Natural Sleep Remedies That Really Work

natural sleep remedies that really work

natural cures insomnia

Natural Cures Insomnia Guide – Natural Sleep Remedies That Really Work

9 Natural Sleep Remedies that Really Work

Why can’t I sleep?

Like all our bodily functions there is a science to sleep! Before we discuss our natural sleep remedies that really work lets first briefly discuss the science of sleep.

To gain a good, restful and normalized sleep pattern your body requires:

  • Serotonin,
  • Melatonin,
  • 5-hydroxy L-Tryptophan (5-HTP),
  • Tryptophan

While that may sound like a pharmaceutical nightmare they are all naturally occurring chemicals within the body and are all interrelated.  The problem is when one of these chemicals is imbalanced, then so are the others, leading to poor sleep, lack of sleep or the inability to even become sleepy.

The science of sleep

  • To begin the chemical process which leads to normal sleep you need to eat or drink products which contain Tryptophan which is an essential amino acid.
  • Your body then converts the Tryptophan to 5-HTP, which in turn is converted into Serotonin.
  • This Serotonin then undergoes another chemical change and converts to Melatonin.
  • Melatonin is what we need for sleep.  It controls our biological clock.  The way this happens is due to light source.
    • The darker it becomes the more Melatonin the body produces, and starts our bodies feelings of tiredness and needing sleep.
    • When there is light our body produces less Melatonin and so we experience feelings of alertness and become wide awake.
  • Tryptophan is the only amino acid that can convert to serotonin, therefore is the only way we can produce Melatonin.  The key to sleep then is to increase our natural intake of Tryptophan.

Natural Cures Insomnia Guide

natural sleep remedies that really work

9 Natural Sleep Remedies That Really Work

1. Carb Snack Before Bed…

Forget those stories you’ve been told about not eating before bed and forget Dr Aitkins if you want a good nights rest!

In order for Tryptophan to aid you in your sleep it needs to cross the blood-brain barrier.  This barrier is basically a filter which allows certain substances to cross through and blocks others – ultimately keeping us safe and healthy.

The issue that many people with sleep problems have is that the Tryptophan is competing with other amino acids to make it through the blood-brain barrier.

By having a small Carb Snack, a cereal bar or slice of bread, 15-20 minutes before bed results in your body producing insulin in response to the carbohydrates.  This insulin boost diverts the other large chain amino acids to the muscles and gives our Tryptophan an easier and less competitive passage into the cerebrospinal fluid.

Natural Cures Insomnia Guide – Cherries

natural sleep remedies that really work

2. Eat Cherries – Drink Cherries

Number 2 of our Natural Sleep Remedies that really work are Cherries!

Cherries are packed full of Tryptophan.  This delicious and healthy fruit is an excellent way of naturally boosting your Tryptophan levels.

A handful of cherries or a glass of cherry juice is a sure fire way to make sure you drift off to sleep easily.

3. Go Banana’s, Gain Magnesium

Magnesium is one of our bodies most vitally important minerals.

Magnesium has a large effect on how our GABA receptors function.  Our GABA receptors are what calms our central nervous system and therefore when functioning well is responsible for allowing us to feel relaxed, calm and can aid in our preparation for sleep.

Many people, mostly unaware, have a magnesium deficiency.  While we can take natural magnesium supplements one healthy and tasty way to boost our magnesium is with bananas.

Not only do bananas contain magnesium but they are full of tryptophan and potassium as well.  A banana 30-40 minutes before bed will see your muscles relax, your tryptophan levels increase and boost your magnesium.

Natural Cures Insomnia Guide – Catnip

natural sleep remedies that really work

4. Puuurrfect Catnip!

I’ve talked about Catnip before as a wonderful herb for health and healing and its number 4 of our natural sleep remedies that really work.

Catnip is a member of the mint family that has a sedative effect…on humans.

While the active ingredient “nepetalactone” makes your furry friend get frisky and cutely crazy it has the opposite effect on us and helps humans to feel relaxed and drowsy.

A mug of Catnip Tea is an awesome way to get you ready for a great nights rest.

To prepare the tea you need:

4 teaspoons of dried catnip or 4 tablespoons of fresh catnip (a small handful is fine – you can dilute later)
2 cups of boiling water

Just add the catnip to the water, cover, let steep for at least 10 minutes and then enjoy 30 minutes before bed.

5. Saint John’s Wort

You have likely heard of Saint John’s Wort being used to help with depression. This is also due to it helping aid disrupted sleep.

