Living in such a busy and overstimulated world causes many of us to experience problems with sleeping (insomnia) and getting enough rest. As a result of excess stress and anxiety, even if we can get to sleep, often it is not sufficient and of poor quality, leading to sleep deprivation and health issues over time.
Unfortunately, the all-too-common quick fix of taking chemically-based sleep medications can sometimes cause more problems than they may solve, due to side effects and dependency. Thankfully, though, there are a number of natural ways to promote sleep and get better rest without negatively impacting your body, mind or health.
What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder whereby it is either difficult to get to sleep (sleep onset), remain asleep for sufficient time (sleep maintenance), or both.
There are two types of insomnia:
1). Short-term insomnia - a temporary issue
2). Long-term (chronic) insomnia - lasting for three or more months
When you don't get enough sleep or lack quality sleep, this leads to sleep deprivation which can negatively affect your health and wellness over time.
The effects experienced vary from person to person depending on the type of insomnia, severity, as well as other health and psychological factors.
Signs, Symptoms & Effects Of Insomnia & Sleep Deprivation
Apart from not being able to fall asleep, or stay asleep other common signs and symptoms include:
- Not feeling refreshed upon waking
- Sleepiness during the day
- Irritability & moodiness
- Difficulty focusing
- Brain fog
- Memory issues
- Poor performance
If not addressed, this can lead to more serious issues such as:
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Decreased immunity
- Increased risk of accidents
Common Causes Of Sleeping Issues
For most people, the main causes of insomnia and sleep deprivation are related to some or a combination of the following:
- Irregular sleep schedule or working hours
- Excess caffeine or alcohol consumption
Top Natural Tips To Promote Sleep & Get Quality Rest
To help beat insomnia and improve the duration and quality of your sleep, we've compiled these natural tips for sleeping and better rest...
Having a regular time each night when you go to sleep can do a lot to help get your body used to a set sleeping schedule. For best results stick to this schedule even on weekends or days off so that you can create a new habit and cement an internal "wake/sleep clock".
One of the most important factors in helping to fall and stay asleep is the presence of darkness. Our bodies are heavily influenced by "circadian rhythms", natural processes which include a response to light and dark. This corresponds to the daily rising and setting of the sun. A lack of light signals to the body that it is time to rest and directly affects the biological mechanisms which trigger sleep. Being exposed to light when your body is set to be sleeping can throw off the internal wake/sleep clock. At bedtime, the more light you can block out the better. So, if your curtains or blinds are not effective, try using a sleep mask to cover your eyes.
Dedicated Sleep Space
If possible your bed should be located in a place specifically for sleeping and not for any other “waking” activities such as work, watching tv, internet use etc… Having a set space associated with sleep will help subconsciously to induce sleep as well as reduce any potential distractions if you do wake up during the night.
Limit Screen Time
As mentioned earlier, light plays a key role in regulating sleep. Even small amounts of light from unnatural sources can affect your ability to fall asleep. One of the biggest culprits is the ambient blue light emitted by screens such as cell phones, computers, TVs etc… This type of light has been shown to negatively affect your body’s production of melatonin, one of the hormones responsible for regulating sleep. As a result, it’s best to stop looking at any screen, at least one hour before your scheduled sleep time.
If your insomnia is related to stress, meditation is one of the best natural ways to help reduce this as well as calm your mind. Additionally, if you meditate right before your scheduled sleep time it will serve to slow down your brainwaves potentially making it easier for you to fall asleep. Studies have indicated that meditation is also beneficial for promoting better quality sleep.
Aromatherapy For Sleep (Essential Oils)
A natural remedy that has become increasingly popular over recent years is the use of essential oils in aromatherapy for the specific purpose of inducing and encouraging quality sleep. Used for millennia, the aromatic oils are derived from the flowers, leaves, bark and other parts of plants.
Not only can specific varieties serve to reduce stress, calm the mind and relax the body, but also help you fall asleep and rest better thanks to their scents which bypass the blood-brain barrier to affect those relevant parts of your nervous system.
You can either diffuse the oils in a water diffuser next to your bed, put a few drops onto your pillow case or apply them directly to your skin along with a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut which will help them to be better absorbed through the skin. It is always best to use “pure essential oils” which are totally natural and have no chemical additives and always follow the directions and recommendations indicated
Some of the best essential oils for sleeping include:
- Clary Sage
- Ylang Ylang
Learn More: Top Natural Ways To Boost Relaxation & Chill
Plant-Based Foods & Herbs To Promote Sleep
In addition to our top tips, Mother Nature also provides some wonderful plants and herbs that can also help you sleep and promote better rest.
We’ve already mentioned its essential oil, but chamomile is probably better known for its popular herbal tea.
Full of many health properties, of most interest is its antioxidant “apigenin” which binds to the brain receptors associated with sleep. Research has indicated that it also has qualities that aid relaxation, reduce stress and alleviate anxiety.
For best results, have a cup about 45 minutes before bedtime which will give your body a chance to metabolize it and give the sleep-inducing effects a chance to kick in.
It may be surprising to learn but this famous fruit is not just a great addition to a fruit salad or smoothie, but can also improve sleep. One study in particular found that people who ate 2 of these delicious green fruit an hour before bed, not only got to sleep quicker but also slept longer and better.
Thanks to their sleep-promoting melatonin and essential minerals content (magnesium & zinc especially), certain nuts such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts and cashews can not just help reduce insomnia but improve sleep quality as well.
You’re probably more familiar with their sweet cousins, however, tart cherries despite their taste, are actually high in melatonin. Studies have shown that drinking tart cherry juice can help induce sleep and may also promote better quality rest.
Similar to chamomile, Passionflower is another herbal tea that contains the calmness-inducing antioxidant, apigenin. It's also believed to increase production of the stress-busting brain chemical called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) which adds to Passionflower tea's sleepiness benefits.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom
It might have an unusual name, but this medicinal mushroom, in addition to numerous other health benefits, possesses anxiety and stress reducing qualities. It can help balance the central nervous system and calm a busy mind.
Phenoh CHILL for Relaxation & Sleep
Restful sleep is essential for the wellbeing of our mind + body, but 70% of us don't get the recommended 8 hours of sleep. To help, Phenoh has created CHILL Relaxation SuperBooster, a deliciously aromatic night-time herbal drink for relaxation, muscle recovery and sleep. Our breakthrough CHILL For Relaxation formula is a carefully curated blend of superfoods, essential minerals and electrolytes so you can reduce stress, manage anxiety and sleep better.
Healthy Water Enhancer | Good Night Relaxation Drink Mix
20mg Hemp Extract teams up with a soothing blend of Chamomile Flower, Lion’s Mane, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc and more to help calm anxiety so you can relax, sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed.
Powered by Perfect pH, Phenoh does not rely on sugar for rapid hydration. Instead, we utilize natural alkaline minerals as a healthier way to making you feel better, faster.
- Refreshingly non-acidic, neutral taste (like an herbal tea)
- Take-n-go, single serve stick packs
- Just add water & take before bedtime