stressed

If you are like me, you have difficulty getting a good night’s sleep. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep on other nights; I can’t fall asleep at all. I have taken over-the-counter sleep aids, but most doctors agree that pharmaceutical sleep aids should never be used for an extended period of time. So what do you do if you suffer from chronic sleep deprivation? I have found natural sleep aids help me get the sleep I need to function. Here are a few solutions I have tried that you might find helpful in getting a night’s sleep. 

Natural Sleep Aids

Melatonin and CBD

Melatonin is a hormone your body produces as it prepares for sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep, you might be suffering from a lack of Melatonin. Experts suggest starting with as small a dose as possible, 1 milligram or less, and only increasing your dose if you do not notice any positive effects. However, long-term use of melatonin supplements can reduce your body’s ability to generate its own, so you should rely on Melatonin sparingly. I have tried this, and it worked for me at first but over time helps less and less. Taking Melatonin is a great way to fall asleep on an ad-hoc basis but not one for the long term. 

CBD is a compound found in the cannabis plant, which despite lacking the euphoric psychoactive effects of other cannabis compounds, can alleviate anxiety, pain, inflammation, and muscle tension. If you are suffering from other health conditions that impact your ability to fall and stay asleep, combining CBD and Melatonin could be the natural solution your body and mind need to achieve restful sleep. CBD has been a godsend for me; it has allowed me to get a good night’s sleep nighly without the negative effects of taking over-the-counter sleep aids. 

Valerian and hops

Valerian is an herb native to Europe that has a long history as a natural sedative. Research has found that valerian root, brewed into tea, is effective at helping insomnia sufferers fall asleep sooner. You can try sipping valerian one to two hours before bedtime for maximum effect. There are all kinds of teas that advertise natural sleep aids. I found that these are less effective for me, but everyone is different so give it a try. I always think trying various natural remedies is the best first step. 

Hops are Related to the cannabis plant, which is another European herb that has been long associated with sedation and sleep. The most common method of consuming hops is in beer, though you might opt for a non-alcoholic option to avoid developing an alcohol dependency. Used in conjunction with valerian, hops can improve the quality and duration of sleep, ensuring that you get a full night’s rest.

Natural Sleep Aids – Products

White noise machine

White noise machines generate a low level of ambient noise while you sleep, which can drown out distracting sounds in your home. Additionally, if your body and mind come to associate the sound of your white noise machine with sleep, then you will likely begin to feel drowsy as soon as you turn your white noise machine on, cutting down the time it takes you to fall asleep.

Weighted blanket

Weighted blankets apply a low level of pressure to the body during sleep. The weight and pressure of these blankets are thought to calm the nervous system, increase feelings of security and promote the release of various sleep-promoting hormones, like serotonin and Melatonin. Most people find the most benefit from a blanket that weighs about 10 percent of their body weight.

Black-out curtains and sunrise alarms

The body’s circadian rhythm for sleep is closely tied to the location of the sun in the sky. When the sun sets, the body is supposed to become drowsy, and when the sun rises, it prepares to wake up. If you have a schedule that does not allow you to follow this natural daily rhythm, you might cover up your bedroom windows with black-out curtains and use a sunrise alarm to simulate the light and darkness your body needs for proper sleep regulation.

Photo by Bryan Geraldo from Pexels

Natural Sleep Aid – Practices

Yoga

Regular exercise helps utilize the body’s energy and release endorphins that better regulate the body’s most important cycles, like sleep. Yoga is an equipment-free, low-impact form of exercise that can help build strength, flexibility, stamina, and more, making it an excellent option for those suffering from insomnia.

Meditation

Research has found an abundance of mental and physical health benefits from mindfulness meditation, which trains you to gain more control over your thoughts and emotions. You should practice meditation during the day so when you are struggling with insomnia, you can guide your body and mind back to sleep.

Routine

You can train your body to respond to certain cues with feelings of drowsiness, which makes the process of falling asleep much easier. You can institute a 30-minute bedtime routine in which you follow the same steps before trying to sleep, which will help your body recognize when it is the right time to rest. Your routine can include turning off screens, meditating, reading a book, following your skincare regimen, and other tasks, as long as they help you calm down and prepare for bed.

You enjoy a more healthful rest when your body and mind naturally drift off to dreamland. Using the above tools and techniques, you should find ways to overcome your sleep struggles in no time.

Featured Photo by energepic.com from Pexels