The active ingredient in Saint John’s Wort is “hypercine” which is believed to help raise the serotonin levels in our body.

As we know the more serotonin we have the more melatonin we produce and this leads to better sleep.

Saint John’s Wort is available as a herbal supplement or if you can prepare a delicious and tangy tea!.

To prepare your tea you require

2 teaspoons of dried Saint John’s Wort, the top of the plant and its flowers
1 cup of boiling water
Again add the dried herb to your water, cover, steep for 10 minutes, strain and drink.  You can take the Saint John’s Wort tea either in the morning or an hour before bed.

Natural Cures Insomnia Guide – Hops

natural sleep remedies that really work

6. A “Beer-y” good way to sleep

Sorry folks, no beer isn’t on the menu…but hops are!  This vine flower, used in beer production, can also be made into a refreshing and tasty tea which calms the nerves and promotes relaxation.

To prepare you need

2 tablespoons of dried hops
4 cups of boiling water
An airtight container or jar.

Add the hops to a container and cover with boiling water.Firmly seal the lid and steep for at least 6 hours.  Even better prepare in the morning and steep all day, or prepare each evening and steep overnight.  The tea will keep for up to 3 days when refrigerated.

This tea can be taken chilled or you can reheat. Drink a cup half an hour before bed.

7. Your Bedroom is a Bedroom

Number 7 of our natural sleep remedies that really work is one of the most simple but proven to be one of the most effective.

Your bedroom is a place to sleep.   Remove distractions and anything that doesn’t lead to a feeling of peace, calm and tranquility.

T.V. – gone.  Computer – gone.

Having these items in your bedroom leads to stress.  Look at the TV and think about the news…stress.  Look at the computer and worry about that email…stress.

Ditch them and replace with items or objects that make you feel relaxed, happy and stress free.

Natural Cures Insomnia Guide – Chamomile

natural sleep remedies that really work

8. A Cup of Chamomile

Chamomile,thanks to the active ingredient “apigenin” relaxes your muscles, possibly also binding to your GABA receptors and thereby having a calming effect.  It is also believed that the properties of chamomile act as a sedative. This is definitely one of our best natural sleep remedies that really work.

While you can buy Chamomile Tea from the store it is easy and delicious (and in my opinion much more effective) when made fresh.

To prepare the chamomile tea you need:

1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh chamomile flowers or 2 generous tablespoons of dry flowers – fresh is best 🙂

To prepare fresh we use only the flower heads. This is the time to dig out your favourite teapot!  If you don’t own a teapot grab a large container as you need to add 4 cups of boiling water and let steep for 5-6 minutes.

This tea is best served hot and you can add lemon, honey (or even milk) is you wish.

The tea is prepared in exactly the same way if using dried chamomile.

9. Exercise – Go Get Tired!

The last of our natural sleep remedies that really work is exercise!

Exercise when done regularly not only tires us and allows us better rest but it also boosts energy.  So by adding exercise to our daily routine we will sleep better and have more energy when awake.  Win-Win!

This is not a remedy to use just before bed…or you will be awake!  Exercise during the day and not within 3 hours of when you wish to sleep.

Please try these 9 Natural sleep remedies that really work and I would love to hear how you found them.  Please leave me a message in comments or contact me directly by clicking here

Best health

Jason

47 Responses to Natural Sleep Remedies That Really Work

  1. I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This article posted at this website is actually fastidious. I love Healthynatured.com…it is most most trusted website

  2. You really make this topic seem so easy with your presentation. It’s something I thought I would never understand. It seemed too complicated and extremely broad for me. But now, I believe I understand it well. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it and get a good nights sleep!

  3. I didn’t see valerian root recommended on this list, but it’s also very good for calming people down and helping them fall asleep.

    I was shocked about the carb snack. I have eaten and drank sugary things before bed but it never helped me fall asleep better!

    Cherries are spot on! If I ever ate them for dessert, I was hit with a huge food coma!

    • Hi

      It often comes as a surprise when people see carbs mentioned. We are talking just a small amount not a lot! Food coma sounds interesting? Are you sure it was just cherries? Lol

      Good health to you

      Jason

  4. Sleep! Well being that it is 1 am here and I am up, I need this article to help me go to sleep! I do well with melatonin chewable tablets, I also get better sleep when I workout late at night, it actually relaxes me. I have some magnesium drops at my house, I will start using these again as your article touched upon that!

