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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

9 Natural Remedies for Insomnia to Help You Achieve Quality Sleep

9 Natural Remedies for Insomnia to Help You Achieve Quality Sleep

I’m sure you would agree that whenever you can take the natural root for something, you should go for it. The more you can keep things natural in your life, the better your overall health and wellness will be for it.

Insomnia is a condition that affects 60 million people[1] and probably yourself hence why you’re here checking this article out. You’re probably also interested in natural remedies for insomnia and we’re here to help you out!

What Exactly Insomnia Is

Insomnia essentially is the inability to fall, and stay, asleep. But it goes a bit deeper than that. Researchers are starting to recognize insomnia as as a problem of your brain unable to stop being awake.[2]

There are also a bunch of factors that may be involved in your inability to sleep including:

  • Psychiatric and medical conditions
  • Specific substances
  • Biological factors
  • Food (alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, heavy meals late at night etc)
  • Depression and anxiety

Why Is Sleep so Important?

Sleep is when it all goes down. This is when your body repairs and rejuvenates itself. It’s also the time where your mind basically files everything that’s been happening in the day creating your memories.

Even though you’re asleep, your body springs into action when a ton of different processes that are critical to keeping you alive and healthy. But there’s a big problem when you don’t get enough sleep.

When you deprive yourself of sleep, you can elevate your stress hormones, primarily cortisol. Stress hormones are really important, they are involved in your fight of flight system. For our ancestors, that was needed for out running a saber tooth tiger. For us today, it helps us jump out of the way of a speeding car or plowing through the crowds at a Black Friday sale…

The Problem With Cortisol

So a little stress hormone is actually needed but when something like cortisol is constantly elevated over the long term, this is when you’re looking at trouble. Cortisol is raised by lack of sleep because your body thinks it must be facing some sort of trauma, or else why wouldn’t you be sleeping?

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Your body doesn’t know if you’re facing famine, environmental disaster or you’re just up all night watching a House Hunters marathon. All it knows is there must be some significant issue keeping you from sleeping and in turn it releases all this cortisol. Over time, this elevated stress hormone which is higher in insomniacs level, can lead to a lot of nasty problems such as:[3]

  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Panic disorders
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • IBS
  • Weight gain & obesity
  • Immune system dysfunction

13 Natural Remedies for Insomnia

Trust me, this is just scratching the surface. But hopefully you can see why you don’t want to deprive yourself of sleep. So now you’re understanding this, how do you deal with that dreaded insomnia? Let’s look at a few way:

1. Start Going to Bed Earlier

Seems pretty straight forward and simple, but you really need to make it a point to get going to bed at least an hour before you normally do.

You might feel that you may as well stay up late due to your insomnia but you have to give your body a fighting chance and that means starting to turn in earlier.

2. Create a Wind down Routine and Stick with It

Sleep experts say this is the most important thing for helping your body get to sleep. Your body craves routine and structure and the main thing with a routine at night is your body recognizes that sleep is about to happen.

So it may be a warm bath, then reading or writing in a journal and listening to some relaxing music. The main thing is with whatever routine you have stick with it and begin it at the same time each night.

3. Cut out the Electronics Later in the Evening

This may be at the root of a lot of people’s sleep problems including yours. Your electronics: phone, tablet and T.V etc give off a blue light that is really disruptive in the brain. Blue light throws off your circadian rhythm and prevents your brain from releasing melatonin which is really important with sleep.

When you use electronics and bright lights late at night, it’s like standing outside at noon on a bright sunny day according to your brain. Start to eliminate or reduce screen use 1 to 2 hours before you’re wanting to go to bed.

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4. Exercise

This is one of the best insomnia cures and it’s free, the best price anything can be!

People who exercise regularly report better sleep. It also doesn’t have to be that much even just 30 minutes 3 to 4 times a week can help to combat insomnia and improve sleep.

Exercising earlier in the morning also seems to help. When you exercise early, it helps to naturally engage your circadian rhythm and that in turn means your body will more naturally wind down later in the day helping you sleep.

