A closer look at Sleeplessness – Understanding Insomnia and getting the home remedies for insomnia that can cure your sleeplessness.
Sleeplessness is an unpleasant condition where a person is unable to go to sleep or has trouble getting adequate sleep due to restlessness and, too many breaks. This condition is also referred to as Insomnia.
Symptoms of Insomnia
Some classic symptoms of sleeplessness or insomnia are listed below:
- Restlessness around bedtime
- Waking up every now and then
- Trouble falling asleep
- Sleep with frequent breaks
If a person has one or most of the symptoms mentioned above, then it can be said they are suffering from insomnia. The intensity might vary from person to person, but largely you come to know whether or not you are suffering from this unpleasant condition.
Effects of Insomnia
Insomnia never comes alone. It also brings a lot of other unwelcome health conditions with it.
Mostly, those who are not sleeping well are likely to have ill effects on their health and suffer from the following:
- Poor memory
- Poor concentration
- Disturbed digestion
Causes of Insomnia or Sleeplessness
There are many reasons that are responsible for causing sleeplessness. Some times it could be a result of change in routine, illness or some medication. In such situations, one can battle it by regulating their routine, treating the medical condition or talking to their doctor about change of medication. Eventually, insomnia goes away on its own and normal sleep pattern returns.
However, some main causes, other than the one mentioned above, are:
- Constant worrying about something
- Anger over some thing
- A heavy meal that is tough to digest
- Coffee or tea close to bedtime
- Inadequate meal
- Excess of alcohol
Once your sleep pattern is disturbed, it takes a lots of effort and days to bring it back to normal. Sometimes, it is so severe that one has to seek medical help and pop a sleeping pill in order to get good sleep. However, there are many home remedies for sleeplessness that are very effective and easy to prepare. With the help of these natural remedies, one can get good sleep and better health.
These natural remedies for insomnia or sleeplessness have been divided into three parts- Home remedies for insomnia, Aromatherapy for insomnia and herbal teas that help in curing sleep disorders naturally.
I- Home Remedies for Insomnia
The home remedies for sleeplessness consist of certain foods that are essential to give your body nutrients and minerals etc. that are essential for normal sleep-wake cycles; herbs that assist your body to make chemicals beneficial for sleep; and certain techniques like massage that help your body relax and fall asleep faster and naturally.
1. Banana for Insomnia
Banana contains Tryptophan, the amino acid that induces sleep. How is Tryptophan useful to cure insomnia? It can be explained in this manner that a little amount of tryptophan gets converted into niacin (vitamin B-3), thanks to your liver that does this job. Additionally, your body uses tryptophan to produce 5-HT too. 5-HT is a compound needed to make serotonin and melatonin, the chemical neurotransmitters that regulate your sleep-wake cycles. When your body is deficient of tryptophan, you suffer from depression, irritability and of course insomnia. However, if you want your body to convert tryptophan, present in banana or other foods, to niacin, you must also have sufficient dietary iron, riboflavin and vitamin B-6 in your body. Apart from tryptophan, bananas are also rich in potassium and magnesium, the minerals that are natural muscle relaxants. Researches have shown that when you have even a marginal deficiency of magnesium, your brain gets unable to settle down at night. So, it makes sense to have bananas to cure sleeplessness.
- Just have bananas daily. One banana daily is enough to get the dose of required minerals and other nutrients that will help you sleep better.
- If you suffer from chronic insomnia, you may even consider having two bananas a day, one in the morning and other in the evening. However, don’t neglect other nutrients and get them for other food sources.
- You may even mash a banana and mix some cumin powder to it and have this 2-3 hours before you go to sleep at night.
2. Honey for Sleeplessness
Honey is often referred to as Super Food. It contains sleep inducing Amino Acid called Tryptophan that proves helpful in battling insomnia. It is the precursor to serotonin which gets converted into melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycles. Also, consuming honey increases your blood sugar very slightly that leads to Tryptophan entering your brain and getting converted into serotonin.
1st Way to Use Honey for Sleeplessness- Honey infusion before bedtime for better sleep
- 1tablespoon honey
- 1glass water
- Warm a glass of water.
- Add one tablespoon honey to it
- Mix well.
- Drink this 30 minutes before bedtime.
