Insomnia is a condition where affected persons have a hard time getting a restful night’s sleep, thus preventing them from waking up feeling rejuvenated. For the most part, insomniacs wake up fatigued. Some of the symptoms that indicate one is possibly suffering from insomnia include finding it hard to fall asleep, staying awake for the better part of the night, waking up severally at night as well as finding it difficult to take a siesta during the day despite one’s fatigue. For a good number of insomniacs, other symptoms include waking up extremely early and the inability to fall back asleep as well as poor concentration during the day.
The frequency of insomnia varies from one person to another. While some will experience occasional insomnia without any serious consequences, others experience this sleep disorder for months on end. For the latter group, it goes without saying that the condition has adverse effects on the quality of life that one leads. To identify whether you suffer from insomnia or not, it is important for you to figure out how much sleep you need.
While there are no specific guidelines indicating the amount of sleep required since this varies from one person to another, the average adult requires between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. The most important thing as far as this is concerned is to ensure that you feel well-rested when you wake up.Some causes of insomnia include poor sleeping routines, mental health conditions, physical illness as well as the use of certain medication. Below are some of the natural remedies that you can use to treat insomnia.
1. Chamomile Tea:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 2 Tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers and 2 cups of water. The following ingredients are optional: honey (natural sweetener), milk and fresh lemon juice.
Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural remedy for the management of insomnia as it helps people doze off with ease. The tea works by relaxing your muscles. In recent times, research shows that the tea has a compound known as apigenin. Apigenin is thought to attach to receptors specific to GABA (a chemical neurotransmitter) thus influencing sleepiness. Its gentle taste, coupled with its soothing effects make it a great choice for dealing with insomnia. you may choose to purchase chamomile tea directly from the store, but there is something amazing about brewing it fresh for a good night’s sleep.
- Place the dried leaves in a pot, and then take a second pot and boil the 2 cups of water.
- Turn off the heat when the water attains boiling point.
- Pour the boiling water over the dried flowers and allow to steep for 5 minutes.
- You may add some honey to sweeten the tea as well as some fresh milk to add a delightful taste to the tea.
- Top this tea up with some freshly squeezed lemon juice and sip at bedtime.
2. Aromatherapy Using a Home-Made Lavender Sleep Sachet:
Time Required: 1 Hr
What You Need: Muslin, Ribbon/string, needle, thread, pair of scissors, pins, lavender essential oil and dried lavender flowers.
One of the key pillars of aromatherapy is to ensure that individuals are well relaxed. In recent years, studies have indicated that aromatherapy could be used as a home remedy for people struggling with insomnia. The reason for this is that unlike other scents, lavender was showed to improve drowsiness while improving the user’s moods the next day. Since insomnia often causes irritability in affected people, using lavender may just prove to be the home remedy you have been looking for as an insomniac. To benefit from this remedy, follow the directions below to make your own sachet.
- Cut the muslin into 2 square pieces measuring about 15 cm.
- Place the muslin together, making sure that the patterned side is inward facing.
- Sew the pieces together on 3 of the four sides and leave one side open to allow you to put the lavender leaves inside.
- Ensure that you sew well so that there are no gaps. It helps to pin the squares together if you’d like a neat finish as this holds the pieces in place.
- Turn the muslin inside out so that you have the patterned side showing.
- Add the dried lavender to the muslin, but make sure you leave ample space to allow you to tie it.
- Add 3 drops of lavender essential oil (or more depending on your preferences) to the dried flowers.
- Use the ribbon or string to tightly shut the sachet.
- You will then place this sachet anywhere in your bedroom.
- Optional places to do this include inside your pillowcase or on your bedside table. This proximity allows you to enjoy the relaxing benefits of the lavender oil and flowers.
3. Enjoy Foods and Fruits That Boost The Levels of Melatonin in The Body:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Fruits such as bananas and cherries.
Melatonin is one of the most important compounds in the body, and is used to regulate sleep patterns. When the levels of this chemical compound dip, you are more likely to suffer from insomnia. One of the simplest ways to beat this is to increase the levels of the chemical compound by ingesting fruits which help increase its production. The fruits are not only ideal for increased melatonin levels, they are also a healthy option for night snacking.
For this list of home remedies for insomnia, the focus will be on bananas and cherries. Bananas are rich in an amino acid (the basic building block of proteins) known as tryptophan. This amino acid is one of the precursors required for the biosynthesis of melatonin. Since tryptophan is an essential amino acid (which means that the body does not synthesize it, and you have to get it from your diet), taking bananas is an excellent way of increasing the concentration of melatonin in your body. This allows your body to ease so that you can sleep well at night. Cherries are also rich in tryptophan, and therefore aid your sleep in the same way as bananas.
- Simply munch on the fruits about half an hour before bedtime.
4. Lemon Balm:
Time Required: 1 Hr
What You Need: 2 Tablespoons of dried lemon balm, 2 cups of clean water, 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile, strainer and honey for a sweetener (optional).
