Do you struggle with trouble sleeping through the night? You’re not alone - nearly one-quarter of Canadians report feeling sleep-deprived, while one-third report getting less than the recommended seven hours a night. Natural sleep aids can be a simple and efficient solution if you spend too much time tossing and turning before getting to sleep.
Though there’s no secret formula for sleeping well, a couple of natural sleep aids have even been studied by researchers to prove there’s an underlying reason some approaches work better than others. Here’s what you need to know about using natural sleep remedies before bed.
Some sleep remedies work better than others. Here are five natural sleep aids that have been proven to work when you’re struggling to get a full night of sleep:
Used as a kind of alternate medicine, essential oils use extracts of select plants, which can then be mixed and used to stimulate your limbic system, a function of the brain that influences your mood. You can use essential oils in a number of ways, from using diffusers, to mixing with milder carrier oils for direct application.
Certain types of essential oils can help with inducing sleep and reducing feelings of anxiety and stress that are often associated with sleep deprivation. Here are a couple of essential oils that can be helpful if you struggle with sleep anxiety:
Many studies have shown that essential oils work well in conjunction with other therapeutic techniques to effectively manage stress and anxiety. Even the most comfortable mattress can be improved by using essential oils - try mixing a little into a bottle diluted with water and spritz on to your pillow for some automatic aromatherapy.
An interesting fact you might not know about sleep is its relationship to body temperature. Your core body temperature can really influence the quality as well as the length of your rest. This applies to your room temperature as well.
Your room should sit at approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep. So why does taking a warm shower right before bed help keep your sleep schedule consistent? When you go to sleep, your body temperature drops. Stepping out of a warm shower keeps your internal body temperature low.
This means that when you take a warm shower before bed, you’re priming your body for rest, and encouraging a snoozy mood with little to no effort. For an added natural sleep aid, try using lavender bath salts for a self-care routine that’s perfect to wrap a week up with.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that your body requires in order to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is responsible for achieving a good, calm night’s sleep. Eating foods that are naturally rich in tryptophan can be a simple yet highly effective natural sleep aid for this reason.
Here are a few foods that are naturally rich in tryptophan:
Switch up your night-time meal to include some foods containing tryptophan to see if it has an impact on the overall quality of your rest.
If the main reason you struggle to get enough sleep at night boils down to stress, finding ways to manage this is going to be very important for your well-being. In one study held by researchers at UCLA, participants who dealt with sleep deprivation were split into two groups.
One group was asked to complete a mindfulness awareness program, while one continued their bedtime routine as usual. Sure enough, the group practising mindfulness experienced a marked improvement in sleep, outperforming the control group on every measure. Mindfulness can therefore be a powerful natural sleep aid if you know enough about how to do it.
Mindfulness is simple - find a comfortable space in your bedroom where you can sit upright, close your eyes, and practice deep breathing for an extended period of time. Apps like Calm and Headspace can help you guide your practice as you bring awareness to different parts of the body, and feel more in tune with your mind and what it needs for better rest.
Consistent exercise is both a natural sleep aid, as well as a core habit that has a deep impact on almost every aspect of your well-being. One study published in the journal Sleep Journal found that even moderate-intensity workouts, such as walking, riding a stationary bike, or running on a treadmill can help improve the quality of your sleep.
If you struggle to get into a consistent workout routine, find something you genuinely enjoy doing. This can include taking a daily walk, going for a swim, or even practising something much calmer, such as yoga, to start.
You might get less than seven hours of sleep each night and feel perfectly fine. So why exactly is it important you try and cross eight hours each night?
Every day, research uncovers more fascinating and novel information about the importance of sleep in our day-to-day functioning. Whether it’s memory consolidation, athletic performance, even your personal relationships - sleep has a far-reaching impact on your well-being.
This is why eight hours tends to be repeated over and over as the optimal amount of rest the average adult requires. If you don’t necessarily feel sleep-deprived, but still struggle to get the rest you require, natural sleep aids can be a great solution to improving the general quality of your sleep.
Improving your sleep is one of the single most important things you can do to improve your well-being. You spend a third of your life on top of a bed, so investing in the most comfortable mattress you can and ensuring you’re taking care of your rest routine can have a positive ripple effect on every sphere of your life.
With these natural sleep aids, you’ll find better sleep is yours in no time! Happy snoozing.
Do you struggle with trouble sleeping through the night? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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Disclaimer. We love sleep and we want you to get the best sleep possible. But we do not provide medical advice. This blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical info, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our blog.