5. Get Sunlight Earlier in the Day

This has the same effect as early morning exercise. The sun forces you to wake up and makes your body realize what time of day it is. It pumps out wake up hormones and allows your body clock to be engaged properly leading to better melatonin release later at night when you need it.

Basically daylight tells your body when to feel awake and when to feel tired.

6. Keep Your Room as Dark as Possible

These last few tips are all interconnected. Remember when I mentioned about your house springing to life with all the electronic light late at night? You want to combat this by keeping things as dark as possible.

Ideally, you’ve cut out light from screens an hour or so before bed; and now you want your bedroom as dark as possible. Since most people don’t go to bed when it gets dark out, keeping your room dark tells your body the day is done. Darkness also helps to secrete melatonin which it can’t do if there’s always blaring light coming through your eyes.

6. Watch out for the Caffeine

You’re aware of the effects of caffeine I’m sure, but you might not know it can last in the body a lot longer than you realize. The noticeable effects of caffeine kick in within 10 to 20 minutes and can last 2 to 3 hours.

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Caffeine has what’s called a ‘half-life’ which can extend its effects on your blood stream. There can still be an impact 6 or more hours later. So if you’re having a coffee at 4-5 pm, this may be why you can’t fall asleep at 11 pm that night.

You might have to play around with when you cut off caffeine, but ideally you wouldn’t have any past 2-3 pm.

7. Drink herbal tea

Chamomile Tea

While we’re talking about beverages, here are a few that can help combat insomnia. Chamomile tea has been used for relaxation for quite a long time now. It can help calm the nerves, combat anxiety and also works like a mild sedative.

Valerian Root

Similar to the chamomile, valerian has been used for a long time. It’s seen to help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep. It might be something to discuss with your doctor as it may not be best to use in the long term even though it’s natural.

St. Johns Wort

You’ve probably seen this too as it’s in most health food shops and even grocery stores. St. Johns wort, even though it sounds like a great name for a band, is a flowering plant that can help with depression, anxiety, and insomnia — three things that tend to be connected a lot of the time.

You can find capsule forms but also fresh to make tea out of.

Passion Flower

Another natural sedative that’s technically a tropical flower. You can steep a teaspoon of it in boiling water for ten minutes to help with sleep.

California Poppy

This one you might not have heard of but it’s not the name of an exotic dancer.

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The bright orange leaves from California poppy can be steeped in hot water for about ten minutes and will help to combat anxiety along with making you feel relaxed.

8. Try a Warm Shower

Again, it’s about giving your body the signals that it’s time to sleep. A warm shower naturally helps to slow down and relax your nervous system and encourages you to feel sleepy.

You know how a warm shower in the morning can make you feel drowsy when you need to be waking up? You might want to forgo it then and start showering before bed.

9. Keep Your Room Cool

Your body temperature drops when you sleep and keeping a cool environment can encourage your body to get to sleep, and stay asleep, quicker.

You want your room between 60 to 72 degrees so you may have to play around with thermostat (that I’m still not allowed to touch) or keeping your windows open.

Basically, your sheets should feel cool to the touch when you lie down.

The Bottom Line

If you’re suffering from insomnia, realize that you are definitely not alone. It’s frustrating but can be managed. There are a lot of great natural remedies for insomnia to help get your body to sleep and stay asleep.

More Resources to Help You Sleep Better

Featured photo credit: Victor Hughes via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] National Public Radio: Can’t Sleep? Neither Can 60 Million Other Americans
[2] National Sleep Foundation: What Causes Insomnia?
[3] Sleep Med Clin.: Chronic Insomnia and Stress System

More by this author

Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Published on April 5, 2021

9 Best Energy Supplements To Fight Fatigue And Tiredness

9 Best Energy Supplements To Fight Fatigue And Tiredness

When it comes to energy levels, the solution is relatively simple. Make sure you get ample sleep, exercise regularly, and have a well-balanced diet. But as much as those things are simple, performing them on a regular basis can be difficult.

