Natural Ways to Fall Asleep
Getting a good amount of sleep at night is crucial to your health. If you struggle with falling asleep, you might think your only option is to reach for the medicine bottle. Before you do, consider trying some of these natural ways to fall asleep without medication.
Since I was a teenager, I suffered with sleep issues. I couldn’t fall asleep, and I couldn’t stay asleep. These issues plagued me during high school, followed me to college, and hung around into my 20s and the beginning of my 30s.
I tried taking medication to help me fall asleep, but it would take me hours to shake that groggy feeling every morning. I’m not much of a morning person to begin with, and that was just making things a million times worse.
Related: The Best Eco-Friendly Mattress for Healthy Sleep
I thought I would have these issues for the rest of my life. But when I began my journey toward a more natural life, I started doing some research on natural ways to fall asleep. That’s when I was shocked to find out there are a variety of natural sleep solutions that don’t require any medication.
After just a few weeks of trying these natural ways to fall asleep, I’ve found it easier to fall asleep and I’m getting better sleep. If you’re trying to get a more restful sleep without reaching for that bottle of pills, try some of these natural ways to get better sleep.
1. Use a Weighted Blanket
I have to admit, when I first heard about a weighted blanket, I didn’t think it would be right for me. I don’t like feeling hot or claustrophobic when I sleep.
I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to sleep with a sheet on my bed because I feel like it wraps around my legs and traps me. So obviously having a blanket pressing down on me didn’t sound very pleasant at all.
But then one day after a particularly bad night of very little sleep, I broke down and bought this weighted blanket. Honestly? I wish I would have done it sooner.
Yes, it did take me a few nights to get used to the feeling of the blanket pressing down on me. However, it wasn’t as constricting as I was afraid it would be.
I also found that if I turn on my fan at night, it helps keep me cool when I sleep with the blanket. Ever since I started using the blanket, I’ve been able to fall asleep quickly. Even better, I’m actually staying asleep during the night.
Related: How to Make a Natural Mattress Stain Remover for Healthier Sleep
2. Use Magnesium Lotion
Magnesium plays a key role in sleep because it helps activate the part of the brain that’s responsible for sleep. Even a small deficiency in magnesium can prevent the brain from calming down for sleep.
While some people consider taking magnesium supplements, you should check with your doctor first since magnesium can interact with other medications.
If you don’t want to take a supplement but still want to make sure you’re getting enough magnesium, one good way is to increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods, such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, green leafy vegetables, and wheat germ.
Another excellent option is a magnesium lotion. Magnesium lotion works quickly. Some reports suggest magnesium absorbed through the skin begins to work in just 90 seconds.
If you have trouble sleeping because of restless leg syndrome (RLS), you should also consider magnesium lotion. Research indicates a prominent link between RLS and magnesium deficiency.
I recommend using this magnesium lotion because it’s made with four all-natural ingredients, requires just a pea-sized amount, and has rave reviews from the people who have tried it.
You can also check out this post to learn more about my experience with using magnesium lotion for sleep.
3. Try Lavender Aromatherapy
Certain scents are known to trigger different reactions in the body. For example, if you’re feeling tired and need a quick and natural energy boost, smelling cinnamon or peppermint can help.
When it’s bedtime and you need to calm down to fall asleep, use lavender. The scent of lavender is calming and helps encourage sleep. In fact, one study found that lavender aromatherapy may be an effective way to improve sleep.
I have an essential oil diffuser on the nightstand next to my bed that I fill with water and around 5 drops of lavender essential oil. About 30 minutes before I go to bed, I turn it on so the room is filled with the soft and relaxing scent of lavender.
If you don’t particularly like the scent of lavender, damask rose essential oil is another scent that has positive effects on sleep.
Related: 15 Medicinal Herbs You Must Grow in Your Garden (And How to Use Them!)
4. Adjust the Room Temperature
When you fall asleep, your body temperature lowers and the temperature of your feet and hands increase. If your room is too hot or too cold, you might have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
The ideal room temperature for sleep is somewhere between 60-75°F (15-23°C).
Everyone feels comfortable at different temperatures, so it’s important to experiment and find the temperature that works best for you.
5. Drink Chamomile Tea
You obviously don’t want to drink a big cup of coffee right before you go to bed, but certain drinks can help your body calm down and prepare for sleep. One good beverage to try is chamomile tea.
Researchers think chamomile’s calming effects come from an antioxidant called apigenin, which helps decrease anxiety and initiate sleep in the brain.
If I’m feeling particularly restless during the day, I like making a cup of this organic chamomile tea before I go to bed. Even better, since it’s a loose leaf tea, I know I don’t have to worry about plastic in my tea bags.
