Insomnia is a common sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep. This leads to daytime fatigue, poor performance, tension headaches, irritability, depression, and various other problems.
Insomnia is generally of two types: acute and chronic. Acute insomnia is usually more common and lasts for days or weeks. Chronic insomnia, on the other hand, lasts for months or even longer.
There are a variety of causes including stress, anxiety, psychotic disorders, poor sleep habits, disruptions in sleeping environment, life changes, caffeine or other stimulants, chronic pain, breathing difficulties, and certain medical conditions such as arthritis, heart failure, acid reflux, and others.
It can also be a side effect of certain medications such as corticosteroids, alpha-blockers, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and more.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for insomnia.
1. Cumin Seeds
Cumin is a culinary spice with medicinal properties that aid in digestion. In traditional Ayrvedic medicine, it has been used to induce sleep. Cumin oil, too, has a tranquilizing effect.
- Mix one teaspoon of cumin powder in a mashed banana and eat it before going to bed. If you do not have the powder, dry roast and grind cumin seeds to make the powder.
- You can also have cumin tea to ease tiredness and fatigue; insomnia and fatigue often go hand-in-hand. To prepare the tea, heat one teaspoon of cumin seeds on low heat for about five seconds, add one cup of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover the container and let it sit for about five minutes. Finally, strain and drink this cumin tea before bedtime.
Nutmeg has sedative properties and works as a natural sleep aid.
- Add one-eighth teaspoon or just a dash of nutmeg powder to a cup of warm milk. Drink it before bedtime.
- Alternatively, you can add one-quarter teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg to a cup of warm water or any fruit juice. Drink it before bedtime.
- You can also mix a dash of nutmeg powder in one tablespoon of Indian gooseberry (amla) juice. Consume this three times a day. In addition to insomnia, it will also treat indigestion and depression.
Saffron also has mild sedative properties that help treat insomnia.
- Steep two strands of saffron in a cup of warm milk.
- Drink it at night before going to bed.
4. Chamomile Tea
Due to its long history as a sleeping aid, chamomile tea is a well-known natural home remedy for insomnia. Though the exact reason is not known, scientific studies have suggested that the compound called apigenin in chamomile could be responsible for its sedative effect.
Simply enjoy a cup of chamomile tea to induce sleep and relaxation. You can also sweeten it with a pinch of cinnamon and some honey.
Eating a banana can be useful in combating insomnia because it contains an amino acid called tryptophan that helps raise serotonin levels, which help regulate sleep patterns. It also will elevate your mood and help regulate your appetite. Minerals like iron, calcium, and potassium present in this fruit also help with sleep.
6. Warm Milk
Warm milk is an excellent home remedy to relax your mind and body. Moreover, like bananas, milk contains tryptophan that promotes sleep.
- Mix one-quarter teaspoon of cinnamon powder in a cup of warm milk.
- Drink it one hour before going to bed.
7. Fenugreek Juice
Fenugreek reduces anxiety, insomnia, and dizziness.
- Mix together two teaspoons of juice extracted from fenugreek leaves and one teaspoon of honey.
- Consume it daily.
Valerian is a medicinal herb with sedative and muscle relaxing properties. It induces relaxation and promotes deep sleep.
- Mix one-half teaspoon each of grated valerian root and nutmeg in two cups of hot water. Let it steep for 15 minutes. Strain and drink it. Do not use this remedy on a regular basis for more than a few weeks as it may lead to heart problems and withdrawal symptoms.
- Simply having valerian tea is also helpful.
- Alternatively, you can dilute half a teaspoon of valerian tincture in water and then have it. You can take it up to three times a day.
9. Hot Bath
Taking a hot bath or shower about two hours before going to bed can be of great help in treating insomnia. It works as a good bedtime ritual to relax your body and soothe nerve endings.
To make this remedy even more effective, add a few drops of soothing essential oils like lemon balm, chamomile, rosemary, or lavender to the bath water.
10. Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey
Apple cider vinegar contains amino acids that relieve fatigue. Plus, it helps break down fatty acids that release tryptophan. Honey, too, promotes sleep by raising your insulin and causing a release of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps regulate sleep/wake cycles.
Interestingly, low levels of serotonin lead to sleep disruptions whereas high levels are associated with wakefulness. So, you may need to adjust the remedies depending on how they affect you so that you achieve the optimum mid-level of serotonin that works for you.
- Mix two teaspoons each of organic apple cider vinegar and honey in a glass of warm water. Drink it before bedtime.
- Alternatively, you can create a tonic by mixing two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup of honey. Have a tablespoon of this tonic with or without water.
- Simply having two teaspoons of honey mixed in a cup of water is also useful, especially for children.
Besides these, take some remedial measures like establishing a regular sleep routine, sleeping in a dark and quiet room, avoiding large and late meals before bedtime, practicing relaxation techniques, eliminating caffeine from your diet, and incorporating moderate exercise into your routine (avoid late-day exercise, though). If the lack of sleep is affecting your daily activities, consult your doctor for proper treatment.