When you do this, you are likely to feel sleepy and much lighter too, as it also aids digestion. Make this a part of your daily routine and you will see the difference in your sleep quality and duration
2nd Way to Use Honey for Sleeplessness- Honey, turmeric powder and milk remedy
- 1tablespoon honey
- 1cup milk
- 1 pinch turmeric powder
- Warm a cup of milk.
- Add 1tablespoon honey to it.
- Add a pinch of turmeric powder to it and mix well.
- Drink this before bedtime to get good sleep.
Warm milk causes relaxation, honey aids water retention, so you don’t have to get up again and again to empty your bladder. Turmeric in this remedy cleanses the system and acts as an anti-septic agent.
This mixture has a dual result – puts you to sleep, and cleanses your body. Drink this detoxifying sleep inducing drink around bedtime for best results!
3rd Way to Use Honey for Sleeplessness- Honey and Aniseeds Infusion
- Half-liter water (about 2 and ¼ cups)
- 1 tablespoon Aniseed
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Take the water in a vessel
- Now add the aniseed
- Boil the mixture for about 15 minutes
- Strain the mixture.
- Now add honey to it.
- Consume this mixture while it is still hot.
Aniseeds have a cooling effect on the stomach. It also has anti-oxidant and anti-septic properties. When mixed with honey, it has a relaxing effect on the body that is helpful in making you sleep well.
3. Warm Milk for Sleeplessness
Your grandmother was right when she asked to have a glass of warm milk before bedtime. Well, she was almost right! Because many people do not fall asleep even after having warm milk. If you are among those lucky people who respond to that glass of warm milk positively, this may be your best remedy for insomnia! Here are some of the reasons why warm milk may make you sleep better.
- Milk has this amino acid in it called Tryptophan. The same Tryptophan which is also there in turkey. Some experts believe that Tryptophan, especially when taken in large amounts, lead to sleepiness.
- Why only some people find warm milk sleep inducing may be because of psychological reason too. As milk is something closely related to mother, it may give rise to a comfort level or feelings that may produce certain chemicals in your brain, to be precise, the serotonin chemical or the sleep chemical. This ultimate sensation of well-being and relaxation may make you fall asleep.
- When your body temperature is warm, your muscles relax and slows down your body’s reaction mechanism just like the stage before sleeping. Warm milk warms your body and thus help you in relaxing and falling asleep.
Have a glass of milk, warm milk before you go to bed every night, of course, if you are not lactose intolerant. You can then go for other alternatives like the almond milk which is a very good source of calcium and helps your brain in making melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycle.
4. Indian Sorrel for Insomnia Remedy
Yet another excellent source of calcium is the herb Indian sorrel. The herb is also rich in vitamin B and iron and its leaves also have some amount of cellulose. But what’s most important for sleeplessness is its calcium that helps your brain produce more melatonin so that you may combat insomnia in better ways. People in India, where this herb originates, have used its oil since long for treating insomnia. You too can make this oil at home. Here’s the recipe and how to use Indian sorrel oil to treat insomnia.
- Indian sorrel leaves- enough to make ¼ – ½ cup of juice
- Castor oil- ¼ – ½ cup (you need equal amounts of the herb’s juice and oil)
- A little water
- Crush the Indian sorrel leaves to extract its juice. If needed, use some water.
- When crushed, using a cloth or sieve, extract the juice and mix it with equal amount of Castor oil.
- Heat the mixture till all the water in it gets evaporated.
- Let it cool down completely.
- Store this oil in a glass bottle or jar.
- Massage your scalp with some of this herbal oil before your bedtime.
- This will make you fall asleep faster.
5. Nutmeg for Insomnia
Nutmeg, the herb spice is believed to have a mild sedative action that may cure your insomnia. People of Indonesia, the home of nutmeg herb, it is widely used to treat many diseases including insomnia. Many chemical components in nutmeg are believed to have same effects as tranquilizers have on you to give you a good night’s sleep.
Ways to Use Nutmeg to Cure Sleeplessness
- Add ¼ tsp of nutmeg powder to a glass of warm milk along with 2-3 tsp of honey. Have this about an hour before you go to sleep.
- If you are lactose intolerant or cannot have milk, mix ¼ tsp of nutmeg powder to a glass of warm water or juice and have it before bedtime.
