9 Natural Ways to Beat Insomnia

insomnia

Insomnia can leave you feeling totally drained and miserable. You may also have the best intent of improving your sleep routine, but nothing seems to help. For me, the side effects of most medications were as bad as the insomnia. I new I had to find natural methods that helped me find my own ‘off switch.” Here are nine natural sleep remedies I have used to beat insomnia.

Beat Insomnia – #1 – Lighting the Night

Our mind and body are directly impacted by a natural cycle of wakefulness and sleep which is called the circadian rhythm. As day turns to night our brain naturally produces a  hormone called melatonin which helps us feel drowsy and ready for sleep.

That’s why it’s important to become aware of our own natural sleep cycle and particularly those things that can disrupt it. Scientists now believe that exposure to the blue light emitted by smart phones, tablets and televisions can disrupt our ability to achieve deep sleep which is vital for long term health.

That’s why it’s important to develop good sleep habits that allow our mind and body achieve it’s natural sleep cycle. The best way to achieve this is to create a thirty to sixty minute chill time of before our regular sleep time. This time should include low light and zero screen time which encourage the natural production of melatonin to help us feel ready for sleep.

Other activities to help induce sleep include reading a book, writing in a journal to unload our mind as well as relaxation exercises deep breathing or mindfulness exercises.

insomnia -stretch

Beat Insomnia – #2 – Power of  Stretch

Stress from our daily activity can create a discomfort and add to our inability to sleep well. It’s well documented that people who undertake moderate and regular exercise sleep better. Strenuous exercise generally releases powerful hormones and brain chemicals that enhance our alertness and energy levels which can directly impact our  ability to sleep. So, the key with any exercise is complete it hours before bedtime and preferably earlier in the day.

For me, one of the most effective way to reduce body stress is by using gentle muscle stretches about an hour before sleep. Even with gentle muscle stretches it’s best to do these well before your planned sleep time. Other powerful relaxation techniques include progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing.

insomnia -sleep food

Beat Insomnia – #3 – Find Your Sleep Food

There a many foods we can add to our diet that can also help with sleep.Two of these naturally occurring sleep aids include magnesium and tryptophan. Scientists have proven that magnesium can have a big impact on our ability to relax and sleep. Adding foods rich in magnesium can therefore be a great way to improve you ability to relax to induce natural sleep. Some foods rich in magnesium include leafy green vegetables, pumpkin and chia seeds, almond, cashew and brazil nuts and whole grains.

Have you ever noticed after enjoying a turkey dinner that you often feel drowsy. This drowsiness is caused by tryptophan which is a naturally occurring amino acid. There are many foods rich in tryptophan including turkey, chicken, fish, cheese, yogurt and eggs.

Two of favorite foods that I eat as healthy snacks are bananas and almonds which are both rich in magnesium and tryptophan. Bananas are also a great source of potassium which is also great for reducing muscle tension.

insomnia -aromatherapy

Beat Insomnia – #4 – Aromatherapy

Using aromatherapy oils can be a great way to help with relaxing your mind and body before sleep time.  My favorite is to place one or two drops of lavender oil on a tissue and place it inside your pillow case.

Although many people use a traditional oil burner to disperse their aromatherapy oils, I also enjoy adding a few drops of lavender oil or lemon balm extract to a bath. This gives the best of both worlds. A warm bath to soak and relax muscles and aromatherapy oil to impact the brain to induce feelings of calm.

Also, its the cooling process after your bath that can kick start your natural sleep cycle which is sensitive to our body temperature. These methods give your brain clear signals that it’s time to prepare for sleep.

insomnia -chamomile

Beat Insomnia – #5 – Chamomile

I am personally not in favor of taking pills or potions to assist with sleep. However, I have found that chamomile tea  can help to calm the mind enough to help the process of preparing for sleep.

Some people prefer to take chamomile extract as a supplement rather than drinking tea. This is really down to personal preference. Add chamomile to your list of sleep aids as it has been proven to help many people get to sleep more easily over many years.

insomnia -journal writing

Beat Insomnia – #6 – Unload Your Mind

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll understand that I’m a nut about writing in a journal. Journal writing has many positive benefits for our well-being.

For me, writing in my journal or planner before bed is a great way to quieten my mind.There is nothing worse than almost being asleep and the same thoughts keep jumping back into your conscious mind. So frustrating!

That’s why journal writing is a great way to unload all the thoughts and events of your day. In particular, it’s helps you capture those thoughts that keep coming up in your mind just as you are about to fall asleep. The simple act of writing these thoughts down seems to give your mind permission to let go of these recurring thoughts. This allows your mind to finally switch off knowing these vital thoughts have been captured for future use.

So, give it a try. Whatever comes into your mind just write it down. Make sure you capture those thoughts that your mind keeps coming back too.

insomnia -sleep music

Beat Insomnia – #7 – Sleep Sounds

One of the most powerful ways I use to help with sleep are sound tracks that induce feelings of calm. In fact, there is now a complete science of sound technology that can help to guide your brain away from states of stress.

I regularly use sound tracks that induce a relaxed state for a few minutes before sleep time. The key is to find sound tracks that help you feel calm and relaxed.

I have had great success using new sound tracks which are designed specifically to help the brain shift states. This new sound technology is called brainwave entrainment. The science of  brainwave entrainment opens up a powerful range of audio soundscapes. These very specific sound tracks help calm mind and body without effort.

One of my favorite sites for these exciting audio tracks is the unexplainable  store. They produce a wide range of different tracks to help induce different mind states, so make sure you search for ‘sleep’ tracks.

insomnia -mindfulness

Beat Insomnia – #8 – Mindfulness for Health

Using mindfulness for health can also be used to help when trying to sleep. Mind stress is one of the most prevalent causes of sleep deprivation. Using mindfulness exercises and mindful breathing is a powerful way to calm the mind before sleep.

Mindfulness at its core is about focusing the mind on the here and now which sounds very simple. Achieving a mindful state instantly switches our mind away from dwelling on the past or fears about the future. Dwelling on these thoughts is often the major cause of mind stress.

Mindfulness for sleep therefore means finding any mindful activity that works for you to calm your mind to allow the natural sleep cycle occur. Some of my favorite mindful activities before sleep include reading, journal writing, progressive muscle relaxation exercises, and breath counting meditation.

I have written many posts on mindfulness and stress reduction. Here are related posts you may find helpful.

How to Practice Mindfulness for Health

Understanding Mindfulness in Plain English

3 Simple Mindfulness Exercises.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Script

insomnia -sleep interruption

Beat Insomnia – #9 – The Interrupters

 

Above are eight of my favorite ways to beat insomnia. You can try all these and still have zero success. For me, these work well because I have made other key adjustments that are vital to good sleep.

That’s because there are a range of sleep interrupters that must be considered and managed before you add any potential remedies. These sleep interrupters include alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and medicines. So, before you try to add any of the above methods, it’s important to consider the impact of these major sleep interrupters on your own sleep. Often, other techniques have little or no effect unless these core sleep interrupters are addressed first.

I have written many posts about sleep and insomnia. Here are some related posts you may find helpful.

How Important is Sleep to Your Health

Calm Down Before Sleep in 5 Simple Steps

How to Go to Sleep

Getting No Sleep – 6 Key Factors for Great Sleep

 

 

 

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *