For as long as I can remember, I've been at war with sleep. I've always struggled with getting my mind to shut down after a long day, and even if I'm lucky enough to fall asleep, it's usually not long before I'm awake again, blinking up at my ceiling in my pitch black bedroom, longing for sleep. I've spent so much of my life yawning that I have a perpetually sore jaw because of it. And until recently, prescription sleeping pills were my only option. But, relying on a prescription for sleep wasn't a habit I wanted to get used to. I wanted to try to eliminate the problem completely, as opposed to masking it with pills that worked as band-aids rather than cures. So began my hunt for a natural cure for insomnia.
At first, my search was disappointing. I tried all the things people tell you to: chamomile tea, melatonin, breathing exercises before bed — but none of them were strong enough to combat my body's resistance to sleep. So I decided to do a little research to see if there's anything out there that's natural and gentle, but actually effective. I'll admit that I was pessimistic, but after trying a few different supplements (mostly suggested by the clerk at my natural grocery store) I'm pleased to share that there are completely natural cures that actually work.
Just because something is not manufactured by a major pharmaceutical company, doesn't mean it's not effective. Here are a few natural insomnia cures that actually work. (Of course, be sure to talk to your doctor before adding any supplements into your diet.)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
A big part of your sleep issue is your relationship with it, according to Vogue. Behavior therapy helps you to create a system for yourself in which you are able to train your body to sleep when you want it to. This method does not require any supplements and can be effective in as soon as a week — but requires you to be fully committed to the process.
Magnesium is a great supplement to add to your daily vitamin intake, because it can help with aches, pains and headache. But it also has a calming effect, so if you take it before bed, it can help to slow down your thoughts, relax your muscles, and get you to a place where you can doze off more easily.
Aroma therapy has many proven effects, relaxation being one of the most common. Lavender has a calming effect and if you place a few drops on your pillow before bed every night, you'll start to train your mind to wind down after being exposed to the smell.
This common tea branded for sleepiness actually does work. Just one cup of the dried root of the plant Valeriana officinalis before bed will make you feel incredibly drowsy. It's also a great aid for stress and anxiety, but you might want to avoid taking it during the day because of its sleepy effects.
This over the counter sleep aid is a natural compound, 5-Hydroxytryptophan. It essentially helps your body to produce more serotonin, which plays a big part in regulating your body's sleep cycles. So not only will it help you sleep, over time, this supplement should help you achieve a better sleep cycle.
Studies show that people with insomnia often also have reduced levels of GABA. GABA, or, gamma-aminobutyric acid, is a inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces feelings of stress and fear. By adding GABA as a supplement, some scientists believe that it can have a calming effect on the body and mind
Passion Flower Tea
Passion flower is a mega aid for sleep disorders, anxiety disorders and nervousness, stress, and even depression, due to its incredible calming effects. Have a cup before bed, so a little bit of stretching to get comfortable and unplug from your devices while you let it do its job.
You don't need to go to a hypnotherapist to get hypnotized anymore. Just queue up a sleep guide on YouTube and follow the prompts. If you pay attention and visualize all of the things the narrator tells you to, you'll fall asleep before the recording is even over.
Binaural beats work by sending a different level of sound frequency to each ear through headphones. The different sounds can help to create a brain frequency that is more optimal for finding sleep. There are plenty of these binaural beat playlists on YouTube that are specifically geared towards a good night's sleep. Plus, the sound helps you to tune out other distracting noises.
If you're freaked out by hypnosis, a guided sleep meditation might be a better fit for you. All you do is listen to a calming narrator talk you into a deep relaxation. This is perfect for the people who can't focus long enough to count sheep — all you have to do is listen.
You might have heard of Lush's Sleepy Lotion, a lavender scented lotion that claims to help you fall asleep. The theory behind it is not magic, despite how magical it might sound. It's merely the combination of aromatherapy, massage and a bedtime routine, proving that having a unshakable bedtime system for yourself is imperative, especially if you struggle from insomnia. Consistency is key, so create a routine for yourself that you can do every single night, whether it's a foot rub, a cup of tea or a quick yogi stretch.