Though sleep is called our best friend, it is a friend who often keeps us waiting! - Jules Verne
You’ve got a regular bedtime routine. You follow it to the letter every night.
Most nights, it works for you. Tonight, however, is different.
You’re staring up at your ceiling. Perhaps you’re hearing the hum of a ceiling fan or your heating and cooling system. Your brain just won’t shut down.
The minutes tick by. Minutes turn into hours.
Eventually, if you’re lucky, you might end up getting a couple hours of sleeping before the alarm sounds.
Throughout the next day, you feel tired. You feel like you’ve lost your edge.
By lunch, you’re ready to leave work so you can take a nap.
Except you still cannot sleep. That night, you might find yourself with racing thoughts that keep you awake for a second night.
Suddenly, you’ve started a new bedtime routine. You used to sleep well. Now you’re lucky if you can sleep at all.
You’re not alone.
More than 40 million people in the United States alone suffer from a chronic sleep disorder. Another 20 million people in the US report an occasional sleep-related problem.
Now here is some good news. With a little work, you can change your sleep habits.
You can set the stage to have a great night of sleep every night.
There are several home remedies for sleeping problems that really work.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, then try these solutions that may help you fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and possibly improve the quality of sleep you receive.
#1. Get Some Exercise
For many people, sudden changes in their sleep habits are an indication that there is unmanaged stress in their lives. Stress may appear for a variety of reasons.
There might be uncertainty at work. There could be problems with a spouse or a significant other. Worries about money are common.
The solution may be simple: get some exercise.
Building muscle has been shown to improve the quality of sleep nightly.
Exercise may help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Strength training and Yoga, when performed daily for 8 weeks, increases the likelihood of a good night of sleep.
A 2004 Oregon Research Institute study found that people who perform a Tai Chi routine before going to bed could fall asleep up to 18 minutes faster and receive 48 minutes of more sleep every night.
If you have found sleep difficult to find, try adding some extra exercise to your daily routine.
This home remedy is a very effective solution that may help you fall asleep.
#2. Encourage Relaxation
Feeling nervous or tense can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Anxiety is known to create physical tension in the muscles, which makes it difficult to find sleep.
Sometimes, the anxiety of not getting enough sleep can lead to insomnia.
It creates a cycle that prevents sleep in the future because of not getting any sleep now.
Finding a way to relax those muscles that are tense can release the emotional anxiety being experienced.
Anything that encourages you to relax could be a home remedy for your sleeping problems.
Here are some common solutions.
- Warm Milk. Milk helps to regulate melatonin production, while the calcium in the milk can help to ease stressful feelings. Try adding some cinnamon or honey to the warm milk and try to drink it about 60 minutes before your regular bedtime routine.
- Epsom Salts. Taking a warm bath with Epsom salt for 20 minutes will help the soaking muscles relax, easing their tension. Take the bath 60-90 minutes before your bedtime routine for best results.
- Chamomile Tea. Use one teabag or mix about 1 tablespoon of dried chamomile into hot water. Allow it to steep for 5-10 minutes. Add honey if you wish. Drink the tea 30-60 minutes before you want to go to bed.
Additional relaxation options include receiving a warm oil massage, using aromatherapy, or using an herbal remedy, such as Valerian.
Many of these options can be used every day.
#3. Listen to Music
Most people have fallen asleep watching the TV or listening to some relaxing music.
Did you know that certain types of music can encourage you to fall asleep faster and promote a better quality of sleep?
Michael Breus, Ph.D., is an upwave sleep expert.
“Reputable studies find that music with a rhythm of about 60 beats a minute helps people fall asleep,” he said. “As you are falling asleep, your heart rate begins to slow and starts to move toward the 60 beats-per-minute range.”
That means listening to classical music, slow jazz, or other forms of instrumental music for most people.
Music without words is often the best choice, but anything that promotes relaxation and sleep instead of strong emotions can be a positive addition to your bedtime routine.
Music, however, is very subjective at the individual level.
Breus suggests that listening to Guns ‘N Roses offers a low chance to put someone to sleep, but it could work for you.
The same is true with certain television shows or movies.
Listening to something that you find to be comforting for about 45 minutes can lull you into a restful, peaceful sleep.
For best results, expand your bedtime routine by 45 minutes to include listening to your favorite music.
That way you’ll be ready to be asleep when you need to be.
If you’re looking for a new music option that is interesting, but still soothing, then try Sleep Salon.
It offers 12 brainwave MP3 sessions that can stop you from staring at your ceiling night after night.
#4. Balance Your Blood Sugar Levels
If sleep problems persist, the risk of experiencing heart disease or diabetes increases.
People who snore loudly have double the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and other metabolic syndrome issues.
This makes it 80% more likely that falling asleep and receiving good quality sleep will not happen.
When you experience a blood sugar high, it will always be followed by a dip in blood sugar levels later on.
Have you ever felt hungrier than normal the morning after eating a large meal? Or did you crave sugary items when you woke up?
That happens because your body is attempting to balance your blood sugar levels.
Eating carbs right before bed can encourage feelings of sleepiness.
It will also increase the chances of weight gain because the body’s metabolism naturally slows down as you sleep. This creates an imbalance.
That imbalance creates internal stress for the body, producing higher levels of cortisol.
In the morning, you feel unrefreshed and it is because your body was coping with a glucose high, followed by a crash event.
Dropping blood sugar levels can even cause a person to wake up in the middle of the night.
Try eating smaller meals, incorporate high-fiber carbs, and avoid sugars whenever possible right before bed.
#5. Get a Dog
One common reason why people struggle to fall asleep at night is a feeling of insecurity.
When we are asleep, we are vulnerable. Someone could break into our home and steal our things.
Or worse, try to harm us in some way.
Researchers from the Center for Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic found that owning a dog, or any pet, that sleeps in the bedroom with you can improve the quality of sleep received.
Dr. Lois Krahn studied 40 healthy adults who had their sleep evaluated with a dog in their bedroom.
The dogs and the people worn activity trackers to gather data about their sleeping habits.
The results of the study showed that some people sleep better with dogs in their room, no matter what breed of dog it happened to be.
To obtain these results, however, the dog could not sleep under the covers with you on the bed.
Dogs that sleep in the same beds as their owners caused a disruption to the bedtime routine.
Owning a dog also helps to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.
Dog ownership can ease feelings of loneliness and isolation. Dogs encourage more exercise and daily play time.
Each of these attributes can contribute to better sleep every night as well.
#6. Check Your Medication
Certain medications are known to cause sleep disturbances.
Several create insomnia.
The most common classification of medication that can interfere with how you sleep are statins.
Used to treat high cholesterol levels, fat-soluble statins like Zocor or Lipitor are the most likely to cause insomnia.
For some individuals, the medication can cause nightmares as well.
This happens because the meds can penetrate the cell membrane, crossing the blood-brain barrier.
Talk to your doctor about making a change to your treatment plan if you’ve started taking statins and noticed a change to your sleeping habits.
Changing to a different statin or discussing if regular exercise could improve cholesterol levels may be options.
Lowering homocysteine in your blood, which is linked to high cholesterol, may work as well.
Folic acid, B6, and B12 supplements may be options here.
Additional medications which may interfere with sleep include alpha-blockers, beta-blockers, SSRIs, and corticosteroids.
Some individuals may notice changes to their sleeping habits when taking ACE inhibitors, ARBs, and H1 antagonists.
Certain supplements, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, are known to cause insomnia in some individuals as well.
#7. Control Your Pain
Older adults are more likely to have medical conditions which cause discomfort or pain.
If that pain is chronic, then there is a possibility that it could create a sleep disturbance.
The presence of pain can also make it difficult to fall asleep.
For those with chronic pain, diagnosed or not, up to 80% of people with this medical issue have ongoing sleep difficulties.
Back pain is the most common type of chronic pain problem that interferes with sleep.
It is also the most common disability reported for people younger than the age of 45.
When sleep is disrupted by the presence of chronic pain, it can make that pain become worse.
That makes it even more difficult to get to sleep, which makes the pain become worse again.
This vicious cycle can only be disrupted by controlling the pain at its source.
Certain habits can encourage chronic pain to linger as well.
For those who smoke, quitting the habit can help to reduce the pain levels being experienced.
Many people who suffer from chronic pain will consume alcohol to help lessen the symptoms they are experiencing.
Although alcohol can provide temporary pain relief, it can also enhance the sleep problems being experienced.
It is also very important to eat a healthy diet when living with chronic pain.
For most people, a diet that is low in sodium and fat can reduce pain levels and encourage better sleep.
Fresh produce, dried beans, dried peas, and whole-grain bread are highly recommended.
Low-fat cheese and other dairy products are still okay to eat.
Red meats should be eliminated as much as possible when dealing with chronic pain.
Choose lean meats instead, such as turkey or chicken, for best results.
As an added benefit, some people can feel sleepy when consuming turkey, especially when it is consumed with plenty of carbohydrates.
#8. Have a Beer
Normally, alcohol is not recommended because it can interfere with sleep habits.
Having a single beer about an hour before bedtime, however, can actually encourage better sleep to happen.
There is one condition to this home remedy for better sleep: it must be a beer with a strong hops influence with it.
Higher levels of hops extract are directly linked to reductions in anxiety. This can help to relieve insomnia and sleep disturbances in some individuals.
If you are taking the hops extract straight, you’ll want to take at least 30mg, but not exceed 120mg, for best results.
Hops are the female flowers that are on the plant Humulus lupulus.
It is what gives a beer its bitter flavor.
The incorporation of these flowers into herbal medicines and supplements dates to at least 9th century Europe.
It has been used to treat everything from leprosy to indigestion.
For those who are concerned about the effects that alcohol may have on their sleep, there are non-alcoholic beers that still contain high levels of hops to enjoy.
Non-alcoholic beers may still have a nominal alcohol percentage to them.
Franco and Sanchez et al conducted a study with healthy female nurses that worked rotating shifts or the night shift in 2012.
They looked at how the consumption of non-alcoholic beer would help them be able to get to sleep, especially with changes to their working conditions.
