The best natural sleep remedies and practical tips to sleep better

Author: Elly Prior | First published: 20-09-2010 | Modified: 20-10-2017

If you’re struggling to sleep at night, I have a list of natural sleep remedies for you. This list of insomnia remedies includes herbal remedies, homeopathic remedies, Ayurvedic remedies, supplements (incl. melatonin), over-the-counter remedies and hypnosis. 

I’ve also listed loads of tips to help you sleep better.

Your body is ultimately self-healing and there’s every possibility that there's a cure for your particular type of sleeplessness. So, don't despair - keep looking for the right insomnia remedies to suit your particular needs. I so want you to crack this problem, because insomnia can be one of the warning signs of depression.

If you’ve already tried all the 'magic bullets' without success, do be prepared to invest some time in your general well-being now. Pain, anxiety, depression, trauma and nutritional deficiencies will all upset your sleep-wake cycle.

Please consult your health-care provider/physician to discuss the information I have provided before taking remedies or supplements of any kind. Just because something is 'natural' doesn't necessarily mean it's safe.

Sleep like a baby again.

Natural sleep remedies

I’ve put together a whole list of natural sleep remedies and non-prescription sleep aids for you to explore.  

I’m sure there's a natural sleep aid here for you that’s going to help you with your sleeping problems. But do be sure to do your own research too, including visiting my other pages on sleep. You need to be totally happy with the remedies you choose - any worries about them would defeat the object.

9 of the best herbal sleep remedies

Here's a list of herbal remedies which can be used in conjunction with other tips to get to sleep.

Do be aware, though, that herbal remedies are not necessarily harmless! Therefore, be sure to buy them from a reputable shop where you can be guided by a qualified assitent. You'd want to know that these natural 'cures' for insomnia aren't going to interfere with other medication you're taking, or make an existing health problem worse.

Here's the list of herbal remedies for insomnia:

  • Valerian
  • Lavender
  • Lemon balm
  • Chamomile
  • Hops
  • Passion flower
  • American scullcap
  • Corydalis
  • Bitter orange

Should you be taking melatonin for sleep?

Melatonin is involved with your body's natural (circadian) rhythm, including your sleep-wake cycle. It's naturally produced by the pea-sized pineal gland in your brain, mainly between 9pm and 9am. 

This is why it's so important that you go to bed at the right time and don't habitually entertain yourself way beyond the time you begin to feel sleepy. I suspect that as you've landed on this page, this warning may have come too late!

It's also important to sleep in a darkened room to stimulate the production of melatonin.

Do you have problems sleeping when you've drunk coffee in the evening? If so, you may be missing the enzyme that breaks melatonin down, in which case taking melatonin for insomnia isn't going to work.

Does melatonin have any side effects?

It's always best to consult a medical practitioner before you start taking melatonin. It is, after all a hormone. Take too much or take it for too long - you're bound to upset your body's natural rhythms.

Homeopathic sleeping remedies

The right homeopathic remedy for sleep will be specific to your individual experience of a sleep disorder, including insomnia. (Homeopathic remedies are also safe for children.)

A homeopathic practitioner is trained in holistic medicine - her or she doesn't treat a condition or illness, but the whole of you. As such - there are no real homeopathic sleeping remedies which would reliably help you overcome your insomnia.

Ayurvedic natural sleep aids

Ayurveda (from Sanskrit: ayus meaning 'longevity' and veda, meaning 'related to knowledge') is a traditional and influential system of medicine in South Asia. It treats the root cause of your sleeplessness by restoring the balance in your body and mind.

When your body and mind are balanced, you feel light and have nothing ‘dragging you down’. It’s as if the weight of the world has lifted from your shoulders! At the same time, Ayurveda can settle other 'niggling' problems… you know what I mean - those ones you’ve been putting up with for ages and haven't got round to addressing yet…

Dr Deepak Chopra suggests the Ayurvedic remedy of a cup of warm milk with two strands of saffron or some grated nutmeg as a great natural sleeping remedy.

Check what you eat and drink for Aspartame!

