Can't Sleep? Try These 7 Natural Remedies For Insomnia

Whoever thought that counting sheep was a relaxing way to fall asleep obviously never had any issues in maths class. Add an overactive imagination to the equation and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster.

If you’re having trouble sleeping and don’t want to rely on childish mental exercises or sleeping pills—don’t despair. Try these natural remedies instead.

Valerian Root

Whether you drink it in tea, swallow it as a pill, or drop it on your tongue, valerian root is a tried and true natural remedy that has been used to treat insomnia since the time of ancient Rome. Which is a good indication of its worth, because the Romans definitely had a lot to keep them up at night circa 476 A.D. Not only does the herb help promote sleep, it’s also used to reduce anxiety, which pretty much goes hand-in-hand with insomnia. 

Aromatherapy 

Another ancient remedy, aromatherapy has been used for centuries to help promote relaxation and meditation. In particular, the scent of lavender not only helps you unwind, but also sends you off to a deeper level of sleep because of its mild sedative properties. Light a lavender scented candle, massage some oil into your temple, or burn an essential oil diffuser in your bedroom for the ultimate effect. If aromatherapy sounds like your jam, try experimenting with other sleep-inducing oils like camomile, geranium, and ylang ylang.

Cool Down

If it’s winter where you are right now, the idea of removing layers of clothing to achieve comfort may seem like a typo, but take your complaints up with science. During the normal human circadian rhythm, sleep occurs when the core temperature is dropping, so it might be time to loosen your grip on your hot water bottle in bed. Instead, try running the fan or AC for a few minutes before you enter your room, and be sure to sleep in cool, breathable fabrics.

Magnesium

Many studies have found a link between low magnesium levels and sleep disorders. A naturally occurring mineral, magnesium helps to relax your muscles and stabilise your mood while reliving stress. It also works alongside melatonin to control your body clock and sleep-wake cycles, and should be taken 1-2 hours before you’re ready to zonk. 

Sun exposure

What could be a more natural remedy than nature itself? Sunlight promotes healthy melatonin production by helping your body’s natural clock figure out what time it is so it can react accordingly. As soon as you wake up, expose your body to some natural daylight so it knows it’s time to wake up. Throughout the day, continue this exposure so that once the sun sets and it’s time to hit the hay, your body knows what’s up (or better yet, what’s down).

Stop looking at your phone

This one might seem like a filler—but it’s actually the single most effective addition I have made to my sleep routine this year. If you are reading this in bed right now because you can’t get to sleep, bingo! Ironically, the answer could quite literally be right in front of you. Even a quick 10 second Insta check can re-stimulate the brain, making you feel more active and awake.

Exercise  

If you work in an office or another environment that results in you spending most of your time sitting down and looking at a computer, it’s imperative that you spend at least twenty minutes a day doing something active. Whatever your cup of tea—be it yoga, pilates, boxing, a run around the block, or even just a leisurely stroll during your lunch break—you need to tire out your body so it’s on the same page as your mind at the end of a long day.

If you are concerned about your sleep, health or wellbeing, your first port of call should be a GP, who will be able to advise a correct treatment plan. 

Enjoyed this? Read The Ideal Temperature for Sleep, According to Science

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