Home remedies for sleep, such as herbal supplements, diet changes, exercise, and relaxation techniques, are the easiest ways to boost your quantity and quality of sleep.
This can, in turn, boost the various benefits associated with good sleep, including a strong immune system, healthy weight, reduced stress levels, and improved mental clarity.
This article takes you through the specific natural home remedies for sleep and why you should incorporate them into your routine.
Common Causes of Poor Sleep
Many different factors can contribute to poor sleep. A few common causes include:
- Stress and anxiety: Stressful events or anxious thoughts can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to fall or stay asleep.
- Poor sleep habits: If you don’t have a regular sleep schedule or frequently stay up late, it can disrupt your body’s natural sleep rhythm and make it harder to get enough rest.
- Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant that can stay in your system for several hours after you consume it. Drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages too close to bedtime can make falling asleep more difficult.
- Alcohol: Although alcohol may make you feel drowsy at first, it actually disrupts your sleep later in the night and can cause you to wake up feeling unrested.
- Processed foods: One of the primary causes of poor sleep is processed foods. These foods are high in sugar and other chemicals that can disrupt the body’s natural sleep patterns. In addition, processed foods are often high in calories and can lead to weight gain, which can also interfere with sleep.
Home Remedies for Sleep: Herbal Supplements
1. Chamomile tea
Chamomile is a common sleep remedy enjoyed throughout the world. It’s rich in apigenin, a powerful antioxidant shown to induce sedation and muscle relaxation leading to sleep.
In one study, postpartum women with poor sleep quality experienced improved sleep than a placebo group after taking chamomile tea for just two weeks.
Apigenin is also a neuroprotective and cognitive-enhancing substance that can help prevent or treat Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Indian ginseng
Also known as ashwagandha, Indian ginseng is an ancient remedy that has been used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine to ease pain and inflammation, treat insomnia, and boost nutrition.
In a study, 50 adults aged 65-80 taking 600 mg of ashwagandha root daily for 12 weeks experienced a significant improvement in their sleep quality and mental alertness when waking up compared to a placebo.
Ashwagandha is also an adaptogen, meaning it helps your body manage stress better, further boosting your sleep quality.
Cinnamon has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and is prized for its unique flavor and health benefits. This spice is loaded with antioxidants, which can help protect your body against damage from free radicals.
Cinnamon has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and arthritis.
Additionally, this spice has been linked to improved blood sugar control, making it a helpful addition for people with diabetes.
A less commonly known benefit of cinnamon is that it can help you sleep better. The spice contains compounds that have a calming effect on the body and can help to reduce anxiety levels. Cinnamon also helps to regulate blood sugar levels, which can be disruptive to sleep.
Also, cinnamon has been shown to increase serotonin and melatonin, both of which are essential for better sleep.
To use cinnamon for better sleep, add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to a glass of warm milk before bedtime. You can also add a few drops of cinnamon essential oil to your diffuser.
This fragrant herb has long been used as a natural remedy for insomnia and anxiety.
Lavender works by reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation. It also relaxes the body and mind, making it easier to fall asleep.
If you’re feeling stressed out, try diffusing some lavender oil in your bedroom or adding a few drops to your pillow before bedtime. You can also add lavender to a bathtub full of warm water and soak for 20 minutes.
Drinking a cup of lavender tea before bedtime can also offer the same benefits.
Home Remedies for Sleep: Foods to Eat
Best choices include foods rich in magnesium and calcium.
5. Tart cherries
Evidence suggests that tart cherry juice can help treat insomnia and lengthen your sleep each night.
This is because tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your sleep and wake cycle.
This tart juice also contains some amount of tryptophan, an amino acid that’s converted into serotonin. Serotonin is a happy chemical that regulates mood. It also acts as a precursor for melatonin.
Drinking tart cherry juice or eating tart cherries before bedtime may help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly through the night.
In one pilot study, people 50 years of age and above with insomnia were put on a placebo for two weeks and 240 ml of tart juice twice a day for another two weeks. At the end of the study, taking tart cherry juice boosted sleep time by 84 more minutes than the placebo. These results were measured on polysomnography, a test used to diagnose sleep disorders.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable rich in magnesium, a mineral that plays a key role in relaxation and sleep. Magnesium helps regulate the body’s stress response and can also help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.
In one study, magnesium supplementation in older adults with insomnia improved sleep quality, including sleep time and onset, with reduced early morning awaking.
Dietary magnesium supplementation was also shown to improve melatonin levels and lower the stress hormone cortisol, which can also promote better sleep.
Additionally, spinach is a good calcium source, another nutrient important for sleep.
Calcium helps the body produce melatonin, which, as seen above, is essential for good sleep.
Spinach is also a good source of iron and vitamins A and C, which can help boost the immune system, among other benefits.
