Insomnia is a prevalent sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty in falling and/or staying asleep through the night.
Insomnia could be a transient condition that goes after a few days (acute insomnia) or it could be long-lasting (chronic insomnia). Insomnia can hamper both your quality of sleep and how much sleep you get.
Causes of insomnia include; disruptions in sleep environment, poor sleep habits, anxiety, stress, breathing challenges, physical pain or discomfort, psychotic disorders, use of stimulants such as caffeine, heavy smoking, consumption of alcohol, and sleep apnea.
Common symptoms of insomnia include; difficulty in falling asleep at night, waking up several times while sleeping, waking up too early, feeling weak when you wake up in the morning, and feeling tired at daytime.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, when dealing with insomnia;
- Have a regular sleep time.
- Avoid consuming alcohol in the evenings.
- You could practice relaxation techniques to improve your sleep quality.
- Eliminate the use of caffeine from your everyday life.
- Endeavor to sleep in a quiet, dark room.
- Avoid smoking.
- You could engage in light exercises during the daytime.
- Avoid watching TV and using your computer or mobile phones well into the night.
- You could listen to relaxation music before you sleep.
Below are natural sleep aids, treatments, and home remedies for insomnia;
1. Green Tea
Green tea contains theanine amino acids which help reduce stress and promote restful sleep. Sip some tea 2 hours before going to bed. Since the high caffeine, in green tea, may outweigh its calming benefits, you should only take the decaffeinated varieties.
2. Valerian Root
Valerian is widely known for its anti-anxiety capabilities. It works by increasing the gamma-aminobutyric acid in your brain which promotes sleep. Unlike many sleeping pills this herb has no side effects. Valerian root works best when combined with lemon balm.
To make valerian tea, put one teaspoon of valerian root powder in a cup of hot water. Cover for a few minutes, strain and then serve. For extra flavor, add honey or milk. If the tea is quite strong, you can take the herb in capsule form.
Saffron has been used for decades in treating sleep disorders. Saffron has sedative properties that induce sound sleep. Furthermore, saffron aids in the production of serotonin which makes it an effective antidepressant. Saffron can also calm your mood leading to undisturbed sleep. To use this remedy, steep two strands of saffron in a cup of hot milk for 10 minutes and drink before going to bed.
When you have a healthy diet, there is a high tendency to have a healthy sleeping pattern. Lettuce is rich in magnesium which plays a major role in your sleep. Lettuce also contains lactucarium which works as a natural sedative. Simply make a decoction by boiling two tablespoons of lettuce seeds in a cup of water. You can also boil a handful of lettuce leaves in a pot of water. Drink one cup of the solution 15 minutes before going to bed.
5. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile contains apigenin compounds which help to relieve anxiety. To make chamomile tea, dissolve one tablespoon of chamomile powder in a glass of water, steep for a few minutes and then drink one hour before bed. You can as well sweeten it with some honey.
Nutmeg is a spice with natural sedative properties. It’s rich in magnesium which helps to eliminate nervous tension. Not only that, nutmeg aids in the production of serotonin which induces sleep. For this treatment to work, add one teaspoon of nutmeg powder in a cup of hot milk and drink before bed. You can add some Indian gooseberry juice to make the treatment more effective.
7. Cumin Seeds
Cumin is widely used as a spice in different cultures. It works as an anti-depressant in Ayurvedic medicine. To induce sleep, grind some cumin seeds and then add to a cup of water. Drink this tea before going to bed. Alternatively, you can add some powder on a mashed banana and then eat before going to bed.
Fenugreek is rich in niacin, vitamin C, and potassium. It also has active compounds like lysine, alkaloids, and steroidal saponins which make it effective in treating insomnia. When you drink fenugreek tea or juice every day, you’ll have a good sleep at the right time. Extract two tablespoons of the juice from the leaves and drink once every day. You can also soak the seeds in a glass of water and let them stay overnight. Then, chew the softened fenugreek seeds before going to bed.
9. Warm Milk
There is scientific evidence that when you drink a cup of warm milk, you increase the body’s level of tryptophan which induces people to sleep. When you take cow milk, your body will produce more melatonin hormone which regulates the wake-sleep cycle. For optimal results, add some cinnamon powder in a cup of milk. Drink thirty minutes before going to bed.
10. Hot Water Bath
Hot water helps your body to relax and, most importantly, it keeps your body in a pre-sleep state. Ideally, a hot bath diverts the blood from the head to other parts of the body. When the brain activity reduces, you’re likely to fall asleep. To get your body into a pre-sleep state, take a hot water bath one hour before bed. You may also want to add a few drops of essential oils like rosemary, chamomile, and lemon balm in your water.
