Suffer from insomnia?
You aren’t alone. Fortunately, there are some natural sleep aids for insomnia that can get you sleeping again without harsh drugs.
When a baby starts screaming or crying for apparently no reason, parents and caregivers know that it’s time for a nap.
When adults get irritable and struggle to stay awake during meetings or follow long conversations closely, no one considers sending them to bed.
This is unfortunate because we don’t overcome the need for high-quality sleep as we get older.
Most of us are more stressed out and sleep deprived than ever, and the bags under our eyes are begging for a nap.
According to the CDC, adults who sleep less than seven hours each night are more likely to suffer from obesity, heart disease, asthma, cancer and many other serious health conditions.
More than two-thirds of all teenagers get less than the recommended 10 hours of sleep per night and are also likely to suffer from health limitations as a result.
This is an epidemic that places each of us at risk of disease and early death, but there are some natural sleep aids that can help you overcome insomnia.
Keep reading if you need a little help getting to at least seven hours of solid sleep each night.
Magnesium is an essential mineral, which means that your body can’t produce it naturally.
While it’s natural to the earth, it’s not natural to our bodies. Many people don’t consume enough magnesium-rich foods to supply their bodies with adequate amounts daily, and that can result in a higher risk for heart disease and many other health problems.
It can also impact your quality of sleep, which is why it’s considered one of the most effective natural sleep aids.
Even some medical doctors are now recommending magnesium to patients who struggle with sleep or are at high risk of heart disease.
There’s also some scientific evidence that speaks for the use of magnesium to improve sleep quality.
One study that focused on improvements in sleep quality for 46 elderly participants found that consuming 500 mg of magnesium daily delivered significant results.
Those taking the magnesium supplement slept for longer periods of time and had higher levels of melatonin in their bodies than participants in the control group.
If you don’t want to take a magnesium supplement, start loading up on green leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, squash, legumes and lean cuts of meat.
These are all magnesium-rich foods, but it doesn’t help to add a daily supplement if you routinely suffer from insomnia.
Warm milk and tea are two of the most common sleep aids available today, and there is some research in favor of using passion flower tea for insomnia.
For instance, one study asked 41 people between the ages of 18 and 35 to consume either passion flower or a placebo tea before bed for one week.
They also kept a sleep diary, and the results showed that those consuming the passion flower tea experienced a significant improvement in quality of sleep when compared to the placebo group.
You can buy passion flower tea bags or make your own sleepy-time tea from dried passion flower herb.
If you have passion flower essential oil, try mixing it with lemon and other sleep-inducing oils that are safe for consumption.
While you’re at it, diffuse some lavender oil because it has been shown to have a relaxing effect on the brain as well.
Valerian is a tall grassland plant that produces flowers, but it’s also known as a home remedy for sleeplessness.
Specifically, the root of the plant has been used since ancient times to relax the body and mind.
That relaxation is what allows you to drift off to sleep rather than tossing and turning half the night.
A detailed review of scientific research regarding valerian and sleep was printed in the American Journal of Medicine in 2006.
The review identified six studies that found valerian root an effective intervention to improve sleep quality in some way.
These reviews don’t standardize a method of delivery or dosage for the effective treatment of insomnia, but it does validate the many people who have provided anecdotal evidence over the years.
You can buy valerian root as an over-the-counter supplement, and it’s generally considered safe to take up to 600 mg within a couple hours of bedtime.
You should follow instructions for consumption on the bottle of your chosen supplement.
This is the amino acid in turkey that is responsible for so many Thanksgiving Day naps.
Research has shown that it is an effective treatment for insomnia, and there are many reputable scientific studies to back this up.
While it’s not known exactly how this works, it’s likely due to the connection between tryptophan and serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and sleep.
You can easily find tryptophan supplements online or in health stores, so you don’t have to treat yourself to a nightly turkey sandwich.
Essential Oils for Insomnia
Many baby baths are infused with lavender, and research has shown that it may help improve sleep quality for adults as well.
One study published in 2015 asked women in postpartum to take 10 deep inhales from cotton balls dipped in lavender essential oil right before going to sleep.
Containers holding the infused cotton balls were also left beside their beds for throughout the night. All of the women treated with lavender oil showed significant improvements in their quality of sleep.
Another study published in a 2017 issue of the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that nurses working the graveyard shift experienced improved sleep quality and fewer sleep-related problems in daily life when treated with aromatherapy massage after their overnight shifts.
The participants received 25-minute professional massages with sweet marjoram essential oil.
You can implement this in your life by placing a diffuser with lavender or sweet marjoram essential oils in your sleep space.
Inhaling the oil from cotton balls will also work and may help if you struggle to fall asleep while away from home.
If you were expecting to see melatonin on this list, allow us to point out that the supplements sold in stores and online aren’t natural.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body naturally, but the supplements available today are synthetic versions of that hormone produced in labs.
While there is some research that these supplements can help some people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, it’s important to recognize that synthetic melatonin isn’t natural.
It’s still something that you might try if you aren’t tied to strictly natural supplements.
As you experiment with some of these natural sleep aids for insomnia, keep in mind that every body is different.
If one sleep aid doesn’t work, don’t give up. Keep trying until you find the right combination of lifestyle adjustment and sleep aid to get your body into the habit of sleeping soundly.
If you aren’t already going to bed and waking up at the same times each day, that is a great place to start.