In this article:
- What disrupts your sleep?
- Natural sleep aids vs. medications
- Sleep cocktails and recipes you can create at home for a better night's rest
Sometimes the only thing standing between you and a good night's sleep is a bed. Other times, it's a bad meal, embarrassing memories, babies that need to be fed, jet lag, an aching back, anxiety, looming work projects, or a jackhammer. For the most unlucky individuals, it's all of the above. It's common for the day's stress to spill over into sleep time. As Tupak Shakur once said, "The only time I have problems is when I sleep.”
According to the National Sleep Foundation, "common causes of insomnia include stress, an irregular sleep schedule, poor sleeping habits (or sleep hygiene), mental health disorders like anxiety and depression, physical illnesses and pain, medications, neurological problems, and specific sleep disorders." More specifically, things that come between you and healthy sleep in both the long and short-term can include:
If you're looking for a solution to sleep better, you have options! It's up to you whether you choose to go the route of natural home remedies, over the counter sleep medicines, or a combination of both. Many OTC sleep medications or "sleeping pills" contain antihistamines that may cause morning drowsiness. These include common drugs such as Benadryl, Aleve PM, and Unisom SleepTabs. While these drugs may promote sleep in the short run, it's extremely easy to build a tolerance to antihistamines, so taking them nightly to manage insomnia is not recommended. Drug interactions and side effects such as daytime grogginess are not uncommon, so you should speak with a doctor before adding a sleep medicine to your daily routine.
Herbal supplements are another natural route to better sleep. Though studies on the effects of these supplements are typically sparse and many of the below remedies are not monitored by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), many people find they have calming effects that can help to strengthen your pre-sleep routine. All in all, natural remedies like the ones listed below often come with fewer side effects than non-prescription sleep aids. However, if you have any specific health conditions that you're concerned about, consult a doctor before taking something new.
If you're looking for ways to ease into a nightly routine and set yourself up for a good night's rest, look no further.