We all have a lot on our minds these days. From trying to remember when you had the oil changed in the car to trying to forget the fight the kids got into at breakfast – there’s a lot going on. Our brains naturally want to categorize everything in neat files, but our brains keep working and it often leads to poor and restless sleep. Or worse, you fall asleep, but then wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall asleep again until just before the alarm goes off.
Well rest easy, we have some help.
Here’s a laundry list of natural ways to help you fall asleep – and stay asleep.
Ways to Fall Asleep Naturally
Yes, it really does work. Lavender helps to relax the mind and allow sleep to come naturally. Make a lavender pillow spritz by mixing purified water with a teaspoon of alcohol (I use vodka) and a few drops of lavender essential oil. Shake well. The alcohol helps break up and disperse the oil. Around dinner time, spray lightly on your pillow, by the time you go to bed it will be dry and lightly scented.
I use to drink this when I was much younger. Chamomile contains antispasmodics that relax your muscles and help you to fall asleep. (Find chamomile tea here.)
Another great herb to use at bedtime! You can take it as a tea or a tincture – it provides a calming effect. (Find lemon balm here.)
It’s true that even a small light can keep you awake. Drape a cloth over your alarm clock if you need to have absolute darkness.
Warm milk or turkey
Warm milk and turkey boost serotonin levels in your body which helps you to relax and sleep.
Taking a warm bath before bed can help to relax your muscles and help you fall asleep.
Epsom salts, or magnesium sulphate, is a muscle relaxant. Add a handful to your tub while soaking. (Find epsom salt here.)
Cut the caffeine
Caffeine keeps most people awake, so if you cut it out you may fall asleep easier. Or stop consuming it earlier in the day. I use to say 7 pm, but now I try not to drink anything caffeinated after 5 pm.
One of the best supplements you can take is valerian. It has been shown to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. The raw herb has an odor, so I take it in capsule form. (Find valerian root capsules here.)
Nettle tea or nasal strips
I use to take a PM type product to help me sleep. And while they can be non-addictive, I wanted to stay away from chemicals altogether so I switched to nettle tea. The main ingredient in most sleeping pills is diphenhydramine, also found in allergy medications. If my sinuses are clear, I sleep better. Nettle tea is used for hay fever and helps relieve the sinuses, so it makes sense that it would work. It does for me! It may not work for everyone, but it’s worth a try. You can also try those strips you put over the bridge of you nose. They work for some. (Find nettle leaf here for making nettle tea.)
Nicotine is a stimulant and will keep you awake, just like caffeine may.
A heavy meal before bed may seem like it could help you fall asleep faster, but in truth, a lighter dinner is usually best.
Aside from all the antioxidants is the melatonin in cherry juice, which will help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Before I settle in for the night, I read a little bit of a fiction book. Jumping into another world helps to turn off my mind and help me relax. Give it a shot.
Develop a routine
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. It may be difficult to implement but after a while it becomes like old hat, and it works well for many.
Use a dream pillow
This one was a natural for me because I grow and use herbs daily. The instructions below will help you get a better night’s sleep, I promise.
How to Make A Dream Pillow
- Cotton fabric in the size that you want your pillow
- Rice or flax seeds, amount to fit in pillow
- lavender, chamomile and hops flowers, about a cup combined (find all these herbs here)
- Cut out the pillow in the size you want. A good size is 16 inches squared.
- Place the right sides together and sew on three sides. Fill with the rice or flax and add the herbs. Mix well.
- Sew the pillow closed and lay flat.
You can use it right away or make it hot or cold, depending on what you need.
To make it hot, place in the microwave for about a minute. It will hold the heat well for half an hour or so. To make it cold, place it in the freezer for a half an hour or so. Do not store it in the freezer or it absorbs moisture and will eventually rot the rice or flax seeds. Store it in a well sealed container to preserve it.
Image credit to Vic