Sleep is essential -- it allows you to function optimally. And lack of sleep can be harmful, causing issues with concentration, mood, emotions, and health. It can also speed up aging. Insomnia can be due to many things, including:
- Stress. Stress can keep you from falling or staying asleep. But therapy can help you to manage your stress better, thus enabling you to sleep better.
- Inconsistent routine. If you get up at different times during the week, this could be contributing to your insomnia. The solution is to get up at the same time every day -- this will improve your quality of sleep.
- Mood disorders. Have you been diagnosed with anxiety or depression? These two mental disorders can cause insomnia. Most anxious and/or depressed people have difficulties falling asleep, but medications like antidepressants can help.
- Over-the-counter sleep aids. OTC sleep aids can actually make insomnia worse. How? Because your body quickly builds up a tolerance to them, and they end up not working. Over-the-counter sleep aids can also make you feel drowsy during the day.
- Electronics. Too much exposure to electronics, such as smartphones and tablets, can contribute to insomnia. The blue light can shift your natural circadian rhythms and decrease melatonin, resulting in difficulties falling asleep.
- Lack of exercise. Not exercising enough can worsen insomnia. Exercise releases feel-good hormones in the brain and decreases stress.
If you have difficulties falling and staying asleep, here are six quick fixes to try out:
Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces, and it helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle. Melatonin causes you to feel drowsy and puts your body into sleep mode. You can purchase melatonin supplements over-the-counter, and taking it can help restore and improve sleep. Melatonin is especially helpful for jet lag.
2. Warm almond milk
Instead of drinking warm cows milk before bedtime to help you fall asleep, try warm almond milk. It’s filled with calcium that helps the brain produce melatonin. Drinking warm beverages before bed is also relaxing and can help set the mood for bedtime.
Magnesium is vital for quality sleep, and a lack of it in your diet can cause insomnia. Foods rich in magnesium include almonds, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, and green leafy vegetables.
4. Lavender oil
Lavender oil is incredibly calming and soothing, and it can help encourage sleep. Try taking a hot bath with some lavender oil before going to bed to relax.
5. Valerian root
This herb has been used to treat insomnia for centuries. It has sedative qualities and can help you fall asleep. But valerian root might take a few weeks to work, so stick with it for a bit before discontinuing.
L-theanine is a natural amino acid found in green tea. It helps to combat anxiety that could be causing insomnia. L-theanine works by boosting feel-good hormones in your brain, inducing relaxation and a sense of calm.
Insomnia can be caused by a lot of different things, such as stress, disorders, and lifestyle factors. But a combination of lifestyle changes and natural supplements can help treat insomnia. Try out some of the above quick fixes, and you’ll be drifting off to sleep in no time.