Most of us are aware of the negative effects of sleep deprivation. But, various factors can affect our ability to fall and stay asleep, leading to poor quality rest. However, sleeping pills are not the only solution to your problem. If you’re having a hard time dosing off and maintaining a peaceful slumber, you can try these natural sleep aids.
1. Regular Exercise
A lot of health experts recommend adding regular workouts to your weekly routine, especially if you have a sleeping problem. The reason is not only due to the energy-draining effects of exercising that may help promote a good night’s rest. As you know, regular workouts can also uplift your mood. Thus, doing these activities can also decrease your anxiety, stress, and worries .¨ the common triggers of insomnia.
In fact, according to a study, people doing Tai Chi before bed are able to sleep faster and longer. Other mood-lifting exercises you can try are yoga, running, and dancing.
Aside from regular exercise, one of the best natural sleep aids you can try is meditating. Basically, most of us have a difficulty falling asleep because of the endless thoughts we typically experience at night. Through meditation, you’ll be able to learn to slow down and achieve a calm state that can help you doze off to a restful night.
You can start practicing mindfulness and meditation by turning off your electronics an hour before your bedtime. From there, just lie down and focus on deep breathing or a soft music. You can also try listening or following some guided meditation videos to practice this relaxing activity with ease.
Additionally, this deep relaxation technique is also useful if you wake up during the wee hours or past midnight. Doing a 10 or 15-minute meditation can help clear your mind until you return to your slumber.
3. Increase Your Magnesium Intake
Known as the “relaxation” mineral, magnesium can help you sleep faster due to its ability to regulate melatonin production, the hormone that influences your sleep-wake cycle. Moreover, this essential nutrient can also help increase your gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels, a brain chemical with sedative effects. Because of these effects, magnesium deficiency has been linked to insomnia.
However, taking magnesium supplements is not the only way to get this valuable mineral. Various plant-based products have this essential nutrient such as almonds, spinach and pumpkin seeds.
4. Drink Chamomile Tea
Today, one of the most popular natural sleep aids is chamomile tea. Basically, this floral-flavored beverage has apigenin, a compound that can reduce stress and calm your mind. Plus, you can also get other benefits from this refreshing drink. Aside from promoting a healthy heart, chamomile tea is also rich in antioxidants that can neutralize the free radicals and their harmful effects.
5. Inhale Lavender Oil
Another popular natural remedy for insomnia is lavender oil. In fact, a study revealed that inhaling this aromatic oil can promote good-quality sleep and help treat depression.
The simplest way to reap the health benefits of lavender is to use an oil diffuser 30 minutes before your bedtime. You can also soak your body in a tub of warm water with a few drops of lavender oil. Remember, a warm bath can also promote faster and longer sleep.
6. Try Valerian Root
Valerian root is another widely-used herbal remedy for anxiety and insomnia. Like magnesium, this natural product’s calming effect is due to its capability to increase your GABA levels. However, always remember that you may experience some side-effects when taking teas or capsules containing valerian root. For this reason, you should always consult your doctor before taking this supplement.
7. Take Melatonin Supplements
Taking melatonin supplements is the last in this list of natural sleep aids. As mentioned, your body can produce melatonin, a hormone that guides your internal body clock. Thus, this supplement is beneficial if your melatonin cycle has been disrupted like when you travel to a different time zone. Melatonin supplements can also help people working on a graveyard shift to sleep better during the day.
However, keep in mind that melatonin supplements are not designed for long-term use. Doing so may aggravate your insomnia. Thus, you should only take melatonin supplements upon your doctor’s approval.
- Tai chi and Sleep (NCBI)
- Magnesium Deficiency Linked to Insomnia (NCBI)
- Lavender Oil for Insomnia and Depression (NCBI)