How many nights do you stare at the ceiling hoping to fall asleep – or wake up at 3 a.m. and can’t fall back asleep? If this happens often, you’re one of millions of Americans who suffer sleep problems. Fortunately, we’ve got five natural sleep remedies that can help.
1. Try Valerian
Can’t get your eyes to shut when your head hits the pillow? Sip some valerian tea. It contains natural sedative compounds that may reduce that time it takes for you to fall asleep. If you’re not much of a tea drinker, Dr. Mehmet Oz suggests taking 300 mg of valerian root instead.
2. Make a Sleep Pillow
Get crafty! Pillows filled with herbs are a long-standing natural sleep remedy. To make your own sleep pillow, stuff a cloth bag with relaxing herbs such as lemon balm, chamomile and lavender, and sew it closed. Place the bag either next to your actual pillow or inside your pillow’s case. The aromatherapy from the herb mixture is believed to calm you down and help induce sleep.
3. Get B Vitamins
B vitamins are essential for growth, development and many other bodily functions. But these vitamins can also help you hit the hay. B3 has been shown to increase REM sleep and decrease nighttime awakenings. B6 is essential in the production of the calming hormone serotonin. B9 (also known as folic acid) helps regulate sleep patterns, but can cause health problems in high doses. B12 promotes normal sleep-wake cycles, and has been reported to help people with insomnia fall asleep.
4. Eat a Bowl of Oatmeal
You probably think of oatmeal as a breakfast food, but it’s also the perfect nighttime snack. Why? Oatmeal is what’s called a nervine, which relaxes your nervous system and helps relieve tension. Oats are also a rich source of sleep-inviting melatonin. Plus, oats are complex carbohydrates that can help more tryptophan get into the brain.
5. Take a Hint from Cats
If you’re willing to try something a bit “out there,” get some catnip from a health food store (NOT a pet store). Yep, the same herb that makes cats go absolutely crazy may actually help you get a good night’s sleep. You can take it as a supplement, drink it as a tea or steep a cup of dried catnip in hot water and add the brew to a bath before bedtime.