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If you toss and turn in bed for far too long before you finally fall asleep, or you fall asleep but keep waking up several times at night, you should consider using natural sleep aids.
Natural sleep aids include an array of devices, from a simple weighted blanket to a more sophisticated white noise machine. All of these have been proven to work and are worth investing in to get a good night’s sleep.
Lack of sleep can affect several areas of your life. You feel tired and irritable from the time you wake up and staying focused at work is a constant struggle. Even worse, it puts you at a higher risk of having some type of accident and can create all types of health problems.
All of the natural sleep aids listed below work very well. I’ve used some of them and spoken to others who use the ones I don’t. I’ve also looked into the research studies to confirm their effectiveness before including them in this list.
1. White noise machine for sleep
This is just one of many studies that conclude that using a white noise machine improves sleep significantly.
I’ve written a detailed article where you can learn everything you need to know about using a white noise machine for sleep.
As a quick recap, a white noise machine for sleep is a device that’s designed to block out external noises. It works by producing soothing sounds in different frequencies.
This combination of frequencies masks all other external noises so that you focus on one steady ‘white noise’ emitted by the machine. The consistent noise level helps you relax and fall asleep.
White noise machines for sleep are available in a variety of models. Some emit a plain white noise, while others produce sounds that mimic various noises found in nature.
The most popular white noise machines for sleep emit sounds similar to that of a wind chime moving in a breeze, raindrops falling gently to the ground, or the ticking of a clock. A few models also allow you to customize the white noise sounds.
Using a white noise machine for sleep is especially beneficial if you work odd hours and need to sleep during the day when you can’t stop everyday household noises.
You’ll be able to kiss chronic sleep loss goodbye once you get a white noise machine for sleep
2. Weighted Blankets for Sleep
Weighted blankets are another research-backed natural sleep aid.
This study suggests that weighted blankets for sleep work by reducing the activity of the endogenous stress systems and increasing serotonin, oxytocin, and melatonin production. The higher serotonin levels reduce stress and melatonin regulates the circadian rhythm, both of which act as effective natural sleep aids.
After several studies researching natural sleep aids, weighted blankets have emerged as a potential non-pharmacological intervention to ease conditions such as insomnia and anxiety.
A weighted blanket is a blanket that is filled with some type of heavy material, such as plastic beads, glass beads, or even sand. The weight of the blanket helps to promote a feeling of calm and relaxation, which can help reduce levels of anxiety and promote better sleep.
The blanket is very carefully engineered so it isn’t too light or too heavy. It is just heavy enough to help you relax more easily at night.
3. Temp Control Pillow
Studies show that lowering your body temperature promotes better sleep. When your body temperature is too high, everything gets out of rhythm resulting in sleep loss. There can be several reasons for this.
It may be linked to insufficient melatonin production or hormonal changes, such as menopausal hot flashes. Poor temperature control can also be linked to medical conditions that impact your adrenals, thyroid, or autonomic system.
Regardless of the exact cause of poor temperature control, it leads to sleep problems and insomnia.
If poor temperature control is causing your insomnia, the best natural sleep aid for you may be a temperature control pillow.
A temperature control pillow works by lowering your body temperature, which induces drowsiness and promotes better sleep.
Think of how sleepy you feel after a bath. No matter how warm your bath water is, when you step out of the bath, your body temperature immediately starts to drop so you feel sleepy right away.
A temperature control pillow works on the same principle. It is filled with a type of gel that responds to your body temperature.
When your body temperature is too high the gel becomes cooler, which helps to lower your body temperature. The lower body temperature helps to keep you in a drowsy state so you stay asleep longer.
Temperature control pillows are known as temperature-adjusting pillows or temperature-regulating pillows.
4. Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper
A gel-infused memory foam mattress topper takes the temperature control pillow principle to the next level.
No matter how good your mattress may be, using this type of mattress topper can enhance its benefits and improve your sleep.
Gel-infused memory toppers are made of memory foam, which contours to your body, so it’s instantly more comfortable than a regular mattress. It surrounds your body in a cloud of softness and correctly conforms to your whole body. This prevents your joints and spine from contorting and being forced to bear the weight of your body in ways they were never meant to do.
More importantly, a gel-infused memory topper has an open-cell design and it also contains a temperature-regulating gel. These are two of the most important features that transform an ordinary mattress topper into an effective natural sleep aid.
