The more good sleep you get, the healthier and happier you’ll be. You’ll fall asleep fast (or faster) with these natural remedies for sleep from doctors, psychologists, and my own research on how to sleep better. I know of what I speak – if I don’t get a good night’s sleep, my ulcerative colitis bursts into flames. And it’s not pretty.
Two things to remember about these natural sleep remedies: 1) What helps me fall asleep fast may not work for you. You need to one sleep remedy at a time – for at least a month – before deciding whether or not it works for you; and 2) Check with your doctor before taking any natural supplements for sleep. Even taking melatonin for sleep can have a negative effect on your health, especially if you’re taking prescription medications or other natural supplements.
If you have kids, another important thing to remember is that your relationship or marriage affects their sleep habits. Research from the Society for Research in Child Development found that instability in the parents’ relationship when children are as young as nine months old predicted difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep when they were 18 months old. The findings suggest that the effects of marital instability on children’s sleep problems emerge earlier than previously thought.
Whether or not you have young kids, you need to know how to fall asleep fast and stay sleeping all night long…
10 Remedies for Natural Sleep
The most important tip for falling and staying asleep is melatonin – it’s your “sleep hormone.” If your melatonin levels are low, you won’t sleep well. Below are a few ways to increase melatonin for sleep – as well as tips for falling asleep without tinkering with your hormone levels.
1. An Epsom salt foot bath and warm socks before bed
Dr. Ronald Stram, founder of The Center for Integrative Health and Healing, recommends soaking your feet in a very warm to hot for about 10-15 minutes (one cup of Epsom salt per 2 gallons of water). Prepare your bed with a towel by your feet, take ankle socks and soak in very cold water, wring them out so they are damp dry and place them on your feet, then place thermal socks over the ankle socks and go to bed. Your feet will dry after a few hours, and the blood flow will warm your feet. This may help you fall asleep fast, but you have to make time for the bath…and perhaps a few candles for ambience…
My massage therapist told me that Epsom salts contain magnesium, which lower inflammation. You can buy Epsoak Epsom Salt Bath on Amazon or at your local supermarket.
2. Rub sesame oil into your feet
This natural sleep remedy comes from Ayurvedic medicine: gently rub sesame oil into the bottoms of the feet just as you get into bed. It will assist in the calming of your system, and sooth your journey to peaceful sleep. Plus, it reduces anxiety. The aroma of sesame oil produces a calming sensation that relaxes both the mind and both, and helps people fall asleep faster. If you use sesame oil nightly for foot massages (the feet tend to be the coldest area of the body in bed, so warming them up will also help you fall asleep), your system will begin to associate the smell with sleep.
3. Learn about aromatherapy as a natural sleep remedy
Try a combination of lavender, chamomile, and jasmine oils, which have all been used since ancient times to as natural remedies. They can reduce anxiety, stress, tension, sleeplessness, and headaches. These oils may be lightly dabbed on the pillowcase or over pressure points like the wrist and neck, and might help you fall asleep fast and stay sleeping all night.
Related to aromatherapy is incense. Read Burning Incense for Meditation, Relaxation, and Sleep for tips on sleep meditation.
4. Consider a “sleep right” pillow to help you fall asleep fast
The SleepRight Side Sleeping Memory Foam Pillow is a specialty pillow for sleeping. You align your head and neck in a position similar to CPR, and it encourages an optimal airway opening that can help you fall asleep fast and give you a better sleep. While regular pillows lift your head, this sleep pillow forms to your curves, keeping your head flat and airways open. This can lead to a better sleep.
5. Consider acupuncture or other alternative sleep therapies
When I was writing about acupuncture for snoring, I realized that acupuncture might be one of the most neglected natural sleep remedies! The deep relaxation and peace you feel after an acupuncture session might be the best way to sleep fast and deep. As I mentioned in my snoring article, acupuncture is incredibly relaxing and calming. If you go for a session with an acupuncturist after dinner, you might find yourself falling asleep faster than you’re ready for – perhaps before you even make it home!