- You may also make homemade nutmeg capsules. Get some empty capsules and grind some nutmeg to make its powder. Fill ¼ tsp of nutmeg powder in each of your empty capsule and pop one 1-2 hours before you go to sleep every night.
Precaution: Never use more than ¼ tsp of nutmeg powder at a time otherwise you may feel discomfort. Large does can even lead to hallucination.
6. Rauwolfia Herbal Remedy for Insomnia
Rauwolfia can be called one of the most effective herbs to treat sleeplessness. This is because Rauwolfia is a natural sedative that helps your brain relax so that you may sleep better. Known as Sarpagandha in India, Rauwolfia serpentina or black snakeroot is a very effective Ayurvedic herbal remedy for insomnia. The chemical Reserpine, an indole alkaloid, present in this herb has tranquillizing property along with being antihypertensive (it is thus used for treating high blood pressure too).
- Powdered root of Rauwolfia herb- 0.25 gm to 0.5 gm (250 mg-500mg) 1 tsp is 5000mg so you will need only about 0.05 tsp or a pinch or two)
- Cardamom powder – a pinch or two
- Mix 1-2 pinches of the herb’s powder to equal amount of cardamom powder.
- Have it twice a day, in the morning and at night before bedtime.
Precaution– This herb should not be taken by pregnant women, children, alcoholic and those suffering from depression. If you are taking blood pressure medication, consult your doctor before taking this or any other herb. It is always better to take this herb under expert supervision of an Ayurvedic doctor.
7. Celery Juice for Insomnia
Juice made from celery has high levels of electrolytes and this is probably what plays a great role in making you relaxed and fall asleep. Celery leaves are a rich source of vitamin A, and its stems are rich in vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C. It is a treasure house of potassium, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and essential amino acids. Magnesium in it have a calming effect on your nervous system. You should know that lack of magnesium in your body can make it difficult for you to relax and thus you may suffer from sleeplessness.
Make Celery Juice
- Celery stalks
- Other vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, carrots etc. (optional)
- Clean your celery stalks and other vegetables if using.
- Make juice of these using a juicer.
- Have a glass or two during the day.
8. Massage for Insomnia Cure
This is an age old therapy to induce sleep. Massage actually relaxes your body so that you can have a deep sleep. The relaxing effect of massage on your body stimulates your Parasympathetic Nervous System. The Parasympathetic Nervous System is the part of the involuntary nervous system that works to slow down your heart rate, increase your intestinal and glandular activity, as well as relax your sphincter muscles. In a nutshell, a smooth Parasympathetic Nervous System brings on homeostasis or in simple terms balances the functions in your body. This makes you have a deep sleep.
- Give your body a relaxing massage at least twice a week.
- The massage session should last for about 30 minutes.
- Continue this for at least five weeks.
- Thereafter, reduce it to one massage session every week.
- Keep on reducing the massage sessions as you take control over your sleep, making it once a fortnight and then once a month.
- However, getting a relaxing massage once a week is not a bad idea and it doesn’t pose any harm to your body.
II- Aromatherapy for Insomnia
Fragrances can really have a deep impact on sleep. Since time immemorial, aromatherapy has been trusted to treat sleep disorders.
Some of the most effective home remedies for insomnia using aromatic essential oils are listed here:
9. Lavender Oil for Sleeplessness
This purple flower has been known to help people fall asleep faster for longer duration and wake up feeling fresh. There are many clinical evidences supporting Lavender oil’s effect on insomnia. In fact, it is also referred to as a natural tranquilizer, a very mild and effective one that improves sleep quality and relaxes insomniacs, particularly women.
Ways to Use Lavender Oil for Sleeplessness
- Just dab some drops of lavender oil on the temples and forehead around sleep time.
- You can also rub some lavender oil on the back of your ears.
- You can also put some drops of lavender oil in warm water and take a bath before bedtime. This is also going to relax your muscles and prepare you for good sleep.
- These days, lavender-filled pillows are available in the market. You can pick one for yourself and enjoy a deep sleep at night.
- You are sure to wake up feeling more energetic after a good sleep.
10. Jasmine Oil for Sleeplessness
Jasmine oil is known as a powerful relaxing agent. It fights anxiety, helps a person calm down and promotes sleep. The fragrance of jasmine oil causes the same neuro-chemical mechanism as some sleeping pills. The only difference is, Jasmine oil is 100% natural and non-toxic.