  5. I think that for me exercise and St. John’s Wort work best. There was another called Kava kava which also helps with relaxation and sleep.

    I didn’t know that cherries could promote better sleep, so I definitely learned something today. Great idea on the hops tea, I’ve never heard of that until today.

    Thanks for sharing this , it’s very informative.

  6. This article is perfect for me. I sometimes have problems sleeping and get onto a cycle of using herbal remedies, such as Kalms night time, but then I find it difficult to stop. Not in an addictive way.

    I do have a question, my daughter sleeps with a night light and you talk about the benefit of darkness for proper sleep. Will this affect her sleep quality? She doesn’t wake up or anything in the night.

  7. This article is perfect for me. I sometimes have problems sleeping and get onto a cycle of using herbal remedies, such as Kalms night time, but then I find it difficult to stop. Not in an addictive way.

    I do have a question, my daughter sleeps with a night light and you talk about the benefit of darkness for proper sleep. Will this affect her sleep quality? She doesn’t wake up or anything in the night.

  8. This article is perfect for me. I sometimes have problems sleeping and get onto a cycle of using herbal remedies, such as Kalms night time, but then I find it difficult to stop. Not in an addictive way.

    I do have a question, my daughter sleeps with a night light and you talk about the benefit of darkness for proper sleep. Will this affect her sleep quality? She doesn’t wake up or anything in the night.

    • Hi Ruth

      Thanks for your comments. I’m glad you use herbal remedies for your sleep regularity. I’d suggest some of these strategies rather than relying on any form of pharmaceuticals

      In terms of your daughter, if she goes to sleep easily and stays asleep and gets a good rested sleep then the night light is fine.

      The only issue is if she was having broken sleep or couldn’t get to sleep . Then you might need to remove the light source.

      Jason

  9. Hey there,
    I love your list of natural sleep remedies, I actually do a lot of them because I have trouble sleeping. I eat bananas every day, I eat carbs before bed and I go to the gym at least 5 days a week. Also no TV or computer in the bedroom.
    There are still a few things on your list I haven’t tried yet so I will look into them too.
    I don’t have too much trouble falling asleep, but I always wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep. Any advice?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Randy

      In terms of waking and not being able to go back to sleep I would suggest you invest in an aromatherapy diffuser and lavender essential oil. You can have this going during sleep and it is amazing at inducing rest and calm. I would think you probably wouldn’t be awake for very long before the aroma aided you falling back to sleep in no time. I have a post about aromatherapy diffusers and you can read it by clicking here.

      Jason

  10. Your point about removing distractions in the bedroom is especially true for me. I used to have a terrible time going to sleep and I would spend a long time right before bed on my phone and laptop. I realized this wrecked my natural rhythms and once I stopped this, I fell asleep faster and stayed asleep. I also stopped using my bed for work and just used it to sleep. Great info! I’ve always wanted to try chamomile tea!

    • Hi Philip

      Thanks for your comments.

      I think many people underestimate the impact electronic devices have on our sleep. Really pleased you got it sorted and are enjoying sleep again.

      Do try the chamomile it’s as delicious as it is effective.

      Best health to you

      Jason

  11. I’ve just bookmarked this post. I’m having some sleep issues so I will consider to give it a try all these 9 to get a better sleep. Rest is crucial to the function of all our body so I really like the way you gave us information for free that we can apply immediately without spending much money here. great post my friend

    • Many thanks my friend. I hope you try them, give them some time to work and enjoy great sleep. Try to remove electronic stimulus and add magnesium to the diet plus sour cherry juice – as much as you like.

      Let me know how you get on

      Jason

  12. Hey Jason.
    My secret for a good nights sleep is kick the old lady out the bed 🙂
    Another good tip- get those darn sleep apnea mask to join the old lady.
    On a serious note- follow both tips above; I did not know the cherries could help.
    I will try them at bedtime. Bananas are great to soothe old muscles.
    I really like the suggestion of getting rid of all distractions in bedroom( see above tips)a naaaawwww the electronic stuff 🙂
    Exercise is a sure-fire way to get the body wanting some “z’s” .
    Anyway buddy,oh yeah cold sheets and a warm blanket help.

