Whether chronic or occasional, laying up tossing and turning at night leaves you feeling drained and irritable the next day. It also decreases your immunity and can diminish your ability to focus and make sound decisions. Here are 9 natural solutions for insomnia, some are proactive—and many you can turn to when you can’t sleep.
1. Identify What Is Keeping You Up At Night
Without a cause, your solution may be difficult to identify. Some of the most common causes of insomnia include:
- Stress and anxiety
- Racing mind
- A snoring partner
- Disruptive pet
- You wake up too hot or cold
- You have to get up to go to the bathroom
- A noisy home or neighborhood
- Chronic pain
Identify what is most common and select the natural solutions below that best address your cause. If it’s a pet, no more sleeping in the bedroom. If it’s a spouse who snores, it’s time for nose strips or earplugs. If your partner tosses and turns, consider a larger bed that doesn’t transfer weight. Keep reading for more solutions.
2. Create A Sleep Schedule
Our body naturally produces and regulates the hormone melatonin when the sun goes down, which helps us fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake with ease. By heading to bed within the same 30 minutes each evening and waking up at the same time each morning, you help your body to create a sleep schedule to naturally turn melatonin up and down. If you are still working from home due to the pandemic, your sleep may be more erratic than before but it’s time to get back on track.
Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, more if you are pregnant, sick, or are recovering from an injury. This one change alone can be highly effective.
3. Create A PM Routine
In addition to a sleep routine, you must also have a PM routine that helps you to wind down from the day. It’s unrealistic that you can go from full speed to sleep without a bit of transition time. Your PM routine must be unique to you, and should include a variety of the following:
- No electronics use at least 1 hour before bedtime as the blue lights are a stimulant.
- If you’re going to read, read a real book or magazine, not your e-reader.
- No news or anything stressful 2 hours before bedtime.
- Take a warm shower or Epsom salt and essential oil bath.
- Gently stretch to release the tension from the day.
- Journal to get out the stressors of the day or to focus on what you are grateful for.
4. Upgrade Your Sleep Essentials
If you can’t get comfortable when you lay down at night or wake up feeling stiff or sore, it’s time to upgrade either or both your mattress and pillows. Between mattress toppers and advanced mattresses that empower you to adjust how firm or soft your mattress is on each side of the bed—or raise the head or feet, you can find a more comfortable and supportive mattress.
Pillows come in a variety of materials from vegan to latex, memory foam, and more. Focus primarily on the support you require to sleep comfortably. Don’t forget body pillows that take the pressure off your hips or back when you sleep.
Finally, make sure your sheets and bedding are soft and comfortable. Consider a weighted blanket to enjoy the healing and grounding benefits of pressure therapy.
5. Assess Your Bedroom
While your sleep essentials are key, don’t forget the other elements in your bedroom. A few changes to consider include:
- Upgrading your window treatments for a pitch-black room. For night vision to and from the bathroom add a Himalayan salt lamp or night light to your room. You can also sleep with a sleep mask.
- If you and your partner prefer different sleep temperatures upgrade to a heated or cooling mattress pad, many of which have individual temperature controls.
- If you live in a noisy city or area or your family keeps you up at night, you can add window or door soundproofing, use a white noise machine, or sleep with earplugs.
- Consider how you wake, switching to an alarm sound that is soothing and gradually increases—instead of jarring you awake like traditional buzzers. If you don’t sleep with a sleep mask you can also upgrade to a sunrise alarm clock.
6. Use A Sleep App
There are a variety of sleep and meditation apps to choose from, with Calm and Headspace being the most popular. Both offer a 7-day free trial to new users. They have multiple categories to choose from including options designed to help you fall asleep or fall back to sleep when you wake in the middle of the night. Choose from soothing sounds of nature, instrumental music, ASMR, sleep stories, guided sleep meditations, and more.
7. Hormonal Changes
This next one is for the ladies. Melatonin isn’t the only hormone that needs to be regulated to improve sleep. It’s not uncommon to experience increased insomnia during puberty, prior to your monthly menstrual cycle, when pregnant, and during menopause. Talk to your physician about natural and prescription methods of regulating your hormones.
Physical fitness is essential for whole-body health. Studies show that working out 4 times a week is as effective as taking prescription sleeping pills. The precise reason why working out is effective has not been clearly defined, but it is likely due to optimizing our body’s natural ability to balance and self-regulate.
After a workout, your body releases endorphins causing you to feel more awake for up to 90 minutes. This means that you need to plan your workout at least 1.5 hours before you head to bed. However, you can complete a PM yoga or stretch routine designed to help you relax and unwind.
9. Return To Nature
Nature provides us with a variety of solutions that can help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and improve the quality of your sleep. Here are a few natural solutions to choose from:
- Lavender aromatherapy signals the brain that it’s time to relax and wind down. Purchase or make your own lavender pillow spray. Just be sure it is made from pure essential oils.
- Chamomile tea contains the natural antioxidant apigenin, which acts as a natural sedative. Drink 45 minutes before bed without too much water so you don’t have to use the restroom in the middle of the night.
- Sounds of nature (and many other soothing sounds) inform your brain that your body is safe and comfortable. This instructs your flight or flight sympathetic nervous system to turn off, and the parasympathetic nervous system to turn on, which helps you to relax and sleep.
- CBD supplements may help to soothe and calm your mind and body all day long. If you struggle with sleep, consider adding CBD to your PM routine.
Even one night of improved sleep can make a world of difference, but after a full week of improved sleep, you will feel like an entirely new person!