Sleep is something that everyone needs on a daily basis and is something I have had a difficult time with on a weekly basis a few years ago. I have had a difficult time falling asleep or waking up way too early a few years ago. I would lay in bed until I fall asleep around 3-5 a.m some mornings and have to wake up at 6 a.m. I would wake up around 2-4 a.m on other mornings and cannot fall back asleep. I used some natural sleep aids to help me rid myself of sleepless nights.
I blame TVs, phones, tablets, stress, coffee, caffeinated drinks, energy drinks and other things contributing to our sleeplessness. But in reality, we have to refrain ourselves from those items. I think almost everyone reading this list might find they can relate to one of the above. I have had no problems falling asleep since we start using sound machines, take daily magnesium and drink tea about half an hour before bedtime almost every night.
Tryptophan, melatonin, serotonin and 5-hydroxy L-Tryptophan (5-HTP) are all related to each other although they sound different from each other.
Please talk to your doctor before trying any new regime because you may be allergic to something and not know it or it may have a reaction to/with your current medication. Below is our list of natural sleep aids that may be able to help you.
Valerian – Sedative, Relieves Depression, Stress, & Anxiety
Valerian is a perennial hardy flowering plant whose roots are used for sleeping aids, and sedative. The roots contain volatile acids and oils that give you a natural soothing feeling and acts as a sedative. It is assumed that valerian sedative works by increasing the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which gives a calming effect and regulates some nerve cells.
Valerian is also known as a natural anxiety remedy medication which needs a prescription because it has an increased amount valerian that increases GABA. Valerian is available in tea form and capsules.
– 1tsp dried valerian root
– strainer, tea ball or infusion device
– 8oz boiled water
– 1 teaspoon of honey, milk or sugar (optional)
Put boiled water into a teacup/mug.
Add 1tsp dried valerian root into your infusion device or tea ball and then add to your boiling water.
Cover the mug/cup and steep for about 15 minutes.
You can add sweeteners such as milk or honey to add flavor.
Drink at night for a restful night of sleep.
Tart Cherry Juice For Insomnia Sufferers
2. Tart Cherry Juice as a Natural Sleep Aide
Drinking 1/2 cup of tart cherry juice will help you to fall asleep because it is a natural sleeping aid that contains tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that develops into serotonin and then transforms into melatonin.
Melatonin helps to control our wake and sleep cycle. Melatonin lowers our body temperature and causes us to become drowsy, and it works with our central nervous system to sync our biological clock.
Melatonin Helps you Sleep More
3. Eat Food with Melatonin to Help You Fall Asleep
Melatonin is an important chemical that helps us sleep, but your body needs to intake/consume melatonin in any form to help us sleep. Melatonin can be taken in pill form, liquid or be received from food.
Some food items are cherries, banana, pineapples, oranges, barley, rice, tomatoes, oats, sweet corn, ginger, almonds, spinach, and radishes.
Bananas help to calm people down because bananas contain tryptophan, potassium, and magnesium which are muscle relaxants.
It is suggested that you eat one banana every night about a half-an-hour before bed because it will help to increase your magnesium levels and relax your muscles at the same time.
Exercise and Declutter Bedroom for a Good Night Sleep
4. Exercise and Make Your Bedroom Your Bedroom
It is said that people sleep better when they exercise on a regular basis and will most likely wake up with more energy. Exercising give’s us more energy, so it is not wise to work out right before you go to bed.
Decluttering your bedroom is one main thing everyone should do because your bedroom should be a place to rest. Your bedroom should not be a place to watch T.V or to be used as your office. T.V, computers, tablets and other electronics in your room will most likely keep you awake because they will keep you from relaxing.
Try decluttering your bedroom which will not be an easy task because you are probably so used to watching T.V or using electronics while in bed. Decluttering your bedroom and exercising regularly should help you get restful nights.
Chamomile Tea for Sleep
5. Drink Chamomile Tea
Chamomile has been known for a long time as a remedy that helps people to fall asleep faster. Chamomile relaxes your muscles and acts as a sedative resulting in making you tired. Chamomile tea can be found in almost any store. I have tried several brands and did not find any notable difference when it comes down to how effective it is, but the taste varies with different brands.
Making fresh chamomile tea is very simple, recipe below.
¼ cup of fresh chamomile flower heads OR 2 tbsp of dry flowers
Boil 4 cups of water
Add chamomile flowers to boiled water and steep for about 6 minutes.
It is best if you drink the tea hot and you can add a squeeze of lemon, honey or milk to taste.
Tired after Eating Carbs
6. A Small Portion of Carbs for a Good Night Sleep
I know many of you might be wondering what is wrong with me for mentioning carb since a lot of people try to stay away from carbs, especially at night because of fear of weight gain.
Tryptophan has some effects on sleepiness, but it needs to cross the blood-brain barrier first. The blood-brain barrier blocks certain substances from passing through and carries blood to our brain and spinal cord tissue.
