Can’t sleep? You’re not alone. About 50 million Americans suffer from sleep issues. Find out how you can get better sleep naturally.
Got sleep issues? You’re not alone. About 1 in 5 Americans struggle with sleep. Fortunately, there are some natural ways and home remedies to get a better night’s sleep.
10 Natural Ways to Better Sleep
1. Ditch the Caffeine
While it’s tempting to have a cup of tea or coffee drinks after 5 pm, it’s best to skip it altogether. Unless you’re having herbal tea (which is usually caffeine free), those coffee drinks and chai tea lattes have caffeine that can make it hard to settle down at night.
If you want to settle down for the night with a warm drink, try warm water with a spoonful of raw honey and a dash of Himalayan Pink Salt. Natural salt helps to reduce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline – encouraging a better night’s sleep.
2. Eat a Lighter Dinner
After a big meal, you may feel tired but it’s usually short lived. Your digestive system has to work harder to digest all that food, which can leave you up at night. Ditch the heavy dinners for something lighter like a salad with chicken or a hearty soup. Another option is to eat an earlier dinner – around 5 or 6 pm – to give your body more time to digest your food.
3. Address Your Stress
There’s no doubt that stress can affect sleep. When stress is triggered, the body releases cortisol – a hormone that is released into the bloodstream that helps the body through the stressful event. But prolonged stress and overexposure to cortisol can lead to a number of health issues – including weight gain, emotional issues, and sleep disruption.
So find out what the root cause of the stress is and deal with it. I know there’s a lot more to it than that – but think about what is causing the stress and find ways to reduce it. You can also try meditation, yoga, or even earthing – walking barefoot. Crazy at it sounds, there are 1,300+ nerve endings per square inch on the soles of your feet – more than any other part of your body. Walking barefoot – or earthing – helps to ground you to the earth and in a way conduct the energy from the ground.
If you’ve tried these techniques and still think cortisol or hormones might be an issue, learn how to get a hormone test to address a hormonal imbalance.
4. Relax with Essential Oils
Essential oils are fantastic for helping to promote a relaxing, comforting environment. Add a drop or two of Lavender to your pillow at night to get a better night’s sleep. Or add 3-4 drops each of Cedarwood and Orange to a diffuser. Other essential oils that can help are Vetiver (quiets the mind), Peace & Calming blend (promotes relaxation), Stress Away blend (helps to melt stress away) and Valerian (great sleep-enhancing abilities). My husband’s absolute favorite essential oil for sleep is RutaVaLa, an essential oil blend made with Vetiver, Rue, Valerian and Lavender in a convenient roll-on bottle. It helps him to fall asleep and stay asleep.
And I’ve got a great calming and sleepytime homemade essential oil blend recipe for kids too.
5. Try Sleep-Enhancing Supplements
Sleep issues can stem from a deficiency in vitamins or minerals in your diet. Eating a real food diet is key, but some people may need more help. Find out more in 25 signs you have a nutritional deficiency. Magnesium, amino acids, leptin, and thiamine can help.
Melatonin is another option. My husband loves Sleep Essence, a nutritional supplement made with Rue, Vetiver, Valerian, Lavender and Melatonin. He takes just 2 capsules about 15 minutes before bedtime. It’s been the cornerstone of his nightly ritual to get a good night’s sleep. Want to find out more about Sleep Essence? Find out how to order it and essential oil here.
6. Read Before Bedtime
It’s probably the easiest thing to do, yet many of us don’t do it or we play games or read on our smartphones. Ditch those phones, laptops, e-readers and other electronic devices (which can also lead to excess EMF radiation – read How to Protect Yourself From EMF and Laptop Radiation), and opt for a good old-fashioned book instead. Reading helps to calm the mind before bedtime (you can also apply some Vetiver essential oil too) and reduce stress to get the body ready to sleep. Find books with calming and soothing themes, which means avoiding crime dramas, horror stories and anything else that might increase your heart rate.
7. Try an Earlier Bedtime
Not surprisingly, going to bed later can affect your body’s natural circadian rhythm – your body’s natural clock. If you’re late to bed all the time and have sleep issues, try an earlier bedtime. For many people, a 9 or 10 pm bedtime is ideal to get a full night’s sleep and to start the day the next morning at 6 am am.
8. Sleep in a Dark Room
Got a night light in your room? Like to sleep with the TV on? Got a computer in your bedroom? Get rid of them, and keep your room as dark as possible for sleep. Why? Artificial light can disrupt your circadian rhythm as your body may think it’s time to get up.
9. Get a Better Bed
If you’ve tried all of the above and still can’t get a good night’s sleep, it could easily be your mattress. That was a HUGE issue for us. Both my husband and I used to toss and turn all night – never feeling quite comfortable in our bed. He would wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble going back to sleep, while I always felt tired in the morning. These are both signs of a disrupted sleep cycle.
What happens during a sleep cycle? Your body goes through Stage 1-4 sleep and then REM (dream) sleep. It takes 45-90 minutes to go through a sleep cycle. When you sleep on your side, your body will want to move every 10-15 minutes. If you’re trying to get to a 45-90 minute sleep cycle, but your body is moving every 10-15 minutes then you won’t get through a full sleep cycle.
So the right bed makes a huge difference. If you’re tossing and turning all night or your bed is sagging (in fact, most memory foam beds start to sag within the first TWO years!), then your bed is likely the culprit. I searched for a long time and finally found a bed that supports my back (no more tossing and turning) without off-gassing toxic chemicals from the mattress.
10. Try New Pillows
No budget for a new bed yet? Try a a pillow to get a better night’s sleep on a pillow made without toxic chemicals. The filling in many pillows can cause sleep issues due to allergens (even if you get an allergen-free pillow) from the chemicals that make the pillow. So opt for an eco-friendly or organic pillow instead.
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Photo credit: DepositPhotos.com / g_studio
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