- Take much longer than the recommended 10-20 minutes experts say it should take you to fall asleep,
- Wake up in the middle of the night, unable to return to a restful sleep,
- Have trouble getting your body to relax, or your mind to be quiet enough to sleep,
- Wake still feeling tired, or find that you have a lot less energy than you’d like during your days,
- Have been researching how to get better sleep for awhile, tried a lot of different things, and still feel like you haven’t solved your problem,
then you might experiment with one or more of these less-talked-about methods:
If you enjoy (or want to try) yoga:
These are the best natural remedies for getting better sleep. If you’ve not done yoga before or you’re not into it, don’t be fooled / worried by the fact that these are yoga techniques. They’re do-able for everyone, so don’t miss the benefits!
- Put Your Legs Up a Wall — this posture is one of the most highly-recommended and highly-regarded positions for helping calm the nervous system and help a busy mind rest. Plus, it’s exactly as it sounds; you don’t need anything besides yourself and a wall (or chair, if hamstrings are tight). For instructions (and getting more comfortable), see my YouTube video.
- Create a 1:2 Breathing Pattern — this one takes some practice but is one of the best things you can do to help yourself sleep well at night. It’s also very versatile: practice it after a stressful meeting, before eating, right before bed, or during the night when you wake up and want to get a few more Z’s. Simply make your exhalation twice as long as your inhale: If your natural inhalation takes 4 seconds, work toward getting your exhalation to 8. The numbers don’t matter; the ratio does.
If you’re distracted by your senses:
Since there is lots out there about light and food/drink, I’m going to focus here on sound, and the “mind” as a sense.
- Use “Drift to Sleep” Ear Plugs — I always thought I had “weird ears” because earplugs don’t seem to stay in my ears, and even the child-sized ones leave my ears throbbing. That was until I found these little purple wonders. Purchase at drifttosleep.com.
- Listen to Yoga Nidra — if stopping sound doesn’t stop your brain, try Yoga Nidra. This is different than yoga (above): to sum up a complex and ancient model, it’s deep relaxation and rest created through guided imagery. I have never had the need to purchase a CD other than Jennifer Reis’ Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra. This CD has personally gotten me through some of the worst pain I’ve ever had! I’ve heard it close to 1000x and yet I always hear something new. It has short tracks you can use throughout the day as well.
If you’d rather ingest something:
It’s always more effective to do some work on yourself than look for a quick fix, which is how I think of these options. Shutting yourself off after running on high gear all day isn’t likely to work, but I provide these options because I recognize that’s what can sometimes get us out of a rough patch.
- Drink Tart Cherry Juice — some studies have shown that drinking tart cherry juice concentrate increases melatonin levels (melatonin is often called the “sleep hormone”) and therefore help those struggling with insomnia get better rest. Note, however, the amount was small: 30 ml (~2 Tbsp) 30 minutes after waking and 30 minutes before bed. Also be sure to avoid juices with added sugar (that won’t help you rest)!
- Try Pure Encapsulations’ “Best-Rest Formula” — My least favorite choice, but sometimes you’ve tried everything else and it’s really important to just get yourself a good night’s rest! “Serving size” is two, but it’s possible to get by with one. You can learn more about Best-Rest Formula at their website.
- I don’t receive anything for the products I mention in this article; they’ve simply been successful for me and my clients.
- I’m not a medical professional; any suggestions for supplements are just that. Please discuss with your provider before trying.