Aspartame is a vile product - a neurotoxin (it kills neurons - your nerve cells!). It accounts for 75% of reports to FDA about adverse reactions to a food additive. Aspartame is the generic name for Nutrasweet, Equal, Spoonful, Equal-Measure.  

If you're drinking soda or diet drinks and/or eating specific products developed to 'help' with weight management, then you're ingesting Aspartame.

You can read more about the toxic effects on Dr Mercola's site. I'll just mention here that the side effects can cause insomnia, depression, anxiety and sleep problems!

I'm sure that after reading Dr Mercola's page you'll have no problems motivating yourself to eliminate this chemical from your diet.

Self-hypnosis as a natural sleep aid

Your unconscious mind is far more powerful than your conscious mind!  Your unconscious mind carries the 'blueprint' for a good night's sleep.  It mostly 'knows' how to do it, without the need for sleeping tablets.  I can think of no better natural sleep aid than that.

There are many different types of sleeping problems, including:

  • difficulty falling asleep
  • trouble staying asleep
  • waking up frequently
  • general restlessness
  • nightmares
  • whirring thoughts

All of these can be easily and effectively sorted by hypnosis – in my view, one of the best sleeping remedies. Hypnosis bypasses all that clutter - those nagging voices, those same thoughts going round and round in your head – and helps to calm you down.

Hypnosis tracks help you relax deeply, whilst a soothing voice speaks straight to that part of your mind that is still in touch with your 'normal' healthy sleep-wake cycle. Hop over there now and have a look at my Hypnosis Online FAQs.

Woman fast asleep on her deskFalling asleep at your desk? You definitely need to take action to benefit your whole well-being!

Meditation

Meditation can have a profound effect on your health and well-being. Research has shown that it actually changes your brain. You'll have no trouble imagining how much it would benefit your sleep if you feel better.

With meditation, stress melts away, worries become manageable, sleep returns and your energy levels noticeably increase.

Prescribed sleeping tablets create short-term relief, but long-term trouble! Instead, take the time to find natural, healthy ways to look after yourself in the long run.

Curing anxiety and panic attacks for better sleep

If you’re suffering from anxiety and feel constantly wound up and stressed by endless worries, then I’d really love you to tackle that first. I promise you - if you cure your anxiety, you won't have to look for natural sleeping remedies anymore!

I recommend Panic Miracle which was developed by Chris Bayliss. He cured himself after he was failed by endless doctors, psychiatrists, hypnotherapists and a whole host of other practitioners.

He’s helped countless other sufferers since becoming a clinical researcher and health practitioner himself.  His 3-step programme is well-researched and gets excellent feedback. Chris impressively promises that your anxiety will have gone in 8 weeks.  I think that's realistic and he actually guarantees it. Have a look at his method to overcome your anxiety for ever.

7 Tips to stop night-time worries

Do the worries kick in the minute you lay your head on the pillow? That's preventing you sleeping, for sure! Here's how you can start silencing those whirring thoughts before you go to bed:

  1. Consider how much you could have achieved with all the energy you've invested (wasted!) in worrying about things you have no control over
  2. Start investing that energy in problem solving strategies (check out the link further down)
  3. Deal with the problems you do have control over
  4. Deal with your relationship or marital problems - see How to Save Your Marriage or Relationship by Lee Baucom PhD, a qualified and experienced couple therapist
  5. If you can't sleep because your partner has just left you or is about to leave you, make sure you adopt the right strategies to Encourage a Reconciliation.
  6. Don't know what to do about something, or finding it hard to make a decision?  That’ll keep you awake for sure. Stop putting it off - make that decision
  7. Beat your depression! You might not know it, but antidepressant medication may well lead to you suffering further episodes of depression. I’d really like you to start taking care of yourself, and I highly recommend the specialist depression treatment downloads from a team of hypnotherapists I trust. Have a look at my page: Hypnosis Online FAQ and downloads

Solving relationship problems will improve your sleep

No surprises here, but according to this study poor sleep leads to a more negative rating of the relationship the following day. Equally, conflict during the day leads to poor sleep that night. Who would have guessed?!

