How to get better sleep naturally
Can you really get better sleep naturally without resorting to harmful or addictive pharmaceutical or OTC drugs? The answer is yes!
While your first action against sleeplessness and insomnia should be to examine your lifestyle and look for the root causes, homeopathic supplements, herbs, and essential oils can be another great tool in your toolbox for combating those sleepless nights.
Read on for a list of homeopathic supplements, herbs, and other natural supplements to help you drift off to dreamland.
Although you can find many of these supplements in natural health food stores, it’s best to work with an experienced homeopathic practitioner to find the best treatment and dosage for your personal situation.
- Nux Vomica 30c (helps with tension and feeling overworked)
- Ignatia Amara (for feelings of distress around insomnia)
- Kali Phosporicum 30c (for nervous fatigue or mental fatigue over demands)
- Ambra Grisea 30c (for sleepiness that disappears when you lay down)
- Arsenicum Album 30c (for awakening with anxiety between 1-3 am)
Botanicals can buffer the effects of stimulation to your nervous system, helping you to relax and move into parasympathetic mode. These herbs can be taken as a tea or put into a pill as a supplement taken an hour or so before bed.
If you’re unsure about dosages, speaking to an experienced herbalist may help you find the best treatment plan for you.
- Valerian – Valerian has a sedative and anti-anxiety effect and may help ease nervous tension and insomnia. Start with the lowest dose and increase over time. Try 300-900mg before bed. It’s safe to take consistently for 4-6 weeks. Valerian can interact with some medications. Check with your doctor before taking.
- Ashwagandha – An adaptogenic herb, Ashwagandha helps support the bodies response to stress and promotes relaxation by reducing cortisol levels within the body. It also helps to lower blood pressure and balance blood sugar levels (among many other benefits). Even better, ashwagandha does not cause dependency! It can safely be taken 30 minutes or so before bedtime in dosages of 50mg to 100mg. (Higher dosages may be taken provided they are spread throughout the day.)
- Magnolia Bark – Magnolia may help reduce feelings of anxiety helping to calm racing thoughts before bed. Can be taken as a tea for up to 6 weeks.
- Passionflower – Passionflower has a sedative and anti-anxiety effect. Drinking passionflower tea before bed can calm, relax and reduce muscle spasms.
- Chamomile – Chamomile is well known for it’s calming and relaxing benefits. It can be taken as a tea, tincture or even added to a bath.
- Skullcap – Skullcap has a mild sedative effect on the central nervous system and may also relieve anxiety and stress.
- Lemon Balm – Combined with other herbs, Lemon Balm has a calming effect and promotes restful sleep.
- Hops – Hops has a sedative effect helping you relax and sleep deeper.
- Wild Lettuce – Wild lettuce has a calming, relaxing, mild sedative effect and can also help relieve pain. Not advisable to take if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- California Poppy – California Poppy may induce sleepiness and relaxation. It can be taken as a tea or tincture.
- St. John’s Wort – St John’s Wort is often used to treat mild depression and anxiety. It can be used to promote sleep and balance sleep cycles, although it may take a few weeks for these effects to be noticeable. St John’s Wort can interfere with certain medications. Check with your doctor before taking.
- Ginko Biloba – Ginko Biloba may help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Try taking 250mg 30-60 minutes before bed.
- Gotu Kola – Gotu Kola has a protective effect against sleep deprivation-induced anxiety and neuroinflammation.
Many of these herbs can be found in teas or sold in bulk at your local natural health food store. If you’re unable to find these herbs, try buying online from Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon.
Essential oils can be used by diffusing them in your room each night, sprayed onto your pillow, added to a bath, or mixed with a carrier oil (such a coconut or jojoba) and rubbed into your neck and shoulders (if safe for the skin).
- Lavender – Lavender has a mild tranquilizer-like effect for inducing sleep and has been shown to be better than a placebo at reducing anxiety and depression. Lavender can help soothe pain, calm, relax and improve feelings of well-being. Try adding Lavender to a bath, diffusing as you sleep, use in a massage oil or spray on your pillow.
- Frankincense – Frankincense can help stimulate the pineal gland which is responsible for melatonin production. It also helps relieve depression and stress. Try mixing with water in a spray bottle and spraying on your pillow each night.
- Chamomile – Chamomile can be added to a bath or mixed with a carrier oil (I like coconut oil) and used for massage.
- Valerian -Valerian has sedative effects on the body. Diffuse or apply topically.
- Marjoram – Marjoram is anti-infectious, soothes muscles, and tones the parasympathetic nervous system. It may also help relieve anxiety and nervous tension. Diffuse or apply topically.
- Magnesium – Magnesium is an extremely important mineral involved in many body processes and is essential for brain and heart health. Magnesium has a relaxing effect by increasing GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and can regulate melatonin production. Try taking magnesium as a powder supplement or adding Epsom salt (a great source of magnesium) to a bath.
- Glycine – Glycine is an amino acid that plays an important role in the nervous system. It’s thought to work by lowering the bodies temperature signaling sleep. Glycine can be found in bone broth, meat, eggs, poultry, kale, cabbage, bananas, and kiwi. An easy way to get more glycine before bed is to add gelatin to a tea or drink bone broth.
- Tryptophan – Tryptophan can increase melatonin levels. Try a high protein snack (like turkey or a handful of almonds) before bed.
- L-Theanine – L-theanine is an amino acid found naturally in tea that may help improve sleep and relaxation. Try 200-400mg daily.
- 5-HTP – 5-HTP is a chemical the body makes from tryptophan which is then converted to serotonin. Taking a 5-HTP supplement can raise serotonin levels. Serotonin has a positive effect on mood, sleep, anxiety and pain sensation.
I hope these supplements provide relief on your quest for better sleep!
Have you tried any of these herbs or supplements? What works best for you?
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Hi! I’m Liane, a self-proclaimed ‘scrunchy mom’ (as in semi-crunchy). I have a passion for all things natural, healthy and holistic. My aim is to inspire you on your healthy living journey by sharing simple, everyday habits that can transform your well-being and life.