It is not uncommon for people these days to complain about how lack of sleep is affecting their lives. Our erratic work routines, lack of physical activities and stressful lifestyle are some of the common reasons which can lead to insomnia or sleep disorder. While not being able to enjoy a proper sleep once in a while is bearable, constantly battling to fall sleep can take its toll on your health and lead to discomfort and stress. From lack of concentration to fatigue, the effects of insomnia can be varied. Before you consider taking over the counter medications to treat this disorder, it is suggested that you try a few natural remedies, like the ten best natural sleep aids mentioned below:
1. Chamomile Tea
A kind of herb, chamomile is considered to improve digestion, reduce anxiety and lower muscle tension, thus further helping in improving sleep. Chamomile tea should be taken after dinner. However, taking it just before going to bed should be avoided, as the need to go to the bathroom can disrupt your sleep. Some of the other herbs which can be helpful in treating sleep disorder is passionflower.
Hops is known for its calming effect, something that people who consume beer are usually aware of, as these flowers are used for beer making. However, this herb is also widely recognized to act as mild sedative and show effective results in treating conditions like insomnia and anxiety. Consuming about 30 to 120 mg sufficient time before going to bed can show great improvement.
Aromatherapy involves the use of scented oils, particularly lavender, to create a relaxing and soothing ambiance to treat insomnia. The effectiveness of lavender to improve sleep time and quality has been proved by various studies. You can put a sachet containing lavender under your pillow when sleeping. Adding a few drops of lavender oil in water while bathing can also improve your sleep. It has been seen that women benefit more from this remedy than men, as they are more sensitive towards the smell.
To enjoy a sound sleep, your mind has to be relaxed and meditation is an ideal practice to reduce stress and feel calm and peaceful. Meditation basically requires you to sit calmly and focus your attention on your breathing or any sound. While doing this, try to get all the negative and stressful thoughts out of your mind. You can start by doing this for a few minutes daily in the morning or at night, gradually increasing the time you devote to meditation. You will notice that after regular meditation your minds become calm and free from stress, thus resulting in improved sleep.
Yoga combines breathing exercises and various postures to improve relaxation and healing. There are some specific asana or postures in yoga, which are aimed at treating insomnia by relaxing the body and mind. By practicing these poses regularly, under the supervision of an expert instructor, you can see considerable improvement in the total amount and quality of your sleep.
6. Lemon Balm
The scientific name of lemon balm is Melissa officinalis and it can be used as an herbal supplement and tea. Lemon balm is helpful in calming the nerves and relieving anxiety. That is why the use of lemon balm is suggested to improve anxiety related sleep deprivation. You can take equal amounts of lemon balm extract, ideally 300mg, at breakfast and dinner. This will result in reduced anxiety, as well as lowered fatigue, thus improving sleep quality.
One of the best natural sleep aids, valerian is an herbal remedy which is said to show great improvement in deep sleep and reduce anxiety, provided it is used regularly. Whether you take it as a supplement or brew as tea, valerian affects the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid in our body, which is a kind of calming neurotransmitter. Additionally, it reduces muscle spasms as well. Ideally, it should be consumed about an hour prior to going to bed with a dose of 450 mg. Consuming it during day time can lead to drowsiness.
Ayurveda is a traditional Indian technique of treating various health disorders with the use of natural herbs and oils. As per Ayurveda, vata is responsible for the regulation of breath and circulation. Vata imbalance in your body leads to insomnia and anxiety; fear and irritability are its other symptoms. This problem can be healed by applying oil on the feet and head, which for individuals falling under pitta type should be coconut oil at room temperature, warm sesame oil for vata type and warm mustard oil for kapha type.
9. Exposure to light
Our body depends on light exposure to decide the right time to wake up or fall asleep. Thus exposing your body to light at the right time is considered to help people with sleep disorder. In case you are suffering from delayed sleep phase syndrome, which means you find it difficult to sleep at night, then your body should be exposed to light during the morning. Conversely, if you have trouble waking up in the morning, it means you have an advanced sleep phase syndrome and your body needs light during late afternoon. You can visit a specialist and get a special unit to try light therapy.
10. Eating habits
Our eating habits are one of the prime reasons leading to insomnia and thus this condition can be treated by making a few changes in the kind of food we eat. Excessive consumption of tea, coffee, soft drink, chocolate and alcohol can lead to sleep deprivation, causing restlessness. Consuming too much sugar can also disturb the level of blood sugar, thus disrupting your sleep pattern. So, try to consume food items which are rich in magnesium, such as wheat bran, cashews, whole grains, almonds, green leafy vegetables, etc.
Natural sleep aids should be preferred to treat sleep disorder rather than consuming medicines because natural remedies seldom have any side effects but can show great results in treating the condition of insomnia by combating the underlying causes, like anxiety, depression and stress.