If you’re having trouble sleeping through the night, look no further. Many common herbs, drinks and foods produce sleep-enhancing qualities that will help you fall asleep faster and achieve a deeper, sounder slumber.
While many popular brands of sleeping pills are sometimes linked to harmful side effects, these simple home remedies are natural and side effect-free; a majority can even be found at an affordable cost in the aisles of your local grocery store. Don your pajamas, dim the lights and prepare for a long night’s sleep with these effective and accessible natural sleep aids.
Chamomile tea, in addition to serving as a warm, relaxing bedside beverage, contains a calming antioxidant called apigenin. Apigenin targets the areas of your brain that may lower anxiety and induce sleep.
A herb native to Europe and Asia, valerian is commonly used to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders by releasing chemicals that have a calming effect on your body. Put a couple drops of valerian root extract into your tea before bed and sleep soundly through the night.
Yes, that’s right—hops. Most commonly found in beer, hops are the female flowers from the hop plant, Humulus Iupulus. Many people have found that drinking a non-alcoholic beer containing hops before bed produced calming effects and led to improvements in their overall sleep quality.
Montmorency tart cherries
These cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that your body produces to regulate its sleep cycle. If you drink tart cherry juice before bed, you could potentially increase the quality and duration of your sleep.
Warm almond milk
Almond milk is a great source of calcium, which is another nutrient that aids in melatonin production. Warm milk before bed may be the oldest trick in the book, but it sure is a good one to try out.
Studies have shown that those with low levels of Vitamin C have more trouble falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night. By adding more Vitamin C-rich fruits like oranges and grapefruits to your diet, you might find yourself adopting a more regular sleep pattern.
Lemon balm is a perennial herb in the mint family known to have sedative, calming effects. Soak a handful of lemon balm leaves in boiling water for 10 minutes and you’ll have yourself your very own sleep-enhancing tea.
Another easy way to regulate melatonin levels is to prescribe to a daily magnesium supplement. A crucial mineral in our bodies, magnesium can also contribute to overall bone and heart health and increasing your magnesium intake has been shown to relax the senses and lead to sleep quality optimization.
The natural sugar contained in honey expedites the process of tryptophan entering the brain. A spoonful of honey in your tea before bed (or even by itself) can certainly help you achieve a full night’s rest.
Also known as Passiflora incarnata or maypop, passionflower is a plant that, when ingested, produces a compound that lowers brain activity and spurs relaxation. Invest in a box of purple passionflower tea and let all of your sleep irregularities melt away.
As self-explanatory as they may seem, hot baths before bed have consistently proven to relax your muscles and mind at bedtime. Let the water temperature reach a sweet spot between 90 and 115 degrees and you might catch yourself drifting off before you’ve even toweled dry.
Carbs and protein
For those of you who crave a bedtime snack, consider combining protein and carbohydrates to increase tryptophan levels in your brain. Tryptophan is an amino acid found in dietary proteins that boosts sleepiness. Eating a light snack composed of protein and carbs, like cheese and crackers, 30 minutes before heading to bed may significantly reduce the time you spend tossing and turning.
Freshly washed sheets
In a recent poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, more than three-quarters of people said that they get a more comfortable night’s sleep on sheets that have been freshly washed. Wash your sheets and pillowcases once a week to ensure you come home to an inviting and relaxing bed.
Whether it comes in the form of a candle, room spray, essential oil or even body lotion, smelling hints of lavender before you fall asleep will decrease your heart rate and blood pressure, propelling you into a sweet state of relaxation.