People who have trouble sleeping often find that natural sleep remedies can effectively address symptoms of mild insomnia. Lifestyle changes are what doctors most often recommend to help patients return to healthy sleep habit that allow them to wake up refreshed.
Those who experience insomnia often create a self-defeating cycle for themselves. Because they have not slept well, when bedtime arrives they worry they won't sleep, and this creates stress that can cause insomnia. The more someone worries or is anxious about sleeping, the worse the problem can become.
Experts recommend changes in routine to help. For example, if you do not fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed, you should get up and go do something else, preferably in another room. The new activity should be something calming and relaxing. Then return to bed.
Relaxation therapy may also help. To do this, a person should tense and then relax various muscles. Deep breathing may also be of benefit. A simple breathing method might be as follows:
Another natural sleep remedy is sleep restriction therapy. To accomplish this, a person restricts the time asleep to about five hours, and then adds sleep time each night until the normal amount (anywhere from seven to nine hours) is achieved.
Daytime naps must be avoided and the person should be careful when driving or operating machinery until a normal night's sleep has been obtained.
Some people find massage beneficial for healthy sleep because this promotes relaxation. Yoga, meditation, biofeedback, and visualization may also prove helpful. Moderate exercise, at least 20 to 30 minutes three times a week, helps with sleep as well as energy. Exercise should take place in the morning or afternoon, not in the evening or near bedtime.
Aside from lifestyle changes, other natural sleep remedies include herbs, teas, supplements, and extracts. Oils of chamomile, lavender, neroli, rose, and marjoram can be effective when sprinkled in bathwater or otherwise inhaled.
Caffeine-free Herbal Teas made of chamomile, St. John's wort, passionflower, or hops have been found helpful by some. Nervous tension may be resolved by vervain or skullcap and valerian may be helpful as well. Valerian acts upon the central nervous system and should not be used every night.
Lastly, other natural sleep aids include diet and nutritional supplements. Melatonin, which is a natural hormone, is thought to assist with sleep. Calcium and magnesium may also be helpful.
Blood sugar, whether high or low, can affect sleep patterns and should be regulated by avoiding sweets and fruit juices. Starchy foods, such as a plain baked potato, a slice of bread, or an apple, eaten a half-hour before bedtime, may be beneficial.
Warm milk may provide a psychological benefit, but studies have not shown it to be especially helpful.