Natural Sleep Aids: Home Remedies for a Good Night's Sleep
Sleep is my drug of choice.
I love slipping into bed at night and sighing with pleasure at having crossed the finish line of another day. Sweet relief! If I sleep through the night, in the morning, I feel like Super Woman—or maybe Cat-Woman—empowered and ready to kick ass. If I don’t sleep…well, it’s unpleasant, and a tsunami alert should go out to my four kids and husband, too. Watch out, shit is going down! (While this may be exaggerated, you get the idea.)
I want you to love sleep, too. In this blog, I’ll talk about the treatments, substances, and formulations that can help you get rest. Read on!
Discover Natural Sleep Aids
There are many different options to support your sleep quality and overall well-being—you don't just need to reach for a sleeping pill. We will break these down into two categories: Practices and Medicines.
Practices that Improve Sleep
When you exercise, you sleep better. It isn't rocket science—but if you need citations you're in luck, because the science backs this up. A review by the Sleep Foundation found that people who exercise even moderately spend less time lying awake at night, sleep more deeply, and wake up more refreshed than their sedentary counterparts. In addition, physically active people are generally leaner and, therefore, less likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, which is a common symptom of obesity.
Furthermore, according to a study at the University of Pittsburgh, there is a bi-directional relationship between sleep and exercise. That means the more you exercise, the more you sleep, and the more you sleep, the better you exercise. On top of the copious beauty and health benefits, getting a good night's sleep is just one more reason to hit the treadmill!
The bedroom is the place for sleep and sex. As it turns out, doing one helps the other. According to Chris Brantner, a sleep science specialist at SleepZoo, when we sleep, we have more sex. And when we have sex, beneficial hormones are released, and stress is reduced, making it easier to fall asleep. So if you want to sleep well, make sure you use the bedroom for what it was made!
Watching our thoughts, going over the day's events, and letting our minds grow quiet can lead to profound insights about our psychology. That is speaking from experience. What's more, meditating is a good way of unwinding, far better than scrolling on Facebook or worrying if our photo got enough likes on Instagram. According to a meta-review of 18 mindfulness trials, mindfulness-based meditation “significantly improved sleep quality” in many cases and generally provides a benefit.
Ok, perhaps I am biased here—but I know that both personally and in the lives of my patients, acupuncture has led to more peace and, therefore, to better sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping, tell your acupuncturist; the more we understand your concerns, the easier it is for us to work.
Medicines that Improve Sleep
Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the body that can be an effective regulator of sleep-wake cycles. Though many have found this helpful, I am not a fan. From my perspective, if your body produces something internally, don’t ingest it. By onboarding more of that substance, you are saying to your body, “You can slow production—we have found another source.” That said, if melatonin works for you, trust your body first.
Not everyone knows that aromas can have a medicinal character. Lavender essential oil is known for its ability to promote relaxation and calmness, making it an excellent natural sleep aid. Aromatherapy with lavender has been shown to help people fall asleep faster while also improving the overall quality of sleep. By harnessing the power of lavender, you can create a peaceful and tranquil environment that promotes a good night's sleep.
That said, as I tell my kids, “It's possible to have too much of a good thing.” That applies here, too. While a drop on a pillow or diffused in the bedroom can help you float off to dreamland, when used to excess, lavender can actually be overstimulating.
While you can find cheap lavender anywhere, if you are looking for quality, Lavender Maillette from Lifetree Aromatix is the best. The owner, John Steele, is the real deal and very old school, so email is preferred: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bach’s Rescue Sleep
Many of my patients have used Bach's Rescue Sleep with great success. It is made from Clematis, Cherry Plum, Impatiens, Rock Rose, Star of Bethlehem, and White Chestnut blossoms grown in Oxfordshire, England.
Chinese herbal medicine offers natural remedies for sleep problems. These remedies can be particularly effective for individuals who prefer a holistic approach to addressing their sleep issues. Certain herbs, such as Suan Zao Ren and Mu Li, are commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine to promote sleep. These herbs are carefully selected and combined into formulas that may help address underlying imbalances affecting sleep.
Day Calm & Deep Sleep from Vitality Clay and Herbs
Patients have been very happy with Day Calm & Deep Sleep from Vitality Clay and Herbs. It contains Lemon Balm, Ashwaganda, Bugleweed, Catnip, Chamomile, Jatamansi, Kapi Kachu, Mugwort, Passion Flower, Rose Petals, Skullcap, Wood Betony, Zizyphus Seed, Agrimony, Ancient Plant Minerals, Basil, Damiana, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Gotu Kola, Hops, Lavender, Mullein, Nettle Leaf, Parsley leaf, Poppy Leaf, Rosemary, Sarsaparilla, Thyme, Wild Lettuce, Cardamom, Nettle Seed, Humic Fulvic Substance, Ormalite.
Take before bed and after you are done using heavy machinery :-)
Possible Side Effects of Natural Sleep Aids
Some people using natural sleep aids experience side effects like dizziness and nausea, so it's essential to be thoughtful when choosing a sleep aid. Caution is advised, especially if you need to be alert during the day. It's also crucial to take note of any possible interactions with other medications you may be taking. To ensure your safety, consult a healthcare professional.
Sleep is an essential part of living a healthy, vibrant life and if you're not getting enough it is a real bummer. Thankfully, there are options. By choosing a healthier lifestyle and finding the right medicinal support, you can be on your way to sleeping peacefully.
Wishing you lots of sleep soon!