Finding Natural Ways to Promote Sleep is Essential…
Ideally, you go to bed at night, fall asleep, sleep through the night, and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. For those of us with sleep problems, however, yeah, good luck with that. We start looking everywhere for something…anything that is going to help us sleep.
Sleep is something that people who can actually sleep at night take for granted. When I complain about not being able to sleep, my husband usually tells me, “it’s easy, just close your eyes and go to sleep.”
Yeah, whatever. Bite me.
For the past ten years, I have had periodic episodes of insomnia that can last weeks. In the beginning, before I learned to manage my sleeplessness better, I would still be awake at 2:00 a.m. I’d finally go to sleep, wake up throughout the night, then wake up at way too butt early the next morning. I was always tired, never had any energy, and was, honestly, a witch to my family because I was so sleep deprived.
1. Magnesium Deficiency = Insomnia
Magnesium is one of the easiest natural ways to promote sleep!
I discovered that one of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency is insomnia by accident. I was actually looking for a recipe and came across an article about how important magnesium is to the body’s function.
Even if you’re eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, you can still be deficient in magnesium. How? The standard American diet and lifestyle depletes your magnesium supply.
- If you drink caffeinated, carbonated sodas, even diet sodas, they deplete magnesium.
- Eating sugar can zap your magnesium.
- Stress has been shown to deplete magnesium.
- Birth control pills, antibiotics, antihistamines, and aspirin can zap magnesium.
I looked at my diet and my lifestyle, and thought it was a possibility I might be low in magnesium. Other than insomnia, I also had other magnesium deficient symptoms like irritability and muscle cramps. I also had been taking birth control pills for a few years at that point.
How much Magnesium should you take?
If you decide to try magnesium to help you sleep, the recommended dose is 400 to 800 milligrams of magnesium-glycinate. Take this about a half an hour before bed. Be sure to use the right form of magnesium, or else you’ll get diarrhea.
Often people get discouraged when they use magnesium but don’t notice any sleep benefits, and I’m often asked how long it takes for magnesium to work. Really, it depends on how deficient your body is and whether you’re taking it consistently.
2. Soak In a Warm Tub: One of the Most Luxurious Natural Ways to Promote Sleep
This may seem like a no-duh solution, but it’s worth mentioning. Soaking in the tub is one of the best ways to get to sleep because it relaxes your body and mind.
So many people only take showers and would think it’s nuts to lay down in bath water, but taking a warm bath before bed can really prep you to get a good night’s sleep.
By soaking and relaxing in the tub, you can relax your muscles and give your mind a chance to wind down.
Instead of taking your stresses and cares of the day to bed with you, use your time in the tub to think about your day, brainstorm for solutions, and then forget your problems until tomorrow morning.
What to Add to your Bath Water to Help you Sleep?
It’s important to add bath salts that will help you fall asleep, like pink Himalayan salt, dead sea salts, or Epsom salts.
The old home remedy of adding Epsom salts to your bathwater for achy muscles, can also make you sleepy. Epsom salts isn’t really a salt. It’s actually a form of magnesium. When you soak in Epsom salts, you’ll be absorbing magnesium through your skin.
Adding sleep-inducing essential oils to your bathwater, along with the Epsom salts, is a one-two punch to knock you out. You’ve probably already heard that lavender oil is relaxing, but there’s other essential oils that you can use to help you get to sleep. Vetiver, Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, and Sandalwood are good oils to add to your bathwater. Add 5-10 drops of oil for best results.
Epsoak Epsom Salt 19.75 Lbs – 100% Pure Magnesium Sulfate, Made in USALavender Dead Sea Salts & Milk Bath Soak Essential Oils, Minerals And Milk ProteinsDark Chocolate Mediterranean Sea Bath Salt Soak – 5lb (Bulk) – Fine Grain
3. Sleep in a Dark Room
When it comes to establishing natural ways to promote sleep, sleeping in a dark room is a must. Our bodies are regulated by circadian rhythm, basically just your internal clock.
