By: Andie Horowitz
Couldn't sleep last night?
If you’re anything like me, sleep is one of the most valued yet challenging activities to engage in. The state of feeling well-rested is like no other: peaceful for the mind, healthy for the body, and motivating for the day to come. But the process of falling asleep can be significantly more painstaking than the benefits of sleep itself.
Even when I find myself physically tired, if I start thinking about it too much, my mind won’t let me drift off. From racing thoughts to a build-up of energy, numerous factors can keep us awake at night, and, let’s face it: there’s few things more frustrating than not being able to sleep.
Restlessness is pervasive, with an estimated 164 million Americans struggling with sleep at least once a week. Additionally, an estimated one in four adults suffers from mild insomnia. Luckily, there are healthy solutions that may help combat any obstacles getting in the way of a good night’s sleep.
Here's five natural remedies, all grounded in scientific research, to help combat sleep deprivation…
It may be surprising, but journaling has been shown to work as an effective sleep aid. The action serves as a stress reliever, allowing for an organic stream-of-consciousness from your mind to be put onto paper. In doing so, you permit yourself to exhaust your thoughts, and in turn, tire out your mind before hitting the pillow. Try journaling for fifteen minutes each night before bed to see results.
2. Open those blinds
You may have heard that light exposure plays a role in sleep deprivation. While watching TV or staring at your phone might be detrimental to your sleep experience, opening your blinds — whether dimming or completely — can help get your body back in line. The light exposure comes in handy for a natural morning wake-up, allowing for an eventual re-syncing of your circadian rhythm.
3. Grab a sleep-promoting snack
As someone who loves a quick bedtime bite, this suggestion has to be my favorite. Many delicious snacks have active ingredients with sleep-aid properties, such as tryptophan, an amino acid that aids in the natural production of melatonin. And the best part? Tryptophan-rich snacks are accessible, many of which are probably in your cabinet right now: make a snack with almonds, bananas, cherries, cheese, and turkey.
While I haven't tried it myself, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) videos have worked wonders as a sleep aid for satisfied viewers. ASMR works to trigger a calming feeling throughout the body, leaving it in a naturally relaxed state. There are thousands of ASMR videos available online for free, ranging in length and type of content. We suggest exploring the options until you find a type of video that's right for you.
5. Chamomile tea
Chamomile has long been used as a natural medicine to help with both anxiety and sleep. For easy access and hassle-free usage, opt for a cup of chamomile tea before bedtime. The herb’s properties serve as a mild sedative, giving your body an extra boost it may need to fall asleep gracefully. Check out our favorite here.
The path to a dreamy sleep
While our suggestions have been shown to work, this is by no means an all-encompassing list of strategies. For example, we also suggest cutting off your caffeine intake at least six hours before your planned bedtime. This not only applies to coffee, but to soda and caffeinated tea as well. And as with most things, adding exercise into your daily routine can make all the difference.
Remember that bedtime is supposed to be relaxing, not stressful. If sleep no longer feels comfortable, don’t panic — stress will only make it worst. Instead, invest in finding a better way to relax and you'll get back to having peaceful rest in no time.