Can’t fall asleep but you don’t want to take a sleeping pill? Insomnia is an exhausting condition that affects many people. Nothing is more draining than going to bed when it’s difficult to fall asleep or waking up too early two hours before the alarm goes off. Prescribed sleeping medications often carry heavy side effects. Side effects include daytime drowsiness, changes in appetite, and digestive problems. Changing your regular routine and altering certain habits is the key for a better night’s sleep and a healthier state of being.

For the sake of keeping unnatural substances out of your body, consider these natural alternatives to the sleeping pill:

Melatonin

This one is the go to supplement if you are having trouble going to sleep and staying asleep at night. Melatonin is a naturally reoccurring hormone found in the body’s pineal gland and is made synthetically as a supplement. The effect of taking it adjusts the body’s internal time clock. As there are different doses but for starters, it is recommended that you take about 3mg one hour before you go to bed. Gradually increase the intake if you feel that the dosage it too little for you. Melatonin is often used for jet lag on long distance travel journeys.

Valerian Root

Valerian root is an herbal supplement that is used for insomnia and anxiety. Used for centuries in ancient Greece and Rome, this sleeping pill alternative can ease insomnia, nervousness, trembling, headaches and stress. The recommended dosage is to take it 3 times a day. The last dose should be taken one hour before you go to bed. Try this supplement if you can’t sleep because busy thoughts keep going through your head. This natural alternative will help to calm them down. 

Chamomile

Chamomile tea is the best drink to wash down the melatonin and valerian root supplements. The tea is made with the flowers from the chamomile plant and when grown out in the wild, it looks like daisies. Drink this yummy tea about 30 minutes before going to bed. Chamomile is linked to other health benefits such as reducing migraines and treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It also boosts the immune system. Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks all used the flowers for wound healing by placing it on burns and scrapes.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is another ancient practice that is a benefit for problems with sleep. A 2004 preliminary report from the US National Library of Medicine found that patients with anxiety had increased nighttime melatonin production and total sleep time. Acupuncture is used to control the spread of energy or “chi” throughout your body. Chi will navigate through the blockages and allow your body to balance itself out. Around for thousands of years, acupuncture treats all types of medical conditions.

Regular Exercise

As little as just 10 minutes of aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging or cycling have powerful effects on sleep. Early morning and afternoon exercise reset and balance the sleep wake cycle by raising the body temperature slightly and then allows it to drop it a few hours later. However, be careful not to work out too close to bedtime since it will overstimulate the body. If you have to exercise after work if you are not an early morning riser, try practicing yoga stretches before bed time. It will calm your body and bring it to a relaxed state. 

Meditation or Mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation helps you stay focused in the present moment. This technique allows you to take the stress away on what happened in the past or what will happen in the future. It involves breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns. Meditation breaks up the routine of everyday thought to evoke a relaxation response. It is recommended to do it everyday for 20 minutes. As you meditate, think of a positive word or thought for which to be grateful.

In today’s busy lifestyle, oftentimes it is difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Instead of popping a prescribed sleeping pill every time you have sleep troubles, try natural alternatives.

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