up. It can take roughly 30 to 90 minutes for your core body temperature to start dropping back down to normal. The drop in body temperature however, is what can help trigger you to feel sleepy, which is why many people are ready for a nap, shortly after a strenuous workout.
It is recommended, to work out in the mornings or afternoons, in order to promote a healthy sleep/wake cycle, but no two people are alike, and what may work for one person and their schedule, will not necessarily work for another. Its best to try out different routines, to find out what works best for.
If you do prefer to work out at night, then try do so at least 1 to 2 hours before your planned bedtime, in order to give adequate time for endorphin levels and core body temperature to return to normal, so that you are able to get more sound shut-eye.
2. Make Your Room a Cool, Dark Place
It is important to create an atmosphere in your bedroom that will help promote, and sustain good sleep. According to Dr. Christopher Winter, (who is a Medical Director for Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep clinic), most studies agree that the optimal temperatures for promoting the best sleep patterns is between 60 to 67 degrees. Sleeping within this range of temperatures, helps the body stay asleep, by soundly transitioning through the different sleep stages, instead of waking up throughout the night. Temperatures above 75 or that fall below 54 degrees, will disrupt sleep patterns, and cause you to wake up more frequently, or keep you from going into a deep sleep.
It is also ideal to have a dark room while sleeping, for any light can disrupt our Circadian Rhythm.
The Circadian Rhythm (also called our internal body clock) helps our bodies adjust to knowing when it is time to be awake (during sunlight hours), as well as when our bodies need to wind down for sleep. It is believed that cool temperatures and darkness, naturally trigger the body that it is time for bed.
Maintaining a healthy Circadian Rhythm, will help you feel more rested from day to day, because you are able to get a more quality, deep, and restful night’s sleep.
3. Remove TV From the Room
There are a number of reasons we can dive into on why you should not have a television in your room. Below is some top reasons why you should ditch the TV.
The Light from The TV Will Disrupt Circadian Rhythm
We touched on what Circadian Rhythm is above, and why it is important to keep a dark room at night, while exposing yourself to good sources of light during the day.
Watching TV while lying in bed, throws off the natural Circadian Rhythm in your body that’s telling you it’s time to wind down and go to sleep. If you are one who enjoys falling asleep watching TV, you can rest assured, that you will not be getting deep sound sleep, which will lead to feeling fatigued and wore out during the day.
It Strains Your Eyes
Watching TV alone can cause strain to the eyes, but watching it in a dark room can greatly increase the strain and stress your eyes experience. Strain to the eyes, could cause headaches, which will most definitely make it more difficult to fall asleep.
Can Create Arguments Between You and Your Spouse
You and your spouse may have different routines, and ideas of what helps you to fall asleep. Watching TV may help you to relax and drift off into a snooze, but it may be irritating your spouse who is trying to quietly relax and read a book to help them fall to asleep.
Or your spouse may be a light sleeper, and trying to go to sleep, but the sound of the TV is keeping them awake, and unable to fall asleep. Whatever scenario may be between the two of you, one thing is for certain, that if you both are not on the same page, then an argument is bound to happen, and will lead to disrupting sleep for both partners.
Will Decrease Your Sex Life
Men are visual creatures, while women are more mindful individuals. Lying in bed watching TV, will rarely get a woman in the mood to have sex with you. A woman gets in the mood, through engaging in open communication, and allowing them to talk about, while the man listens, without offering ways to fix the problems (unless she asks for your advice).
I can guarantee you men, that if you were to get the TV out of the bedroom, and try this one method, then you will not only have a happier wife on your hands, but you will also have a more fulfilled sex life.
4. Foods That Help You Sleep
Food is the nutrition that fuels our body, and if done right, can put our body in a state of homeostasis. Part of a healthy diet and lifestyle routine, is to try to not eat big meals right before bed, because the body goes into high gear after meals, in order to process and digest all that we just ate. Eating a large meal before bed, is a sure way to make it harder to fall asleep, or enter into a deep restful night’s sleep (if falling asleep is not an issue).
I’m sure there are times, where you ate an early dinner, but have been up for a while, and are finding yourself hungry again, wanting to raid the cabinet or refrigerator, in order to curb your hunger, so that you can relax and fall asleep.
Rest assured, there are a number of snack foods that will help promote sleep, and curb your hunger throughout the night.
Some top picks are:
- Greek yogurt (high in casein protein. A slow digesting protein full of amino acids, that keeps you full throughout the night).
- Turkey (contains tryptophan, which is another amino acid, that helps trigger relaxing neurotransmitter serotonin).
- Eggs (naturally produces melatonin).
- Almonds (high in protein, good fats, fiber, and also contain melatonin).
- Bananas (full of potassium and magnesium, which are both muscle relaxants).
- Oatmeal (good source of fiber. Works by raising blood sugar levels, which make you feel sleepy. Oatmeal is another food that contains melatonin).
Remember to eat small portions just before bed, and try to limit fluid intake as well.
Melatonin is a hormone that the body naturally produces from the pineal gland in the brain. Melatonin works by helping to control your daily sleep/wake cycle. The sleep hormone kicks in naturally, when we prepare the right setting to promote sleep (relaxing activities before bed, cool, dark room, etc.).
Sometimes, even though we create the right settings to trigger sleep, we still find ourselves awake, and unable to relax. During these, we can take melatonin in a capsule form, to help give us that little extra push in to promoting sleep.
You can buy melatonin at any major grocery store, vitamin shop, or convenience store, for it is widely used, and very common.
