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Effective Home Remedies for Insomnia

Updated on March 15, 2019
LoisRyan1965 profile image

Lois has over ten years' experience in the home/herbal remedy field. She seeks to inform her readers and help them to save money.

It is important in our daily part of life. We cannot function properly without it. “What it is?” you may be asking. The answer is sleep. While getting eight hours of sleep a day is ideal, some of us do not always get that amount. We may have a hectic schedule such as working overtime, having to travel to a special event or just having to attend too many activities. Sometimes we just toss and turn when we are in bed, worrying that we will not get enough sleep. While some of us struggle with insomnia once in a while, for others this is a day-by-day struggle. While feeling tired the next day, people who suffer from insomnia may also experience difficulty concentrating, depression and anxiety.

Even though many people suffer from insomnia, not everyone have sleepless nights for the same reasons. Therefore, you have to identify the causes of your insomnia. For example, you may have an overactive mind. You might be thinking too much about problems going on at work or even be excited about winning the lottery. Whether from stress or excitement, especially late in the evening, this brings on too much stimulation to your brain. This over activity may make it difficult to fall asleep. What you eat has a direct impact on how well you sleep. If you eat a heavy meal in the evening that includes spicy, greasy food, bouts of heartburn and indigestion may keep you up during the night. If you suffer from chronic pain such as arthritis, you may have difficulty falling asleep.

The first thing is not to worry about it. If you go to bed, close your eyes and the sand man does not seem to come knocking at the door, get out of bed and do an activity to keep your mind off the sleep that you are missing. I work night shift and sometimes I find it hard to fall asleep right away. When this happens, I will occupy my mind with reading a chapter or two in a book. After doing this, my mind is ready to go into relax mode. I also listen to meditation music that I downloaded onto my kindle. This music helps relax me. Another method I use when I am trying to sleep is I close my eyes and visualize a peaceful place. Sometimes it is a forest with a stream; other times it's is a waterfall. This visualization trick has helped me many times to reach slumber land.


Exercises such as yoga helps tire your body.  Doing stretched before going to bed will help you fall asleep faster.
Exercises such as yoga helps tire your body. Doing stretched before going to bed will help you fall asleep faster. | Source

Stress

If you are under stress or are in a stressful situation, your body suffers also. When you are not relaxed, your body is not relaxed. When your body is not relaxed, you will not be able to sleep well. There are several things you can do to help your body relaxed.

Fill your bathtub with warm water and add two to three drops of jasmine or lavender essential oil. While you are sitting in your bath, have a lit lavender candle or incense on your sink. Breathe in the pleasant aromas. You can also pop in a CD of soft soothing music. All of these will help relax you, your body and your mind.

Around since ancient times, massage helps people who have a hard time falling asleep. The best type of massage is to have someone give you a full body one, whether it is a partner giving you one or going to a massage parlor. However, you may not have the time for a full body massage. You can still effectively help relax your body by massaging your hands and feet with lavender oil.

The quickest and most natural means of getting the mind and body to rest are to exercise and tire out the body. This does not mean exercising once in a while. You must exercise at least four days a week. While you might not have the time or convenience to join a gym, you can exercise right in your home. Doing things like walking instead of driving the car, walking up the stairs instead of using the elevator and doing basic exercises-such as crunches and squats-will help prepare you for a restful sleep.

There are many free yoga and exercise apps from the Google Play Store. You can easily download them to your mobile phone.


Basic Rules of Thumb

The basic rule of thumb about your sleeping hours is to go to bed and wake up at the same time. Create a sleep cycle by going to bed and waking up at the same times. Even before you go to bed set up a routine such as taking a shower, reading a book or having a cup of non-caffeinated tea. Doing this consistently will tell your body that it is time to go to sleep and will train it to recognize that it is time for going to sleep. However, for some people that would be impossible. For example, you may have a job where you are working different shifts each week. This is very disrupting to your sleeping pattern. Your body does not know when it is to go to sleep. You can still set a sleep pattern. For example, you get home at 8:00 in the morning. You can set a routine by getting chores around the house before you go to bed. Set a time to stop doing these chores, such as 10:00, and get under the covers. Doing this to set a sleep pattern helps your body adjust.

Your brain's level of melatonin may be lowered. This is one of the root causes of insomnia. You can purchase melatonin in a health food store and take a tablet or two before you lie down. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks before you go to bed. You should stop drinking beverages that contain caffeine at least two hours before you go to bed. If you need that hot beverage before you go to bed, brew a cup of Chamomile, peppermint, rose or lavender tea. Add milk, honey, or nutmeg for a delicious taste. This will help relax you.

Do not eat a heavy meal before you go to sleep. A loaded stomach just before you hit the pillow not only disrupts your sleep pattern, it also expands your waistline. If you have the case of the late night munchies, it is best to have a small snack, such as a cheese and crackers.. You can also drink a glass of warm milk with nutmeg or honey in it. This remedy has been around for a long time and is very effective

You might be experiencing sleep problems because of your bed. Maybe the mattress is lumpy or the sheets make you itch. Purchasing a new mattress and better quality sheets does wonders for your sleep routine.

Remove distractions from your bedroom. Do not let you pets sleep with you if they are keeping you awake. Do not sleep with your lights on or turn them down to the lowest setting possible. Turn the television set off. Leave you mobile phone in another room.


Drinking herbal tea may help you fall asleep faster.  Avoid teas that have caffeine and look for herbs that contain calming and relaxing properties.
Drinking herbal tea may help you fall asleep faster. Avoid teas that have caffeine and look for herbs that contain calming and relaxing properties. | Source

Foods for Sleep

What you eat has a direct impact on how well you sleep at night. Therefore, it is essential to pick out the right foods that will give you the best sleep. Once you learn which foods to eat and which ones to avoid, you will be on the way to getting peaceful and restful nights at sleep.

There is a specific amino acid that helps promote sleep. This is called tryptophan and is found in most dairy products. That is one of the reasons why people stress drinking a warm glass of milk before going to bed. Other foods that contain this amino acid include oatmeal, honey bananas and poultry products such as chicken and turkey. Since it is advised not to eat a huge meal just before you go to bed, because it can lead to weight gain and problems with the digestive system, it is best to have a snack before you go to slumber land. While the glass of warm milk will be enough, you may not be the milk-drinking person. You can substitute the milk with cheese and crackers. The carbohydrates in the crackers actually work with the dairy products and helps increase the level of tryptophan in your blood.

Alcohol is a depressant. Many people assume that drinking these will help them fall asleep. However, with the exception of an occasional after dinner drink, alcohol will give you a very restless sleep. You may be up frequently and have nightmare. Depending on how much you drink, you may spend more time in the bathroom than actually in your bed.

It is important to drink water throughout the day so you can keep your body refreshed, energized and hydrated. However, since this beverage is a diuretic, it is best to stop drinking an hour before you go to sleep. That way you do not have to wake up during the night to use the bathroom.


Honey is an excellent insomnia fighting food.
Honey is an excellent insomnia fighting food. | Source

Natural Herbs to Help You Sleep

If you practice the above tips and nothing seems to work, do not feel that you are alone. Almost 20% of this nation's population suffers from some sort of insomnia which can be caused by a number of factors including pain, stress, depression, medications and so on. You may be considering purchasing over-the-counter sleep aids. Before you buy these chemically made products, you may want to look at some natural sleep aids. They are safer, non-addicting and you will not make you feel drowsy during the day.

With the countless numbers of herbs found around the world, you may be asking yourself, “Are there any out there that will help me to sleep?” The answer is yes, some herbs contain calming and relaxing properties. If you suffer from insomnia, clear out your medicine cabinet to make room for sleep-inducing herbs. Not only will these herbs help you fall asleep, you will enjoy many other health benefits from them.


Native to the Mediterranean and tropical parts of Asia, the peels, flowers, seeds, and fruit of the bitter orange can be used to treat insomnia and other health ailments. Not only is it used to induce sleep it is excellent for treating

  • Bronchitis
  • Gas
  • Gout Pain
  • Sore Throat Pain

Borage is an excellent calming herb and is successful in treating stress, a main cause of insomnia. It not only contains anti-inflammatory properties, it is also a natural pain reliever. This herb will help you sleep through the night if you are prone to headaches and toothache pain. It also contains expectorant properties and helps keep your bronchial passages clear. The astringent properties found in this herb help clear up skin conditions such as eczema and acne.

Famous as a very pleasing tasting tea, chamomile contains sedative properties. It is a herb that is so safe, you can take it for extended periods of time. The next time you have trouble falling asleep, drink a cup of this tea. Not only is it excellent for insomnia, it also contains spasmodic properties and provides soothing relief if you have heartburn or other issues with your digestive system. It is a natural pain reliever. Just by putting a teabag next to an aching tooth, your toothache will be gone in no time at all.

Lavender contains calming and relaxing properties. Since there are several types of this herb, you must know which one is best for insomnia. English lavender is the best one to use. You can either purchase this herb as loose leaves or as an essential oil. You can use the leaves to make an excellent sleep inducing tea. You can use the essential oils and inhale the aroma. (Note: do not take essential oils internally.) Smelling the sweet aroma with help you feel calm and relaxed. It is excellent for relieving sore muscles and reducing stress. In addition to its relaxing properties, lavender is an excellent pain reliever. It works wonders in fighting fungal infections. Since the oil can be applied directly to the skin, you can use it to treat skin conditions such as acne.



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Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that is found in the body. This hormone tells your body when it is time to sleep. When there is not enough of this hormone in your body, you may find it hard to sleep. Many pharmacies sell melatonin as a supplement in various strengths such as 1, 5 and 10 milligrams. Since some people may experience a mild case of daytime drowsiness, it is best to start out with the lowest strength and see how you react to it. Even if you do experience drowsiness, it is mild compared to the side-effects of chemically made sleep aids.

Many health food stores sell Kava Kava. It can be purchased as a dried herb, tea or supplement. The calming and relaxing properties help calm your body down, thus promoting a restful sleep. Other herbs that you can include are passion flower, California poppy, chamomile, lavender, skullcap and Valerian root. If you are unsure which ones to buy the next time you are at your local health food store, purchase all of them. It is actually a good idea to rotate between these sleep-inducing herbs so your body does not build a tolerance to them.

The passion flower incarnate is a wild flower that grows in the southern part of the United States. It is a perennial that grows on a vine. While they only bloom for a day, these pretty plants contain many healing benefits from the stem, leaves and petals. The passion flower has been used for years to treat a number of health ailments. The ancient Aztecs used the flower for relaxation and pain relief. This herb is excellent in relieving stress and anxiety and helps keep your cholesterol and blood pressure at safe numbers.

Valerian root (Valerian officinalis), native to Asia and Europe, is a popular herb throughout the world. It is a culinary herb because the leaves and roots are both edible and is used in many soup, salad and meat dishes. This flowering herb with white or green flowers is considered to be an all healing wonder herb because of its many medicinal uses. The use of this herb dates back to the Ancient Greek and Roman times for treatments for insomnia, stress, anxiety, nervous spasms, hysteria, muscle tension, stomach cramps and intestinal problems including irritable bowel syndrome. It is known as “natural Valium,” however it is non-addictive. More effective that other over-the-counter and prescription medications, you can use this herb on a long-term basis.

A calming bath right before bedtime helps with insomnia
A calming bath right before bedtime helps with insomnia | Source

Where to Buy Insomnia-Fighting Products

The above are only a few of the many herbs that help give you a restful sleep. You can find many more by talking to a qualified herbalist or doing an online search. Many products containing these herbs can be found at your local health food store on online through sights such as EBay and Amazon. You can find these as:

  • Capsules
  • Dried herbs/Flowers
  • Essential Oils
  • Extracts
  • Lotions
  • Powders
  • Seeds
  • Teas
  • Oils


Precautions

Always read the labels to find out what the correct dosage should be.

Before taking any herbs to treat insomnia-especially if you are pregnant or nursing-always talk to your doctor. Some herbs may interact with medications and supplements that you may be already taking.

Do not let insomnia rule your life. The above techniques will help relax your mind, body and soul. There will be no need for you to buy sleeping pills. However, these are only remedies. If you are consistently suffering from insomnia, see your doctor.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Lois Ryan

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    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      5 months ago

      Great article - I have suffered with insomnia in the past, however, I find that practicing yoga and using aromatherapy products does the trick for me. Thank you for sharing.

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