Insomnia is a common problem. In fact, data from the United States show that within a given year, 30 to 40 percent of adults experience insomnia symptoms, and research shows that for as many as 70 percent of people with insomnia, symptoms continue for as long as four years. This can be troubling, especially for people who have tried everything they can think of to help them get better rest at night, with no improvement. If you are part of the 30 to 40 percent of people who struggle with insomnia, and you just can’t seem to get the sleep you need, some home remedies for insomnia may be helpful.
- Why try home remedies for insomnia?
- 20 Home Remedies for Insomnia
- Other Options for Treating Insomnia
- Aricove Weighted Blankets for Insomnia
Why try home remedies for insomnia?
If you struggle with insomnia and haven’t found relief, home remedies for insomnia can quite frankly save your health. In fact, research shows that lack of sleep, defined as fewer than seven hours per night for adults, can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It is also associated with mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Finding an effective remedy for insomnia is important for protecting physical and mental wellbeing.
While it is important to treat insomnia, some of the medications used to treat sleep problems come with severe side effects. For instance, the drug zolpidem, more commonly known by its brand name, Ambien, can cause serious side effects, like chest pain, breathing difficulties, and even sleep-walking. Some people also become dependent upon Ambien, meaning they cannot sleep without it, and they may need larger and larger doses to achieve the same effects. Given the complications of taking medication, natural cures for insomnia may be preferred for those looking to avoid the negative health effects of lack of sleep.
20 Home Remedies for Insomnia
Fortunately, there are plenty of home remedies for insomnia. If you want to learn how to treat insomnia naturally without medication, consider the strategies below:
- Yoga: If stress is keeping you awake, yoga can help you to relax so that you are able to settle down at night. Choose a light form of yoga, rather than an intense form, such as power yoga.
- Meditation: When you struggle with insomnia, you are likely to become familiar with racing thoughts, especially at night. If this sounds like you, meditation can help you to become more present in the moment, instead of allowing your thoughts to drift to all of your worries or your plans for the next day.
- Exercise: Getting more physical activity during the day can prepare your body for a better night of sleep. In fact, a review of multiple studies including 950 adults found that exercise tended to improve overall sleep quality and reduce the amount of time it took to fall asleep.
- Magnesium: Tossing and turning at night may be due to a magnesium deficiency, according to some experts. A recent study found that when older adults with insomnia took a magnesium supplement, they fell asleep about 17 minutes faster, on average, so magnesium may be a viable home remedy for insomnia.
- Lavender Oil: Lavender has a reputation for being calming, and it’s not just hype. In one study, a group of college students with sleep issues practiced proper sleep hygiene and wore a lavender patch at night, whereas a second group just practiced good sleep hygiene. Both groups saw an improvement in sleep quality, but the improvement was greater among those wearing the lavender patch, suggesting that lavender oil provides its own benefits for sleep. Use a lavender patch or lavender oil spray at night, and you might find that it is easier to relax for sleep.
- Sleep Restriction: When you’re spending hours in bed tossing and turning, you can begin to associate the bedroom with being awake. You may also end up spending a few hours awake in the beginning of the night, and then sleep in the next morning, creating a habit. Or, you might be sleep deprived from insomnia, take a nap during the day, and have trouble falling asleep again at night. To break this habit, you might consider restricting yourself from naps, and spending only a specific period of time in bed, such as 11 pm to 6 am. This can restrict your body of sleep and lead you to become more tired, thereby improving your sleep over time.
- Breathing Exercises: If stress or pain is keeping you awake at night, breathing exercises may be helpful. When a group of mothers with low back pain practiced breathing exercises three times a week for eight weeks, they showed a reduction in anxiety, and sleep quality improved.
- Passive Wakefulness: While it may seem counterintuitive, some people find that staying in bed and trying to remain awake can help them to overcome insomnia. When you struggle to fall asleep at night, you often have anxiety surrounding not being able to get to sleep. Changing your focus to actively trying to stay awake can eliminate some of this anxiety and help you to actually fall asleep.
