16 Science-Backed Ways to Help You Sleep Without Drugs

Ways to Help You Sleep Without Drugs

Getting quality sleep is essential for good health and well-being. However, according to the American Sleep Association, 50-70 million US adults suffer from a sleep disorder.

Not being able to sleep can negatively impact your mood, focus, and productivity and even increase your risk of serious medical conditions like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Instead of turning to sleeping pills to address your insomnia, there are many natural remedies and techniques you can try to help improve your sleep.

In this blog article, we will explore and share 16 drug-free methods to help you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more refreshed and alive.

16 Drug-free methods to help you fall asleep faster

1. Stick to a Regular Sleep

Schedule Having a consistent sleep routine is vital for regulating your circadian rhythm – your body’s internal clock that controls sleep-wake cycles.

Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. This regularity can promote better sleep over time.

2. Make Your Bedroom Pitch Dark

Exposure to light in the evenings can suppress melatonin production and push back your circadian rhythm, making it harder to fall asleep.

Blackout curtains, an eye mask, or even taping garbage bags over your windows are easy and affordable ways to block out all light from your bedroom for better sleep.

3. Avoid Exposure to Blue Light Before Bed

Studies show that exposure to blue light from electronic devices in the evening negatively impacts sleep more than other colors by delaying the release of the sleep hormone melatonin.

Avoid using your phone, or computer, or watching TV for at least 1 hour before bedtime. You can also try blue-light-blocking glasses to reduce exposure.

girl watching tablet before sleep

4. Take a Warm Bath or Shower

Taking a warm (not hot) bath or shower 1-2 hours before bed helps raise your body temperature.

As your body then cools down over the next few hours, it signals your brain that it’s nearly time for sleep. Adding Epsom or lavender bath salts can further promote relaxation.

5. Drink Sleepy Time Tea

Herbal teas like chamomile, passionflower and valerian root contain compounds that act as mild sedatives by increasing GABA neurotransmitters to calm nervous system activity.

Sipping on a warm, caffeine-free sleepy-time tea 1 hour before bed can help you unwind and relax for better sleep.

6. Take Melatonin Supplements

Melatonin is a naturally occurring sleep hormone regulated by light exposure. Melatonin supplements can help re-establish healthy sleep cycles especially if you work night shifts or are jet lagged.

Take 0.5- 5 mg of melatonin 30 minutes before your target bedtime. However, long-term use can lose effectiveness over time so use occasionally.

7. Practice Yoga and Meditation

Yoga uses breathing exercises, gentle movements, and meditation techniques to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and reduce stress hormone levels in the body.

Following a 15-30 minute beginner floor or bedtime yoga sequence before sleeping can enhance relaxation and sleep quality. Apps like Peloton offer excellent guided meditations too.

8. Listen to Soothing Music or ASMR

Playing ambient, classical or natural soundtracks creates a relaxing atmosphere that distracts the mind from stressful thoughts, making it easier to fall asleep.

You can also try ASMR audio triggers like whispering, tapping, and crinkling sounds. ASMR activates the calming tingling sensation in your scalp and neck that lulls your body into sedation.

mediation before sleep

9. Apply Lavender Essential Oils

Lavender essential oil contains potent medicinal compounds called terpenes such as linalool and linalyl acetate which convey sedative, anti-anxiety, and pain-relieving properties when inhaled.

Dab a few drops of lavender oil onto your pillow or sheets and let the floral aroma soothe you to sleep. Diffusing lavender oil in your room works well too.

10. Try Acupressure and Acupuncture

Acupuncture and acupressure are integral parts of Traditional Chinese Medicine relying on strategic pressure point stimulation to balance energy flow or qi.

Applying pressure to specific points on the body with acupressure mats, wrist bands or magnets before bedtime can alleviate restlessness and induce faster sleep onset. Acupuncture can also improve insomnia symptoms long term.

11. Limit Alcohol Consumption

While commonly viewed as a sleep aid, alcohol actually fragments sleep and increases middle-of-the-night awakenings. As the sedative effects wear off, your body goes through mini withdrawal-like rebound effects.

Limit intake to 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men, finishing consumption at least 3 hours before bedtime for minimal sleep disruption.

12. Avoid Big Meals Before

Bed Consuming large meals too close to bed can negatively impact sleep due to spikes in metabolism and stimulation of digestive processes.

Eat your last meal at least 2-3 hours before bedtime and opt for easily digestible foods like nuts, dairy, and leafy greens to prevent indigestion, acid reflux, and poor sleep.

overweight woman eating junk food before sleep

13. Cool Down Your Bedroom Temperature

Your circadian rhythm causes a natural drop in core body temperature in the evening to induce sleep onset. Ensuring your bedroom is cool between 60-75°F facilitates this temperature regulation for restful slumber.

Use a fan, open windows, turn down the thermostat, or invest in cooling mattresses designed with temperature-regulating technology.

14. Try CBD Oil

CBD or cannabidiol oil contains active compounds from the Cannabis Sativa plant that positively modulate the endocannabinoid system – which is responsible for regulating mood, pain sensation, and sleep cycles.

Taking 25-100 mg of high-quality broad or full-spectrum CBD oil 30 minutes before bed can alleviate insomnia and anxiety to improve sleep quantity and quality without any causing effects.

15. Optimize Your Sleeping Environment

It’s difficult to fall into deep sleep if your bedroom setup and sleeping conditions are not ultra-comfy.

Invest in high thread count sheets, comfortable pajamas, supportive pillows, and an adjustable memory foam mattress for luxurious rest. Thick rugs and curtains also minimize outside noise disturbances.

16. See a Sleep Specialist

If you still struggle with falling or staying asleep for over 3 months despite lifestyle changes and home remedies, it’s advisable to get a professional diagnosis for underlying sleep disorders.

A specialist can identify issues like sleep apnea through sleep studies and recommend tailored treatment plans which may include CPAP machines, mouthguards, cognitive behavioral therapy, or further lifestyle changes for long-term sleep improvement.

Final Words

Chronic sleep deprivation negatively impacts every aspect of health. Instead of relying on pharmaceutical sleep aids, try more natural insomnia remedies that address the root causes keeping you up at night without side effects or dependence issues.

Consistency is key when applying lifestyle changes so stick to a soothing night time routine for at least 3 weeks before assessing effectiveness. With time, these science-backed techniques will transform your sleep quality so you awake each day feeling refreshed and restored.