Lemon balm has long been used to treat insomnia, thanks to its calming properties and ability to relax an individual. This balm also has the advantage of allowing you to take a break from daily stress and enjoy a stress-free night. Studies which have been done in the analysis of lemon balm show that its sedative effects work pretty well for insomniacs. Caution must be exercised however, for the simple reason that taking excessive amounts of the lemon balm may actually cause heightened anxiety, which only worsens the insomnia. Dried chamomile flowers are added for their relaxing capabilities.
- Place the herbs (both the lemon balm and chamomile leaves) in a pan.
- Boil the water in a separate pan.
- Add the boiling water to the herbs and allow to steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain the mixture and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Make sure you discard the used herbs.
- Drink this mixture at least half an hour before bedtime for best results.
5. Dried Hops:
Time Required: 6 Hrs
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of dried hops, 2 cups of water in a pan, strainer and glass jar with lid. Dried lavender (optional) For the sachet, you will need Muslin, Ribbon, sewing needle, thread, pair of scissors, pins, lavender essential oil and dried hops.
Dried hops may be synonymous with beer, but you will be pleased to know that hops are also a great home remedy for insomnia (certainly not when ingested in the beer). Hops have been known to possess relaxing properties that help calm you right around bedtime.There are two ways you can use dried hops: either by preparing a strong drink from the herb, or by preparing a sleep sachet. If you opt to take the tea, note that you need to allow for at least 6 hours for the steeping process. If you have ample time however, it is advisable to let the hops steep overnight.
Preparing the Tea:
- Boil the water in the pan and set aside.
- Add the hops to the glass jar and pour the boiling water in the jar, taking care not to crack the glass.
- Cover the glass jar and allow the hops to steep for a minimum 6 hours.
- Once this time has elapsed, strain the mixture.
- You may take this tea chilled, or opt to warm it depending on your preferences.
- The best time to take this tea is half an hour before bedtime.
- Refrigerate the tea and use within 2 days.
Preparing the Dried Hops Sleep Sachet:
- Cut the muslin into 2 square pieces measuring about 6 inches.
- Place the muslin together, making sure that the colored side is inward facing.
- Sew the pieces together on 3 of the four sides. Leave one side open to allow you to put the dried hops inside.
- Thread well so that there are no gaping holes. If need be, pin the squares together for a neat sachet.
- Turn the muslin inside out so that you have the colored side showing.
- Add the dried hops to the muslin, leaving just enough space for you to tie the sachet.
- Add 3 drops of lavender essential oil (or more depending on your preferences) to the dried hops.
- Tie the sachet tightly using the ribbon.
- You will then place this sachet anywhere in your bedroom preferably close to your bed such as under your pillow or on your bedside table.
- This proximity allows you to enjoy the relaxing benefits of the lavender oil and the calming powers of the dried hops.
6. Bedtime Routine:
Time Required: Varies depending on the choice activities.
What You Need: Varies depending on the preferred bedtime routine.
Difficulty: Moderate (this is dependent on one’s commitment).
The human body adapts pretty fast to routines and habits, both good and bad. By creating a relaxing bedtime routine, your body finds it a little easier to move from wakefulness to sleep. The essence of this routine is to create a time block where you get to relax and decompress from the day’s activities. This lulls the mind and creates an ideal environment for you to sleep. There are different ways in which you can establish a bedtime routine depending on what works best for you. Below are some of the ways in which you can go about this. For this routines to work, however, you need to be consistent in order to create the habit.
- Enjoy a Warm Bath
For most people, nothing quit compares to a night bath that allows you to rinse off the day’s stress and thoughts. This is in addition to the feeling of slipping into bed fresh and clean. You may add 5 drops of your choice essential oil in order to enjoy the calming advantages of aromatherapy. Make this a part and parcel of your night time routine to keep insomnia at bay.
- Take some Time to Enjoy Your Favorite Reads
Reading is also a great way to ease your bedtime routine. An act as simple as reading a few pages every night helps ease your transition to sleep.
- Meditate or do Yoga
Just like the aforementioned sample bedtime routines, meditating is an integral way of dealing with insomnia. At the core of this remedy is the need to avoid excessive thinking as the churning of these very thoughts have the capacity to keep you awake all night long. Yoga exercises are also a gentle way to relax and get your body and mind ready for bed.
7. Regular Exercise:
Time Required: Varies depending on the exercise.
What You Need: Depends on the form of exercise.
Regular exercise has been shown to help insomniacs deal with the condition. This works because exercise ensures you remain energetic through out the day. By bedtime, your energy levels are dipped, and this eases the transition from wakefulness to sleep. Take care, however, not to exercise in the late evening or just before bedtime as the surge in energy levels could actually keep you awake for longer.
- Schedule your work out sessions in the AM for the best results.
Other measures that you can use to manage insomnia in addition to these remedies include creating a sound environment to sleep, keeping your bedroom neat as well as de-cluttering it. Clutter has a way of adding stress to the body, and subconsciously, this makes it harder for you to fall asleep.