8 Best Natural Sleep Aids For Insomnia That Will Help You To Sleep Quickly September 16, 2016

Sleep deprivation takes a toll on your mind, body, and overall health in ways you can never imagine. A sound sleep is important to maintain good physical and mental health. If you are unable to sleep once in a while due to excitement or jet lag, it cannot be called insomnia. This is a more serious ailment and can wreak havoc in your life. Instead of buying OTC pills (sleeping pills), try these home remedies to cure insomnia.

Before we discuss the home remedies, let us first understand what insomnia is and its types and causes.

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is termed as the inability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. This sleep disorder can be either short term or long term. Irritability, fatigue, poor concentration, and headache are some of the debilitating effects of insomnia (1).

Types Of Insomnia

Depending on the period for which one is affected with insomnia, it is classified into acute insomnia and chronic insomnia (1).

Acute Vs. Chronic Insomnia

Short-term insomnia is called acute insomnia. It lasts for from a few days to up to a few weeks. When insomnia lasts for a month or longer, it is called chronic insomnia (1).

What Causes Insomnia?

Acute insomnia usually results from stress due to family or work or when one has suffered trauma (1). Chronic insomnia, on the other hand, is usually caused as a side effect of other problems. Hence, it is called secondary insomnia. The causes are as listed below:

  • Medications such as those for asthma, cold, and allergies
  • Neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
  • Sleep disorders like restless legs syndrome and breathing related ailments
  • Problems that involve chronic pain like arthritis
  • Overactive thyroid gland
  • Health issues that cause breathing problems like asthma
  • Menopause
  • Excessive caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, or related substances (2)

Read on to know about the remedies that can give you relief from insomnia and help you sleep better.

Natural Sleep Aids For Insomnia

1. Foods For Insomnia
(a) Kiwi Fruit
(b) Banana
(c) Honey
(d) Milk
2.Best Oils For Insomnia
(a) Lavender
(b) Coconut Oil
(c) Castor Oil
(d) Black Seed Oil
(e) Fish Oil
(f) Rosewood Oil
3. Best Juice For Insomnia – Tart Cherry Juice
4. Best Herbs For Insomnia
(a) Valerian
(b) Garlic
(c) Jujube
5.Best Teas For Insomnia
(a) Chamomile Tea
(b) Green Tea
(c) Rooibos Tea
6. Lemon Balm
7. Vitamins For Insomnia
8. Exercise, Yoga, Or Meditation: Which One Is Good For Insomnia?

Here Are The Top 10 Home Remedies For Insomnia

1. Foods For Insomnia

(a) Kiwi Fruit For Insomnia

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Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

2 kiwis

What You Have To Do

Eat two fresh kiwi fruits one hour before going to bed.

How Often You Should Do This

Continue this every night. You will start noticing results in a few weeks.

Why This Works

Kiwis are rich in antioxidants, which alleviate the oxidative stress on the brain that may be causing insomnia. Also, kiwis contain serotonin that helps relax the mind (3).

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(b) Banana For Insomnia

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Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1 banana
  • 1-2 cups of water
  • Cinnamon powder (optional)
What You Have To Do

1. Cut the ends of the banana and boil it in the water for about 10 minutes.
2. Strain the water into a cup and add a pinch of cinnamon powder.
3. Drink this while it is warm.

You can also consume a ripe banana before going to bed.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this every time you feel difficulty in falling asleep.

Why This Works

Banana and its peel are rich in potassium, magnesium, tryptophan, and vitamins. These essential nutrients regulate the functioning of the brain and the body. They also generate optimum levels of hormones like melatonin and serotonin, thus relaxing the brain and inducing sleep (4, 5, 6).

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(c) Honey For Insomnia

(c) Honey For Insomnia

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

1-2 tablespoons honey

What You Have To Do

Have honey before going to bed. You can also add a pinch of Himalayan salt to wake up feeling fresh and energetic.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this every night before going to bed.