The design of the foam lets the air move freely throughout, allowing the material to breathe more easily, which keeps moisture away from your body.
At the same time, the gel distributes your body heat evenly throughout the topper area so you don’t have hot spots that get too warm and wake you up.
The cooling gel and open cell design work together to lower the temperature and reduce dampness. The cool, dry surface is more conducive to sleeping longer and better.
A gel-infused memory topper is the best natural sleeping aid for any woman experiencing menopause. The heat from nighttime hot flashes get trapped between a regular mattress and your blankets, making it uncomfortable to sleep.
The restless sleep and the constant fatigue only make matters worse when you’re going through menopause. In this case, using a gel infused memory topper can definitely help. And it’s much cheaper than having to replace your mattress.
5. Bluetooth Sleep Headphones Headband
Both light and noise can keep you awake. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to control your environment so that it is both, dark and quiet. To combat both these issues, you’d need to wear an eye mask as well as earplugs.
Bluetooth sleep headphones with a headband mask combine both of these solutions in one to provide you with a good night’s sleep in a quiet and dark environment.
The Bluetooth sleep headphones work with any phone that is Bluetooth-capable. It offers high quality sound and cutting edge technology so that you get to drift off to the soothing sounds that you like best.
The headband doubles as an eye mask. It is ultra-soft and made with memory foam so it adjusts to your face to provide a snug, comfortable fit. The dark fabric and snug fit of the mask prevents any light from filtering in, automatically prodding your body to produce more melatonin.
You would think that a headband with inbuilt adjustable speakers would be bulky and uncomfortable, but this one isn’t at all. The ingenious design of this Bluetooth sleep headband manages to pack in a lot of features without compromising comfort.
This is the perfect natural sleep aid for someone who needs to block out the light as well as the sounds that disrupt their sleep.
6. Sleep Tracker
A sleep tracker is an interesting device that’s designed to track your sleep patterns through the night. This allows you to see what’s going on with your sleep rhythm as well as with your heart rate.
Very often, our daytime chaos carries over into sleep. Those thoughts replay in our brains subconsciously preventing you from getting the premium sleep that you need.
A sleep tracker monitors what’s going on in your body constantly so you can keep an eye on your sleep habits, your heart and even your fitness level.
There is a wide range of sleep trackers with different designs and price points to suit every preference and budget.
Being able to monitor your sleep and see how many times you wake up at night or how often you’re restless can make a world of a difference to your sleep quality. Understanding what keeps you up at night or what disturbs you as you sleep will help you better identify what you need to do or not do to help you sleep better.
7. Anti-Stress Comfort Wraps
Stress is one of the most common causes of insomnia. It creates a lingering feeling of anxiety and fear that you can’t shake off, which can interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
An anti-stress comfort wrap is a simple terry cloth-covered wrap that contains a special filling. You warm the wrap in the microwave and place it at the back of the neck or across a shoulder, alternating sides about half an hour before bed.
The warmth of the comfort wrap slowly relieves the stress and tension in your muscles so you feel more relaxed and ready to sleep.
Anti-stress comfort wraps are relatively inexpensive and totally worth trying.
8. Orthopedic Knee Pillow for Chronic Pain
Trying to get a good night’s sleep when you’re dealing with pain can be impossible.
When you’re hurting, you end up tossing and turning throughout the night trying your best to find a way to get comfortable. And when you do finally fall asleep, you end up waking up because the pain jolts you awake every time you move.
If your chronic insomnia stems from pain, using an orthopedic knee pillow may help. When you sleep, the pillow fits snugly and is held in place by your knees.
What this does then is change the alignment of your body so that your spine and hips are properly aligned. This can give you relief from the pain that keeps you awake at night.
Good quality orthopedic pillows are made of high density memory foam, which contours to your body shape and the way that you sleep. This customization gives you maximum relief from pain. Because the memory foam is high density, it doesn’t flatten out like the lesser quality pillows do.
Using an orthopedic knee pillow can help ease sciatica pain and back pain, as well as joint pain in your knees or hips. The pillow is designed with a roomier area for side sleepers, but can also snugly and comfortably hold your leg if you’re a back sleeper.
Scent is a powerful tool that can you can use to break the cycle of insomnia and help get you on the road to resting the way that you need to sleep.
