Natural Sleep Remedies as an alternative to prescription drugs
Do you have trouble falling asleep? Do you wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time going back to sleep? You might be one of the millions of Americans with insomnia. Research says that one in three Americans experiences insomnia on a regular basis. If you’re like me and want to avoid all OTC and medications, here are some easy tips and natural sleep remedies that will help you get your Zzzs.
Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep
Aside from the natural sleep remedies highlighted below, your daily habits can influence your sleep. Here are some things you can start implementing today.
- Set a a sleep alarm – Yep, that’s right. Set an alarm to let you know it’s time to get ready for bed. Going to bed at the same time every night can help you sleep better.
- Take a hot bath 1-2 hours before going to bed.
- Turn off the TV – If you have a TV in your bedroom, don’t leave it on at night. You want a dark and quiet room. If too quiet is a problem for you, use a sound machine or run a fan.
- Exercise – Regular exercise is known to improve sleep quality. You just don’t want to work out too close to bedtime since that may keep you up.
- Check for copper and iron deficiencies – Research Psychologist Dr. James Penland believes that these deficiencies may be a contributing factor to insomnia.
- Meditation – How often do you lay in bed with that brain of yours going a million miles an hour? That is why deep breathing or meditation are great. Close your eyes for five to ten minutes and focus only on your breathing. If your mind starts to wander, it’s ok. Just focus on your breathing again. You can also go for a walk in the evening. I love to do this. I think about my day, process whatever needs to be processed, and let go.
- If you’re on any medications, check to see if insomnia is a possible side effect. If it is, check with your doctor about different options.
- Avoid sleeping pills – Researchers have found that 50% of people who regularly take sleeping pills find that their insomnia gets worse – if you need to take something, you might want to consider something from the natural sleep remedies section below.
Foods and Beverages to Avoid or Consume
Whether you are using or plan on using natural sleep remedies or not, the following do’s and don’ts should help you get a better night’s sleep.
- Avoid alcohol – While you may feel tired after a drink or two, alcohol disrupts deep sleep cycles later.
- Cut out caffeine – Caffeine is known to cause insomnia and restlessness. Avoid coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, anything caffeinated after 2:00 pm. That means coffee, black or green tea, soft drinks, chocolate, coffee-flavored ice cream, cocoa…
- Stay away from aspartame – Aspartame has been linked to all kinds of health issues and may lead to insomnia.
- Eat foods that are high in tryptophan like turkey, figs, dates, and yogurt. Eating half a grapefruit is also known to promote sleep.
- Add chia seeds to your salads or juices – With more than twice the tryptophan of turkey, you’ll need just 2 ounces of chia seeds to help you snooze.
- Some people suffer from nocturnal hypoglycemia – If you have no problems falling asleep and but you wake up in the middle of the night, you may have nocturnal hypoglycemia. Good bedtime snacks to keep blood sugar levels steady are complex carbs such as oatmeal, whole grain cereals or whole grain breads.
- Drink a cup of chamomile tea several times throughout the day. It will calm your nervous system and promote restful sleep.
- Eat a banana – Bananas contain potassium and magnesium, which help relax your muscles to give you a peaceful night’s sleep. Bananas also help lower your blood pressure while you sleep.
Natural Sleep Remedies
- Calcium & Magnesium – You want to take these together for best results.
- Melatonin – Melatonin is the hormone that controls sleep so taking it to help you sleep makes a lot of sense. I have tried all kinds of melatonin in the past and find that liquid melatonin works the best. For best results, take a couple drops of melatonin right before turning off the light vs. 30-60 minutes before going to bed. I love the liquid melatonin by Quantum Research Labs.
- Valerian Root – Valerian is a natural sedative and one of the most common natural sleep remedies for insomnia. Studies show that valerian improves the quality of your sleep, how deeply you sleep and how quickly you fall asleep. It doesn’t work for every one though since about 10% of the population report that it gives them energy. If that happens to you, take valerian during the day instead or don’t take it at all. Dr. Whitaker recommends taking 150 – 300 milligrams of valerian root extract (0.8% valerenic acid content) 30-45 minutes before going to bed.
- Other herbs that can be taken in capsule or extract form before bedtime: hops, kava kava, passionflower, skullcap, and california poppy.
I hope that these tips and natural sleep remedies will help you. I’d love to hear what you’ve tried and what’s worked for you.
Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life by Russell Blaylock, M.D.
Dr. Whitaker’s Guide to Natural Healing by Julian Whitaker, M.D.
Dr. Oz Foods that Make You Snooze Article
8 Natural Remedies That May Help You Sleep on Health.com