- Limiting caffeine: Coffee and other caffeine containing products are among the list of foods not to eat before bedtime, because they can stimulate the body and keep you awake. Cutting off caffeine after lunchtime can make a difference if you have found that you’re having trouble falling asleep at night.
- Avoiding large meals before bed: Filling your stomach with food just before bed can keep you awake, as you might feel bloated or have trouble sleeping while your body is busy digesting. In fact, research suggests that eating within three hours of bedtime can lead to waking up in the middle of the night.
- Setting a consistent sleep schedule: Most experts recommend going to bed and waking up around the same time each day, even during the weekends. If you have an erratic sleep schedule, developing a regular routine can be a natural cure for insomnia.
- Sunlight exposure: Light regulates the body’s circadian rhythm, helping you to get on a healthy sleep schedule. There is evidence that bright light exposure earlier in the day can help you to get to sleep earlier at night. If you’re having trouble falling asleep at a reasonable hour, make sure to open the blinds and expose yourself to sunlight first thing in the morning. You might also consider spending time outside during the day.
- Keeping a gratitude journal: Stress is a sleep killer, so it is important to find ways to reduce excess stress. One method for achieving this is to start journaling to relieve some of your worries. In one study, women who kept a gratitude diary experienced improved wellbeing, and their sleep quality got better.
- Nighttime bathing: Some people find that a warm bath or shower calms them down and gets them ready for bed. Warm water can have a relaxing effect on the body, which makes a nighttime shower more practical than jumping in the tub first thing in the morning, when you want to feel energized.
- Turning off devices: In today’s technology-focused world, many of us spend our evenings in front of the TV screen, while also scrolling on our phones or tablets. Exposure to the artificial light from these devices can stimulate the brain and make it difficult to wind down at night. Limit your screen time just before bed, and end the evening by reading a book or doing another quiet, relaxing activity.
- Maintain a comfortable bedroom temperature: Keeping your bedroom at the ideal temperature for sleeping is one of the natural cures for insomnia. Being too hot at night can be especially disruptive for sleep, so you may need to turn the thermostat down at night.
- Limit noises: It may seem obvious, but noises like outdoor traffic, sounds from the television, and even wind blowing outside can disrupt your sleep. Try to limit excess nighttime noise, and if you still find that you’re waking up to the slightest noise at night, a white noise machine may be helpful.
- Keep the bedroom dark: Just like noises can disrupt sleep, exposure to light in the bedroom can disrupt your sleep. Many people find that a pitch black environment makes for the best night of sleep. Eliminating night lights, lava lamps, and other sources of nighttime light can be an effective home remedy for insomnia.
- Chamomile tea: A nighttime cup of chamomile tea may provide a method for how to treat insomnia naturally without medication. This tea is known to have sedating effects and has been used for promoting sleep.
- Tart cherries: If you’ve tried several natural cures for insomnia but still can’t seem to get to sleep, tart cherries may provide relief. One study found that when people with insomnia drank tart cherry juice twice per day, they slept 84 minutes longer, and their sleep quality improved.
Other Options for Treating Insomnia
If you’ve tried home remedies for insomnia and still are not finding relief, it may be time to try alternative approaches. You might consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor to determine if there is an underlying physical health issue that may be causing your sleep disturbances. Some people also benefit from working with a therapist to develop strategies for overcoming stress and alleviating the anxiety surrounding insomnia. A type of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy may be especially beneficial, and its effects can last for up to a year.
If you aren’t ready to seek professional help, another alternative among the home remedies for insomnia is using a weighted blanket to treat sleep disturbances. By applying deep touch pressure to the body, weighted blankets calm the nervous system so the body can relax for sleep. This can make a weighted blanket for insomnia particularly effective for those who suffer from issues like depression, anxiety, or restless legs that keep them awake at night.
Aricove Weighted Blankets for Insomnia
The Aricove cooling weighted blanket is a perfect option for those looking to learn how to treat insomnia naturally without medication. Designed with premium moisture wicking fabric, this bamboo weighted blanket is naturally soft and silky, allowing you to stay as comfortable as possible for a restful night of sleep. Our blankets are available in 10, 15, and 20 lb versions for adults, as well as a 5 lb version for children and toddlers.