Do you ever lie awake in bed, staring at the ceiling, begging your mind to turn off so you can get some shut-eye? At one point or another, we have all suffered from the frustration of sleepless nights. In fact, 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders or sleep deprivation. Some adults are so desperate for a good night’s sleep that they’d be willing to give up booze and social media for the rest of their lives in exchange for a lifetime of restful sleep.
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The problem? When faced with a restless night, many turn to sleeping aids rather than natural remedies. Dr. Frank Lipman, New York Times best-selling author and founder of Be Well, explains that sleeping pills increase the risk of dementia, addiction, and harmful behaviors. That’s because sleeping pills contain sedative hypnotics called benzodiazepines (think Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and more) which are potentially addictive and can cause memory and attention problems if used over a long period of time.
All this to say, sleeping pills should not become the crutch that gets you through the night. Rather, consider these natural remedies to help you get the shut-eye you so desperately long for.
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Yes, sex can help you sleep better!
Oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone”, is a chemical released in the brain after orgasm. This is the hormone that gives you that all-over, feel-good feeling after sex. Oxytocin acts as a sedative. It counteracts the effects of stress, which keeps you up at night, and rather bathes you in relaxation.
Next time you are having trouble getting to sleep, opt for a late-night rendezvous.
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A Warm Bath
After a long day, there are few things that sound as good as drawing a hot bath. Well, maybe there are a few things…(see point #1).
A nighttime bath, about an hour before bed, may be just the thing you need to get a good night’s sleep. That’s because, in order to fall and stay asleep, our core body temperature must drop one to two degrees.
A warm bath will cause your body temperature to rise and then rapidly drop when you get out. This loss in heat will pave the way for a night of uninterrupted, deep sleep.
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR, is more than just an internet sensation made famous by Bob Ross. Yes, the iconic painter was unknowingly the first ASMR video creator.
You are probably wondering what the heck ASMR is at this point. Essentially, ASMR videos are binaural recordings designed to be heard through headphones that consist of ASMR artists whispering into a camera. Sounds weird, right?
Well, ASMR aims to trigger an experience involving a tingling, euphoric sensation that typically starts on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck, through the upper spine. Many have likened it to when someone plays with your hair, but with simple audio and video triggers.
Although there hasn’t been much research done on the effects of ASMR, there are a variety of individual testimonies of people reporting how ASMR has aided in the management of anxiety, depression, and sleep. ASMR artists must be onto something considering some have thousands of followers on YouTube.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is an all-natural and legal compound found in the cannabis plant. It’s purpose is not to get you high. In fact, there are a variety of medicinal benefits to CBD oil. It’s known for its pain-reduction qualities, assistance in reducing inflammation, and calming effects. Another benefit? It aids in sleep.
CBD assists in reducing anxiety—you know, that pesky emotion that keeps us up all night. According to research, CBD has been shown to reduce symptoms of insomnia and increase our quantity of sleep.
Marc Lewis, Executive Editor of Remedy Review, explains: "CBD empowers your body to better regulate its basic functions, things like mood, appetite, and sleep."
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Speaking of oils, aromatherapy has been proven to put your body in a state of relaxation. The use of essential oils such as lavender, frankincense, and Roman chamomile, to name a few, are known for their calming effect. In particular, lavender has been proven to increase the amount of deep, restorative, REM sleep we all need.
You can incorporate essential oils into your wind-down routine by diffusing them throughout your bedroom, adding a few drops to a hot bath, or applying them directly to the skin.
A Cup of Chamomile
Indulging in a cup of hot tea before bed is the OG, tried-and-true natural remedy for sleep. Although caffeine is a no-no before bed, many herbal teas, like chamomile, peppermint, and valerian, aid in fighting insomnia.
Next time you feel restless, try brewing your favorite sleepy time tea to help your body relax and unwind.
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Foods with Melatonin (Not Pills)
Melatonin is the hormone whose function is to calm and relax you. Although our body produces melatonin, there are certain foods we can eat to increase production of the hormone or are a source of the hormone itself.
Tart cherry juice contains the highest concentration of melatonin out there. Studies show that if you drink eight ounces in the morning and at night, it can greatly improve your sleep.
While a melatonin supplements can help, they don’t work for everyone. It’s much better to get it naturally from the food you eat.
If you are struggling with insomnia on a regular basis, you may need to address the problem from a holistic point of view. Are you experiencing pain, from your mattress or an injury, that keeps you up at night? Drinking caffeine too late in the day?
Are there other disturbances to your sleep such as light, noise, and temperature? Assess your sleeping environment for possible disturbances and make adjustments accordingly.
Sleep is an integral part of overall health and wellness. It’s important you take the appropriate steps to protect it.