If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, or you wake up feeling unrefreshed, you may be suffering from insomnia. Insomnia is a symptom. It may be caused by stress, anxiety, depression, disease, pain, medications, sleep disorders or poor sleep habits.
Your sleep environment and health habits may also play a role in your sleep problems. Before you rush to the drugstore to buy an over-the-counter sleep medication, try one of the following natural sleep remedies. They are safer and have fewer side effects. Many of these can not only help you fall asleep and stay asleep, but they can also promote muscle relaxation.
Chamomile is a traditional herbal remedy that has been used since ancient times to fight insomnia and a wide range of other health complaints. Chamomile is sold in the form of tea, extract, and topical ointment. Chamomile is widely available in health food stores and supermarkets. Chamomile’s effectiveness as a sleep aid has not been widely researched in humans, but in animal studies it has been shown to be a safe and mild sleep aid.
Valerian is a hardy plant whose roots are used in a number of ways as a sedative and sleep aid. It’s easy to brew up a cup of tea, but if you find the odour too strong, it is also available in capsule form.
How to make valerian root tea:
Boil 8 oz. of water in your kettle, remove from heat, and empty your mug of the hot tap water. Place your infusion device or the loose root in your mug, and pour the hot water over it. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Uncover, remove device or strain, and get ready to enjoy a peaceful night. Add milk or honey if you’d like for flavour.
TART CHERRY JUICE
A ½ cup to a 1 cup of tart cherry juice is a tasty way to drift off to sleep! Tart cherry juice is a natural sleep aid because it’s full of tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that coverts to serotonin, which then coverts to melatonin. Melatonin helps maintain our sleep and wake cycle by causing drowsiness and lowers body temperature, working with the central nervous system to sync our biological clock. Its production is inhibited by light, but released in low light/darkness.
Lemon balm is one of those ancient herbs that people have turned to for centuries. Since depression is often related to insomnia, probably because of a lack of serotonin, lemon balm can help you achieve sleep by promoting mental and physical health. Several studies have confirmed its sedative effects, however it should be noted that too high of a dosage (1800 milligrams) actually increased anxiety. Here, it is made into a mild, uplifting, and relaxing tea.
How to make lemon balm tea:
You will need 2 tablespoons of dried lemon balm, or 8-10 tablespoons of fresh lemon balm, 2 teaspoons dried chamomile, Honey to taste (optional) and 8 ounces of fresh water. Place the loose herbs in a mug and cover with 8 ounces of boiling water. Steep for 5 minutes, strain, and drink 30-45 minutes before bed.
While there is the sleep inducing amino acid tryptophan in milk, studies are debatable that it actually does do anything. Many people find the warmth soothing and relaxing, helping them unwind both physically and mentally. The routine of a glass of warm milk is like any other routine that you need to complete before bed, getting you one step closer to falling asleep. Roughly 30 minutes before bed, start winding down. Turn off electronics, read a book, and heat up a glass of milk to a toasty warm, but still comfortable, temperature.