Ideally, darkness sends hormones to your brain that says it’s time to release melatonin, which makes you sleepy. If you’re always exposed to light, this throws your internal clock out of whack and that natural process won’t happen.
Unfortunately, this means not watching television or fiddling with your phone. Hey, I get that it’s about impossible nowadays to do without your tech. I have withdrawals if I’m away from my phone or tablet.
But you don’t have to cut your cord completely. You can increase increase melatonin production naturally. There are ways to soften the blue light, like wearing blue light blocking glasses, so your tech won’t mess with your sleep cycle. For the last hour or so before bed, dim the lights, soak in the tub, and wind down, so your body will release melatonin.
Uvex Skyper Blue Light Blocking Computer Glasses with SCT-Orange LensBedtime Bliss BTB01 Contoured & Comfortable Sleep Mask
4. Don’t Drink Caffeine. Ever!
If you’re having trouble sleeping, caffeine should be one of the first things to go, even early in the morning. When your brain gets revved up by caffeine, a neurotransmitter called adenosine is released.
Adenosine binds to receptors in your brain and tells you it’s time to sleep. But when you consume caffeine, the caffeine binds to the receptors that were designed for adenosine instead. The adenosine has no where to go, and it keeps you from getting sleepy.
Sorry coffee lovers, you’ve got to let your cup of joe in the mornings go. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours. From my own personal experience, even if I have caffeine at 9:00 in the morning, I am up all hours of the night. I am very sensitive to it, so I don’t drink it. If insomnia is a problem from you, drop the caffeine.
5. Cut Back on Sugar and Carbs
Are you starting to feel like you’re having to give up all the good stuff just to get to sleep? Fear not, you don’t have to give up your sweets and breads, you just have to know when to eat them.
Eating carbs and sugar too close to bedtime can be a cause of insomnia. When you eat those yummy carbs and sugar, your blood sugar naturally goes up.
When your blood sugar drops too low that causes you to wake up in the middle of the night or not be able to sleep altogether.
You don’t have to go all cold turkey on sugar. You can still eat it. But if insomnia is a problem for you, consider eating sweets and carbs several hours before bed. The goal is to keep your blood sugar on an even keel all through the night.
6. Sea Salt and Honey for Sleep
My mother actually would give me a teaspoon of honey at night when I was a little girl to help me sleep. Now I know that honey is a sleep superfood and it’s one of the best natural ways to promote sleep.
I’ve only recently heard of adding Himalayan salt to honey to make that magic fairy dust all of us who can’t sleep would give our right arm for.
Himalayan has over 80 different minerals (one of which is magnesium!) that relax and de-stress your body. It’s no wonder mixing with honey helps you sleep.
Mix together 2 tsp of organic honey and 1/4 tsp finely ground Himalayan sea salt. Eat and sleep!
It’s tasty, and it’s one of the best ways to get to sleep.
Sherpa Pink Himalayan Salt, 2lbs Extra-Fine GrainDesert Creek Honey Raw, Unfiltered, Unpasteurized Texas Honey, 2 lbs (32 oz)
7. Self-Hypnosis for Insomnia
A lot of people call hypnosis bunk, but hypnosis is actually a form of meditation and it’s really effective. It works on the same principle. You’re relaxing, clearing your mind, and preparing yourself to sleep.
I actually have visualized myself relaxing my body from the feet up, but didn’t even realize I was doing a form of self-hypnotism.
Here’s a quick lesson on hypnotizing yourself to sleep:
- Lay in bed and clear your mind.
- Focus on your feet and imagine them becoming heavier and heavier.
- Focus on your legs, and go through the same process.
- Go through each body part, ending at your head.
If you need a little extra help, you can also purchase downloadable sleep hypnosis MP3’s to guide you into a deep sleep.
8. Take Clocks out of the Bedroom
My husband hates me for it, but I refuse to allow any kind of light up clock in our room. First of all the light is disrupting, secondly it makes me obsess over the time.