6. Learn about melatonin for sleep
Melatonin is known as the “sleep hormone” because of it is involved in sleep, depression, and anxiety. Melatonin also affects brain activity. It’s a critical hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain when there is no light. Melatonin regulates sleep and circadian rhythms – and if you don’t have enough melatonin, you won’t sleep well.
Melatonin is the body’s own natural sleep hormone, ingesting it as a supplement is similar to the natural hormone. The dose is typically three 10 mg per night for about one month. If you aren’t falling asleep or getting better sleep, then melatonin may not be the natural sleep remedy for you. Melatonin is good for travelers overcoming jet lag or shift workers who need to recover from sleep deprivation. It helps people regain a normal day night sleep cycle, and a melatonin supplement may help people over 60 who may have reduced melatonin levels.
7. Consider all-natural sleep aids that contain melatonin
“I often recommend Bach Rescue Remedy Sleep to my patients as a safe, natural, non-narcotic solution to combat their stress levels and help with sleeplessness,” says Dr Stram. There are many natural sleep aids to help you fall asleep fast, such as Rescue Sleep. It contains a blend of six bach flower essences including white chestnut which helps to calm the racing mind.
Many natural sleep remedies involve increasing melatonin, because it’s the sleep hormone. Some natural sleep aids claim to have no medicine, herb or food interactions – but it’s still important to check with your doctor before taking it. Remedies for natural sleep should help you sleep naturally and wake refreshed.
One of the most popular natural sleep remedies on Amazon is Alteril Sleep Aid.
8. Eat “sleepytime foods”
Turkey contains a natural sleep-inducing chemical called tryptophan, said Dr Stram – and so do bananas, dates, warm milk, chicken, eggs, tofu, and dairy products. Increasing tryptophan may help to normalize sleep patterns. Tryptophan is an amino acid and a natural sleep sedative. Avoid foods that contain the amino acids tyramine and tyrosine, because they stimulate the release of adrenaline (epinephrine) in the body. Foods containing tyramine include bacon, ham and sausage, aged cheeses, cocoa products, eggplant, and potatoes.
Another sleep expert said one of the best natural sleep remedies – and foods – are dried cherries. She claims they are chock-full of melatonin, even more so than fresh cherries, and that science proves that eating dried cherries an hour before bedtime helps you fall asleep fast and promotes a restful sleep. I couldn’t find any research to support this idea, but I love dried cherries! Especially when they’re covered with chocolate.
If you like sleepytime teas, read about the four most common sleep supplements: valerian, chamomile, lavender, and passion flower.
9. Set aside a specific time to worry – before you go to bed
Dr Katherine Muller, Psy.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, says many folks have trouble getting to sleep because their thoughts race or they begin worrying. One of her favorite natural sleep remedies is a cognitive behavioral therapy technique called “worry time.”
About a hour before you want to sleep, sit down with paper and a pen and “download” all of your current worries onto paper. Try your best to worry for 20 minutes and jot down everything that comes to mind. When the 20 minutes are up, leave the list of worries where it is and proceed with your nightly routine for bed. This sleep therapy seems to help people temporarily let go of the concerns that keep them away when they’re trying to sleep.
10. Pray or meditate
I sleep really well without taking any of these natural sleep remedies. I have to sleep well because I have ulcerative colitis, and it flares like a son of a gun if I’m sleep deprived. One night of no or poor sleep can start a downward spiral into a nasty flare-up, and getting back into remission is really hard.
My “secret” remedy for natural sleep is prayer. I love God, and I feel peaceful and secure when I pray. I sink into His presence at night, especially when I can’t sleep. I’m a little ashamed of how fast I fall asleep when I pray, though – I feel like I’m ripping God off from spending quality time with me! I don’t know where you’re at with God, but if you haven’t tried prayer…maybe it’s something to think about the next time you can’t fall asleep.
When was the last time you had a good night’s sleep?
Getting good sleep doesn’t just make you feel happy and healthy, it also protects your heart. Research from the European Society of Cardiology shows that a good night’s sleep can increase the benefit of exercise, healthy diet, moderate alcohol consumption and non-smoking in their protection against cardiovascular disease.
If you have any tips on falling asleep fast or natural sleep remedies, please share with me. I could always use more tips for good Zzzz’s
Sleep well tonight.