10 Natural Remedies for Insomnia

Insomnia is one of the most prevalent sleep disorders in the United States, impacting roughly 1/3 of the general population. 

Many are using sleeping pills to deal with the problem. 

But, a lot more are eager to find out how to combat insomnia naturally. (1)

Natural insomnia remedies are appealing, mainly because of their low side effect profile. 

Here, you can take a closer look at how to start dealing with insomnia with treatments that don’t use chemicals but can provide a ton of benefits. 

What is insomnia? 

Insomnia means people have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, which is why they tend to suffer from poor sleep quality. These symptoms happen despite having a proper place or opportunity to sleep. 

Those who suffer from insomnia can’t function properly during the day because of their lack of sleep. As a result, chronic insomnia can drastically impact quality of life, health, performance, and productivity. It increases daytime sleepiness and irritability. 

Many factors can lead to insomnia, such as noise, anxiety, depression, stress, etc.

When there is an occasional or constant disruption of sleeping patterns, then patients can experience circadian rhythm disturbances. This affects their duration and timing of sleep.  Classic symptoms of circadian rhythm sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep loss, stress, poor work performance, and trouble waking up in the morning. 

melatonin supplement

Why won’t my body let me fall asleep? 

When trying to fall asleep with insomnia, a lot goes on in the mind. But, what is the brain doing? 

This disorder makes you feel like your mind is racing out of control. According to experts, it links the problem to low levels of the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) brain chemical.

This chemical is the brain’s “brake fluid,” capable of reducing or halting the transmission of nerve impulses. Research indicates that the GABA levels are decreased by 30% in individuals with chronic primary insomnia. This suggests a major imbalance in brain activity. 

If the GABA levels are plummeting, then the brain can’t take a breather, so it is racing at full speed. The worry and overthinking keep you alert, thus making it very hard to fall asleep. Many people are turning to natural solutions for sleeping problems to get better quality sleep

But, what helps with insomnia? Do home remedies have the capacity to quiet the mind? Here is what research has to say. 

How is insomnia treated? 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT-I) for insomnia is a go-to choice. This structured, short intervention can help pinpoint and replace behaviors and thoughts that worsen sleep habits and problems. The therapy gets to the root of the problem.

Other solutions include lifestyle changes and medications. Based on a recent study of 6.3 million adults, 1.1 million used over-the-counter sleep aids. (2)

But, traditional treatments of insomnia with OTC or prescription medications can cause side effects. These include gastrointestinal problems (nausea and diarrhea), dizziness, prolonged drowsiness, etc. Also, medications are not the first line of treatment for dealing with chronic insomnia

Natural remedies are different. While they may not replace conventional prescription medication, they can be viable solutions for sleep. The right home remedy for insomnia can set your mind and body on the right track without exposing you to serious side effects.

10 natural remedies for insomnia 

In the area of alternative and complementary medicine, many remedies for insomnia can help. Some evidence shows that each natural remedy has something to offer and might have the potential to treat patients who are suffering from this condition. These are the most popular remedies.

1) Valerian

Valerian extract reduces the time it takes a person to fall asleep. It offers a subtle increase in GABA levels, providing a calming effect to the mind and body. Valerian root extract features more than 150 chemical constituents, including organic acids and alkaloids. (3)

It has sedative proprieties, can reduce anxiety, and has a good safety profile. This makes it one of the most practical remedies for sleep. When used during treatments for sleep, an effective dose of valerian root extract can range from 300 mg to 600 mg. 

If you want to use dried herbal valerian root, you can use 2-3 grams and soak it in a cup of hot water for 10-15 min. Drink the tea for half an hour to 2 hours before you go to bed. For more effective results, it’s best to use it continuously.

Valerian root

2) Passionflower

Looking for natural remedies for sleepiness? Experts believe that a passionflower supplement could ease insomnia and anxiety symptoms. This is mainly because it can amplify GABA levels and keep the mood in check. This flower could offer a calming and positive effect on sleeping patterns. 

The chemicals in the plant can provide sleep-inducing compounds. This makes it one of the most practical treatment options for insomnia. In animal trials, it helped rats fall asleep quicker. 

To make use of its benefits, many people often brew passionflower tea 1 hour before bedtime. They drink the tea for 7 consecutive nights to notice an impact on sleep quality. (4)

3) Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is another natural remedy for insomnia that can help. When combined with other calming herbal remedies, such as chamomile, hops, and valerian, lemon balm could curb anxiety and help with sleep. Consult a healthcare provider for the right doses.

Overall, when used as a tea for insomnia, you can include 1.5 to 4.5 grams of dried lemon balm herb in hot water. Steep it and drink, not more than 4 times a day. Capsules usually vary in doses of 300 to 500 mg, 3 times a day or as necessary. 