Related: Genius Ways to Reuse Old Tea Bags so Nothing Goes to Waste
6. Have a Glass of Warm Almond Milk
Another good drink to have right before bed is a glass of warm almond milk. Almond milk is a great source of calcium, which is essential for helping your brain make melatonin.
Plus, some researchers think drinking warm milk can trigger relaxing childhood memories, which can help you calm down for sleep.
7. Practice the 4-7-8 Breathing Method
The 4-7-8 breathing method helps promote relaxation because it calms the nervous system.
To practice the 4-7-8 breathing method, get in a comfortable seated position and place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth. Hold your tongue in this spot while you follow these steps:
- Exhale completely out of your mouth while making a whooshing sound.
- Close your mouth and breathe in through your nose while counting to four.
- Hold your breath while counting to seven.
- Exhale completely out of your mouth while counting to eight and making a whooshing sound.
- Repeat the entire cycle at least three times.
Since this breathing method can help you calm down, it’s ideal to practice anytime you’re feeling anxious or stressed.
8. Make it Dark
Even though electricity has been around for over 100 years, our bodies were designed to understand the natural light and darkness that comes from sunrise and sunset. When you add unnatural lighting from lamps, streetlights, televisions, clocks, phones, e-readers, and more, our bodies simply don’t realize it’s time to fall asleep.
If you want to get a good, restful sleep, you need to make your bedroom as dark as possible. In our home, this means I’ve moved the TV and digital clocks out of the bedroom and hung up these blackout curtains to block the brightness of the streetlights.
Related: How to Make an Eco-Friendly Bedroom
While I do keep my phone on my nightstand for the alarm, I have it set on Do Not Disturb so it doesn’t light up at night. I also make an intentional effort to not use it at least 30 minutes before I’m ready to go to sleep.
If you feel like having your phone in your bedroom is too much of a distraction but you still need an alarm, choose an alarm clock with a red light, which is better for sleep than those illuminated with a blue light.
9. Practice Yoga
Yoga is a gentle exercise that can help you wind down at the end of the day. In fact, in one survey, 55% of people who practiced yoga said it helped them get better sleep. Even more impressive, 85% said it helped them reduce stress.
You don’t have to be an expert yogi to enjoy the benefits of yoga. These seven yoga moves for sleep can help you relieve stress and tension, which makes it more likely you’ll get a better night’s rest.
I’ve gotten into the habit to setting aside a few minutes each night to go through this yoga routine, and it definitely helps me feel more relaxed.
If you’re ready to give yoga a try, don’t pick up a mat made with toxic PVC. Instead, be sure to check out this list of the best eco-friendly and non-toxic yoga mats.
Related: How to Make an Easy DIY Yoga Mat Cleaner Spray
Much like yoga, meditation can also help your mind and body calm down and prepare for sleep.
I originally started practicing meditation to naturally help ease my anxiety. But then I started to realize that I was also falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer when I was meditating.
I personally use the Headspace app to walk me through 3 to 5 minutes of meditation every evening. This helps me relax my body and mind and release any tension that has built up during the day.
Natural Ways to Fall Asleep
You don’t have to suffer through another sleepless night, and you don’t have to turn to medication to fall asleep. Instead, try practicing some of these natural ways to fall asleep so you can get the rest you need to live a healthier life.
More Natural Living Tips
Now that you know more about the natural ways to fall asleep without medication, are you interested in even more great tips about living a more natural and sustainable life? Then be sure to check out some of our other popular posts:
- How We Naturally Eased Our Son’s Eczema
- Natural Cold Remedies That Actually Work
- How to Make Homemade Aloe Vera Gel
- The Best Natural Sunscreens
The information in this post is intended for general understanding and entertainment only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Tuesday 10th of December 2019
That's all fine and dandy but what do you do when nearly falling asleep gives you a panic attack? I was trying to fall asleep and had a severe life threatening health issue in the middle of the night. I've been subconsciously terrified of falling asleep ever since. My mind will race, making it impossible for me to sleep. I once stayed awake for four days because my mind simply wouldn't allow me to sleep. I had no choice but Ambien and even with it I don't sleep long.
Wednesday 11th of December 2019
It's obvious why you're having panic attacks when you're trying to fall asleep, and I'm sorry you went through that. Now you're stuck in a vicious cycle. I've suffered from panic attacks before (but not for the same reason that you're suffering from them) and I have found that meditation and breathing techniques have helped me work through them. I also strongly believe in the power of therapy. If natural techniques aren't working, I think getting in touch with a qualified medical professional might be the next step.