Why This Works

Having honey before going to sleep supplies the liver with enough glycogen that it can utilize over the night. When the glycogen levels in the body go down, stress hormones are produced. These disturb your sleep and lead to insomnia. This can be easily controlled by having honey every night. Also, honey is full of antioxidants that reduce the oxidative stress within the body (7).

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(d) Milk For Insomnia

(d) Milk For Insomnia

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

A glass of milk

What You Have To Do

Lightly warm up the milk and drink it 10-15 minutes before going to bed.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this every night.

Why This Works

Milk contains tryptophan, which is a calming agent and can help in inducing sleep (5).

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2. Best Oils For Insomnia

(a) Lavender For Insomnia

(a) Lavender For Insomnia

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

1-2 drops lavender oil or lavender sachet

What You Have To Do

Place the lavender oil drops on the pillow or keep the sachet under your pillow every night.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this every night.

Why This Works

Lavender has a pleasant aroma that most of us love. It is mild sedative and also a mood stabilizer. Its neuroprotective properties soothe the mind and help you sleep better (8).

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(b) Coconut Oil For Insomnia

(b) Coconut Oil For Insomnia

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • A pinch of sea salt
What You Have To Do

1. Mix the oil, honey, and salt.
2. Consume this before going to bed.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this every night for sound sleep.

Why This Works

Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids that supply the body with optimum energy. It also helps in regulating the hormonal production, which in turn regulates the sleep cycle (9).

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(c) Castor Oil For Insomnia

(c) Castor Oil For Insomnia

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

1-2 drops castor oil

What You Have To Do

Just dab a drop of the oil on your eyelids and rub it in. Be careful not to get any oil into your eyes.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this before going to bed every night.

Why This Works

This is one of those remedies that have been passed down from generations. Castor oil has been shown to induce long hours of sleep, even though its exact mechanism of action is still not known.

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(d) Black Seed Oil For Insomnia

(d) Black Seed Oil For Insomnia

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon black seed oil
  • A glass of lukewarm water
What You Have To Do

Ingest the oil and immediately drink lukewarm water.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this every night before going to bed for at least three to four weeks to notice results.

Why This Works

Black seed oil increases the tryptophan levels in the brain. This is required for the synthesis of serotonin and melatonin – the hormones that regulate sleep (10).

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(e) Fish Oil For Insomnia

(e) Fish Oil For Insomnia

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

Fish oil capsules

What You Have To Do

Have a capsule once during the day.

How Often You Should Do This

Include fish oil capsules in your daily dietary intake.

Why This Works

Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids. DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, helps in the release of melatonin in the brain (11). Thus, including fish oil in your diet as a supplement or in the form of seafood can help to treat your insomnia.

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(f) Rosewood Oil For Insomnia

(f) Rosewood Oil For Insomnia

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • A few drops of rosewood oil
  • Oil diffuser
What You Have To Do

1. Add the essential oil to the oil compartment of the diffuser and let the vapors spread around the house.
2. Go to bed as usual.

How Often You Should Do This

Use this aromatherapy remedy as and when required.

Why This Works

This oil is derived from the rosewood tree, which is native to South America. It is a mild sedative and helps to induce sleep (12).

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3. Best Juice For Insomnia – Tart Cherry Juice

3. Best Juice For Insomnia - Tart Cherry Juice

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

Tart cherry juice

What You Have To Do

Drink eight ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day.

How Often You Should Do This

Continue drinking this juice every day.

Why This Works

Tart cherry juice contains high levels of anthocyanins (antioxidants) and anti-inflammatory substances. Apart from these, it also contains high levels of melatonin. Thus, it helps in regulating the sleep cycle. Scientists showed that sleep disorder patients slept almost 90 minutes more when they drank tart cherry juice (13).

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4. Best Herbs For Insomnia

(a) Valerian For Insomnia

(a) Valerian For Insomnia

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon dried valerian root
  • A cup of hot water
What You Have To Do

1. Steep the dried root in the water for five to 10 minutes.
2. Strain and drink this herbal tea two hours before going to bed.

