As we become more aware of the dangers of over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids, less people are turning to these drugs for insomnia relief.
In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the rate of prescription sleep aid use is lower than the incident rate of insomnia. Not only that, but sleep aid use is much lower than the use of commonly prescribed medications. However, with the increasing wariness of these drugs, many are searching for alternatives.
Here are the best natural sleep aids that can help relieve mild insomnia symptoms:
Melatonin is a natural hormone already found in your body. The hormone is released when the sun goes down and stays elevated for about 12 hours. Taking a melatonin supplement at night can help signal to your body that it is time to go to sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, taking melatonin is especially helpful when trying to reset your biological clock due to instances of jet lag or shift work. However, little research has been conducted on long term use of taking this supplement, so consult with your doctor if you decide to use it as insomnia relief.
Valerian is a root that can be steeped in hot water to make a tea-like beverage. It increases the amount of gamma aminobutryic acid, which helps calm the nerve cells. In addition to promoting sleep, it can also help relieve anxiety.
- Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice contains tryptophan, which converts to serotonin and melatonin in our bodies. Both of these cause drowsiness and help maintain the sleep and wake cycle. They lower the body’s temperature and sync its biological clock.
You don’t have to follow any particular religion or philosophy to benefit from meditation. Taking some time out of your busy life to clear your head of anxious thoughts and worries can work wonders on your ability to relax. Especially if you meditate in the evenings, a clear mind can greatly benefit a body that has trouble falling asleep.
Lavender has a calming effect when smelled. Aromatherapy systems often have lavender scents. You can also find room or pillow sprays in lavender, or even make a lavender sleep sachet to keep under your pillow yourself. Breathing in deeply while smelling lavender can help you concentrate on slow, deep breaths, while the lavender helps you relax.
There are many natural behavior changes and sleep habits you can form to help you get better sleep before turning to over-the-counter or prescription drugs. However, if your insomnia is affecting your life and making it difficult to get through daily activities, talk to your doctor about what you can do to get your sleep back on track.