The Best Natural Sleep Aids
If you’re anything like the vast majority of people in America, you need some new ways to fall asleep naturally. You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to avoid taking medication. I myself believe that one should take as little medication as possibly needed.
Unless you have an actual sleeping disorder, I think that having the right mindset and routine can make a world of a difference. I know, because I use and love all of these natural sleep hacks. And they work very well for me. So let’s get into it!
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Why Natural Sleep Hacks are So Important
Sleep is one of the least-utilized treatments for just about any health condition. Bad sleep habits can be a big factor in causing depression, anxiety, early mortality, etc. I know that putting early mortality on that little list seems a bit dramatic, but it’s true.
You need sleep to function properly. And when you can’t function properly, your body’s efficiency starts to slowly fly out the window. Of course, other factors can cause sleep problems, such as anxiety keeping you up all night or hindering you from falling asleep peacefully. I definitely suffer from the latter on a regular basis.
But what helps me is little tweaks here and there to my schedule based on how I’m feeling. I’ll pick one, two, or maybe all of the things I have below depending on my anxiety levels. I’ve suffered from very mild anxiety for roughly six years, and all of these help tremendously.
So go through this list and pick the natural sleep hacks that fit your lifestyle and preferences. Let me know if any of them help!
Dim the Lights!
This is one of the easiest ways to fall asleep! If you love to have your lights on before you fall asleep, I highly suggest you switch to dim lights instead. While it may seem like a common sense idea, there actually is some science behind this.
Whenever your eyes register light, especially blue light, your brain registers the light as daytime. And when your brain thinks it’s daytime when it’s really ten o’clock at night, sleep can be elusive. If you have lights that have a dimmer effect, just make sure that you dim the lights as needed before you fall asleep.
But, if you’re like me, this isn’t an option. What I like to do instead is turn off the bedroom’s main lights and turn on a small lamp on my nightstand. This way, I get lower light that I can easily turn off from my side of the bed.
This Includes Electronics Too!
Unfortunately, most computer and smart phone screens emit a blue light, which stops our brains from releasing melatonin. In other words, if you like to lay in bed while scrolling through your phone, it’s jeopardizing your sleep patterns.
Now, I’ll admit to having this habit, and I’ve had the hardest time trying to break it. One common rule of thumb I’ve seen is no electronics at least two hours before bedtime. But that’s not realistic to me at all. Don’t get me wrong, I applaud you if you can do that no problem.
One quick fix is to get these blue light glasses. These special glasses have been making waves in social media recently. They simply filter out all blue light for you, and they are an absolute must-have if you work while staring at a screen all day. Or you can do what I do and disable all blue light on your phone and computer.
I’ve been reading a book instead of my phone as much as I can, but some nights I just want to mindlessly stare at my phone, you know? So the same rule goes for dimming your room’s lights. Dim your computer screen as much as you can, and the same goes for your phone. I’ve found that it also helps a great deal with straining my eyes as well.
Try Weighted Blankets
A weighted blanket is what its name implies: a regular blanket with a few pounds of weight added to it. Usually the weight is in the form of small glass beads that are distributed evenly in little pockets sewn throughout the blanket.
This to me is one of the least talked-about ways to fall asleep that is incredibly effective. You know that feeling when you’re sad or anxious and you just want a hug to feel better? That’s the idea behind weighted blankets.
The term for this phenomenon is called Deep Touch Pressure, or DTP. This is a kind of pressure that is put evenly over the body, and the effects are excellent for anxiety and insomnia. The pressure on your body from the blanket (or a much-needed hug) causes your body to release serotonin, a chemical that makes you feel calm and relaxed.
One study even found that weighted blankets reduced nervous system activity. So if you suffer from insomnia due to your brain’s inability to turn off, a weighted blanket may be a great solution. I’ll admit that I can’t sleep with it because I feel suffocated, I love to lay on the couch with it before going to bed. It really calms me down before I commit to real sleep.
Take Valerian Root
Valerian root is a vitamin supplement that I love and trust. The root of the valerian flower is one of the oldest known ways to fall asleep, dating back to to the second century!
Even with its historical past, Valerian Root has been studied multiple times in children and adults. The test group that used Valerian had consistently better results than the group that used a placebo instead. What specifically does Valerian Root do?
It is a natural sleep aid that causes a hormone called GABA (Gamma-amino butyric acid) to release into your brain. This release causes a sedative or relaxed effect. Valerian root is also used as a mild anxiety supplement because of its calming properties.
So if you need a natural way to take the edge off your anxiety at night, I highly recommend this supplement. I’ve been a user of Valerian Root myself for a number of years. I only take it on nights I feel more stressed than usual. It certainly takes the edge off, and I get a more restful and relaxed night’s sleep.
You may be wondering why I suggested Valerian root over melatonin. It may be the latest “natural sleep drug,” but the way melatonin is manufactured makes it very dangerous. You can read more on The Dangers of Melatonin and Why You Shouldn’t Take it Long-Term.
One of the Best Natural Sleep Hacks? Establish Routine
If you want to get the most out of a good night’s sleep, you need to start implementing a routine. Once you get used to doing a certain order of tasks before you lay down to sleep, your brain will automatically know that it’s time to shut down.
I’ve started a nighttime routine for better mental health that has worked wonders with helping me relax. You can implement all of these tips, first by dimming all the lights, take some valerian root, then slip under your weighted blanket with a good book.
You can even turn on some relaxing music with binaural beats for extra relaxation. It just takes a week or so of psychological conditioning, and you’ll be able to fall asleep fast every night no problem!
What tips do you have for a good night’s sleep? Let me know in the comments below!
Related to Natural Sleep Hacks:
- How to Create a Stress-Free Desk Space for Under $20.00!
- 5 Easy Ways to Improve Concentration Right Now
- Meditation Not Your Thing? Try Binaural Beats Instead!
- The Ultimate Calming Nighttime Routine for Better Mental Health
- How to Make Essential Oil Candles for Your Self-Care Kit
- Stay Calm and Mindful with Meditation for Beginners
- How to Feel Grateful Even When Life Seems to Suck
Fall Asleep Naturally