For many people today suffering from sleep disturbances or the occasional bout of insomnia, finding a safe, effective treatment can be a real life-saver. Besides nutrition and physical activity, nothing else influences your health more than the quality of your sleep.

Getting enough rest is vital to your physical, emotional, and mental well-being and alternative medicine has many options that can help you sleep more soundly. [Ref. 1, 2]

Before you pop in those dreadful over the counter sleep aid, let us see if you can deal with using alternative yet effective ways. 

In a hurry? 

Lifestyle Changes

What you eat, drink, and do throughout your day can significantly affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. If you are having trouble sleeping consistently, you should examine your diet and activity habits to determine if any of those are playing a role in your sleep disorder.

Limiting your intake of stimulants, such as caffeine or nicotine, or other substances that affect your sleep, like alcohol, is important for helping your overall sleep quality. Cutting back on your intake of sugar can also ensure lower blood glucose levels, which will allow you to sleep more soundly, as well.

Some foods can actually induce relaxation and help you sleep better. Tryptophan is a natural compound that becomes converted to melatonin in your body, helping you to sleep. [Ref. 123,4]

Foods rich in Vitamin B6 and magnesium are also beneficial to improving your sleep. Magnesium can help with conditions such as leg cramps, anxiety, and pain, which all affect your sleep, as well. 

In addition to changing what you eat, you should also consider your activity. Regular exercise can enhance your ability to fall asleep and remain in deep sleep longer. Even low-impact exercises like tai chi and yoga can produce a significant improvement in sleep in many people.

Your mind is just as responsible for your ability to sleep as your body. At least two hours before bedtime, start relaxing your mind and letting go of the day’s worries. Engage in some mindfulness meditation exercises to help you focus on sleep just before bed.

Relaxation techniques can also prepare you for bed each night. Other mental activities, such as visualization, can also help relax you and get you in the right frame of mind for a good night’s sleep. Going to bed with the right mindset about sleep is vital for achieving the proper rest.

Herbal and Natural Remedies

Many herbs contain natural compounds that relax and sedate the body, allowing you to fall asleep easily without the adverse effects of many over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids. Along the most popular herbal sleep aids are Valerian root and chamomile.

Valerian root is not only helpful for getting you to sleep at night but also can reduce nighttime wakefulness, which is one of the more difficult sleep problems to remedy. Valerian root works by increasing your production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which naturally calms nerve cells in the brain and blocks those signals that cause anxiety.

Chamomile is also an effective and time-honored natural sleep aid. It works by relaxing your body and inducing sleep.

Another popular natural sleep aid is melatonin. Your brain naturally produces this hormone when it’s time for sleep, but if you are not producing enough on your own, you can take melatonin supplements. Melatonin regulates your sleep-wake cycle, so it is essential that you have enough for consistent, quality sleep.

Other Treatments

In addition to changing your lifestyle and using herbal remedies to improve your sleep, you can also use some other alternative medicine techniques to help you sleep better. For example, if you are not getting enough sunlight exposure, which helps with melatonin production, you can use light therapy. This technique can also help to reset your circadian rhythm that may be altered due to changes in location or because you work at night.

Acupuncture can also help with some of the cause of insomnia.

Hypnosis is useful for teaching you how to relax your body, which allows you to get better sleep. Even aromatherapy can aid in your quality and quantity of rest each night.

There is no shortage of natural remedies and therapies that can help you get a better night’s sleep. Alternative medicine has many solutions to help with your insomnia, so try one today for a more rested tomorrow.