There are times in everyone’s life when it is difficult to sleep. Anxiety, stress, excitement, and anticipation over daily events can lead to restless nights and fog-filled days. Rather than spending another night staring at the ceiling for hours, waiting for sleep to kick in, try a sleep-inducing home remedy to help bring on a night of restful, uninterrupted slumber.
There are few situations that cannot be improved with a cup of hot tea; for a simple, soothing effect, choose chamomile or passionflower tea as both are known for their anti-insomnia properties. Approximately 1 hour before bedtime, place 1 tsp. of dried blossoms into a heavy-duty mug, then fill it to the brim with boiling water. Wait 15 minutes, strain and enjoy.
While there are a number of herbs that can be used to soothe the senses and help the body relax, lavender is a long-standing favorite. Place a few drops of lavender essential oil on a cotton ball and store it in an old pill bottle, then take a few deep whiffs before lying down to sleep; the soothing scent is said to settle inner turmoil and help bring on feelings of restfulness. Should lavender prove to be ineffective, Valerian root can be used to induce drowsiness. A single tsp. of Valerian extract will knock most people out for at least eight hours straight; however, Valerian should be used with caution as the effects can linger, making it difficult to wake up in the morning.
One way to loosen tense muscles and help unwind is to soak in a hot bath 30 minutes before bedtime. Light scented candles, dim the lights, put on soothing music, and simply sit and enjoy doing nothing. Should feelings of restlessness reappear upon emerging from the tub, reset the scene in the bedroom by snuggling up in a cozy blanket while letting soft music play in the background.
The proverbial glass of warm milk is an old-fashioned sleep remedy, and while the warmth of the beverage is soothing, it is the calcium that brings on a peaceful night’s sleep. Those who do not drink milk can achieve a similar effect by taking a calcium supplement about an hour before bedtime. Alternatively, melatonin can be used to help win the war against sleepless nights. Taken before bedtime, this naturally occurring hormone sends a chemical signal to the brain letting the body know it is time to rest; however, while it is a natural product, melatonin is intended for short-term use only and should not be used on a regular basis until its long-term effects on the body are fully understood.
References and ResourcesWell.com; 42 Simple Tips to Help You Get to Sleep; Mick Winter
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Melatonin for Treatment of Sleep Disorders; N. Buscemi, et al; November 2004
Nutra Ingredients; Passion Flowers May Boost Sleep Quality: Study; Nathan Gray; February 2011
University of Maryland Medical Center; Lavender; Steven D. Ehrlich; March 2009
Medline Plus: Valerian
"Uncommon Cures for Everdyay Ailments"; Curt Pesmen; 2001