If you’re having trouble sleeping, rest assured you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 70 million Americans struggle with chronic sleep problems. But before you ask for a prescription sleep aid, consider exploring natural sleep remedies.
From herbs and acupuncture to addressing poor sleep patterns and habits, here are six natural remedies to help you sleep.
Yoga can improve strength, flexibility, and overall mood. Studies have shown that it can also act as a natural sleep remedy.
Before bed, try simple yoga poses that focus on slow stretches, breathing, and meditation. Options like yin and restorative yoga can help loosen your muscles and prepare your body for sleep without increasing your heart rate.
In a 2015 study, researchers discovered that massage therapy improved the sleep quality of patients with insomnia. While you might not be able to get a professional massage frequently, adding some sort of practice to your bedtime routine can help you wind down, ease pain, and get better sleep.
Ask your partner, roommate, or friend to give you a massage or learn self-massage techniques. Focusing on the feelings of touch can serve as a type of meditation to clear and relax your mind.
Regular acupuncture can relieve chronic pain that can make it difficult to get comfortable and fall asleep. Acupuncture also helps to quiet the mind, promote relaxation, and decrease stress.
A review of 46 clinical trials with almost 4,000 insomnia participants found that acupuncture significantly improved their sleep quality.
If you use acupuncture to help you sleep, choose an experienced and trained practitioner. And as always, discuss the treatment with your general health practitioner.
Adding lavender to your sleep hygiene can help eliminate poor sleep patterns. Research shows that lavender has a broad range of effects on the body in various forms (i.e., essential oil, oral supplement, etc.). Acting as both an anxiety reliever and a sedative, this gently scented flowering herb can promote calmness and help you sleep.
Note:Use caution when incorporating lavender oil into your sleep routine, as studies have found it could mildly affect how hormones work in your body.
Speaking of hormones: melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycles. It’s triggered by our body’s response to reduced light exposure, which usually occurs at night.
Things like light from our screens, shift work, jet lag, and circadian rhythm-related sleep disorders can all disrupt our natural exposure to light and, ultimately, our melatonin production.
Fortunately, melatonin is available as a prescription and an over-the-counter supplement. Research suggests that melatonin supplements can help with low levels of melatonin. A 2016 study also found melatonin improved the sleep patterns in participants with cancer and insomnia.
When using melatonin supplements as a natural sleep remedy, take the lowest effective dose possible to minimize any side effectslike headache, dizziness, and nausea.
Specific lifestyle changes can also remedy poor sleep patterns. Here are a few healthy habits to help you sleep better.
Avoid or limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
Cao, Huijuan. "Acupuncture for Treatment of Insomnia: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials." Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2009, https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2009.0041.
Kurdi, Madhuri S., and Sindhu P. Muthukalai. "The Efficacy of Oral Melatonin in Improving Sleep in Cancer Patients with Insomnia: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study." Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 2016, https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-1075.185039.
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MedCline was founded in 2011 by Carl Melcher, M.D, who was a life-long sufferer of GERD. Dr. Melcher wanted to help the millions of GERD patients with a natural treatment alternative utilizing positional therapy. Since development, the Reflux Relief System has been validated in 7 clinical trials. Aiming to help other medical conditions with positional therapy, MedCline has also developed a Shoulder Relief System for those who suffer with chronic shoulder pain at night. Both MedCline Relief Systems are providing much-needed relief for those suffering from nocturnal acid reflux and/or nighttime shoulder pain to get quality, restorative sleep leading to a higher health-related quality of life.