5 Natural Remedies That Can Help You Sleep Better
Insomnia is classified as a condition where an individual faces difficulty in sleep. This may either be due to an inability to fall asleep, or it may be described as trouble staying asleep for the whole night. This lack of sleep not only leads to low energy levels the next morning but also interferes with one’s concentration and memory. They may feel tired and agitated, and not be able to do the tasks they usually are able to do every day. Sleep also helps boost our moods, and sleepless nights are often linked to a negative effect on mental health.
Insomnia is a very common condition in the world we live in today, and millions of individuals all over the world are looking for cures and remedies which would allow them to sleep better. Even though drugs like Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines are often used for this purpose, they have a plethora of side effects that may cause the individual more harm than good in the long term. A major side effect of such drugs is an addiction- which means that there comes a time when the individual may not be able to sleep on their own without the drug and may undergo severe withdrawal effects as well. This is why natural remedies are often recommended by experts over harmful drugs, as they are a much safer option and may be used in the long term.
Chamomile tea is often suggested by experts for the treatment of Insomnia due to its calming effects on the body. It is essentially made using Chamomile flowers and has a number of beneficial effects on the body. Many cultures also use for as a mild sedative and treatment of upset stomach. It can be used alone or in combination with a number of other therapeutic herbs to further enhance its effect.
The sleep-inducing effect of Chamomile tea has also been proven by numerous studies. One such study included a total of sixty adults who were given capsules of Chamomile extracts twice a day, for a period of 28 days. The results of the study showed that the individuals who took the capsules felt significant improvements in their total sleep quality and sleep latency. (1) It may also be beneficial for post-partum women who face difficulty in falling asleep due to hormonal imbalances. Research shows that these women may feel a modest improvement in their sleep quality, which in turn, will lead to positive mental health effects. (2)
Lavender is derived from a Latin word that means to wash. This particular plant is found to have numerous health benefits and has been used historically by the Egyptians for the treatment of a number of ailments and even the mummification process. In the following years, it started to be used by the Persians and Romans as a bath additive due to its relaxing properties. They believed it to be effective in purifying the mind, body, and soul.
Studies conducted to investigate the association between Lavender and sleep quality showed a positive correlation between the two. One such study used lavender oil capsules which were delivered to adults with Anxiety Disorders. The results of the studies showed the effects of Lavender oil to be equal to the effects of Lorazepam, which is an anti-anxiety drug that helps the individual relax. (3)
Rosemary has been used as an Ayurveda medicine in many cultures, due to its healing properties for the body. It is also commonly used as an aromatic agent, in different foods, due to its unique flavor. It originates from Mediterranean regions and South America, however, due to its growing popularity it is now grown in many other regions of the world. (4)
Rosemary extracts may either be taken in the form of supplements, however, the more popular form of its intake is Rosemary Tea. You may prepare this tea by taking a teaspoon of rosemary leaves which are to be left in hot water for some time. An alternate approach for this is to use a tea infuser, which may be used to steep the Rosemary leaves for 10 minutes or less depending on the flavor you may be looking for. Studies that may be conducted to investigate the effect of Rosemary on Insomnia showed that individuals who were given at least 500 mg of Rosemary for a month have significant improvements in their sleep quality. (5)
Exercise is a solution for a good majority of health problems, one of which is the inability to sleep at night. This is not only a much safer option than the pharmaceutical treatments for sleep disorders which come with a number of side effects but also cost less for the patient. Studies show that individuals who perform regular workouts are much less likely to suffer from sleep problems as compared to those who live a sedentary lifestyle.
It not only has a positive effect on sleep quality, so that the individuals wake up refreshed in the morning, but also improves the total number of hours of sleep, sleep onset, and efficiency. The association between the two can also be judged by the data which shows that those who lead a more active lifestyle have decreased complaints of insomnia, and don't require any additional sleeping aids. (6)
Taking A Bath With Hot Water
We are often advised to take a hot water bath when we are stressed, or have sore or tensed muscles. This is muscle a hot water bath helps the body relax and allows you to sleep better. This is why it is often recommended to take a bath with hot water right before going to sleep, as it brings your body into a relaxed state and prepared it for a good night’s sleep.
This is further backed up by studies that show that bathing for at least 90 minutes in a water bath with a temperature between 40 to 43 degrees is enough to improve the overall sleep quality. It is estimated, that this practice can allow the individual to sleep at least 10 minutes earlier than they usually sleep. (7)
- Adib-Hajbaghery, M., & Mousavi, S. N. (2017). The effects of chamomile extract on sleep quality among elderly people: A clinical trial. Complementary therapies in medicine, 35, 109–114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2017.09.010
- Chang, S. M., & Chen, C. H. (2016). Effects of an intervention with drinking chamomile tea on sleep quality and depression in sleep disturbed postnatal women: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of advanced nursing, 72(2), 306–315. https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.12836
- Woelk, H., & Schläfke, S. (2010). A multi-center, double-blind, randomised study of the Lavender oil preparation Silexan in comparison to Lorazepam for generalized anxiety disorder. Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology, 17(2), 94–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2009.10.006
- de Oliveira JR, Camargo SEA, de Oliveira LD. Rosmarinus officinalis L. (rosemary) as therapeutic and prophylactic agent. J Biomed Sci. 2019;26(1):5. Published 2019 Jan 9. doi:10.1186/s12929- 019-0499-8
- Nematolahi, P., Mehrabani, M., Karami-Mohajeri, S., & Dabaghzadeh, F. (2018). Effects of Rosmarinus officinalis L. on memory performance, anxiety, depression, and sleep quality in university students: A randomized clinical trial. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 30, 24–28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2017.11.004
- Passos, G. S., Poyares, D., Santana, M. G., Garbuio, S. A., Tufik, S., & Mello, M. T. (2010). Effect of acute physical exercise on patients with chronic primary insomnia. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 6(3), 270– 275.
- Shahab Haghayegh, Sepideh Khoshnevis, Michael H. Smolensky, Kenneth R. Diller, Richard J. Castriotta, Before-bedtime passive body heating by warm shower or bath to improve sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Sleep Medicine Reviews, Volume 46, 2019, Pages 124-135, ISSN 1087-0792. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2019.04.008.