    • Hey Edmund

      Great to hear from you.
      Love the message…you are of course right. If she’s making that much noise there’s only one answer..lol
      If she complains you may need to stick to the bananas and cherries I’m afraid!
      And totally agree, exercise helps hugely…so if you combine them, cherries, bananas, exercise (in the bedroom or out) you’ll be set
      Best wishes my friend 😉
      Jason

  13. Great post…and most people think of exercise as some crazy, fast-paced, heart-rate building regime – for me though, I always sleep wayyyy better when I’m on holiday, simply because I’m walking tonnes due to exploring the new places I’m visiting!! 🙂
    I’ve heard lavender is also great for inducing sleep? I love cherries and bananas (and carbs 😛 ) though, so may be giving these a try in the future!! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!!

    • you are very welcome. Glad you enjoyed the post. Lavender is another great aide for sleep and relaxation…a few drops of oil on a towel beside your pillow and sleep is going to be sound

      Hope you try the remedies. Please let me know how you get on.

      Jason

  14. Hi Jason,
    What a nice and interesting article, I really enjoyed reading it! I always thought that eating or drinking fruits in the evening wake us up. This is the reason I avoid fruits in before I go to sleep. I knew about the chamomile because my mother used to make me drink tea with chamomile since I was a child when I couldn’t fall in sleep. I am very happy that I discovered your website, I have bookmarked it so I can take a look and follow your great suggestions.

    Thank you very much

    • Hey Daniella

      Im very pleased the post is of use to you. There are many old stories about many aspects of eating before bed…most wrong. I’m not encouraging a 4 course meal…lol..but a snack of any of these fruits or carbs will give you a beautiful nights sleep…go for the sour cherry juice…its my personal favourite at the moment…and works amazingly well

      jason

  15. Hey, Jason!
    Thank you for share these great alternatives for a good sleep night! I love your post and I love everything that helps to fall asleep: cereal, bread, banana, cherry, tea… My nights will be so much better from now on, lol.
    Ok, let’s face the reality: I have a baby that is giving me a hard time some nights… and it’s so difficult to rest and wake up in a good mood. Let’s see how my brain and my body will react with your tips, 😉
    I’ll let you know!

    • Hey Lana!

      Thanks for your comments. I know sleep is definitely hard when you’re a Mum and have a baby who needs attention …and lots of it…

      Please do let me know how you got on and which of the remedies you tried. Wishing you a great sleep!

      Jason

  16. Hello again, Jason,

    Dropped back in order to review these recommendations and found a follow-up response from you. Thanks for the recommendation about the honey. I’m glad to hear that it won’t impact the effectiveness of the teas.

    And you got this right about the sugar. Refined sugar is very bad stuff so I steer clear of it as much as possible.

    Thanks for your support.

    Linda

  17. I am loving all of the natural alternatives out there in today’s market. So valuable going natural is. I am glad we are more knowledgeable on our food these days. I have used serotonin in my tea as a sweetener before and it really does make you tired. It does this not in a dreary kind of way but as in a I am going to relax your mind now type or way. Nice post, thanks,

    • Hi Chris,

      I agree it’s great to natural and holistic products becoming more mainstream. I’m interested that used serotonin as a sweetener, that’s new to me, must check it out. Glad you enjoyed the post.

      Jason

  18. Hey, Jason!

    Thanks so much for this post, I’m glad I found it!

    My wife has the worst time sleeping (poor baby) and I worry so much for her!

    We even have to sleep in separate rooms because I can’t sleep either! I’m afraid to move and wake her up once she DOES finally get to sleep. So, my rest is also interrupted if we’re together.

    These are great suggestions and you have done an awesome job providing the science behind it! Thank you very much for this terrific info!

    You also have a great website, altogether. Very interesting content and much needed nowadays.

    Hey, helpful site and fantastic post!

    • Hey Donnie,

      Thank you!

      Definitely try some or all of these remedies…my favorite – Catnip Tea. It works beautifully.

      The about me is in sidebar…but very small…Ill look at that now as I changed theme…

      glad you liked the content

  19. Hi Jason,

    I’m not personally a tea drinker, but I love cherries and bananas!

    Many people have nowadays a phone or tablet on their nightstands. And I have heard recently, I don’t know if it’s true, maybe you can elaborate on that, but these devices emit a blue light which stimulates your brain, so using these devices just before going to bed can prevent you from having a good night sleep! Do you have any thoughts on that?

    Thanks

    Sonia

    • Hey Sonia,

      Thanks for writing in! Cherries and Bananas are all that’s needed! Although the Catnip Tea is my favorite…its delicious and I’m not a tea drinker either.

      You are absolutely correct about mobiles and other electronic devices. The blue light emanates from them 24-7 if they are switched on, and results in your melatonin decreasing simply because there is “light” in the room…

      This triggers your body to think…hello morning…and begin to activate the wake up function.

