Insomnia is one of the most common health conditions worldwide. It affects over 30 percent of Americans, causing difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, mood swings, poor memory, and fatigue. This sleep disorder can affect your ability to work or study, contribute to weight gain, and mess up your appetite. In the long run, it increases the risk of mental disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Fortunately, there are ways to fight insomnia naturally without the need for sleeping pills. Herbal remedies, acupuncture, warm milk, and dietary changes can help.
1. Tweak Your Diet
What you eat affects your sleep. Certain foods, especially those high in sugar, caffeine, and trans fats, may contribute to insomnia. To sleep better, cut back on carbs before bedtime and avoid heavy meals. Eat foods rich in protein and healthy fats, such as avocado, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt. If you’re hungry at night, have a light snack, such as celery sticks or warm milk with a teaspoon of honey.
2. Avoid Caffeine
Eliminate or avoid caffeine to get a better night’s sleep. This compound stimulates the central nervous system and boosts your energy, keeping you from catching more Zzz’s. Be aware that chocolate and green tea contain caffeine too.
3. Drink Valerian Tea
Valerian tea is one of the oldest sleep remedies on earth. Made from valerian root, this healthful concoction relieves stress and anxiety, cures insomnia, and improves your quality of sleep. It also calms your mind and helps with gentleness. This natural cure works by increasing GABA levels in the brain. GABA has a mild sedative effect and promotes relaxation.
4. Try Lavender Oil
If you’re having a hard time falling asleep, take a warm bath with lavender oil. The aromatic compounds in this oil reduce anxiety and emotional stress, alleviate headaches, and improve sleep. In a clinical trial, subjects who used lavender oil experienced immediate improvements in sleep quality. To reap the benefits, add about 15 drops of oil to bath water.
5. Take Melatonin
Another natural cure for insomnia is melatonin. This supplement helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle and reduces jet lag. It also improves sleep in those who work night shifts and raises the body’s natural melatonin levels, which leads to better overall health. Take melatonin if you have trouble sleeping for more than a night or two. Don’t overuse it as it may lose its efficiency.