How Often You Should Do This

You can drink this tea every evening/night.

Why This Works

This mild sedative will reduce the time it takes for you to fall asleep. It also helps you sleep for a longer time. It works by increasing the amount of a chemical called GABA in the brain that exerts a calming effect on the nerves (14).

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(b) Garlic For Insomnia

(b) Garlic For Insomnia

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1 cup milk
  • A clove of garlic
  • ¼ cup water
What You Have To Do

1. Chop the garlic and add it to the milk.
2. Add water to this and boil until a cup of garlic milk remains.
3. Drink this warm milk a couple of minutes before hitting the bed.

How Often You Should Do This

Drink this every night.

Why This Works

The antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of garlic keep the body fluids and organs healthy and infection-free. It also aids in the healthy functioning of the heart and brain, thus regulating the sleep cycle (15).

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(c) Jujube For Insomnia

(c) Jujube For Insomnia

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • Handful of jujubes (Chinese dates)
  • 2-3 cups of water
What You Have To Do

1. Boil the dates in water for about 10 minutes and strain the decoction.
2. Drink a cup of this either hot or cold. You can store the rest in the refrigerator.

How Often You Should Do This

Drink a cup or two of jujube tea in a day.

Why This Works

The seed of the spiny zizyphs plant, jujube has been used in Ancient Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of sleep-related disorders. It is a mild sedative that affects the hippocampus part of the brain and acts as a natural sleep aid (16, 17).

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5. Best Teas For Insomnia

(a) Chamomile Tea For Insomnia

(a) Chamomile Tea For Insomnia

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 2-3 tablespoons of chamomile flowers
  • 8 ounces of hot water
What You Have To Do

1. Take the flowers in a pot or large cup and add the water.
2. Let the herb soak in the water for about 10 minutes.
3. Strain and drink a cup of this beneficial herbal tea.

How Often You Should Do This

Have up to two cups of chamomile tea in a day.

Why This Works

This herbal tea is often nicknamed the ‘sleep tea’. Among the multiple flavonoids found in chamomile tea, apigenin binds to certain receptors in the brain and causes a relaxant effect (18).

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(b) Green Tea For Insomnia

(b) Green Tea For Insomnia

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1-2 tablespoons green tea leaves
  • A cup of hot water
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do

1. Steep the green tea leaves for a couple of minutes.
2. Strain the decoction and add a dash of honey for flavor.
3. Sip the tea while it is warm.

How Often You Should Do This

Drink a cup of green tea before going to bed.

Why This Works

Green tea is an excellent remedy for sleeplessness. It contains the amino acid L-theanine, which is a good sleep inducer (19).

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(c) Rooibos Tea For Insomnia

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Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1-1½ teaspoons of rooibos tea
  • A cup of boiling water
  • Milk (optional)
  • Sugar or honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Steep the tea in hot water for five to 10 minutes.
  2. Strain and add milk and sugar or honey as per your taste. This is not compulsory as you can drink the decoction as it is.
  3. Drink warm tea and enjoy its wonderful taste.
How Often You Should Do This

Brew a cup of rooibos tea and have it whenever you have trouble falling asleep.

Why This Works

Rooibos tea is commonly used across the globe for insomnia. It has high antioxidant content and no caffeine. It reduces stress and exerts a relaxing and calming effect (20).

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6. Lemon Balm For Insomnia

6. Lemon Balm For Insomnia

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • ½ – 2 teaspoons of dried lemon balm leaves
  • A cup of hot water
What You Have To Do

1. Steep the lemon balm leaves in the water for five minutes.
2. Strain and drink this tea.

How Often You Should Do This

You can drink two to three cups of this tea daily. Preferably, have a cup an hour or so before going to bed.

Why This Works

Like valerian, lemon balm contains compounds that have calming properties. Its mild sedative nature improves the quality and quantity of sleep (21).