Worse, you could be doing these and still find energy levels draining quickly.

Fortunately, there are several options out there to help you with pushing back fatigue and tiredness. Most of these solutions stem from supplements. These little pills pack all kinds of helpful nutrients to get you through the day. Below we’ve selected some of the best energy supplements available.

Before getting to the list, here are some of the criteria that we used to determine what are the best options to offer you:

  • No fillers – One of the big issues with supplements is that they contain needless fillers in them that provide you with no benefit. We’ve checked many of these products to ensure they are from natural and pure sources and that these companies don’t put in fillers.
  • Improve mental functions – Fatigue isn’t just a physical thing, it’s mental too. The supplements we recommend help you in overcoming both sides of fatigue.
  • Metabolic benefits – These supplements are known to help burn energy stored in fat while preserving energy in your muscles.
  • Energized without the side effects – When people think of energy, they also keep in mind the downsides like crashing, jittering, irritability. These are known side effects for energy boosters, but they’re not part of these supplements.

Now let’s dive into the 9 best energy supplements for fatigue.

1. Fish Oil

One of the best energy supplements on the market is fish oil. Fish oil supplements are able to provide a wide variety of benefits to individuals. It’s essentially the supplement to be using if you’re looking to improve brain or heart function or both.

We recommend Infuel Fish Oil as they make a perfect blend of fish oil and Omega 3 healthy fats which directly support development of our brains, eyes, nervous system and maintaining a healthy heart. All of these feeds into our energy levels because these supplements provide us with essential fats that our body can use. Furthermore, stronger brain development is an invaluable tool to fighting off fatigue.

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2. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is one of the most important medicinal herbs in the Indian Ayurveda and it’s one of the world’s oldest medicinal systems. Over the years of its study, researchers have been able to uncover that Ashwagandha is able to increase our body’s resilience to both physical and mental stress.[1]

Because stress is one of those aspects that drains our energy levels physically and mentally, it stands to reason that having supplements of this nature can provide us with more energy. Beyond that, there is also research that suggests we can alleviate fatigue associated to exercise with this too.

NaturaLife Labs supplement of Ashwagandha comes to mind as a reliable source. It’s organic, vegan, and gluten free. Each capsule provides 2,100 mg with nothing but ashwagandha root powder and extract, making it highly potent compared to other brands.

3. Rhodiola Rosea

Another notable herb grounded into supplement form is rhodiola rosea. It grows in cold, mountainous regions and is used as a natural substance to enhance our coping abilities with stress.

From that research, there have also been a small collection of studies that looked into the physical and mental fatigue aspect too. Out of the vast majority of those studies, there was evidence of rhodiola rosea enhancing both physical performance and easing mental fatigue.[2]

Out of the various brands that provide this supplement, Bronson’s Rhodiola Rosea is a great fit. It’s gluten and soy-free and provides 1000 mg of 100% natural rhodiola rosea. These are also safe for vegans and vegetarians alike.

4. CoQ10

CoQ10 stands for coenzyme Q10 and is something that our body makes naturally. They are found in all of our cells though our heart, kidneys, and liver have the highest levels of this. What CoQ10 does though is produce energy for us and also protects themselves from oxidative damage.

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So why bother with having specific supplements of these? Well as we get older, things start to decline and our cells may not be able to produce as much energy as before. If we want our body cells to stay in shape, providing these supplements can help.

One of the best ones out there to look at is Nature Made’s CoQ10 vitamins. These supplements are gluten free and only contain soybean oil, gelatin, glycerin, water, and soy lecithin, making them ideal for most individuals. They also provide great benefits to those who take Statin as statin drugs are known for reducing CoQ10 levels. This replenishes them and doesn’t conflict with the use of those drugs either.

5. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B is a typically good vitamin to have. But if you’re looking for the best energy supplements in this category, B12 is the best. B12 is all about helping your body transform food into energy that you cells can then use.

