It’s a story that’s been told and retold: we need our sleep. And not in an I can definitely function on five hours today sort of way.
I think as we get older we recognize the need for sleep, but I’m not sure we understand the full gravity of it. At least I personally tend to dismiss it from time to time. As this NY Times article suggested: “As your body sleeps, your brain is quite actively playing the part of mental janitor: It’s clearing out all of the junk that has accumulated as a result of your daily thinking.”
Side note: how good is the term “mental janitor”?
So I’m not here to harp on the why, so much as the how. And as someone with a history of insomnia (we’re talking 10 years or so), I feel qualified to riff on this.
The thing is – as with a bunch of other stuff – I know what to do, I’m just not doing it. I know about alllllll the things, but over the past few months I gave up on sleep a little bit. I found myself going to bed much later than usual, working right up until bed, or eating and drinking late.
And as Dana reminded me the other day when I sent her this post about morning routines for edits, feeling good enough to foster a productive start to the day 100% depends on the quality of your sleep.
So! In an effort to get back on track in the sleep department, here’s what I’ve been getting into. A few tips I hope might be helpful, which maybe you haven’t tried yet, if you too struggle with sleeping well.
It’s hard to isolate one thing in particular, since it’s been a full court press over here. So I’d recommend trying to experiment with what sounds appealing to you, in order to discover what works best.
6 Natural Sleep Remedies to Try
- Essential Oils
You can read all my thoughts on the essential oils right this way, but regarding sleep, lavender is the one to try thanks to its calming properties. I spray lavender oil (diluted with water) on my pillow every night. I got my oil from a local shop here in Portsmouth, Jane Gee, and also use this S.W. Basics roller on my wrists and neck. I may spring for a diffuser soon to use before bedtime.
- F.lux App
My effort to stop working before 7:30 pm, that my doctor recommended when I was diagnosed with Lyme has, in full transparency, dramatically declined. So while I know I should be better about it, what I did do is download the f.lux app, as well as implement night mode on my phone. Both of these make the color of your computer or phone display adapt to the time of day (or night), which can aid sleep. I’ve also been using an old school alarm clock and leaving my phone outside of my room for the night.
- White Noise machine
I’ve been using a white noise machine ever since I lived in New York City, and I’m probably addicted to it by now but whatever it works. Here’s the one I have, which has a few different sound levels. It’s a relatively low investment for something I use every night, so worth trying in my opinion.
- Sleepytime tea
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but I try to drink this stuff most nights. And I’m not even a tea person! There are a bunch of brands out there but this is the one I keep stocked. Supposedly it’s the chamomile, spearmint and lemongrass combo that provides the liquid sleep aid.
- Skip The Booze
There’s no getting around it: not drinking is the best life hack of all time. Tough to acknowledge, I know. Whenever I feel sluggish or I’m not sleeping well, I do three days of The Simple Cleanse (while ditching the vino). Each time it’s still shocking how much better I feel.
Alright, last resort, but if my head is spinning with work or other stress and I know I’m not going to get to sleep right away, I take 5 mg of melatonin. I try to avoid taking it every night, because I’ve definitely been addicted to it in the past. Here’s are some helpful guidelines for how to use it.
Do you have any go-to sleep remedies? I’d sure love to hear ‘em. Tell me below, pretty please?