Discover 9 of the best natural sleep remedies that really work and lead to a great nights sleep. If you want to feel refreshed, alert and ready to face the day and ensure optimal health and well being you need sleep. Quality Sleep! This is the Science of Sleep.
Before we introduce our natural sleep remedies let’s first briefly discuss the science of sleep.
How Can We Achieve Quality Sleep?
To gain a good night’s sleep, without resorting to sleeping pills, you need to understand how you fall asleep. If you are to improve sleep and regain normal sleep pattern your body requires:
- Tryptophan – Amino Acid;.
- 5-hydroxy L- Tryptophan (5-HTP) – Compound produced from Tryptophan and a precursor to;.
- Serotonin – Neurotransmitter;.
- Melatonin – Hormone.
That may sound like a pharmaceutical nightmare!
However all of them occur naturally within your body. They are all connected and all are needed to achieve the sleep quality you seek.
Because they are all required, when one is out of balance so are the others or the others may not exist at all.
This imbalance is what leads to a lack of sleep, poor sleep quality and even the inability to become sleepy. If not treated this eventually leads to chronic insomnia.
How Do We Get A Good Night’s Sleep?
To begin the process which will lead you to achieving great sleep you need to eat or drink products that contain Tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid .
Once ingested our body goes to work and converts the Tryptophan into 5-hydroxy L- Tryptophan (or 5-HTP), which in turn is converted into the neurotransmitter Serotonin.
The Serotonin then undergoes another chemical change within our body and converts to become a hormone.
It is at the very end of this chemistry chain that we produce the sleep hormone, Melatonin. It is the critical factor because Melatonin controls our sleep.
What Does Melatonin Have To Do With Sleep?
To achieve a great nights sleep we are dependent upon the body chemistry process described above.
Our sleep quality is controlled by Melatonin. What many people don’t realise is that the production of Melatonin is dependent upon our light source (or lack of it).
Simply put, the darker it becomes the more Melatonin our body produces. This starts the body chemistry process that makes our mind and body feel tired. Tiredness then tells us we need to sleep.
When we are exposed to light our body produces less Melatonin and this is why we experience feelings of alertness and become wide awake.
The Science of Sleep is fascinating and very specific.
The Initial Amino Acid Tryptophan is the only amino acid that converts to become 5-HTP which is responsible for the production of Serotonin and Melatonin.
Therefore the only way we can produce Melatonin is to increase our natural intake of Tryptophan .
9 Natural Sleep Remedies That Really Work.
Here they are, the natural remedies that help kickstart the science of sleep and enable you to achieve a great night’s sleep!
Natural Sleep Remedies 1 – Enjoy A Carb Snack Before Bed.
Forget all of the stories you may have been told about eating before bed.
Some say it prevents you from falling asleep. Others say it gives nightmares so you don’t stay asleep. Both are untrue. Although you will need to forget about Dr Aitkins Diet, if you want to use this remedy to achieve a good night’s rest!
In order for the essential Tryptophan Amino Acid to help you in your quest for sleep it needs to cross the blood-brain barrier. This barrier is basically a filter.
It allows certain substances to cross through and it blocks others. This ultimately keeps us safe and healthy.
The issue for many people who suffer with insomnia or other sleep problems is that the Tryptophan needs to compete with many other amino acids to make it through the blood-brain barrier.
By having a small Carbohydrate Snack, such as a cereal bar or a slice of bread, 15-20 minutes before bed our body produces insulin. This insulin boost diverts the other large chain amino acids to the muscles.
This gives the Tryptophan1Tryptophan availability and the control of 5-hydroxytryptamine and tryptamine synthesis in human CNS easier and less competitive passage through the blood brain barrier and into our cerebrospinal fluid.
Natural Sleep Remedies 2 – Eat Cherries, Drink Cherries.
Number 2 is so easy and delicious. It is the consumption of Cherries!
Cherries are jam packed full of the essential Amino Acid Tryptophan . This delicious and healthy fruit is an excellent way to naturally boosting our Tryptophan levels.
A handful of cherries, or a glass of quality tart cherry juice, is a sure fire way to make sure we drift off to sleep easily, and without the need for any medications.
This must be one of the easiest of all the natural sleep remedies that really work.
Avoid Insomnia by Going Banana’s To Gain Magnesium.
Magnesium is one of the most vitally important minerals for a healthy body and for achieving a good night’s sleep.