Bananas are rich in magnesium and potassium which helps your muscles to relax. Bananas are also a good source of tryptophan amino acids which helps your body to produce serotonin hormone. If you’re experiencing some sleeping problems, grab a banana a few minutes to bed. Best of all, this nutritious fruit has no side effects. You can also make a banana smoothie.
12. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint has a soothing and calming effect on the body due to its menthol. A simple cup of peppermint tea would help you relax. To brew peppermint tea, take a handful of peppermint leaves and boil in a cup of hot water. Let the solution steep for half an hour and then drink. Do not use this remedy during the day since it can interfere with your body’s ability to respond fast.
13. Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is not just a natural antibiotic but also triggers the release of tryptophan. ACV also helps to eliminate any fatigue. To ease your insomnia, mix two spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar in a cup of warm water and then add some honey. Drink the solution thirty minutes before going to bed. Follow this process every day until your sleeping cycle is back to normal.
14. Drink Tart Cherry Juice
Cherry juice is packed with tryptophan amino acids which trigger the production of melatonin hormone. The hormone helps to balance the sleep-wake cycle by lowering the body’s temperature. If you want to drift off to sleep, take one cup of cherry juice one hour before bed. While the results may not be immediate, you’ll see some positive results in a few weeks.
This is a non-drug therapy commonly used in Chinese medicine. Acupuncture involves stimulating specific points in your body by inserting thin needles. In return, your brain is calmed to go to sleep. At the same time, your body releases tryptophan which helps you to fall asleep. Unlike other remedies, the acupuncture method must be done by a professional.
16. Take Melatonin-Rich Foods
Our bodies cannot produce melatonin naturally, so we must get it from outside sources. Foods like cherries, bananas, oatmeal, and milk are a perfect source of melatonin. They synchronize your biological clock to calm the nerves. According to dieticians, you should take melatonin-rich foods a few minutes before bed. You can also take in pill or supplement form.
17. St John’s Wort
This perennial flowering plant has been in use for many years in combating depression. St John’s Wort contains hypericin which raises the level of serotonin in your brain. To prepare the tea, take two tablespoons of the herb and add to a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 10-15 minutes. Drink the tea 45 minutes before going to bed. You can also add some lemon or honey for taste.
Turmeric works as an anti-inflammatory agent, not to mention it has an amazing soothing effect on your nerves. Mix two cups of coconut milk with one teaspoon of turmeric and then heat until it starts to bubble. Strain with ginger and then add some honey. This secret mixture also helps to ease your digestive problems. To increase its effectiveness, you can add some cinnamon. Drink 2-3 hours before bed.
Catnip belongs to the mint family. Catnip promotes better sleep by producing nepetalactone compound. To make the tea, mix one tablespoon of catnip powder in a cup of water. Steep for 30 minutes and then add some honey to taste. Drink the tea one hour before bed. You can also add other calming herbs. If you don’t like the tea, you can take catnip capsules. This treatment is not suitable for pregnant and lactating mothers.
20. Take Some Carbs
The easiest way to treat insomnia is by increasing your carbs. Studies have shown that when you take foods such as oatmeal, you raise the serotonin level in your brain which makes people feel sleepy. To stimulate tryptophan, take some carbs 20 minutes before bedtime. This is also a natural method of helping the body to produce more insulin. Just take a sizeable portion to ensure you don’t pump your body with lots of calories than the body requires.
Aniseed works by relaxing the nervous system. To make the tea, add aniseed in a three-quarter pint of hot water, cover for 15 minutes, strain it, and then add some honey. Drink immediately after meals or, preferably, thirty minutes before going to bed. This treatment should not be used by children.
22. Magnolia Bark Extract
If you have a problem with waking up in the middle of the night, magnolia herb can easily solve the problem. This Chinese medicine is more effective when combined with other herbs. Magnolia bark works by increasing the GABA receptors in your brain which reduces the time to fall asleep. To get the most out of this herb, add one tablespoon of powdered magnolia bark in a glass of water and let it steep for a few minutes. Drink the decoction a few hours before going to bed. Pregnant women should avoid using this remedy.
