Women Sleeping Bedroom Dream Relax Brunette Morning Concept
Image: Golubovy/Shutterstock

If you’ve been failing to doze off with ease, it can be distressing trying to figure out where to turn for help. Many sleep aids are known for being habit forming and are actually meant for short-term use. Risks associated with prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids include drug intolerance, dependence, withdrawal symptoms, interactions with other drugs or alcohol, and worsening insomnia if you stop taking the sleep aid. To avoid all the risks, below are several natural methods for getting a better night’s sleep.

Watch Your Lifestyle 

The first thing you should do is to take a look at how you’re treating yourself before bed. This can be the most straightforward method to fight troubled sleep, and it’s a good idea to try the easiest possible solutions first.

The trick is to get your mind ready for bed. Activities involving electronics right before bed keep the brain more alert. A poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation linked using electronic devices within one hour before bedtime to poor sleep quality. So put down those devices and turn off the TV at least an hour before bedtime and try reading for a while instead.

Also, make sure some other key lifestyle habits are in effect. Try to make sure you go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day to train your biological clock.

Include aerobic exercise in your life at least four times per week for at least 30 minutes. Aerobic activity at this frequency has long been linked to helping ease insomnia.

Clean up Your Diet

One of the biggest culprits of insomnia is simply drinking caffeine too late in the day. It makes sense to avoid it in the evening, but experts recommend cutting it out of your day by midafternoon to make sure your body is fully purged of caffeine before bedtime.

Dinner should also be on the lighter side, with smaller meals and lighter snacks throughout the day. That will reduce a burst of energy later in the day, as well as the possibility for indigestion.

If you find you have to eat late at night, aim for some complex carbs and protein, like whole grain cereal and a bit of milk or some whole wheat toast and peanut butter. These will take longer to digest, and will even out your blood sugar, helping reduce blood sugar spikes that can lead to poor sleep.

Go Herbal

Drinking some hot chamomile tea before bed is one of the most common natural sleep remedies out there. Chamomile has long been associated with soothing qualities, so it’s worth a shot.

If you really want to ramp it up, there are some other natural remedies you can try. Valerian is a classic sedation herb. Melatonin is a natural hormone that increases at night, so doses of it may help sleep. Make sure to consult a doctor before taking any additional supplements.

Know When to See a Doctor

If none of the above methods helps your insomnia, it may be time to see a doctor to investigate deeper causes. Insomnia can mask other health problems, be they physical or psychological. If this is the case, you owe it to yourself to treat the root of the cause, not merely try to mask the problem.