Magnesium effects how the bodies GABA receptors function. These receptors are responsible for the calming of our central nervous system.
This enables us to deal with anxiety, helps us feel relaxed and calm which aides our preparation for sleep.
Many people, mostly unaware, have a magnesium deficiency . While we can take natural magnesium supplements there is another way. A healthy and tasty way to boost our magnesium.
Not only do bananas contain loads of central nervous system calming magnesium but they are also chock-a-block full of Tryptophan and Potassium as well.
An average sized banana taken 30-40 minutes before bed will add a magnesium boost. This begins the process of making our muscles relax and our tryptophan levels increase.
The humble banana is an excellent sleep aid. Another tip – due to the muscle relaxant quality you can have banana to ease jet lag!
Number 4 – Catnip Herbal Tea For Sleep!
I’ve talked about Catnip before in the post herbs for health and healing. It is one of the best herbal remedies making it a worthy number 4 in our natural sleep remedies that really work.
Catnip is a member of the mint family and is perfect for sleep due to it having a mild sedative effect…on humans. While the active ingredient “nepetalactone“ makes your furry friend get frisky and crazy cute, it has the opposite effect on us.
It helps humans to combat anxiety, feel more relaxed, even decidedly drowsy and aids in our efforts to fall asleep. A mug of Catnip Herbal Tea is an awesome way to get you ready for a good night’s rest.
To prepare the tea you will need:
- 4 teaspoons of dried catnip, or
- 4 tablespoons of fresh catnip (a small handful is fine)
- 2 cups of boiling water.
Simply add the catnip and boiling water to a heatproof vessel or saucepan. Cover and let steep for at least 10 minutes. Enjoy the tea 30 minutes before bed and enjoy a restful sleep.
Number 5 – Sleep Inducing Saint John’s Wort
You have likely heard of Saint John’s Wort being used to help with depression.
A key factor in its effectiveness for the treatment of anxiety and depression is because it aids relaxation and brings a sense of calm. These properties are also helpful in combating sleep disorders.
Saint John’s Wort is one of the best natural sleep aids as it helps us achieve deep sleep.
The active ingredient in Saint John’s Wort is “hypericin“ which is believed to help raise the serotonin levels in our body. As we know the more serotonin we have the more melatonin we produce and this leads to better sleep.
Saint John’s Wort is available as a herbal supplement or, if you can source the actual plant, you can prepare a delicious and tangy tea!
To prepare your tea you require:
- 2 teaspoons of dried Saint Johns Wort, plant tips and its flowers;
- 1 Cup Boiling Water
- Heatproof container
In the same way we prepared the previous Catnip Tea, simply add the dried Saint John’s Wort herb to the boiled water, cover and steep for 10 minutes.
Then just strain and enjoy your wonderful natural home remedy, Saint John’s Wort tea, an hour before bed.
For even greater impact I recommend you also take it first thing in the morning. This won’t makes you drowsy but will enable the body to convert more of the serotonin into melatonin during the day.
Number 6 – A “Beer-y” Good Way To Sleep!
Sorry folks, simply a teasing title. I’m afraid that a bottle of beer isn’t on the menu, but one of its ingredients, hops, are!
The flower of the hop vine, best known for its use in beer production, can be made into a refreshing and tasty tea to calm the nerves and promote relaxation.
Make a wonderful hop tea to tackle insomnia and fall asleep in no time! This humble vine flower is also said to help with our sleep wake cycle as well as helping us fall asleep faster.
- 4 tablespoons of dried hops;
- 4 cups of boiling water;
- 4 teaspoons honey.
- Add the hops to your heatproof and sealable container.
- Pour in the freshly boiled water ensuring the hops are completely submerged.
- Seal the container making sure you are using a completely airtight lid.
- Let your hop flowers steep in the water for at least 6 hours. If time allows it is even better if left to steep longer. 24 hours if you have the time.
- Add a teaspoon of honey if the taste is too bitter for you. This is optional.
- Drink 1 cup of the hop tea, either hot or cold, 30 minutes before going to bed.
You will also need 1 heatproof and airtight container or jar to store your other servings of tea. Make sure the container you choose will allow the boiling water to completely cover the hops - recipe instructions step 2.
An easy way to gain the time needed to steep the hops is to prepare your tea in the morning and leave it to steep all day. Or while you are having your evening tea prepare a new batch and leave too steep overnight.