Beyond that, studies have found the vitamin helps with the body’s nerves and blood cells. It also prevents a type of anemia that can render you weak and tired.

A lot of people are deficient in this area which is to be expected since not everyone is eating a lot of animal proteins like meat, fish and dairy products. It’s particularly bad amongst vegans and vegetarians.

Fortunately, there is a good option for everyone to get their vitamin B12 they need — Naturelo’s Vegan B12 vitamin. Their protein is solely plant-based and provides a high among of B12 – 1000 mg per capsule. The main source of their B12 vitamin comes from Spirulina which is a rich, plant-based source of natural B vitamins, protein, and various minerals, giving you a clean supplement to boost your energy levels.

6. Iron

Our body also needs iron in order to function too. With a lack of iron we develop anemia which can then lead to sensations of weakness and fatigue. Iron is essential because it fights off that by providing red blood cells carrying oxygen to the body’s tissues.

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Overall, iron is able to help you with fighting back fatigue because of this essential function. The only issue is that a lot of iron in food sources stem from meats and seafood.

When looking for a pure and helpful supplement to look for, Naturelo Iron is the one. This particular supplement is appealing because it also provides you with vitamin C. Vitamin C is able to prevent iron deficiency so it pairs nicely with the iron supplement. Along with purse ingredients made from iron-rich whole foods and great absorption, you’re able to combat fatigue easier with these supplements.

7. Melatonin

Melatonin is a natural hormone that our brain produces that puts us to sleep. When we wake up, there are very low levels and it goes up over the day. But if you’re trying to stop feeling tired why would a supplement that produces this sleepy drug be helpful?

Well, melatonin also serves as a way to fight off insomnia. Many people have sleeping issues because of high amounts of screen time (which disrupt the cycle of releasing melatonin). This insomnia leads to people feeling more exhausted physically and mentally.

So by increasing your melatonin through a supplement, you’ll be able to get sleep when your body actually needs it. This process alone will be able to recharge you and energize you.

And it’s not like you need a lot of melatonin in your body for it to work. Take Nature’s Bounty Melatonin. They provide 3mg of it per capsule and it’s more than enough for individuals to fall asleep to. Best of all, these supplements are suitable for vegetarians as well.

8. Tyrosine

Tyrosine is an amino acid that our body naturally produces as well. They are essentially the drugs behind making the chemicals that send messages from our body to the brain. Those chemicals are believed to decrease when we are in mentally or physically demanding activities. This leads to us being unable to concentrate and eventually feeling tired physically and/or mentally.

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As such, being able to supplement our tyrosine levels will be able to help us fight off feeling tired and mentally exhausted. And one particular brand that can assure this is Swanson Tyrosine. Their Tyrosine supplement is Non-GMO and each capsule provides 500 mg, a healthy amount to keep you focused and mentally energized.

9. L-Theanine

The last on our list is L-Theanine. It’s an amino acid that is actually commonly found in tea and mushrooms. Considering the fact that tea – and coffee – are able to keep us energized, it makes sense that L-theanine provides similar perks.[3]

What’s also nice about this particular supplement is that it also works well with coffee. Coffee has caffeine which naturally boosts our energy levels as well. The problem is coffee also provides side effects like nervousness, irritability, restlessness and a crash after a power boost. L-theanine with coffee though seems to prevent those side effects.

One particular supplement of L-theanine we found beneficial was Nature’s Trove L-Theanine. They use natural ingredients and are made in the US, GMP NSF Certified and Kosher Certified. They’re also suitable for vegetarians as well.

Final Thoughts

Life does have a way of taking a toll on our bodies and there will be days where we are completely drained. There are several ways for you to combat this with working on a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting a proper amount of sleep.

But for those looking to maintain higher energy, these supplements will provide a good opportunity for you to maintain higher energy levels and give you the natural boost that you need.

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Featured photo credit: Aditya Saxena via unsplash.com

Reference

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