It was proven by scientists over 100 years ago in a study. Scientist’s discovered that the entire body except for the spinal cord and brain turned blue after injecting blue dye into several animal bloodstreams. That study confirmed what the blood-brain barrier does.
It is mentioned that you should have a small portion of carbs about 15 minutes before bedtime, so it has time to work in your favor.
Use Lemon Balm
7. Lemon Balm Tea as a Sedative
Lemon balm is an ancient herb that has been known for centuries and was once thought to be a herb that can cure almost anything including snake bites and asthma.
Lemon Balm is part of the mint family and is used today to help us relax, calm and lift our mood. Lemon balm helps to reduce stress, anxiety, improve sleep, boost appetite, relieve pain and helps with indigestion.
Numerous studies confirm that lemon balm has sedative effects but drinking too much of it might cause anxiety. Individuals should not drink more than 1800 milligrams. It is recommended to drink the tea about 40 minutes before bed.
2 TBSP dried lemon balm OR 8 TBSP fresh lemon balm
2 TSP dried chamomile
8 ounces water
Add 8 ounce boiling water to the herbs in a mug and let it steep for about 5 minutes before straining and drinking.
Hops Tea for Sleep
Most people will probably think of beer when they hear the word “hops, ” but hops do not mean beer in this case. Hop is a plant that has many benefits once it is dried.
Hops are used to relieve anxiety, insomnia, other sleep disorders, excitability, nervousness, ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder), tension, restlessness, and irritability.
Some other benefits gained from drinking hops tea is improved appetite, helps indigestion, helps start beast milk flow, antibacterial agent and increase your urine flow. It is also used for prostate cancer, tuberculosis, ovarian cancer, bladder infections, breast cancer, high cholesterol, intestinal cramps, and mucous colitis.
Hops tea is different from the above teas to make.
2 TBSP dried hops
4 cup boiling water
1-quart glass jar with lid
Add hops to the jar and fill the jar with boiling water.
Cover the jar with the lid and let it steep for about 5 hours or more, preferably overnight.
You can keep the drink in your fridge for two days.
Drink a cup of the tea either cold or hot about 30 minutes before bed.
Warm Milk Sleep Aid
9. Drink a Glass of Warm Milk
Many people will ask themselves “Does milk actually make you sleepy?” and the answer is bothersome. Milk has a sleep-inducing amino acid which is called tryptophan. Tryptophan is also in turkey, and we all know how sleepy we can get after a Thanksgiving feast.
Warm milk helps soothe you and makes you feel calm and relaxed. Warm milk was tested, and it showed that it did not have any effect on sleep patterns.
Most recommend drinking a glass of warm milk about 30 minutes before bed every night and turn off all electronics in your bedroom.
Sound Machines for Sleep
10. Make Some Noise For A Sound Sleep
Everyone is different, and we all do not fall asleep the same way. Some people like to hear a sound (music, ocean, rainfall, white noise, etc.) while falling asleep while others like total silence while falling asleep.
I have a difficult time falling asleep when it is totally silent, so I need to hear something other than the fan. I love the sound machine we have because it helps my entire family to fall asleep faster and stay asleep, especially my five-year-old. The sound machine contributes to drowning out most of the other noises so you can fall asleep faster.
Sound machines typically play consistent noise/white noise that has an even tone. We invested in our first sound machine when our son was an infant, and it was one of the best things we have bought. We have one in every room now.
Natural Sleep Aids – Magnesium?
11. Magnesium Sleepless Nights
Magnesium is a mineral/vitamin that we need, and it is a shame to say that most of us are lacking this essential vitamin that does so much for our body. Magnesium helps our GABA receptors (the primary neurotransmitter that relaxes our central nervous system), and we need our GABA receptors to be functioning properly. We will have a hard time falling asleep if our Gaba is not working properly.
Magnesium is known for relieving insomnia because it helps decrease cortisol which is a stress hormone that might potentially keep you awake at night. Magnesium contributes to relaxing your muscles.
We can get magnesium from food with a proper diet, and we can also get magnesium from supplements.
A few other worthy natural sleeping aids are:
St. Johns Wort – use to help with depression and can be taken as a pill or as tea. Add 8 ounce boiling water to 2 teaspoons of dried Saint John’s Wort and let it steep for about 10 minutes before straining and drinking. Drink the tea about 30 minutes before bedtime. You can add lemon or honey to taste.
Catnip – use as a sedative for humans because it makes people drowsy. Add 8 ounce of boiling water to 2 teaspoons of dried catnip or 3 teaspoons of fresh catnip and let it steep for 10 minutes. Add honey to taste and drink about 30 minutes before bedtime.
Lavender Sleep Sachet – Believe it or not, lavender sleep sachets has a soothing effect that will calm you while making you a little drowsy. Several studies agree that aromatherapy helps with sleep. Several studies involving the EEG machines shows that people around lavender scent had better moods and were drowsier than those who were not around lavender. It is not hard to put a lavender sleep sachet under your pillow if you are having problems falling asleep.
Please let us know if any of the above sleep aid help you.