Have insomnia and wondering how to fall asleep quickly? As many as one half of all Americans have insomnia or issues with poor sleep. Most often, sleeping medications classified as sedative hypnotics are prescribed to induce sleep or give consistency to sleep habits. And while such medications may be greatly effective in the short term, side effects and reduced effectiveness are sure to crop up in the long term.
The side effects of sedative hypnotics aren’t inconsequential, either.
Common side effects include headache, weird dreams, sleep walking (leading to sleep eating, sleep driving, and even sleep painting), stomach pain, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal/neurological issues. Even worse but less common side effects include cancer and even death.
There are entirely natural ways to achieve the same thing as sleeping medication but without all the side effects.
Common Causes of Insomnia
Some people can’t manage to make themselves fall asleep quickly or stay asleep because of medical conditions, but most often, simple things are the cause of insomnia. Even finding the best bed to fit your body and habits can help tremendously for many.
Exercise before bed, eating before bed, too much light, and even certain bedroom colors all contribute to or cause insomnia. Certain shades of blue and green tell the brain that it’s time to be awake through a process made possible by vitamin A, so the color paint used in your bedroom could be part of your troubles.
It’s best to cut out as much light, food, nicotine, chocolate, and caffeine as possible to ensure as many variables that could be contributing to your insomnia are eliminated.
1. Warm Milk, Cherry Juice
Classic home remedies are often times effective for reasons that weren’t explained at the time they were discovered. Cherry juice increase tryptophan, an amino acid that converts to serotonin and then melatonin. Of the two, melatonin (which you can find here) is believed to tell the brain when it’s time to sleep.
Tryptophan is released in low-light and darkness but inhibited by light. As such, a glass of tart cherry juice or milk an hour before bed will only be beneficial if as much light is cut out as possible.
Milk, meanwhile, contains calcium which works in much the same way as it goes through the body, converting into things like tryptophan that help you fall asleep quickly.
2. Exercise, Get Sunlight*
*Early in the morning and on a consistent schedule.
Exercise late in the day contributes to restlessness and therefore insomnia. But when added to one’s daily routine early in the morning, it makes combatting insomnia that much easier.
Sunlight’s benefit toward sleep health cannot be overstated. Our circadian rhythm, or sleep/awake cycle, is greatly influenced by contact with sunlight. The light spectrum breaks down into several colors when it enters the eye. Of which, blue is converted by vitamin A into a signal that tells the brain it’s time to be awake.
In addition, the vitamin D absorbed from sunlight is pivotal for sleep help for a wide variety of reasons. In fact, some researchers believe a global epidemic of vitamin D deficiency to be the reason for insomnia’s prevalence. You can find Natrogix vitamin D3 supplements here.
As for exercise, the National Sleep Foundation found that vigorous exercisers had the best sleep quality. Exercise reduces anxiety, excitement, and depression symptoms, all of which are detrimental to sleep health. Exercise also increases adenosine, an important sleep regulator.
3. Magnesium and Hops
Of the things on this list, magnesium and hops likely have the most noticeable effect on getting you to sleep by increasing the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA.
GABA activity has a calming and sedating effect and is one of the neurotransmitters targeted by three entire families of sedative hypnotic drugs. Supplementation of magnesium and hops both have a natural and noticeable impact on GABA activity – just make sure you don’t get those hops from beer, as the alcohol works as a stimulant when it starts to wear off.
4. Foods That Help You Sleep
There are lots of foods that make you sleepy. Most of which contain the same vitamins and supplements mentioned before. Just make sure you don’t have any meals shortly before bedtime.
- Almonds contain magnesium, an incredibly helpful mineral for sleep.
- Walnuts are a great source of tryptophan, which turns into serotonin and then melatonin. Shrimp and lobster also contain tryptophan.
- Lettuce contains lactucarium, which has sedative affects that work on the brain like opiates but in a similar but weaker fashion.
- Pretzels create a natural (and completely safe) spike in blood sugar and insulin, shortening the time it takes to fall asleep. Rice works in a similar way.
- Cereal contains carbohydrates which assist with falling asleep.
- Passionfruit tea contains Harman alkaloids which work on the nervous system in a way that makes you tired.
- Green tea before bed gives a large number of antioxidants which are pivotal for sleep health.
- Chamomile tea increases glycine, a chemical that relaxes muscles and nerves, acting like a mild sedative.
- Tuna contains high levels of vitamin B6, which increases melatonin and serotonin.
Lavender essential oil works in a peculiar way. The smell of lavender gave a group of volunteers 20% better quality of sleep, according to one study. Simply sprinkle a few drops of the stuff onto some tissue and stuff it inside your pillow. The smell shouldn’t be overwhelming, just enough to be noticeable but not bothersome.
Or, you could step it up a notch and put some lavender essential oil into a humidifier or some other kind of diffuser to make your room smell like lavender consistently!
There haven’t been any studies in which participants tried multiple things on this list at once, but there’s no indication that any harm would come from smelling lavender and eating lettuce with a glass of cherry juice. Give it a try and see if it helps you fall asleep quickly!