Interestingly, women in stable marriages have better sleep quality than those who are unmarried or who've lost a partner, according to the results of this 8-year study.

If you've lost your partner (depending, of course, on how and when) it's to be expected that sleep is negatively impacted for a period of time at least. You can use sleep aids in the short term, and you'll find plenty of help and advice on dealing with the end of a relationship in the rest of the pages on my site.

You may not even need any natural cures for insomnia at all, if your environment is conducive to sleep.

Here are some top tips to get you started...

11 Practical strategies to induce sleep

  1. Ensure your room is pitch dark to support natural hormone production
  2. Take the television out of your bedroom… even watching something innocuous could be too arousing, and it disturbs the natural production of melatonin
  3. Get work out of your head by siting your office elsewhere, or maybe buy a room screen or cover your desk with a cloth
  4. Clear up all the clutter and sort out your wardrobes
  5. Have separate bed covers if you or your partner feels the cold more than the other. Wool is often best
  6. You and your partner may just be better off sleeping in separate beds, or even rooms. Restlessness and snoring disturb both the sufferer and their partner. (By the way, if in your sleep you or your partner are shouting, jumping about, flinging arms and legs around or having spasms, then do have a look at the study in the links below that associates this with early indications of possible Parkinson's disease)
  7. Ensure that the room temperature is low (a drop in body temperature, regulated by hormones, triggers sleep)
  8. Turn the clock face away from you so you don’t obsess about the time
  9. Buy a small travel spray, fill it with mineral water then add five drops each of Lavender and Clary Sage essential oils. Spray this onto your bedclothes or linen. These natural sleep aids aren’t going to knock you out, but they’ll certainly help you to relax more
  10. Restrict the amount of time you can sleep and slowly build it up again
  11. Do not be tempted to look at your mobile as that too disrupts the melatonin production

As hard as it may be to resist, put your phone/tablet down! Disrupting your circadian rhythm by exposing yourself to bright light after dark increases your risk of depression, obesity and certain types of cancer. 

Sleep tips and insomnia remedies for jet-lag

Jet-lag can be really exhausting. Whether you fly often, or you only experience jet-lag every now and then, the following remedies can be really helpful:

  • Melatonin (see above)
  • Valerian - one of the best natural sleep remedies
  • Drink lots of water throughout the flight - the best sleep aid (only if taken well before going to sleep!)
  • Don't watch the movies at times you wouldn't watch them at home
  • Don't eat during the flight

Other sleep tips and insomnia remedies

Music - one of the best sleep aids

How about a 35% improvement in your sleep by simply listening to soft, soothing music of between 60 - 80 beats per minute (just like your heart rate at rest)?  

45 minutes of folk, jazz or orchestral music will do it. Can you think of a more enjoyable, harmless and cheap sleep aid?

Cooling your brain - one of the insomnia remedies proven by research

The very latest in sleep research describes how the inability to 'switch off', coupled with constantly whirring thoughts, keeps your brain active and therefore warmer than it should be.  

Melatonin helps to lower the body temperature and induce sleep, so it stands to reason that cooling the brain can help you to fall asleep.

More research is needed, however when you read the results in this particular study, I do think that the old-fashioned method of a cloth, dampened in ice-cold water, on the forehead might be worth a try.

Finally...

I hope you've now got some ideas of the kinds of natural sleep remedies that could work for you, and that appeal to you. I'd really encourage you to make sure your diet and exercise regime are in tip-top condition too. Physical and emotional well-being can have a huge impact on your ability to sleep. There is much you can do to help yourself back to sweet dreams - I know you can do it!

New! Rate this article (anonymously)...

I really hope this article is of help to you. :-)

I frequently update my articles based on feedback, therefore I really value your vote. If you think I've missed something, please do let me know in the comment section below.

Thank you so much in anticipation. :-)

Related articles

Physical Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Problem Solving Strategies
Insomnia Treatments
Stress Management in the Workplace
Overcoming a Nervous Breakdown
Common Relationship Problems
Tips to Relieve Stress

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