Picture this: You get into your bed, close your eyes and prepare for some well-deserved shut-eye. Instead, you find yourself tossing and turning. So you lay awake and stare at the ceiling, watching the hours tick by, hoping that you’ll drift off into dreamland eventually. Your stress levels build as the night goes on, which only makes things worse. It’s a bitter cycle, but it’s all-too-common, and if you can relate, you’re not alone. Insomnia is one of the most commonly reported sleep disorders, with about one in seven adults reporting longterm insomnia struggles. So, what can we do about it? While there are several ways to tackle this common problem, there are multiple natural sleeping solutions that have been proven to help a lot of sleep-deprived people get some rest (myself included). Here are a few options that may help you get a better night’s sleep.
When it comes to natural sleeping solutions, melatonin is the one to beat. Our pineal gland, located in our brains, naturally produces melatonin, which regulates our sleep-wake cycles. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, a lack of melatonin is a likely culprit. That’s why taking melatonin in pill or liquid form can be so effective at relieving insomnia. Studies have shown that melatonin can help decrease the time it takes for people to fall asleep. It can also be useful for getting yourself back into a regular sleep cycle after a sleep cycle disruption, such as jet lag.
Lemon balm is an herb that belongs to the mint family, and it has lots of beneficial properties when used as a medicine. It has been shown to help relieve issues relating to digestion, anxiety and stress, as well as insomnia. One study showed that people who took lemon balm twice daily for 15 days relieved symptoms of sleep disorders. Its anti-anxiety properties can also act as a sleeping aid since high anxiety is a common culprit for sleeplessness.
Valerian root is another natural solution to sleep disorders. It works by influencing GABA receptors, which help to regulate nerve impulses in our bodies. According to studies, valerian can block the breakdown of GABA in our brains, and ultimately decrease feelings of anxiety and restlessness. You can take valerian as a pill or as a liquid.
Magnesium is a mineral that is an essential component of the human body. Our cells and organ rely on magnesium to function properly. In fact, magnesium helps to regulate our bodies’ production of melatonin, which is one of the ways it can help ease sleep disorder symptoms. Magnesium is also able to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us feel relaxed.
You’re probably familiar with chamomile tea. It’s a popular ingredient in many “calming” and “stress-relieving” teas because of its ability to act as a mild sedative. Chamomile can reduce anxiety and calm nerves, ultimately leading to a better night’s sleep. It also has a mild, yummy taste, which is an added bonus. Time to stock up on Sleepytime tea.
Lavender is a natural herb that has been shown to induce calming effects. It can be used in aromatherapy as a stress-reliever, or it can be consumed in tea or pill form. It’s often combined with other natural sleep aids, like chamomile or melatonin, to increase its effects. If you want to go the aromatherapy route, lavender essential oils are readily available.
If you’re struggling with insomnia, talk to your doctor. Sleep disorders may be an underlying problem to a larger medical issue, so don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance.