There are few things worse than spending your nights tossing and turning. Whether it’s anxiety about work, stress about financial woes or just plain insomnia, when you can’t sleep, the repercussions are more serious than just feeling drowsy the next day. It can reduce your quality of life and overall health.
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do to keep your body healthy. During sleep is when the body regenerates and repairs itself. That is why people that suffer insomnia very often present with other chronic health problems. Those health problems won’t get better until the sleeping improves.
We’ve put together our 10 best natural remedies to help you beat insomnia:
1. Use Essential Oils
Incorporating essential oils into your nightly routine is a safe and natural way to encourage your body to wind down. There are many oils that can help you sleep but our 2 favourites are Roman Chamomile and Lavender.
- Roman Chamomile fights stress and promotes relaxation.
- Lavender can improve your sleep quality by working as a natural sedative.
You can use them by diffusing them, dilute them with a carrier oil like coconut oil and rub it on your neck and feet or put a drop of each on your pillow.
2. Use Acupressure
Heart 7 (H7) is commonly used in acupressure for sleep disorders treatment. This point is also known as the Spirit Gate, and it is located on the inner side of the wrist crease, in line with the little finger. Stimulating this point helps in relieving insomnia caused by overexcitement, emotional issues, anxiety and irritability.
Yintang is one of the best acupressure points for sleep treatment that calms the mind, clarifies ideas and stimulates restful sleep. This point is also called the Third Eye Point, and it is located directly between the eyebrows, in the bend where the bridge of the nose meets the forehead. This point helps in relaxing the central nervous system and insomnia.
Use firm, deep pressure to massage each point for 2-3 minutes. Make sure you are in a relaxed and comfortable position. You can use acupressure as often as you like. You can do it yourself, or get someone else to do it for you.
3. Exercise in the morning
That rush of endorphins you feel after a solid workout is awesome — until it’s the reason you can’t sleep at night. Try shifting your workout schedule to the mornings. You’ll feel great having completed your exercise session bright and early, and it’ll be easier to unwind at night. Plus, research shows that exercise is known to effectively decrease sleep complaints and treat symptoms of insomnia.
4. Eat Melatonin rich foods
Melatonin is one of the major keys to a natural, healthy sleep cycle. So eating a combination of certain fruits and carbohydrates that support melatonin or contain tryptophan, which contributes to melatonin production, will help you sleep and stay asleep.
I don’t recommend having a heavy meal right before bed or eating a large amount of sugary fruits, but include these items during your dinner or an hour before bed as an evening snack, to increase your melatonin production and ensure a sound sleep.
- Morello cherries
- Porridge oats
To further spur the production of serotonin and thus melatonin, it’s recommended that you eat these tryptophan-containing foods in the evening:
- Grass-fed dairy products
- Fish, chicken, turkey
- Sprouted grains
- Beans and pulses
- Rice (black, brown or red rice are the best)
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
5. Add a Magnesium supplement
A magnesium deficiency can lead to sleepless nights. While there are plenty of magnesium-rich foods you can eat naturally, adding a supplement can help jump-start your levels and help you sleep better. In fact, studies have found that magnesium supplements improved insomnia and sleep efficiency.
6. Maintain a regular sleep schedule
Keep your circadian rhythm in check by adhering to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible — yes, even on weekends! As your body becomes used to getting into bed and waking up at the same hours, you’ll find it becomes easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally. Aim for an average of eight hours of quality sleep a night.
7. Get some sunshine
Starting your day with natural light exposure helps reset your biological clock. It also balances your body’s melatonin and cortisol levels, and serves as a natural source of vitamin D. In fact, research shows that vitamin D deficiency may be linked to sleep disorders. Try going for an early morning walk or leaving the office during your lunch hour to get your dose of sunshine.
8. Skip late night sugar and simple carbs
Avoid eating sugary sweets, chocolate, simple carbs, juice or high-glycemic fruit just before bed, as it can spike blood sugar, boost your energy and you can wake up feeling hungry. Instead, try a little bit of protein with vegetables or a small amount of complex carbohydrates with protein, which can boost melatonin and help you fall asleep fast!
Some good bedtime snacks are:
- half a banana with almond butter on a slice of sprouted grain bread
- hummus with carrots
- cucumber or celery
- a small handful of cashews
- some seed-based crackers
9. Journal before bed
When you can’t sleep, oftentimes, it’s our own thoughts preventing you from falling asleep. Instead of running through situations or problems in your mind after lights out, try journaling before bed. It’s a therapeutic way to address what might be troubling you and chronicle your day before drifting to sleep.
10. Get some acupuncture
Tried all these tips and still struggling? Research suggests acupuncture can have a positive effect in the treatment of insomnia (1-2).You can make your appointment online here or you can call us on 0414 067 874 for more information.
- Zhao K. Acupuncture for the treatment of insomnia. Int Rev Neurobiol. 2013; 111:217-34
- Shergis JL, Ni X, Jackson ML, Zhang AL, Guo X, Li Y, et al. A systematic review of acupuncture for sleep quality in people with insomnia. Complement Ther Med.