There are also different types you can buy, e.g. in addition to the standard capsule forms, there are flavored quick dissolving capsules, time-release capsules (that release a certain amount throughout the night, helping you to stay asleep), and many different levels of dosing mg.
It is recommended to take 3 mg as needed, but dosing can be increased in more extreme conditions. Because it is a hormone that the body naturally produces, take caution in using it every night, and try to only us it when you it is needed for that little extra boost to help you fall asleep.
6. Valerian Root
Valerian root is often used in the same way as melatonin, however, it affects the body differently, because valerian root is a herb to help promote sleep, while melatonin is a hormone that your body already produces.
Valerian root can be found in either capsuled form, or drunk as a tea. I have found both forms to be beneficial, however, if you are trying to limit your intake of fluids before bed (because your bladder tends to wake you up throughout the night to use the rest room), then you may want to stick with the capsuled form.
A standard dose is 500 mg before bed, to help you fall into a restful night’s sleep. Some have reported feeling sluggish the next day, if taking valerian root at higher than the recommended doses, so it’s best to stick with the 250 to 500 mg, until you know how your body reacts to it.
7. Herbal Tea
Sitting down with a a good book and warm cup of tea, is a great way to trigger the mind and body that it is time to settle down and relax for the evening.
There are a pleathura of different options in decaffeinated tea, that would help the body and mind relax, e.g. decaffeinated green tea (full of antioxidants to support good health), decaffeinated Earl Grey (for my British loving tea drinkers), herbal teas, etc.
If you are having a hard time winding down however, and looking for one to help increase melatonin levels, then I would recommend drinking either chamomile, Sleepy Time, or valerian root tea.
What tea is best, boils down to preference, and what you would enjoy drinking, so have fun experimenting with different teas, and finding that one that really hits the sweet spot.
8. Diffuse Essential Oils
Essential oils has really grown popularity over the last ten years. They have been known to help reduce stress and anxiety, boost cognitive thinking and energy levels, but they are also extremely beneficial for promoting sleep and relaxation.
You can purchase already mixed sleep blends, or buy individual oils to use as is, or mix and match to your liking.
Some of the top oils for promoting sleep are:
- Frankincense (one of my favorites)
- Sandlewood (another one of my favorites)
- Roman Chamomile
- Valerian Root
- Ylang Ylang
Be careful of the supplier you buy your essential oils from, because since the oils have grown in popularity, there are many manufacturers who are selling alcohol based fragrant oils, being advertised as essential oils. These oils are of no comparison to the highly concentrated plant form of a true essential oil.
When shopping for essential oils, look for “therapeutic grade” or “organic” essential oils, and only buy from a source that you feel comfortable with and trust.
Plant Therapy is a company I have been buying my oils from for years, and they have always provided an exceptional product, with great costumer service, and affordable pricing. This is a company I trust, but again, purchase from where you feel most comfortable.
Believe it or not, praying can help significantly reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and give you a feeling of peace and freedom, so that you can take the weight of the world off of your shoulders, and enter into rest.
Praying can help ease your mind, which is often the culprit for lying awake in bed at night, unable to fall asleep. For our minds tend to wonder during the late quiet hours, thinking about things we should have done, or words that should have been expressed differently in certain situations, and sometimes, our thoughts have no meaning at all, but we seem to have a hard time turning off the valve, so that the thoughts can no longer come flooding in.
Prayer can be that valve, to stop the flooding of thoughts, and allow you to feel at peace and relaxed, so that you can have a restful nights sleep.
Here is a prayer you can pray every night, not only over yourself, but you can alter it for praying over a loved one as well;
“Lord, thank you for this wonderful day you have blessed us with, I pray, that you post your angels around our property, my family, and myself, protecting us and watching over us as we sleep. Ease my heart Oh Lord, and fill it with your everlasting peace, love and joy. I pray Father, that you also ease my mind, taking every thought captive that is not from you, or in agreement with your Word, so that I may sleep soundly throughout this night, and awaken refreshed, renewed, full of energy, and ready to conquer the new day that will be put before me. Guide my steps Oh Lord, in all that I do, and all that I put my hand to, and teach me Father, how to love, in the same way you love me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.”
May you always stay in peace.
10. Read a Book, Instead of Using Your Phone
For most, it has become a habit to lay in bed, checking email, updates, engaging in social media, or watching YouTube videos. This, is not really a good habit to have, and can possibly lead to health issues later on.
Studies have shown that blue light is bad for the eyes, because it causes digital eye strain, and can lead to retina damage of the eye if it is a consistent daily habit. Which could later lead to age-related macular degeneration.
The light from your electronic devices, will also mess with your Circadian Rhythms, and keep you from going into a deep, restful sleep.
Books however, do not cause your eyes to strain, and will not lead to eye retina damage, but instead, will relax your mind (escaping into the book, instead of engaging into social media posts or negative news), and prepare the body for going to sleep.
I know for some, a book does not sound appealing, for you have always done everything on your phone, but it would not hurt to give it a try for your healths sake. You may actually be surprised how much more you enjoy reading a book of interest.
New Found Energy
As mentioned earlier, sleep is vital for everyone, and effects every aspect of the body, whether it be physical, or mental.
I hope that you were able to find some useful remedies that you can easily incorporate into your daily sleep routine, that will result in you feeling much more rested during the day, with new levels of energy you never knew existed.
If there are remedies, not listed above that has really helped you get a more restful nights sleep, then please do share in the comments below. For we are always looking for new, healthy remedies that inspire success!