5 Natural Remedies for Insomnia
The struggle to fall asleep tops the charts over the rest of the worries. Many of us toil to get a bare minimum of 7-8 hours of rest. Getting good quality sleep is essential for physical and mental wellbeing. Chronic sleep deficiency increases the risk of heart disease, obesity, mental exhaustion, diabetes and more. The nights you spend tossing and turning exhausting your phone’s battery on late-night binge-watching sessions could take a toll on your overall health. Some of us are early risers while others are 2 am snackers. Sleep patterns differ in every individual, be it because of jet lag, shift workers or travelling, it differs depending on a person's schedule.
While you might be tempted to turn to sleep supplements and herbal remedies. Prescription pills come with a side of potential risks. You can always rely on natural remedies for insomnia to nod off at night. There is a slew of natural remedies you can try; to hit the pillow.
One of the reasons for insomnia is a crowded mind. Meditation can help you relax and calm your mind. Meditation has a lot of promising benefits for sleep, it has proven to reduce pain, anxiety and depression (1). These are some of the underlying reasons for poor sleep quality and addressing these, would in turn have positive effects on your insomnia. Sleep meditation would incorporate wind down breathing exercises, listening to soothing music or nature sounds.
Like meditation, yoga is also a mindfulness practice that brings your body and mind to be in sync. It is a therapeutic movement that involves focused breathing and mild exercises that keep you alert but relaxed at the same time. From children to the elderly - yoga has been shown to provide numerous health benefits for sleep as well as other advantages concerning pain relief, mood alleviation, stress management and heart health (2). If you plan to use yoga for better sleep, designating a specific time and day to regularly practice has proven to be more effective.
If you are struggling to find a calming train of thought that leads to sleep. Mantra repetition helps to cut out the internal dialogues in your mind. Studies have shown mantra repetition to be effective in quietening the mind and slowly shutting down certain parts of the brain (3). Mantras free you from self-sabotaging and anxiety-inducing thoughts that usually occur late at night. You can lie in a comfortable position and repeat any of these mantras silently “I am calm and still”, “Each breath relaxes me more”, “I welcome sleep into my mind and body.”
Massaging Pressure Points
Acupressure is an ancient Chinese alternative remedy that involves applying pressure on certain points in the body. This practice is based on the principle of balancing your Qi Yin and Yang elements. They argue that abnormalities arise when these elements are not in harmony (4). Massaging certain points helps to stimulate the inner balance and increase Qi energy. 3 pressure points include symmetrical sides behind the neck, the inner wrist near the pulse, the spot behind the ear, the crest of the wrist on side of your palm.
Miscellaneous Tips For Sleep
- 4-7-8 breathing method - Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 and exhale for 8. Repeat the cycle until you feel calm and steady
- Refrain from having caffeine 6 hours before bedtime
- Practice a regular window routine an hour before bedtime
- Wake up and get up at the same time every day
- Heat exposure increases wakefulness, cool down the temperature of your room
- A big meal late at night will keep you awake at night
- Nap wisely. Keep your afternoon nod off not more than 20 minutes
- Try aromatherapy - lavender scent has shown to induce restful slumber
- Hot showers before bedtime helps to create a natural drop in temperature and aid sleep
- Write down what’s bugging you and organise your thoughts before bed
A lot of prep work is required for a perfect sleep for us night owls. Once you master these routines and hacks that work for you, then you’ll find less time trying to fall asleep and more time actually falling asleep.