Think about it this way, it’s 1 a.m. and you’re still awake. You’ve got to get up at 6 a.m. You start thinking I’ve only got five hours of sleep left. I’ve got to go to sleep. You look at the clock and it’s 2 a.m. “Oh, my gosh, I’ve only got four hours before I have to get up. You end up psyching yourself out of a good night’s sleep.
So set the alarm on your phone, and turn the phone over and put it on the other side of the room so you can’t be bothered with any light. You still get up for work in time, and you don’t know if it’s midnight or 5:55 a.m. so you have no choice but to sleep.
If you have to have an alarm, consider using a relaxing natural sunrise alarm clock to start your mornings off peacefully. It’s one of the easiest natural ways to promote sleep and be a morning person you wanna slap for being so darn perky.
9. You got to Move it Move it
I personally hate this suggestion because I hate exercise! But you gotta do what you gotta do when you need some Z’s.
The Mayo Clinic suggests you get at least 10 minutes’ worth of exercise everyday if you’re having trouble sleeping at night.
I don’t do the gym thing. I hate doing any kind of formal exercise, because I’d rather spend my spare time having fun. So my physical activity is doing things I enjoy, like walking my dogs, running and playing with them, riding my bike, and yoga.
Related: Best Insomnia Tip Ever: Exercise for Good Sleep at Night
10. Drink Yourself to Sleep
Sorry, ya’ll, I’m not talking about booze.
Yeah, I know. Bummer.
But seriously, these two drinks have got to be one of the easiest and best ways to get to sleep, and definitely the tastiest.
Tart Cherry Juice. Drink eight ounces twice a day.
Why? A medical study by the Natural Medicine Journal actually discovered that Montmercy cherry juice contains melatonin and tryptophan, hormones that you need to make you sleepy and stay asleep.
In the study they gave a group tart cherry juice, and another group the equivalent amount of melatonin that was in the cherry juice. At the end of the study, the cherry juice group had markedly improved sleep, and the levels of melatonin were higher than the group that took melatonin supplements.
Sleep Smoothie. Blend together 1 tbsp grapeseed powder, 1 cup frozen strawberries, a banana, and four or five ice cubes. Drink two hours before bed.
Why? Grapeseed powder and strawberries are also a natural source of melatonin, and the banana has magnesium and potassium.
Related: 6 Must Have Smoothie Recipes Worth Trying Tonight
Why you Should Try Natural Ways to Promote Sleep First
Insomnia is a problem that at least one third of the population in the U.S. has, and there’s a lot of money thrown away on sleep aids that just don’t work or are harmful. So instead of popping pills to get to sleep, why not try natural ways to promote sleep?
I tried over-the-counter sleep aids, and unhealthy sleeping pills, but they worked just temporarily and I didn’t like the made me feel. I’d take it, sleep like a log, but then wake up feeling like I was hungover. I couldn’t take them if I had to get up early for work the next day because of grogginess. Eventually they stopped being effective.
Personally, I believe a lot of health problems are caused by imbalances in our bodies, and we should treat the cause instead of the symptom. I wanted to know why I wasn’t sleeping and looked for more natural ways to get to sleep. I think using natural ways to promote sleep is far more effective that any OTC sleep aid I ever took.
Try One of The Best Ways to Get to Sleep Tonight
Sleep is necessary to life. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re a cranky mess. You’re miserable and you make everyone in a 10 mile radius of you miserable. Instead of turning towards unhealthy OTC sleep aids to get you to sleep, try more natural ways to promote sleep?
These natural ways to get to sleep help bring your body into balance, and I encourage you to give one or more these natural sleep remedies a try.
Kim Hanna says
These are great tips, thanks for sharing!
Barbara Radisavljevic says
I already have a sleep mask and just bought a white noise machine after wearing out my relaxing rain sleep CD. I used to play it on repeat all night and it helped. I’m also trying other natural aids. Baths don’t work here because of the drought. I’m not sure I could even get in and out of a tub anymore.
Julia K says
Before I got married, I loved my sleep machine. I LOVE the rain sound. But it drives my husband bonkers, so I can’t use it anymore. But it sure did work!