When you are sleep deprived and tired, you might try just about anything to get better shut-eye. It may be tempting to make medication your first choice to beat insomnia woes, but there are many ways to boost your snooze without the serious side effects that can come along with drugs. Check out what we found on About Health to take the natural route in sleeping better:
Valerian: It can be taken as a supplement or brewed as a tea, either way should help make you drowsy, reduce anxieties and improve the quality of your sleep.
Melatonin: This natural-occurring hormone has a role in helping us feel sleepy at the right time and stay asleep throughout the night. Melatonin supplements can be taken for a short period of time to help you get back on track from jet lag or mild insomnia. Since cherries contain melatonin as well, drinking tart cherry juice has also been proven to be effective.
Relaxation techniques: Practicing meditation is a great habit to include in your bedtime routine. Whether you try mindfulness, yoga, visualization or other techniques, they all can help ease your stress so that your sleep is longer and deeper.
Diet: Cut off caffeine and sugar early in the afternoon and eat more sleep-promoting foods throughout the day, including those contain magnesium, potassium and melatonin. Don’t forget to avoid nicotine and alcohol before your bedtime as well.
Aromatherapy: The scent of English lavender oil has been used to help people fall asleep long throughout history. It has resulted in longer total sleep times, deeper sleep, and more refreshing mornings. The best thing about lavender is that it works fast and can be placed somewhere as simple as under your pillow.
Light: Soak up sunlight as soon as you wake up and as much as you can throughout the day. Being exposed to light keeps your natural body clock in sync so that you’ll be sleepy at bedtime and alert during the day.
Music: Listening to slow music before bed can lengthen total sleep time, decrease awakenings, and make you happier with the amount of sleep you are getting.
Acupuncture. According to research from University of Pittsburg, 5 weeks of acupuncture can create a rise in melatonin secretion, improving sleep time and relieving insomnia woes.
Remember to consult with your doctor before trying any new remedy and get confirmation that your insomnia is not a symptom of another health condition such as heart disease, depression, sleep apnea or diabetes. While not all of these have been proven scientifically to improve rest, they are certainly worth a shot if you’re struggling to get some rest and want to avoid medications.