If you’ve been having trouble sleeping, it’s easy to assume that the only answer is to get some sleeping tablets.
However, while sleeping tablets will do the trick, they are actually only designed for short-term use. Choosing to use them in a more long-term capacity can lead to dependency issues which may leave you in a worse place than you started.
So, if sleeping tablets are off the table, what other options do we have? Well, there are a number of different natural sleeping aids which have been proven to help us drift off. Here’s 5 we think are most effective.
One of the most popular natural alternatives to sleeping tablets is chamomile. This powerful plant can be made into all manner of things, one of the most popular being tea.
According to research, chamomile is associated with a rise of the amino acid glycine, which helps relax muscles and nerves, while also acting as a light sedative.
Try drinking a strong mug of chamomile tea close to your planned bedtime. Alternatively, you could buy chamomile oil. A couple of splashes on your pillow could also do the trick.
However, you should proceed with caution if you have any sort of pollen allergies as chamomile can induce strong reactions. There’s also controversy around the consumption of chamomile tea when pregnant. Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer, so perhaps avoid it to be safe.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Another alternative which is steadily growing in popularity is meditation or mindfulness. Understandably, some people turn their nose up at the idea of this, believing it to be nothing more than a fad.
However, while that may have once been true, there is now scientific evidence to show the many benefits of putting aside time before bed to practice either of these things.
The University of California found that because of its ability to help slow our heart rate and reduce stress and anxiety, we can get better sleep as a result. To find out more, see this post from our blog on mindfulness and sleep.
This dried root of the valerian flowering plant is one of the more controversial additions to this list. It has long been used in alternative medicine as a potentially effective treatment for insomnia, however, it is largely scientifically untested.
Web MD says that some studies have shown it may help with the onset of sleep, however, research is still early, so we don’t entirely know how effective it is.
Valerian Root can be bought in either liquid form or as a capsule. While many people use it as a sleep aid, it is advised not to take whilst pregnant or if you are taking a course of medication as it can interfere with the effectiveness.
Originating in ancient China, acupuncture is the alternative therapy used to treat a number of emotional, mental and physical conditions. The process involves a practitioner inserting a number of fine needles (sometimes along with electrical stimulus) into the skin in nerve targeting areas.
There have been a number of clinical studies which have found auricular acupuncture (placing needles in various points of the ear) can help people sleep better. Read more in this post from The University of Maryland Medical Centre.
Acupuncture is available on the NHS, however, it is limited to the relief of muscular problems, such as lower back pain and migraines. You can read more on it here.
If you enjoy a good soak in the tub, epsom salts could be the sleeping tablet alternative for you. Epsom salt is a naturally occurring mineral compound of magnesium and sulphate, two things which are highly absorbable through the skin.
Once dissolved in your bath water, the salts can help promote a feeling of calm, relaxation and help reduce any stress or anxiety you might be feeling, which is a common cause of insomnia.
Take 15-20 minutes to relax, block out the rest of the world and relax in the tub with epsom salts just before you get into bed.