This study found that drinking beer with a hops influence had a sedative effect compared to those who did not drink any beer, contributing to a chance to get to sleep faster.
#9. Change Certain Aspects of Your Lifestyle
There are certain lifestyle routines that we may follow that could contribute to sleep disturbances or insomnia over time.
One of the most common behaviors that can lead to a sleep disorder is when you choose to wake up.
If you wake up early on weekdays to get to work, but sleep late on a weekend day, then you can increase the risks of experiencing insomnia.
For those who are battling sleeping problems, it is better to wake up at the same time every day instead of sleeping late.
This will train the body to wake up at a certain time every day, re-establishing the Circadian rhythm.
Here are some other lifestyle habits that could be contributing to the changes you are seeing in your sleeping habits.
- Caffeine Consumption. The effects of caffeine may last anywhere from 4 to 24 hours, depending on the metabolism of the individual. On average, caffeine’s effects are present about 8-12 hours after consumption. Avoid having anything that is caffeinated after lunch to minimize the impact on sleep.
- Long Naps. Catching a 30-minute nap when feeling tired can be restorative. Taking a longer nap, between 60-90 minutes, can interfere with sleep. Try to make it through your day if at all possible. If you do need to take a nap, limit it to 15-30 minutes for best results.
- Bedroom Activities. The bedroom is meant to be your oasis of calm in a world of chaos. It is a place for rest and for intimacy. It should not be a place for watching TV with the family, catching up on some work, paying your bills, or doing your homework if you’re dealing with sleeping problems.
- Eating or Drinking Right Before Bed. Some people struggle with heartburn or acid reflux, which can be triggered with a meal or a carbonated beverage right before going to bed. Consuming plenty of fluids can overwhelm the bladder and force a wake-up to visit the toilet. Find a routine that works for you so that you won’t feel hungry right before bed. If you do need to calm a hunger pang, try drinking 4 ounces of water to calm the stomach.
Because the bedroom tends to be one of the quietest places in any home, the mind naturally takes the opportunity to begin worrying about various things that could happen.
Instead of suppressing thoughts or feelings that may cause worry or anxiety, try creating a designated “Worry Time” during the day.
If you have racing thoughts at night that keep you awake, then designate 15-30 minutes where you can worry about anything without consequence.
Then, should worries occur outside of that designated time, you can push it aside to think about the issue during your next Worry Time.
Sometimes, having a designated worrying time isn’t enough to resolve the thoughts or feelings that can keep a person up at night.
That is because some thoughts or feelings that can cause worry may be inappropriate or inaccurate.
In such an instance, cognitive therapies may be beneficial.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, can help to identify negative thoughts and emotions. It can offer ways to cope with grief.
Unlike other forms of therapy, it is not an open-ended process.
The goal of CBT is to help people find a way to be more active and positive in the roles they see for themselves in life.
At the same time, it helps to find ways to cope with the challenges or setbacks that may occur over time.
Most sessions are designed to end after 15 meetings or less.
For an issue that involves sleep disturbances, 12 or fewer sessions may be necessary.
Here’s One More Way to Help You Fall Asleep Faster
If you’re struggling to fall asleep or wake up frequently at night, you may have already tried many of these home remedies.
You wouldn’t be reading this if those home remedies had worked for you.
You’re still staring at the ceiling, counting the hours to morning.
Here’s something new that you could try: Claridream Deep – one of the best supplements for sleep.
This herbal supplement supports a deep and restful sleep.
It is the only mugwort-based supplement that combines other natural items to promote sleep.
Claridream Deep contains valerian root and melatonin in low doses to encourage natural sleep.
Taking too much Melatonin can interfere with your sleep cycle.
Many Melatonin supplements offer 5mg to take before bed. That is way too much, especially if you’ve never taken this natural supplement before.
You will also want to give yourself time for the Melatonin to be processed by the body so that natural sleep is encouraged.
In general, you should start with a Melatonin product that is between 0.3-1.0mg instead of the 5mg dosing that other supplements require.
You can take the low-dose Melatonin for up to 9 months, every day, without interfering with other aspects of your sleeping cycle.
Even if you have a disrupted sleep-wake cycle, just 2mg, not 5mg, is the starting dose to take.
For this issue, you can take it at bedtime for up to 4 weeks.
Valerian root can be taken just 30 minutes before bedtime, but up to 2 hours before, and still be effective.
It may take up to 2 weeks for maximum results to be experienced with this portion of Claridream Deep.
That is why it is such an effective product.
The mugwort and Melatonin work together to provide immediate relief from sleep disturbances.
Over time, the valerian root helps to establish a healthier routine of sleep as it reinforces the benefits of the other two primary ingredients.
Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not take Claridream Deep.
Before starting any new supplement, it is important to discuss your decision with your doctor.
Certain supplements and medications can interact with each other in an unintended, but detrimental way.
The home remedies for sleeping problems have helped many get past the occasional bout with insomnia.
It may be the ticket to the best sleep you’ve had in a long, long time.
What home remedies do you use to fall asleep when you experience changes to your bedtime routine?
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