What is the Most Effective Natural Sleep Aid?
Are you struggling to sleep at night?
Sleep is one of the most important functions that recharges your body and mind. Without sufficient sleep, your brain will not be able to function properly and you will become unhealthy. It will also begin to impact your daily life, such as your concentration, memory, appetite, personal relationships, and career.
It is important to obtain at least 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Unfortunately, with a busy life and work schedule, sleep is one of the first things that is often neglected. There could also be many stressors in your environment that impact the quantity and quality of sleep.
Not being able to sleep can be extremely frustrating, and leave you feeling more stressed.
With barriers that may be out of your control, it is important to focus on the things that you can be doing to improve your sleep. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural sleep aids that can help you get a better night's sleep.
Here are some of the best natural remedies for sleep that you can try.
#1 Drink herbal tea before bed
There are a variety of herbal teas that have been used for thousands of years to aid in better sleep. This is because herbs have different properties that encourage the body to relax, unwind and slow down, as well as fight off symptoms of stress and anxiety. Some of the most popular herbal teas to drink before bed is:
- Chamomile tea - this is because it has a floral flavor and sedative effects that encourage muscle relaxation and sleep
- Green tea - This tea has been known to reduce stress and improve sleep quality (the low caffeine versions are best before bed)
- Lavender tea - is known for its soothing effects on the mind and body before bed
- Passionflower tea - this herbal tea can help improve the quality of your sleep
#2 Create a bedtime routine
Going to bed and waking up at different times each day can be extremely disruptive to the amount of sleep you get, and the quality. Creating a routine for bedtime that ensures you go to sleep at the same time, is one of the simplest, and most effective natural aids to improving your sleep. If you are consistent with the same routine, your body will learn this new pattern and within a few weeks, it will become much easier to fall asleep at night, and wake up in the morning. Your routine might include having a stretch, washing your face, brushing your teeth, and reading a book. Try to avoid using screens, eating food, or conducting a high-intensity exercise at least 2 hours before you sleep. Use this time to wind down your body and mind instead, which will help significantly in going to sleep.
An irregular sleeping routine will mess with your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is your body’s 24-hour internal clock that helps you function every day. It uses this biological clock to determine when to release certain hormones that will induce sleep, or help you wake up. A regular sleep pattern will positively support this bodily function.
#3 Practice mindfulness
Stress is one of the biggest factors that disrupts a person's sleep. There is a range of different mindfulness techniques that are simple and quick to complete before bed that can help you to sleep better. This is because all mindfulness activities are essentially relaxation techniques that can soothe both your mind and body. This is great if your body is feeling tense or stressed, as well as for those who tend to worry and overthink at night. Some of the most popular mindfulness techniques that you do at night are breathing techniques and meditations. You can do them for as long or as short as you like, and are suitable activities for all ages, of all abilities.
There are plenty of simple breathing techniques you can do before bed, for example:
- Diaphragmatic breathing - lay down, place a head on your belly, breathe in through your nose and fill up your stomach, slowly exhale and draw out all the air from your belly.
- 4-7-8 breathing - breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7 and breathe out of your mouth for a count of 8.
- Box breathing - breathe in for a count of 4 seconds, hold your breath for a count of 4 seconds, breathe out for a count of 4 seconds, and hold your breath for a count of 4 seconds.
To get started with meditation, you only need to find a quiet and comfortable place to sit. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. You can set a timer for 3, 5, or 10 minutes, or you can use a guided meditation on YouTube.
It can be a good idea to experiment with different natural sleeping aids, to see which ones work best for you. Make sure you try each one consistently for a few weeks, so you can see the true benefits.