Natural Remedies for Better Sleep – Nourished Kitchen

Natural Remedies for Better Sleep

Most of us struggle with our sleep at some point – stress being one of the biggest culprits that impacts your ability to get a good night’s rest. But, there are a few natural approaches that can help improve your ability to sleep well. These natural remedies for better sleep include both practical actions you can take to improve your sleep quality as well as herbs and minerals that are traditionally used to encourage a good night’s rest.

Jump to Early Morning Light | Sleep Hygiene | Herbal Tea | Aromatherapy | Natural Remedies

Get plenty of early morning light

Sleep is dependent on your body’s own internal clock, or its circadian rhythm. And your body’s natural rhythm of wakefulness and sleepiness is intricately linked to light. That’s because prior to the advent of artificial lights, the human body depended on natural light sources (or lack of light) to determine night and day.

Artificial light can challenge your body’s innate rhythm and sleep/wake cycle, so embracing natural light (especially early in the morning) may help to improve sleep. In a 2014 study, people exposed to more natural light experienced better markers of wellness and health including longer, and better sleep (1).

In Practice: Take a morning walk

Try to get as much natural light throughout your day as you can, starting with a morning walk. If that’s not possible, try sipping your morning tea or coffee on your porch, where you’re exposed to natural light.

Further, you might consider minimizing artificial light, especially in the evening close to bedtime.

Practice good sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene is the practice of setting up your bedroom and nightly routines to support and encourage restful sleep. This includes minimizing distractions in your bedroom, minimizing artificial light close to bedtime, and engaging in gentle, relaxing habits in the evening that help prime your body and mind for sleep.

According to the Sleep Foundation, dimming the lights in the evening, turning off electronics (like your TV or smartphone), and settling into a bedtime routine about an hour before bed can improve sleep. Furthermore, sleeping in a dark, cool room with comfortable bedding are also practices that help support better sleep.

Further, minimizing alcohol and caffeine intake may help improve sleep for some people. Some people may also benefit from avoiding mid-day naps, reducing nighttime noise, and trying to keep to a regular wake/sleep schedule every day (2).

In Practice: Make your bedroom a sleep haven.

Try to make your bedroom a haven for good sleep, with light-blocking curtains, and a fan to drown out street noise if it’s a problem in your neighborhood. Try setting your thermostat to an optimal temperature for sleep (typically between 60 and 67F), and remember to wind down beginning an hour before bed – setting your smartphone down or turning off the TV.

Look into herbs

Many herbs are traditionally used to promote good sleep. Some, such as Lemon Balm, work to ease feelings of worry while others, such as Calfornia poppy or Valerian, have a more direct impact on sleep.

Passionflower is one herb that has been traditionally used to support better mood and better sleep, and some current research supports this use (3); however, as with many studies on herbs and botanical medicine, information is lacking and conclusions warrant further research (4). Other herbs, such as spearmint, have shown the ability to support cognitive health and sleep, especially as we age (5).

Of course, if you’re planning to incorporate herbs regularly into your routine, you might reach out to your health care provider. While most herbs are quite gentle, others may interact with medication or have side effects, especially when you take them in large doses.

In Practice: Sip on herbal tea

We make a tea for sleep in our household that contains rose, passionflower, California poppy, lemon balm, and other herbs traditionally used to encourage a good night’s rest. It’s easy to make and a single batch can last a long time.

If herbal tea doesn’t work for you, you might consider taking sleep-supportive herbal tinctures in the evening.

Try aromatherapy

For many people, aromatherapy, or the practice of diffusing essential oils can be a relaxing, pleasant experience. Not only can this practice be a pleasant addition to your bedtime routine, thus supporting sleep hygiene, but many essentials are thought to have a specific impact on sleep.

Researchers have found that essential oils may help to improve sleep (6, 7). Lavender essential oil has been one of the most studied botanical oils with regard to its effects on anxiety and sleep. A 2018 study concluded that lavender essential oil improves sleep quality (8). Lavender is often used in combination with mint (9) and chamomile (10) essential oils.

In Practice: Try diffusing essential oils.

As part of your bedtime routine, you might diffuse calming essential oils, such as lavender or chamomile at night, or try a bit of this calming blend from Mountain Rose Herbs.

If diffusing essential oils doesn’t work for you, you can dilute them into a carrier oil, such as olive oil or almond oil, and add them to your evening bath.

Try some natural remedies

I also like to keep some simple natural remedies on hand in the medicine cabinet. They often include combinations of herbs, minerals, and vitamins. These are particularly nice when you don’t have time to make your own remedies or for when you’re tight on space and don’t have room in your cupboards to stock multiple jars of herbs.

Look for remedies and preparations from reputable brands that not only contain high-quality ingredients but also avoid excipients where possible. Excipients are additional, non-therapeutic ingredients added to supplements which act as fillers.

In Practice: Try a few natural remedies.

We keep a bottle of Hilma’s new Sleep Support in the cupboard. It contains herbs traditionally used to support sleep and relaxation such as passionflower and reishi mushroom, as well as magnesium which is a mineral that also promotes a sense of relaxation. It’s also free from melatonin.


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