How to use Jasmine Oil for Sleeplessness
- All you need to do is put few drops of jasmine oil on your wrists, and rub them to make sure the oil is properly absorbed.
- Do this around bedtime and enjoy a relaxed sleep.
III- Herbal Teas as Insomnia Remedies
Herbal teas have always found special place of honor whenever it comes to natural remedies and this is no different when we talk about sleeplessness.
11. Try Chamomile Tea for Sleeplessness
Chamomile has many health benefits apart from its sleep inducing properties. It boosts immune system, eases the menstrual cramps and helps you relax.
The reason chamomile is trusted the world over is because it is a nerve-relaxant, as well as anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory in nature. So, it works to relieve your body of any discomfort that might be present, calms your senses and helps you to sleep peacefully.
Ways to Prepare Chamomile Tea
- 1-teaspoon chamomile tea or 1 chamomile tea bag
- 1-cup water
- 1-tablespoon honey
- Bring 1 cup water to boil.
- Pour it in a kettle.
- Add 1teaspoonful of chamomile tea or a teabag
- Let it stay for 3 minutes.
- Drink a cup full of chamomile tea around bedtime.
It is sure to relax you and put you to sleep. Don’t drink more than a cup as it could cause you to use the washroom at night.
12. Passionflower Infusion To Cure Sleeplessness
Passionflower comes packed with mild tranquilizing compounds that cause relaxation and put one to sleep. The best part about passionflower is it doesn’t cause drowsiness in the morning and you wake up feeling fresh and energetic.
There are many varieties of passionflower that are available. However, you need to pick Passiflora Incarnate only, as others can be dangerous.
- 1 teaspoonful of Passionflower
- 1cup water
- Just brew one teaspoonful of passionflower leaves in a cup of boiling water.
- Let it stay for 2 minutes
- Drink it sip by sip
- Have this tea around bedtime to get assured good sleep.
13. Valerian Infusion- A Natural Cure for Sleeplessness
Valerian is known for its sedative properties. It is also widely used as a painkiller. Its mild tranquilizing effects have been medically proven. In fact in a medical report, around 90% insomniacs vouched for its effectiveness in helping them go to sleep.
- 1-teaspoonful Valerian extracts
- 1cup water
- Boil 1 cup water.
- Add Valerian extracts to it.
- Let it brew for 2 minutes.
- Allow it to simmer down a little before sipping it.
Make sure you take this infusion close to bedtime as it is a strong sleep-inducing agent.
14. Green Tea for Sleeplessness Remedy
Green tea comes loaded with an Amino Acid called L-Theanine. This amino acid increases the levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a chemical that induces relaxation and hence, helps insomniacs to sleep better.
Make Green Tea for Sleeplessness
- 1-2 tsp Green tea
- 1cup water
- Bring 1cup water to boil.
- Now add green tea leaves to it.
- Let it brew for 3 minutes.
- Drink it before bedtime.
Make it a part of your bedtime routine. In fact green tea benefits for health are many and you can switch altogether to green tea from coffee. Some people find it too strong and hence, like to add sugar to it. As much as possible, try to avoid sugar. In stead, you can add a spoon of honey to it. Sip it with your favorite book or relaxing music and you are sure to enjoy a good sleep.
Don’t miss reading 15 Ways to Sleep Better without Sleeping Pills
Sleeplessness – The Don’ts
Home remedies for sleeplessness will work to your advantage only when you behave properly before bedtime and that includes certain don’ts too! You need to refrain from the following if you want to have a good night’s sleep.
- Avoid having heavy caffeinated drinks close to bedtime. They are likely to make you super active and shoo away sleep.
- Keep cigarettes away if you want peaceful sleep as nicotine acts on the central nervous system and make you feel wide awake and more attentive.
- Don’t exercise close to bedtime. Try finishing your workout routine minimum four hours before bedtime. Some relaxing stretches are an exception.
When you give efforts to bring on good sleep for few days, a habit will form automatically and then you may not even require home remedies for sleeplessness, forget about those sleeping pills!
However, if your insomnia doesn’t go away even after using home remedies, you must see your doctor. Your sleeplessness then may be an indicator of some underlying health issue. You may also check out if you suffer from sleep apnea by knowing these Sleep Apnea Causes and Symptoms