Table of Contents
Sleep deprivation takes a toll on your mind, body and overall health. Sound sleep is necessary for a balanced living. Losing sleep once in a while is fine but a never ending pattern can be severely harmful and is termed as insomnia. Sleeping pills are an easy cure but it is always advisable to turn to home remedies to cure Insomnia.
Symptoms of insomnia include difficulty in falling asleep, waking up often in the middle of the night and having difficulty in sleeping again, waking up too early and feeling tired on waking up. Irritability, fatigue, poor concentration and headache are some of the effects of insomnia.
Acute vs Chronic Insomnia
Insomnia can be acute (short term) or chronic.
Acute insomnia lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Acute insomnia results from stress or trauma.
Chronic insomnia lasts for a month or longer and is usually caused as a side-effect of problems like medications, chronic pain, health issues, menopause, etc.
Dietary measures for a better sleeping pattern
Foods containing a good amount of amino acid tryptothan such as turkey, milk, cheese, chicken, eggs and nuts help in promoting sleep. In the brain, tryptothan is converted to serotonin and melatonin which are natural sleep-inducing substances.
To get rid of sleeping issues, our first instinct is to take sleeping pills but those can have side effects. Instead, we should focus on what we eat and drink before going to bed so that we get a good night’s sleep. Home remedies can do miracles and turn out to be more effective than any other means of inducing sleep. Instead of resorting to sleeping pills, give these home remedies a try:
1. Warm milk
This age old remedy has been doing wonders to a lot of people. We have been listening to this from our grandmothers that drinking warm milk before going to bed gives a good night’s sleep. The scientific reason behind milk inducing sleep is that milk contains amino acid tryptophan. The same acid is present in carbohydrate rich food and this is the reason people feel sleepy after eating big meals. Tryptophan is converted to the natural hormone melatonin in the human body which further helps in regulating sleep.
2. Almond milk
According to study by Dr Michael Murray, the presence of serotonin in the brain can help in initiating sleep. Healthy levels of serotonin in our central nervous system depends on the presence of tryptophan and is often found in cow’s milk and almond milk. Almond milk also contains high amount of Magnesium, which is another nutrient which helps improve sleep.
3. Chamomile tea
Chamomile herbal tea often nicknamed the sleep tea has been, for years now, been used as a natural remedy to reduce inflammation, decrease anxiety and treat insomnia. This tea is not only caffeine free but has a calming and soothing effect too. The calming effect is due to the presence of an antioxidant called apigenin which is found in great amount in this tea.
Apigenin binds to certain receptors in the brain which helps decrease anxiety and initiates sleep. To enhance the effects, you may pair this tea with magnesium supplements. A study in 60 nursing homes found that people who receive 400 mg of chamomile daily had much better sleep quality than those who did not receive any.
4. Decaffeinated green tea
Green tea has become a fad for people who want to lose weight. If the caffeine boost is removed from the green tea, it has great sleep inducing benefits. Green tea contains amino acid L-theanine, which is an excellent remedy for sleeplessness. It also helps promote restful sleeping patterns.
5. Herbal tea with lemon balm
Lemon balm, also known as balm mint is an excellent option for stress busting, getting rid of insomnia and promoting healthy sleep. It contains compounds that have calming properties. Lemon balm is also frequently used in the extract form for use in aromatherapy while its leaves are dried to make tea. The mild sedative nature of lemon balm improves the quality as well as the quantity of sleep.
To make this herbal tea, wash about 10 lemon balm leaves and add them to boiling water. Let it steep for around 5 minutes before adding a spoonful of honey and drinking while it’s hot.
6. Lavender tea
Lavender as an herb is known for its aromatic and soothing scent. Its tea is made from small purple buds of the flowering plants. People drink lavender tea to relax, settle their nerves and also aid sleep.
Research has shown that lavender may decrease anxiety and improve the quality of sleep in people having anxiety disorders.
7. Valerian Root tea
Valerian is an herb being used for centuries to cure insomnia, nervousness and headaches. According to a study, it is one of the most popular herbal sleep aids in Europe and USA. Valerian is also available as a dietary supplement in capsule or liquid form. Its root is dried and sold as tea.
According to a theory, valerian increases the level of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. A large amount of GABA can induce sleepiness. Valerian does not pose any kind of side effects.
8. Coconut water
Coconut water is mostly used as an energy boosting beverage. But it might take you by surprise that coconut water contains substances like Magnesium and Potassium which can help in relaxing muscles. It also has ample amount of Vitamin B which helps in reducing stress levels.
Thus, coconut water if had before bedtime can help you relax and have a good night’s sleep.
9. Banana Smoothie
A natural fruit-based sleep assisting option is a banana smoothie which is an excellent sleep promoter. Preparing a banana smoothie is easy and quick.
Blend a small banana with some almond butter and milk for a delicious as well as soothing smoothie. It contains ample Magnesium and Potassium to promote muscle relaxation and induce sleep. It can also be a tasty snack to get rid of your midnight or late evening cravings.
10. Tart Cherry juice
According to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, drinking about 16 ounces of tart cherry juice in a day can help decrease insomnia drastically. The reason behind this is that cherries contain melatonin in huge amounts. Melatonin is an antioxidant known to regulate sleep cycles. Tart cherry juice also contains high levels of anthocyanins (antioxidants) and anti-inflammatory substances. These also aid in better sleeping.
Good habits for getting rid of insomnia
- Caffeine and related compounds need to be eliminated from the diet. Coffee as well as other sources of caffeine such as soft drinks, chocolate, cocoa and tea must be eliminated.
- Follow a regular sleeping schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time daily.
- avoid use of phones or other such devices right before bedtime.
- Exercise regularly but not close to bedtime because it may stimulate you and make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Don’t eat heavy food late in the evening. Have your dinner at least 4 hours before going to bed.
- Sleep on a comfortable bed and keep your room dark and quiet.
- To make you feel comfortable and relaxed, read a book, listen to music or take a bath before going off to sleep.
There can be other ways to cure insomnia like yoga and meditation. If done on a regular basis, these can help in regulating a better sleeping pattern. Morning exercise is also good for regulating sleep because it will make you tired by the end of the day.
Having a sound sleep makes one happy and energised the next day. On the other hand, sleepless nights can make one feel tired and ruin the mood. By using the above mentioned home remedies, you can definitely have a good night’s sleep.