4) Lavender

Lavender fragrance has a beneficial effect on depression and insomnia. It can stimulate GABA receptors, which could assist in melatonin production. In fact, lavender oil is an “olfactory stimulus” and can be used as an efficient calmant before bedtime. (5)

does lavender help you sleep

5) Californian Poppy

Dietary supplements with Californian poppy extract, such as capsules and tinctures, might offer calming effects. They can enhance sleep and promote relaxation. It is one of those home remedies for sleepiness that are popular in folk medicine. (6)

During a small study of 36 patients with insomnia, people took 4 tablets at night of a supplement that featured 32 mg of valerian root extract and 80 mg of California poppy extract. They noticed a notable improvement in sleep efficiency and duration. (7)

6) Cherry Juice

Research shows that Tart cherry juice can significantly impact sleep in older adults with insomnia. It can increase sleep efficiency and time. This could be because the juice can increase melatonin production. This makes it a potential natural remedy for sleepiness. (8)

7) Acupuncture

When seeking treatment for severe insomnia, it’s crucial to work on reducing stress and relaxing the mind. That’s where natural treatments for insomnia like acupuncture can come in handy. 

Acupuncture is a practical and simple tactic for insomnia, with a success rate of roughly 90%. It quiets the mind, increases natural melatonin levels, curbs stress, and promotes sleep. (9)

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8) Acupressure

Working with specific pressure points can serve as a practical relaxation technique. It makes for a useful insomnia treatment at home. 

For example, pressing the Mian point behind the ear for 10 to 20 seconds a couple of times can help with sleep. Research on relief for insomnia indicates that self-administered acupressure practice might improve insomnia. (10)

9) Meditative movement therapy

Practicing meditation and breathing techniques can relax the brain and body. This makes it easier to stop distracting thoughts.

With regular relaxation exercises and a breathing relaxation program, you can keep the mind from buzzing and get a restful sleep. 

meditation-benefits

10) Music therapy

When it comes to remedies for insomnia, not many people think of music. This non-invasive, low-risk therapeutic tool can help. Listening to calming music can lower your heart rate and breathing and decrease your blood pressure. 

That’s because many people who need natural remedies for sleeplessness often associate their sleeping problems with frustration and stress. To know how to stop insomnia, you need to try and calm the mind. Insomnia remedies, natural herbs, and music can help. (11)

What is the quickest way to go to sleep? 

There is no best treatment for insomnia that works for all. Sleeping remedies can facilitate better sleep quality when dealing with this kind of trouble. Using any natural remedy for sleeplessness can be of good help for insomniacs. 

Other tips to try are to:

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Can insomnia be cured? 

Many people want to know how to fix insomnia. Insomnia is typically treatable. It may not be easy to find the right fixes for insomnia, the best remedy for insomnia, or figure out how to fall asleep quickly, but you can improve your sleeping habits. 

When to see a doctor 

Talk to a doctor if the sleeping issues happen once a week, month, or at any time that is becoming a problem. If you are feeling exhausted or drained, the doctor can suggest some insomnia self-care treatments. Or prescription medicine. The treatment approach will vary based on what’s causing the problem.

Conclusion 

Many treatments for chronic insomnia exist. Some natural insomnia remedies like supplements and alternative medicine can offer notable benefits. Talk to a doctor to find the best way how to fight insomnia.  

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Sources

  1. Kaur H, Spurling BC, Bollu PC. Chronic Insomnia. [Updated 2022 Jul 12]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526136/
  2. Albert SM, Roth T, Toscani M, Vitiello MV, Zee P. Sleep Health and Appropriate Use of OTC Sleep Aids in Older Adults-Recommendations of a Gerontological Society of America Workgroup. Gerontologist. 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6281330/
  3. Bruni O, Ferini-Strambi L, Giacomoni E, Pellegrino P. Herbal Remedies and Their Possible Effect on the GABAergic System and Sleep. Nutrients. 2021 Feb. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7914492/
  4. Guerrero FA, Medina GM. Effect of a medicinal plant (Passiflora incarnata L) on sleep. Sleep Sci. 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5699852/
  5. Lee IS, Lee GJ. [Effects of lavender aromatherapy on insomnia and depression in women college students]. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2006. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16520572/
  6. Rolland A, Fleurentin J, Lanhers MC, Younos C, Misslin R, Mortier F, Pelt JM. Behavioural effects of the American traditional plant Eschscholzia californica: sedative and anxiolytic properties. Planta Med. 1991. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1680240/
  7. Abdellah SA, Berlin A, Blondeau C, Guinobert I, Guilbot A, Beck M, Duforez F. A combination of Eschscholtzia californica Cham. and Valeriana officinalis L. extracts for adjustment insomnia: A prospective observational study. J Tradit Complement Med. 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7109475/
  8. igeon WR, Carr M, Gorman C, Perlis ML. Effects of a tart cherry juice beverage on the sleep of older adults with insomnia: a pilot study. J Med Food. 2010. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133468/
  9. Lin Y. Acupuncture treatment for insomnia and acupuncture analgesia. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1995. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8726127/
  10. Yeung WF, Ho FY, Chung KF, Zhang ZJ, Yu BY, Suen LK, Chan LY, Chen HY, Ho LM, Lao LX. Self-administered acupressure for insomnia disorder: a pilot randomized controlled trial. J Sleep Res. 2018. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28884877/
  11. Ding J, Huang T, Hu J, Yuan F. Effectiveness and safety of music therapy for insomnia disorder patients: A protocol for systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2021 Jul. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8257833/

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