Sleep is one of those things that we take for granted. When we can't sink into a relaxing state, it can be one of the most frustrating (and tiring) things that can happen to us. I've learned from experience that it's necessary to always have a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to natural remedies for insomnia. I've been dealing with sleep issues for the past few years-every few months stress keeps me up, and I'll do just about anything to catch some z's (and maybe even give up Magnolia's banana pudding). Also important to note: Once you get it into your head that you can't doze off, it makes it worse, so don't let those wheels start turning.
It's safe to say I'm not the only one who suffers from insomnia: A reported 60 million Americans deal with the sleep disorder each year. "Sleep is the fuel of life,"В says Gayle Greene, the author of Insomniac. "It's nourishing; it's restorative. And when you are deprived of it, you are really deprived of a basic kind of sustenance."В In order to regain your normal sleep schedule (and sanity), let us talk you through five all-natural remedies for insomnia. Scroll down, and take note.
TRY VALERIAN ROOT
This natural root has been used to treat insomnia since the second-century A.D. (long before sleeping pills were a thing). Other than helping promote sleep, it also treats anxiety and has been known to lower blood pressure. In fact, it's also an ingredient in many sleepytime teas. According to various studies, ingesting the herb decreases the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep. A study conducted in Sweden reported that 89% of participants said they had a better night's rest after taking the root. You can take it in supplement form, or you can reap the benefits by drinking a cup of tea.
DABBLE IN AROMATHERAPY
Our sense of smell can help us nod off to sleep faster. In fact, aromatherapy-particularly when it comes to lavender-is believed to be a top-notch way to beat insomnia. Why is that? Studies show that lavender is a mild sedative, helping both men and women reach a deeper sleep. You can spritz the essential oil onto your pillowcase, invest in a lavender-filled pillow, or buy an essential oil diffuser for your bedroom.
CRANK THE A.C
If you can't get to sleep, you need to chill out. The National Sleep Foundation suggests you turn your temperature to 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit at bedtime for optimal sleep. Yes, it may seem kind of cold, but that's what your covers are for. Researchers have found that your body's "core temperature" needs to drop in order for you to fall asleep.
GET YOUR ZEN ON
We know, we're big fans of meditation, but it tends to treat most things (insomnia included). The next time you're up in the middle of the night twiddling your thumbs, keep the lights off and put on your favorite app to lead you in a short session. Buddhify is our favorite because there are six different meditations for when you can't sleep.
LISTEN TO CALMING SOUNDS
Finding a way to tune out the background noise at bedtime-especially if you live in a city-is key. White noise machines tend to work, but my air purifier tunes out the taxi horns and traffic just as well (and I'm breathing in fresher air, too). Research has also shown that taking in the sounds of nature has a particularly calming effect. You can download an app like Sleep Pillow Sounds for this type of mellow soundtrack.
What are your favorite natural remedies for insomnia? Tell us in the comments.
Up next: How gut bacteria can affect mental health.