There are many factors that can trigger insomnia: unhealthy sleep habits, specific substances, or certain biological factors. Recently, researchers have found that insomnia is a condition of our brain being unable to stop being awake. This is connected with the brain cycles. Our brain has a sleep cycle and wake cycle—when one is turned on the other is turned off. A problem with either part of this cycle: too much wake drive or too little sleep drive will cause insomnia.
Let’s explore what we have in Mother Nature’s cabinet of healthy recipes for treating insomnia:
Old but Gold: A Cup of Warm Milk before Bed
Milk is used as a natural sleep-inducer by many cultures all over the world. The reasons are calcium and tryptophan, an amino acid present in dairy products that is a proven promoter of REM-stage sleep, the most restful sleep period of the night. Many prescription sleep aids induce a drugged torpor that does not allow for REM sleep. You may sleep heavily, but you will not experience the benefits of a natural night’s rest. However, if that REM stage is lengthened by natural means, the results are wonderfully beneficial to your overall health.
Soured Milk Products
Soured and fermented milk products are also beneficial for inducing sleep. Take a cup of either yogurt or sour cream before bedtime. As an alternative you can also try this recipe:
Dissolve two tablespoons of honey in a glass of buttermilk. Stir in the juice of one lemon and mix well. The lemon ferments the milk, thus making it more digestible for those with lactose intolerance.
Drink either hot grapefruit or lemon juice, unsweetened. Citrus fruits contain lycopene which promotes healthy sleep cycle and alleviates insomnia.
Orange Ginseng Tea
Brew a decoction of equal parts organic orange peel and powdered ginseng root. Strain and add honey to taste. Drink just before bedtime to ensure a restful and revitalizing sleep.
Chamomile contains calcium in an easily absorbed form, plus a volatile oil and glycoside with relaxing qualities. All of this makes chamomile a perfect natural tranquilizer that soothes both nerves and the digestive tract. Scientific studies have actually shown that a cup of chamomile tea promotes a longer, deeper night’s sleep.
This helpful sleep aid can be combined with hops to make a mild sedative tea that promotes a healthy night’s rest with no side effects. At bedtime, take one-half teaspoon of extract or 600 to 1000 mg in capsule form or brew one-half teaspoon of the dried herb to one cup of boiling water. Do not drink more than one cup a day.
This soothing brew calms frazzled nerves and prepares you for a deep, relaxing sleep.
Mix equal parts of valerian root powder, skull-cap, and peppermint dried leaves. Use one teaspoon of the mixture per one cup of boiling water. Steep for ten minutes.
Sweet Dreams Pillow
Hops is a native North American plant which is cultivated for its cones. Cones are used medicinally and in making beer and ale. This is why we can treat beer and ale as a medicine under some circumstances. Centuries ago, hop pickers were the first to notice that the strong aroma of the plant soothes nerves. It also relieves indigestion which makes it a perfect remedy for fighting insomnia.
Stuff a pillowcase with hops. You can also stuff your pillow with equal parts hops and mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris). Some people sprinkle their pillow with a little alcohol to bring out its soporific benefits. You can also place a cotton ball infused with one drop of lavender oil under your pillow to relax your nerves, relieve stress, and ensure a peaceful night’s sleep.
Besides having beautiful flowers and many other health benefits, the raw okra vegetable is a favored folk remedy known to induce sleepiness.
Grind the meat of a coconut. Eat freely before bedtime to enjoy a peaceful night’s rest.
A simple folk remedy for insomnia is to soak cotton pads in any warm solution: chamomile or linden tea, or even plain water, and place them over the eyes. This relaxes you and prepares you for either sleep or a quick catnap.
Lavender Oil Soak
Fill a warm tub, then add ten to twenty drops of lavender oil and one cup of baking soda. Soak for twenty to thirty minutes. You’ll feel relaxed, warm, and ready for a good night’s rest.
Chamomile Relaxing Soak
Make a quart-sized decoction of chamomile flowers or linden flowers. Strain and add to your bath water. After you dry off, enjoy a cup of chamomile tea.