It is the worst: you finally get the chance to lay down for the night after a long day of work, errands, and more work. You put your head down on your pillow, close your eyes, and wait for the magic to happen. Ten minutes pass, and you start over-thinking everything. Maybe your feet are too cold, so you put on some socks. Maybe sleeping on your back is better for you than laying on your side, so you lie flat. Ten minutes pass again, and after feeling exhausted throughout the entire day, you are suddenly wide away. Did you refill your cat’s water bowl? Did I send that one important email? Sleep: it just is not happening.
According to the national sleep foundation, insomnia affects nearly 50% of Americans occasionally, and about 22% on a daily basis. So, fear not, because if you suffer from insomnia, chances are that the person next to you has too, at one point or another. The good news is, you do not need to resort to over the counter medication, sleep aids, or any prescriptions to combat your insomnia. There are plenty of natural and home remedies to treat your sleeping issue, and we going to go over a few of them today. Open your eyes (if you can), and have a look!
Questions To Ask Yourself
Before we get into some home remedies, let’s look into some of the causes as to why you might be having trouble getting some shut eye. It is always helpful to know how you might be able to prevent or minimize the causes of your problem. A good way to get to the root of the problem is to ask yourself a few questions:
- Am I under a lot of stress?
- Do I feel depressed?
- Am I constantly anxious or worried?
- Have I gone through a traumatic experience recently?
- Am I on any medications?
- Do I have any health problems that could interfere with my sleep?
- Do I feel comfortable in my sleeping environment?
- Do I get enough sun during the day?
- Do my sleeping / waking patterns and times differ day by day?
There are plenty of areas of your life you can address to help with your insomnia. Let’s take a look at some of the various aspects of your life you can hone in on to treat your insomnia in the comfort of your own home.
Bedroom: Your bedroom is essential, as it is the place where you should be doing all of your sleeping. As such, you should create an environment that works well for you when you need to rest, relax, and rejuvenate.
- Keep your clock, alarm clock, or phone away from your line of vision when you are in bed. Constantly checking the time and glancing at your clock will only make you more and more anxious.
- Studies have shown that people sleep better in cooler temperatures. Turn your thermostats down or open the window for some nice, fresh, and natural air flow.
- If you share your bed, make sure that you and the person you are sleeping with each have ample space. If you are having trouble doubling up, consider purchasing separate beds.
Smell: There are certain smells that are known to make you drowsy. First off, think about some smells that are soothing to you and that you associate with comfort. For instance, if the smell of cinnamon brings back nostalgic memories of childhood and your bedroom, try out a cinnamon smelling candle or oil for your room.
- Lavender is known to have tranquilizing properties. Place a few drops of lavender oil on your forehead before you go to sleep.
- Jasmine is also a very comforting smell, and can promote peacefulness in a room. Dab some jasmine oil on your wrists for relaxation help.
- If you are not a fan of too many smells during sleep, consider taking a warm bath before bedtime. Soaking your body can help relax your muscles and clear your mind.
Herbs: There are plenty of natural herbal supplements in the market, and a few of them are known to help with relaxation and sleeping.
- Valerin binds to the same receptors in your brain that the popular sleeping pill Diazepam binds to. However, it does not carry the same drowsy after-morning effects.
- Passionflower works as a mild herbal sedative, and can work in about 4,000 to 8,000 mg amounts.
Mind Hacks: Of course, you can always attempt to use some mind tricks to will your brain into a good night’s sleep. Try these out:
- Imagine your feet becoming heavy as soon as you lie down. Take the time to go through each muscle in your body, starting with your feet, and allow them to each grow heavy and relaxed.
- Count sheep! A wonderful age old technique!
- If you absolutely cannot sleep, allow yourself to do something else. Get up, read a book, watch television, or walk around for 15minutes and see how you feel.
Tummy Attention: You almost hear everywhere to “never go to bed on a full stomach”, because you will likely: gain weight, have bad dreams, or not be able to sleep. On the other hand, if you try to go to bed hungry, you could otherwise be plagued with a growling stomach, thoughts of food, and hunger pangs. Of course you do not want to pack in a huge meal, but a light nighttime snack can’t hurt. Consider these options:
- A banana or apple with peanut butter.
- A slice of lean turkey and crackers.
- A warm glass of milk or hot cocoa paired with a slice of bread with honey.
- Aim for a carbohydrate, which will release serotonin in your brain, but do not overdose on spicy or overly sugary food right before bed time.
Stick to a schedule: Sleeping at weird times every night can put your body’s internal clock completely out of whack. A great way to make sure that your body is ready for sleep every night is to get it used to the same schedule — just like you would a baby!
- Wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. This might be hard, but your internal clock will thank you later.
- Get some sun each day, even if that means waking up early to go for a walk. Do this if you know you will be sitting inside all day.
- Try not to nap! We know this can be tough, but try to power through the 3pm slump by doing a few jumping jacks, taking a walk, or making yourself some refreshing iced tea.
Other Tips: Here are some other do’s and don’ts for a peaceful night’s snooze.
- Avoid caffeine up to 3-4 hours before bedtime.
- Try to stay away from any heavy cardio exercising 4 hours before bedtime. Yoga and other relaxation techniques or exercises are fine.
- Read the labels to any medication that you are taking. Some of them can contain caffeine or have side-effects of insomnia. Consult with your primary care doctor if you think your medication is interfering with your sleep.
- If you find that your mind will not stop once you lay down, consider journaling for 30minutes before you go to bed. This will help clear your mind and let any extraneous issues out.
Get Some Rest!
Rest easy in knowing that there are plenty of natural remedies that can get your sleeping schedule back on track. Udemy carries some wonderful courses on how to get a successful night’s sleep. And hopefully, tonight when you hit your pillow, the next thing you know, you will be waking up to the morning sun!