Are you chasing the ever elusive 8 hours of sleep every night? There are a number natural sleep aids to assist with insomnia in hopes of restful nights of sleep. As we know sleep is required for all individuals as it helps us to repair our bodies, fight off sickness and disease and remain more cognitively alert through our days. However if you have struggles with insomnia then you know the difficulty in finding aids to help you consistently achieve hours of restful sleep.
Foods To Help Insomnia And Foods To Avoid
Some common foods that you can use to help with insomnia include crackers, or a small light snack such as fruit before bedtime. Although many experts don’t recommend eating before bedtime sometimes having just a small meal can help you to relax and avoid any feelings of hunger which can keep you awake.
Eating carbohydrates before you sleep can help to prepare your body for sleep as well though it is important to note that you should never eat a large meal before going to bed as this can have the reverse effect of increasing insomnia or restless sleep. Foods to avoid before going to bed include alcohol, caffeine and sugar.
Popular Natural Remedies For Insomnia
L theanine Amino Acid Tea
This is a naturally occurring substance in tea or can be purchased as a supplement. The results remain mixed for each individual. This natural supplement is reported to assist in giving more energy throughout the day as well as balance energy at night as well ad promoting drowsiness versus a sedative sleep. Read more here on L theanine in this medical abstract.
An all natural sleep aid is melatonin which is a hormone which naturally occurs in the body. It regulates our natural clock and causes drowsiness. Melatonin is readily available over the counter and is suggested by many doctors as a sleep aid. However research has been mixed as to its’ effectiveness and in what amounts will help induce sleep. If you take a quick survey of people you know with long term insomnia you will find most have tried melatonin. The results will be mixed; some find it helpful or helpful at first, some find it does not help and some find it actually exaggerates insomnia.
Magnesium can negatively affect sleep if your body is lacking in magnesium according to The Sleep Doctor. Magnesium can be found in green leafy vegetables, almonds and wheat germ. It is also available as a supplement; however caution and a doctors’ evaluation should be used as magnesium can interact poorly with many medications.
Valerian root is a herb which can have sedative effects. Results are again mixed and a doctor should be consulted before trying the herb and to advise quantities. This is an herbal supplement which is not regulated by the Federal Food and Drug Administration. A fact sheet is available from the NCCIH on Valerian which provides a good overview of the herbal supplement.
Lifestyle Changes As A Natural Sleep Aid
One of the key offenders is the computer and smartphone which promote insomnia. The stimulation of the light and brain activity in turn can spur on insomnia. Sleeping with the television on can be soothing as background noise but for some individuals will aggravate insomnia. Doctors suggest powering down at least one half hour before going to bed. No computers, no smart phones, no social media. Quiet preparation fo rsleep such a reading a book or journaling is suggested.
Regular exercise has many health benefits, one of which is helping aid sleep. Long term insomnia is indeed difficult to tame for many and it can be trial and error to find a routine which aids insomnia instead of aggravating the condition.
As always, a doctor should be consulted before trying any natural or homemade remedies.