The tea will keep for up to 4 days when refrigerated.
This tea can be taken chilled or you can reheat. You can also add honey if you need more sweetness.
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Amount Per Serving Calories 21Sodium 10mgCarbohydrates 6gSugar 6g
Number 7 – Your Bedroom Needs To Be A Room For Sleep
Before you reach for any Sleep Medications or Valerian, try number 7 of our natural sleep remedies. It is one of the most important, incredibly simple and extremely effective.
Simply put, your bedroom needs to become a place of peace and a room dedicated to sleep.
For those who have difficulty sleeping or suffer from insomnia you cannot have a bedroom which is just an extension of the family or living room!
You need to help your sleep hygiene so need to remove all potential distractions. Get rid of anything in the room that doesn’t promote a feeling of peace, calm and tranquility.
- Do you have a T.V in your room? It needs to go!
- Is there a Laptop or a Computer? Sorry but they should be gone.
- Regular use of your Cellular or mobile phone? They may be an alarm clock but they need to be gone.
- Tablets and e-Readers also need to be removed from your place of sleep.
- Do you have other devices that produces Blue light? This so called blue light is found in many electronic devices (televisions, computers, cell phones, e-readers) destroys the chance of sleeping through the night. Make sure they are gone.
- All LED and fluorescent light bulbs need to be turned off or removed.
Having any of these items in your bedroom can lead to sleep destroying stress.
Looking at the TV and thinking about the news equates to stress. Looking at the computer and worrying about that email give us stress. Electronic devices also prove to be a distraction. They stimulate your brain sending messages of “Stay Awake”.
Even if they are turned off, you need to make sure they are not emitting any light. This is commonly referred to as blue light.
It may be you think that your phone or laptop doesn’t impact you, but the national sleep foundation suggests that just the light that emits from a charging cell phone is enough to mess with your melatonin.
Remember melatonin production is affected by light. More light equals less melatonin. That equates to the brain getting signalled to stay awake.
Ditch the devices and replace them with items or objects that make you feel relaxed, peaceful and stress free. An essential oil diffuser with sleep enhancing aromatherapy oils is perfect!
If you are taking any Melatonin supplements don’t destroy their chances of working by sleeping where you will be impacted by light!
Number 8 – A Cup of Calming Chamomile
Chamomile, thanks to the active ingredient “apigenin” relaxes our muscles, possibly also binding to your GABA receptors and thereby having a calming effect.
It is also recognized that the properties found in chamomile act as a sedative. This is definitely one of the better known of all our natural sleep remedies.
While you can buy Chamomile Tea from the store it is easy and delicious (and in my opinion much more effective) when made fresh.
To prepare the chamomile tea you need:
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh chamomile flowers, or
- 2 generous tablespoons of dry flowers.
- 1 teaspoon of lemon balm – optional
To prepare fresh we use only the flower heads. This is the time to dig out your favorite teapot! If you don’t own a teapot grab a saucepan or large heat proof container.
To your teapot or saucepan add the chamomile, lemon balm and 4 cups of boiling water and let steep for 5-6 minutes. This tea is best served hot and you can add lemon and honey (or even milk) if you wish.
This medicinal herbal tea is prepared in exactly the same way if using dried chamomile.
Number 9 – How To Ensure You Are Tired? Exercise!
The last of our natural sleep remedies is exercise!
I hear many saying; but exercise boosts our energy.
And they would be correct! So perhaps it doesn’t seem a wise suggestion? Surely we don’t want an energy boost if we are trying to rest, relax and sleep right?
As we know, our body is brilliant.
Exercise does boost our energy, but our body is wise and will use it when it is needed.
More importantly exercise also tires us. When regular exercise is added to your daily routine you will naturally feel tired. Natural tiredness allows us to achieve better rest and stay asleep.
By adding exercise to our daily routine we will sleep better and have more energy when awake. Win-Win!
To be clear this is not something to do just before bed. Exercise is best done during the day and certainly not within 3 hours of when you are wishing to fall asleep.
So there they are.
I would love to hear your feedback and how effective you found the 9 natural remedies. Did the Science of Sleep work for you?
Please leave me a message in the comments section below or contact me directly by clicking here.
- 1Tryptophan availability and the control of 5-hydroxytryptamine and tryptamine synthesis in human CNS