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7. Vitamins For Insomnia

7. Vitamins For Insomnia

Image: Shutterstock

Certain vitamins are essential to maintain a healthy sleep-awake cycle. In their absence or when their levels drop in the body, it can lead to insomnia. Here is the list of vitamins that are associated with insomnia symptoms:

  • Vitamins B3, B5, B9, and B12 deficiencies have been linked to insomnia in the past. Weakness, fatigue, and sleepless are commonly seen (22). Include foods rich in these vitamins such as eggs, poultry, dairy products, etc. in your diet.
  • Vitamin A also plays a key role in the healthy functioning of the brain, especially when it comes to sleep and memory (23). Foods with ample vitamin A content are meat, eggs, poultry, and dairy products.
  • Vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants and prevent the oxidative stress from hindering your sleep cycle (22). Eat plenty of citrus fruits, strawberries, tomato, nuts, olives, wheat germ, and other foods rich in vitamins C and E for sound sleep.
  • Another vitamin that can help you sleep better is vitamin D. Its main function is growth and maintenance of healthy bones. Its deficiency can cause sleeplessness and chronic fatigue (24). Soak in the sun and consume vitamin D-rich foods like fish and oysters.

Apart from changes in your diet, you can also opt for vitamin supplements that will supply your body with the right amount of these vitamins. Do consult your doctor if you are unsure about the dosage.

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8. Exercise, Yoga, Or Meditation: Which One Is Good For Insomnia?

8. Exercise, Yoga, Or Meditation Which One Is Good For Insomnia

Image: Shutterstock

When it comes to exercising for insomnia, it was shown that it does not have much of an influence on sleep. However, having a sound sleep has an effect on the individual’s mood to exercise the next day (25). Opt for gentle yoga, meditation, and chanting instead. These are age-old techniques for getting better sleep as they align the chakras and soothe your mind. Take a look at our article on Yoga Poses To Cure Insomnia for six wonderful asanas that can become lifesavers for your sleepless nights.

If doing yoga and meditation is not your cup of tea, simply chant a resounding‘OM’ or just concentrate solely on your breathing until you drift into a deep slumber.

Sleepless nights due to insomnia can tire you out and ruin your mood. It seems like a daunting task initially, but by using these home remedies and relaxation techniques like yoga regularly, you can definitely sleep better.

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Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What are the symptoms of insomnia?

Insomnia is mainly characterized by the inability to either fall asleep or stay asleep or both. You toss and turn throughout the night without a wink of sleep. And even if you do manage to fall asleep, you cannot stay asleep for long. You wake up and the same routine repeats. You wake up in the morning feeling absolutely unrested, tired, irritable, and even depressed.

What to avoid to prevent insomnia?

Need a good night’s sleep? Make sure you avoid the following:

  • Do not to touch any sources of caffeine at least four hours before bedtime. Caffeine is a sleep wrecker that is found in coffee, colas, and some medicines as well.
  • Switch off cellphones, iPads, laptops, TV, or any other light emitting devices as these stimulate the mind and do not let you fall asleep.
  • Stop smoking. Nicotine, like caffeine, is a natural stimulant and keeps you awake.
  • Excessive amounts of alcohol can also disrupt your sleep cycle. Keep a tab on the amount of alcohol you consume.
  • Do not nap during the day as this may disturb your sleep cycle and keep you awake at night.
  • Eat lighter meals during the evenings and nights. A heavy meal can also hinder your ability to fall asleep.
  • Also, reduce your sugar intake in the evenings to avoid the sugar-high activity of the brain.

Does oil pulling help to treat insomnia?

Oil pulling or oil swishing is known to give you healthier teeth and gums and also clear out your sinuses. It is said that it also helps in curing insomnia, but there aren’t any significant results to prove this. People have tried this home remedy, but there is no consistency in the effects it has had on their insomnia symptoms.

Do not let your mind and body suffer due to insomnia and its after effects. Use the home remedies listed in this article and bid goodbye to insomnia. Do let us know how our article helped you by sharing your feedback in the comments section below.

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