I’ve always had a hard time sleeping. I remember when I was a teenager having insomnia and trying to stomach warm milk at 3 in the morning. I also remember putting lavender under my pillow.
It definitely becomes a mental battle for me when I’ve had one or two nights in a row that I can’t fall asleep. Thankfully lately I’ve gotten in a great routine when it comes to sleep and I haven’t had bouts of insomnia for awhile (knock on wood…)
I used to take anxiety medication when I couldn’t sleep, and my doctor even prescribed me Ambien which I have also taken. But taking these medications scares me because I feel like I could get dependent or even addicted to them and then not be able to sleep without them, which perpetuates the cycle. I even feel this way about Benedryl or Nyquil, which some people use with no problem. Those medications didn’t really make a dent in my insomnia and I feel like using them is just going to perpetuate the problem.
Luckily I’ve found some solutions and routines that work for me and are completely natural and drug free. **Includes affiliate links
1) Having a routine. This sounds pretty boring and standard but the routine of “getting ready for bed” has to be pretty repetitive in order to tell your body it’s time to settle down. This means at the same time every night I get ready for bed and put away my computer or Ipad. I usually try to not go on the Ipad or my phone (need to get better at this) after 8 pm. I also go to bed at the same time every night. Obviously during the workweek I get up at the same time every day, but as painful as it may seem I also try to get up early on the weekends too so as not to throw my internal clock off.
I know, I know, you want to sleep in on the weekends! But I feel like if you get enough sleep during the week there’s really no reason why you can’t get up normally on Saturday. I usually try not to sleep more than an hour and a half past my normal wake up time.
2) Blue light blocking glasses. They look really nerdy, and your spouse will make fun of you, but I’ve seen benefits of using the blue light blocking glasses as soon as I sit down to relax at night. The idea behind wearing them is that our body is not naturally adjusted to being accosted by artificial light after it gets dark, so it doesn’t want to shut down and go to bed. Do your own research about them, but I mean I spent $7 for these and I feel like when I wear them I can feel myself getting more tired. (Maybe it’s all in my head, but whatever works!)
3) Natural Calm Magnesium Supplement I know it seems like this is another thing to depend on, but it’s really not. This powdered magnesium supplement
helps me relax at the end of the night. Some nights I have it and some I don’t….and I don’t see any effect either way. I just drink it with hot water sometimes with lemon and honey. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to chronic inflammation and many people do not get enough magnesium. It not only can relax your mood but I also find it helps my constantly stiff muscles.
4) Magnesium Epsom Salt Bath If you have a little extra time at night and are feeling extra stressed or agitated a bath with an epsom salt soak like this
will do the trick. This is also a great alternative if you don’t feel comfortable taking the Natural Calm. You can usually get the salt at the drug store or grocery store in the bath isle.
5) Lavender pouch in pillow case This is an old trick the the scent of lavender is supposed to relax you. I just bought a little pouch of it at a farmer’s market this summer and put it in my pillowcase. It makes my whole pillow smell. Alternatively, you could look into an essential oil diffuser but I have no experience with that so I can’t speak for it.
So using all these things in combination I’ve finally settled on a routine that my body accepts as an “it’s bedtime” signal. Also obviously your diet is a main factor. I find when I’m eating very clean I have little problem with sleep. When I eat a lot of sugary things it becomes more challenging. Also alcohol might seem like a good idea to get to sleep initially but I usually wake up a couple hours later and can’t fall back to sleep if I have a couple of drinks that night. It goes to show that most things in your body will regulate if you treat it and feed it right.
All these products, and more are available on the new Pencils and Pancakes Favorite Products Store! Just click on the “shop” tab at the top of my website. I have included all of my favorite cooking product, books and items for better sleep. As always thanks for supporting Pencils and Pancakes.
What things help you sleep the best naturally?