The way that aromatherapy works for sleep is that it can set up conditions that help your body get into its sleep cycle. The key is to use the right essential oils for sleep.
When you inhale the aromas of sleep essential oils, your brain releases triggers that signal the body that it’s time for you to go to sleep.
Some essential oils have stimulating properties and will actually do the opposite of what you want to accomplish. For example, inhaling the aroma of peppermint essential oil will leave you feeling energized and ready to go.
Lavender, Roman Chamomile, and Rose are three of the best essential oils for sleep. These essential oils contain powerful sleep-inducing properties that can help you get that good night’s sleep.
When using aromatherapy for sleep, you’re not limited to using a single essential oil by itself. You can take this to the next level by blending two or more sleep essential oils and adding them to your diffuser. Try one of these easy, aromatic, and effective Deep Sleep Diffuser Blends using combinations of sleep essential oils.
Another great way to use aromatherapy for sleep is by using a pillow spray or a body lotion that contains sleep essential oils.
10. Herbal tea
Drinking a cup of herbal tea can complement other strategies you’re using to fall asleep.
The important thing is to look for the right type of tea. What you need is an herbal tea that contains a combination of herbs known for their sleep-inducing properties.
You can find a wide variety of herbal teas specially blended for sleep. These may contain any one or a combination of lavender, chamomile, rose, and other herbs that act as natural sedatives.
Why Chamomile Is The Best Herbal Tea For Sleep
Benefits Of Lavender Tea for Sleep
The one ingredient that’s missing in all sleep teas is caffeine, which is known to induce alertness. The absence of caffeine is a significant factor that distinguishes herbal teas for sleep from other herbal teas.
Sleep-inducing herbs contain various ingredients that work by reducing stress and anxiety and promoting calmness. Many also help to relax the muscles. All of these work together to create an all-natural tranquilizer effect that induces drowsiness and supports better sleep.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that our body produces. It works like a natural alarm clock by regulating our sleep and awake times. When it’s working efficiently, it triggers a series of changes within your body in preparation for sleep.
The first thing melatonin does is it drops your body temperature toward the end of the day. Not by a lot, but enough to make you feel tired.
When your body temperature drops, your body – as well as your brain – begins the shift from awake mode to sleep. That’s the way that your body’s natural production of melatonin is supposed to work.
As we grow older, our body produces less of this hormone, which is why insomnia is more common in older people. Melatonin supplements are the most effective natural sleep aids for the elderly.
You can find melatonin in the health food or natural remedies section of your grocery store. You can also find it through online shops. The amount of the supplement that you’ll need to take will depend on the brand that you buy.
It can take a few weeks for melatonin to build back up in your body so that you gain the benefit from it.
When talking about natural sleep aids, you cannot overlook the benefits of magnesium for sleep. If you’re looking for natural sleep aids without melatonin, consider magnesium.
Magnesium is a mineral found naturally in the body. Although your body does not produce magnesium, it requires an immense amount for optimal health. Very low magnesium levels in the body may actually be the cause of your insomnia.
Magnesium plays an important role in boosting GABA production in the brain. The neurotransmitter GABA plays a role in helping the body to relax. Being low in magnesium can lead to low GABA production, which can make it difficult to relax and fall asleep.
The best way to increase magnesium levels in the body is through your diet. Make sure to include magnesium-rich foods in your diet.
If you’re not getting enough magnesium through your diet, you may need to take magnesium supplements to combat this deficiency. Magnesium supplements may become necessary as you age when magnesium deficiency becomes more common.
Using bath products that contain magnesium is just as effective at overcoming insomnia and promoting better sleep.
An Important Tip When Using Natural Sleep Aids – Give Yourself Time
One thing I’ve found is that each one of us is different. Our lifestyle and circumstances are unique and our insomnia may stem from different causes. You have to consider what’s causing your sleeplessness in order to identify the best sleep aid for you.
Regardless of which sleep aid you buy, it’s important to remember that it takes your body some time to adjust to anything new. Don’t give up too soon if you don’t see the desired results. Give yourself at least a couple of weeks to test if your chosen method is working for you. If necessary, combine two or more natural sleep aids. Again, this will depend on your unique circumstances and what’s causing your insomnia.
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Disclaimer: This information is not intended to serve as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using any natural medication or if you experience any unusual symptoms. See Full Disclaimer here.