      For good sleep leave them in another room or turn them off. The sound, while it may wake you if they ring or buzz in the night, isn’t as problematic as the levels of light emitted. Sadly this is the same as electronic/digital clocks…that light will also cause restless sleep…even though we assume its a helpful device which will wake us in the morning..

      Jason

  20. Very interesting stuff – I ended up on this article because I suffer from slight insomnia just recently ( I work from home and don’t get enough exercise most of the time! ).
    I was really surprised by your recommendation to have a carb snack before bed time. I was always told that this is a big no go area for sleep?

    • Hi Chris,

      I know…most people will tell you no carbs, especially before bed..and in most cases they are right, you don’t want to load up on carbs before bed…mainly because they add the fat!

      BUT..a small carb snack…talking 1 slice of bread or a small cereal bar…will divert the large amino acids away from the blood-brain barrier and towards your muscles (due to insulin release) and allow your melatonin an easier pathway…and that’s what will help your sleep.

      Give it a go and see how it works. I’d love to know how you get on…

      ps….my personal favorite…catnip tea! Try it

  21. Hello Jason,

    This is too funny, I am getting ready to research an article I’d like to write regarding the troubled sleep of special needs kiddos and found your excellent information.

    When I was a young mother, I was a student of natural herbal remedies and knew about Chamomile, but not Catnip. My sleep comes easily most of the time, it’s the frustrating problem of being awoken from slumber that I have to deal with and then not being able to get back to sleep.

    So, do you think that drinking a cup of tea would help or hurt? I prefer being able to get up not feeling groggy.

    And I was wondering, what are your thoughts regarding these remedies for little ones?

    Thank you for your time and this important information.

    Linda

    • Hey Linda,

      Thanks for writing in. You should definitely try the teas! They enhance the Melatonin so not only will you sleep when it becomes darker, but you’ll wake more lively and alert when it becomes light! So its a win win…none of these will make you drowsy in the morning…I know how horrible that feeling is!

      As for little ones, all of the remedies are fine for all age groups…the only one I would be wary of is saint John’s Wort as I find it very strong. It is perfectly OK for young people…but I’d recommend the others first.

      Hope all is well with you

      best health xx
      Jason

      • Hi there, Jason,

        This is great news. Thank you very much for your timely answer.

        I am also glad to get the news about the teas and excited to try this with my 6-year-old daughter. My gut was telling me the teas would be fine, but I have to say I hadn’t thought about the St. John’s Wort.

        Good insight and most appreciated. Stay well! I look forward to your next post.

        Linda

        • Thank you Linda,

          Please keep me informed about how your little one gets on…if the teas are too bitter for her…some honey added is a great sweetener and won’t have any negative impact on the way it works…avoid refined sugar as it messes with the aminos.
          Much love
          Jason

  22. Great post and very timely! I struggle a lot with quality sleep. I’ll be trying several of the options you suggest, starting with cherries. I love cherries. Thanks!

    • Hi Kendy,

      Definitely try the Cherries…as fruit or juice…the tart cherry juice is best if you can handle it…I love it.
      But try others, believe it or not the Catnip Tea is incredible and really delicious!

      Best health
      Jason

  23. Insomnia is one of the things that affect quite a number of people. And the last time I experienced this, i had a very terrible day the following day.

    lack of sleep can really destabilize how the body functions.
    I have really learnt quite a few new things on how to deal with insomnia.

    I will put them to the test and see how it benefits me.

    • Hi Fidel,

      Many thanks for tkaing the time to write in. You are correct Insomnia is a terrible thing and impacts the daily life of sufferers in many ways.

      Please do try these natural sleep remedies that really work and let me know how you found them. If you can stay awake long enough.

      Wishing you best health and a fantastic nights sleep.

      Jason

  24. Hi Jason,
    Nice article, I really enjoyed reading it.
    When I was younger I could have sleep every where and when ever I want to. The more the time is passing by, the more I find it difficult to sleep 8 hours a day.
    I have tried the chamomile and it helped me a lot .I never tried something else, but now certainly will with the help of your helpful article
    Thank you for this awesome article

    • Hi Daniella,

      Many thanks for your comments. I think we all have more difficulty sleeping as we age, basically because unlike youth we just have so much more to think/worry about which keeps our minds overly active.

      Do try the other remedies and I’d love to hear how you get on.

      Best heath to you.

      Jason

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