As many as 1 in 4 Americans suffer from a lack of sleep. There can be several causes for poor sleep as discussed in our blog ‘What causes insomnia? A look into sleep cycle & neurotransmitters’. Natural ways are a much more lasting and wholesome solution compared to prescription drugs. Let’s look at the top 5 ways to beat insomnia without medications:
A systematic review of 34 studies analysed the overall effects of exercise on sleep. It was found that exercise increased total duration of sleep, REM sleep as well as indicators of sleep quality such as continuity and efficiency. (Check out the study @ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5385214/) The research also helped answering many other questions: Which time of the day? Even though exercise at any time improves sleep quality, morning exercise was found to have a better outcome than evening exercise. How much of it? It depends on your perception, more the perceived exertion, better the sleep. How long? Even though a couple of days of exercise may help you sleep, the longer you go, the better result you get. Does activity while working count? Exercise done at a time specifically set aside correlates with better sleep.
Several herbs have sleep inducing ingredients in them. You may even be confused seeing lots of them in the pharmacy shelves. Read more about them in our blog ‘No Lie: 6 Herbs that will put you to sleep’.
3. Sleep promoting foods:
Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, plays an important role in sleep. Foods such as poultry, shrimp, eggs, crab and milk are rich in tryptophan while cherries (specifically, a sour variant called tart cherries) have serotonin and melatonin in them. Melatonin is also called as the sleep hormone because it controls your sleep-wake cycle. These have been associated with improved total sleep time, sleep efficiency, reduced number of awakenings and time to fall asleep.
4. Daytime exposure to light:
Light exposure has multiple effects on the body’s physiology ranging from emotions, metabolism, body temperature, and hormonal balance to sleep modulation. Given the time we spend indoors, is your office lighting good enough to have the same effects as natural light? Yes, a bright light positioned at the eye level can have similar effects. An interesting piece of research found that presence of such ‘Circadian effective light’ resembling daylight, led to falling asleep faster, better quality of sleep, better mood and reduced depression. Can you think of a reason to pop out of your office and catch the sun?
5. Relaxation techniques:
Relaxation techniques range from simple breathing exercises and viewing peaceful images to yoga and hypnosis. Cognitive behavioural therapy, on the other hand, helps to change thoughts or irrational beliefs about sleep (e.g. ‘I got up at 3 am, now I am never going to fall asleep’). It was reported that mind-body exercise like yoga and Tai Chi correlated with better mood, mental health and sleep compared to aerobic exercise. Yoga was found to improve total duration of sleep and its quality as well as reducing stress.
Before you try these natural remedies, we suggest that you address any bad habits that prevent you from getting a good sleep, read more in our blog ‘5 bad habits that prevent you from that restful sleep’.
At Refine Naturals™, we realize that not all natural health supplements are created equal. We concentrate our expertise in choosing quality and evidence backed medicinal as well as non-medicinal ingredients. We keep our labels and marketing practices compliant to advertising standards, so as to never mislead consumers in their decision making.
At Refine Naturals™: We believe “You Deserve Better than FINE!”
- One in four Americans develop insomnia each year: 75 percent of those with insomnia recover [Internet]. ScienceDaily [cited 2020 Aug 7];Available from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180605154114.htm
- Binks H, E. Vincent G, Gupta C, Irwin C, Khalesi S. Effects of Diet on Sleep: A Narrative Review. Nutrients 2020;12(4):936.
- Figueiro MG, Steverson B, Heerwagen J, Kampschroer K, Hunter CM, Gonzales K, et al. The impact of daytime light exposures on sleep and mood in office workers. Sleep Health 2017;3(3):204–15.
- Siddarth D, Siddarth P, Lavretsky H. An Observational Study of the Health Benefits of Yoga or Tai Chi compared to Aerobic Exercise in Community-Dwelling Middle-Aged and Older Adults. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry Off J Am Assoc Geriatr Psychiatry 2014;22(3):272–3.
- Spadola C, Zhou ES, Rottapel R, Gou N, Johnson DA, Weng J, et al. 1047 A Community-Based Sleep Health and Yoga Intervention to Improve Sleep Outcomes among Low-income and Racial/Ethnic Minority Adults. Sleep 2018;41(suppl_1):A389–90.