7. Soy products
Soy products are a great way to promote better sleep. It’s milk, for example, is a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, which is known to help promote sleep.
Soybeans are also a good source of magnesium, which is known to relax muscles and help improve sleep quality.
Tofu, soy yogurt, and soy cheese are all good sources of tryptophan and magnesium, so they can also help promote better sleep.
Kiwi is a very nutritious fruit rich in various nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin K.
They are also shown to boost sleep quality when taken close to bedtime. This is because they contain serotonin, which increases your melatonin levels.
In one study, 24 individuals that consumed two kiwifruits an hour before bed each night for four weeks fell asleep 42% more quickly than when they didn’t eat the kiwis. Their total sleep time also increased by 13%, and they woke up 5% less at night compared to previously.
Nuts are a good source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. They’re also a great snack to get you to your next meal.
Walnuts, in particular, are known for their brain-boosting power, thanks to their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. But did you know that walnuts can also promote better sleep?
Walnuts contain melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. Eating foods containing melatonin can help signal your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. So if you’re having trouble sleeping, adding some walnuts to your diet could help you get a better night’s rest.
Walnuts are also a great source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that’s converted to DHA in the body. DHA may increase serotonin production, which can improve mood, reduce anxiety, and boost melatonin production.
Home Remedies for Sleep: Exercise and Relaxation Techniques
According to the Sleep Foundation, some of the best exercises to naturally boost your quality of sleep include:
Cardio or aerobic exercise is any physical activity that increases your heart rate. It’s widely known that regular aerobic exercise can improve your cardiovascular health, but it can also lead to better sleep.
There are a few ways in which aerobic exercise can help you sleep better. First, it can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Exercise is a great way to release pent-up energy and tension. When you’re feeling stressed, your body is in a state of “fight or flight,” which makes it difficult to relax and fall asleep.
People who engage in regular aerobic exercise have also been shown to sleep for longer periods and wake up less during the night than those who don’t exercise regularly.
Additionally, exercise can improve slow-wave sleep (SWS). Slow-wave sleep is a stage of sleep characterized by slow brain waves. It is also known as deep sleep of non-rapid eye movement (NREM). During this time, the body relaxes into a deep and restorative rest. It’s during this time that your brain also consolidates memories.
Additionally, slow-wave sleep promotes physical recovery and repair. This is when the body produces growth hormones, which help repair muscle tissue and promote cell growth.
Aerobic exercise also increases the release of endorphins which improves pain and promotes feelings of pleasure, both of which can limit sleep quality disturbance.
In a 2020 study, 80 sedentary participants with insomnia were assigned to a supervised aerobic exercise group or a control group for six months.
At the end of the study, the aerobic group experienced increased total sleep duration, sleep onset latency, and sleep efficiency.
11. Resistance exercise
Resistance exercise is another form of exercise that has been shown to boost the duration and quality of sleep even better than aerobic exercise. This is according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Conference 2022 in Chicago.
Resistance exercise includes any type of activity that works your muscles against a force, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands. This type of exercise can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep.
Home Remedies for Sleep: Diet Tips
12. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening
Caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake and make it difficult to fall asleep. If you enjoy a cup of coffee or tea in the morning, be sure to limit your intake later in the day.
13. Eat lighter meals in the evening
A heavy meal right before bed can cause indigestion and make it difficult to sleep comfortably. Stick to light snacks or a small dinner several hours before bedtime.
14. Avoid alcohol before bedtime
While alcohol may make you feel drowsy, it actually disrupts your sleep cycle and makes it harder to get a good night’s rest.
15. Get enough protein during the day
Most protein sources are high in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps promote sleepiness. Include foods such as tofu, legumes, nuts, and seeds in your meals throughout the day.
Best Bedtime Routine for Better Sleep
Below are some bedtime routines that can help you get the sleep you need:
- Establish a regular sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. This will train your body to know when it’s time to wind down and go to sleep.
- Create a relaxing environment in your bedroom: Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Consider using earplugs or a white noise machine if outside noise is an issue.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed: Both of these substances can disrupt sleep, so it’s best to avoid them in the evening hours.
- Avoid working or using electronic devices in bed: If possible, keep work and electronics out of the bedroom altogether. If not, try to avoid using them right before bed. The light from screens can interfere with sleep and make it harder to fall asleep.
- Get up and move around during the day: Exercise has many benefits for both physical and mental health, including improved sleep quality. Just be sure not to exercise too close to bedtime, as this can have the opposite effect.
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being, which is why it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure we get enough rest.
The 15 easy home remedies listed above can help you reach that goal. Whether it be through calming your mind before bed or trying out some of the more natural remedies, such as drinking chamomile tea, there are plenty of ways to improve your sleep quality.
Whatever method you choose, make sure that you stick with it – and soon enough, you will start seeing results!
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