11 Natural Sleep Remedies that Will Give You a Great Night’s Sleep
Tired of lying awake in bed all night and then feeling like a zombie all day? Here are some natural sleep remedies that you can use to finally get some zzz’s.
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When I was in high school, sleep was hard to come by. I had hours of homework after school. And even when I managed to get to bed, I would just lie awake thinking about all the work I needed to be doing.
By seventh period, I was ready to drop. I remember Freshman year, I had American History scheduled right after lunch. No offense if History is your jam. But I just don’t care about dudes with weird names or memorizing dates. So it was not unusual for me to fall asleep in this class.
So one day, my teacher had had it. I woke up to him announcing that to help keep me awake, we were going to have a pop quiz. On what he was just lecturing about. While I was sleeping. My classmates were staring daggers at me.
It was a matching quiz, and since I had no clue what the answers were, I just entered my answers as A, B, C, D, E, F, G and put my head back down. Well wouldn’t you know it, those were the correct answers. But nobody else thought that could possibly be right, so I got the only A. On the pop quiz we had to take because I fell asleep. Let’s just say I was not super popular that day.
So if you’re tired of lying awake in bed all night only to doze off in the middle of History class, here are some natural sleep remedies you can try to finally get some shut eye.
1. A bed time snack (The yummiest natural sleep remedy)
A light (emphasis on light!) snack with a combination of protein and carbohydrates is apparently supposed to make you sleepy. Try a half banana with some peanut butter or whole wheat crackers and cheese 30 minutes before your bed time.
Lavender is known to be a calming scent and is a classic natural sleep remedy. Try using essential oils, candles, or lavender hand lotion before you go to bed.
3. Warm milk
Honestly, warm milk has always sounded disgusting to me. Some people swear by it though.
If you’re like me and the idea of chugging a mug of warm milk makes you gag, try adding a dash of cinnamon to some vanilla almond milk instead. It even helps your brain make melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates your sleep. Now THAT I might be able to do!
4. Mental math
This trick isn’t a favorite of mine either. But it works for other people, so I’m including it anyway. If anxious thoughts keep you from falling asleep, you can turn them off by counting backwards by 3’s. You won’t be able to think about the stuff that makes you anxious while you’re counting and it’s really boring, so it should put your mind to sleep in no time.
5. White noise (My favorite natural sleep remedy!)
If you don’t have a white noise machine yet, girl, your life is about to change! White noise covers up any obnoxious sounds in your environment which makes it easier to fall and stay asleep. And from personal experience, I’ve found that the sound alone tells my brain that it’s time to sleep when I hear it. I don’t have any research on this, but it definitely works for me!
6. Create a routine
Routines are really helpful for letting our bodies know what we expect them to do. Having a bed time routine worked for you when you were 3 and it will work just as well for you today!
Try cutting the last hour of your day into thirds. Spend 20 minutes doing something low key that makes you happy. Give yourself 20 minutes to wash up. And then use the last 20 minutes for relaxation exercises, meditation, or yoga.
To learn my favorite relaxation exercises, check out >> How to Manage Stress When You Feel Like You're Going to Snap
7. Pet therapy
The nerds who know things have learned that people actually sleep better with a pet in their room. A caveat though: Pets should sleep on the floor or in their own bed because having them toss and turn in your bed is more distracting than helpful. I’m pretty sure my cat would stage a revolt and cry at the door all night, but if your pet is more chill, you can give this one a try.
8. Turning off devices
I know, I know. Binge watching Netflix before bed is part of most people’s night time routines. But watching your favorite shows actually wakes your brain up, which is pretty much the opposite of what you’re going for. Plus the light from your screen can slow down your melatonin production. So if you really want to get some sleep, it might be worth it to kick it old school and turn off the screens.
You should know to expect this one by now! Exercise is the answer to literally everything, ‘miright? (I’m not saying I DO it, I’m just saying it’s good for you!) The nerds who research the things say that working out first thing in the morning helps people get amazing sleep. I mean, if you’re awake anyway at 5am, it can’t hurt, right?
Believe it or not, you can actually buy melatonin supplements over the counter. Research is mixed and they’re not regulated by the FDA though, so definitely run this one by your parents and doctor first. However, lots of people have said it worked for them, so this natural sleep remedy could certainly be worth a shot.
11. Give it up
Yes, you read that right! If you haven’t fallen asleep after 30 minutes, call it. Lying in bed when you can’t sleep is only going to make you more frustrated and anxious. My go-to trick was always to make myself get up and do homework. Trust me, nothing gets you ready to sleep faster than reading a textbook!
Look, we literally need sleep to live. It can be hard for busy people to make sleep a priority, but crappy sleep causes all kinds of shenanigans with your health and happiness. If you’re having trouble sleeping, make sure to do something about it so you can be at your best. If you’re going to do amazing things, you need your brain to be on its A-game, friend.