When you exercise every day, you can improve the quality of your sleep. For this reason, you should engage in activities such as walking, swimming, aerobics, or any other light exercises. Several studies suggest that exercises help to eliminate stress by increasing the production of endorphins in your body. Furthermore, exercise improves your mood by reducing the symptoms associated with stress and anxiety. Avoid lifting heavy weights to ensure you don’t exercise beyond the usual. Otherwise, you might end up activating the stress-responsive systems.
Some of the common symptoms associated with insomnia include irritability, fatigue, digestive problems, depression, and headache. That’s why drinking some yogurt right before bed can help to treat occasional insomnia. Just like milk, yogurt contains tryptophan which aids in the production of serotonin and melatonin. This treatment works well when combined with carbs. However, you should avoid yogurt with high sugar. Furthermore, taking yogurt would get rid of all gastrointestinal problems which can hinder your sleep.
While most proteins contain tryptophan amino acids, turkey has slightly more. Besides that, turkey is a good source of calcium, B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium. Once the serotonin slows the nerve activities, sleep would be induced. To make a sleep-inducing snack, add some turkey to your wholemeal bread.
Almonds contain large amounts of calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and iron. These nutrients help to relax the muscles and regulate the brain activity. Furthermore, almonds contain 14 amino acids which help to synthesize melatonin and serotonin hormones. Additionally, almonds regulate the blood sugar by keeping your glucose at an optimal level. If you want to have a restful sleep, eat almond nuts a few hours before bed.
27. Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds work as a natural sleep aid. They are commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine to relieve stress and anxiety. Boil two spoonfuls of poppy seeds in cup of water for a few minutes, and then sweeten the concoction with honey. While there is no conclusive evidence on how the seeds treat insomnia, they are worth trying.
Hops are natural herbs native to Europe. Numerous studies have shown that hops have sleep-inducing properties. Although they are commonly used in making beer, they help to curb anxiety which is one of the contributing factors to insomnia. Moreover, they have sedative effects on your body. You can take hops in form of tea or tincture. You could add valerian root to the hops tea to make it more potent.
Grapes help to induce the sleep-regulating hormone (melatonin). Grapes are also packed with antioxidants and magnesium. For a restful sleep, you should incorporate grapes into your daily diet. Although you can still get the same benefits from wine, it’s recommended that you take the fruit in its natural form.
Kava promotes relaxation and calmness. It would put you in a sleepy state a few hours after taking. However, only the root part is used. Just take two tablespoons of kava root in a cup of hot or warm water, strain and then drink two times a day. As a cautionary measure, you should not take kava with alcohol. Also, don’t take the herb if you have liver problems.
This herb is appreciated for its unmatched healing abilities. Passionflower is known for treating insomnia, anxiety, and hysteria. In addition to that, it’s a powerful relaxant that helps to suppress the nervous system. It’s more effective when combined with valerian root. To make passionflower tea, put passionflower tea bag in a cup of hot water, let it strain and then enjoy the hot beverage.
32. California Poppy
This flower helps to alleviate anxiety and restlessness that is associated with insomnia. California poppy contains protopine compound which promotes better sleep. Furthermore, if you’re experiencing joint pains, California poppy would help alleviate your pain. You can either use the flower as a tea or tincture.
To make the tea, boil the herb in a cup of water for 10 minutes; steep it, then, drink one cup before going to bed. Likewise, you can prepare some paste by mixing one tablespoon of white poppy powder with water. Consume the paste a few minutes before going to bed.
If you have trouble sleeping, lavender essential oil could be the solution to your problem. Lavender oil induces the feeling of relaxation by calming the nervous system. To enjoy the therapeutic benefits of this essential oil, add a few drops of lavender oil in an essential oil diffuser and then place it in your bedroom.
Alternatively, you can add a few drops of lavender in your bathing water. Bathing, with a few drops of lavender oil, is the best way to calm and relax your brain before going to bed. You should never take the essential oil orally.
34. Bottle Gourd
Before you take any sleeping pills, you should try the bottle gourd. Although it’s one of the most ignored fruit in our kitchens, it’s rich in vitamin C, sodium, iron, and potassium. If you’ve had a hectic day that is interfering with your sleep, you should extract the bottle gourd juice and then apply it in your scalp or hair. For optimal results, you may consider adding one tablespoon of sesame oil.
This may sound like a surprise cure for insomnia, but it works. It has anti-inflammatory properties which help to alleviate depression and anxiety. Also, it contains magnesium which aids in calming the nervous system. To keep insomnia at bay, crush some leaves to extract the juice, and then add some honey. Take the mixture thirty minutes before bed.
SAVE TO PINTEREST