Natural Sleeping Aids To Sleep Well is explain to you when you can use sleeping pills, the difference between normal and homeopathic medication.
About 40% of all Dutch people regularly sleep badly.
Sleep problems are more common in the elderly than in the young and insomnia is twice as common in women as in men.
This is a very serious problem because a sleep disorder can be accompanied by physical and psychological complaints. Sufficient and good sleep is necessary for good health.
Purpose of this article: I’m going to explain to you when you can use sleeping pills, the difference between normal and homeopathic medication & which homeopathic medicines you can get without a prescription. Of course sleeping pills are a temporary remedy and I will therefore also explain to you how you can tackle the cause.
During sleep, body and mind are completely relaxed. The body is able to repair and renew itself.
In addition, all kinds of events of the day are processed and stored in the brain.
Sleep needs differ from person to person. What counts is that you wake up the next morning feeling rested.
It is often said that you need at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night, but that is different for everyone.
Some people simply need more sleep than others.
Also, as we get older, we also need less sleep. Older people are less active during the day, which reduces their need for sleep.
A sleep disorder or insomnia means that you cannot get to sleep. You lie awake for hours and fail to fall asleep and this problem repeats itself over and over.
It is also possible that you fall asleep easily, but that you are suddenly wide awake in the middle of the night.
Or you sleep so restlessly that you don’t feel fit at all during the day.
If these kinds of problems keep repeating themselves and you notice that your daily life is suffering, then you can speak of a sleep disorder.
If you don’t sleep well for a certain period of time, it has a lot of negative consequences:
- Being irritated easily
- Bad memory
- Weakened immune system
- muscle strain
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- More likely to be overweight
- Delayed reaction speed
- muscle tremors
Studies have shown that people who suffer from a sleep disorder live shorter lives. They are more likely to die of cardiovascular disease.
In addition, sleeping problems can also lead to obesity, a disturbed hormone balance and diabetes.
When to use sleep medication?
Lying up at night happens to everyone, but it is better to intervene in time if you have sleeping problems.
Today, traditional sleep medication is used fairly quickly, but this is not without danger. Sleeping pills are extremely addictive.
For some people, taking sleeping pills quickly becomes a habit and eventually they can no longer fall asleep without the pills. And that is of course not the intention.
1 or a few nights without sleep can not really harm your health. However, if you have a chronic sleep problem, you can consider the use of sleep medication.
A doctor’s advice is highly recommended in this case, because the use of sleeping pills carries risks such as all kinds of unpleasant side effects and of course addiction.
Sleeping pills only temporarily help you sleep better. If you continue to use it for a long time, its effect will diminish. This can already happen after 2 weeks.
Sleeping medication can cause various side effects such as concentration problems and drowsiness. In addition, you also do not remove the cause of insomnia.
So if you’re considering taking sleep medication, it’s best to weigh up all the pros and cons first.
Homeopathic sleeping aids
In addition to the regular sleep medication, there are also many homeopathic sleeping aids on the market.
A homeopathic sleeping aid is a natural sleeping aid that aims to reduce sleep complaints with natural substances.
These can be herbal remedies, teas or nutritional supplements.
People who suffer from sleeping problems do not always go to the doctor right away. They prefer to look for an easy solution themselves first.
And even if someone does, he or she is not always prescribed sleeping pills.
Many people therefore look for a solution in the homeopathic remedies that are usually freely available, so without a prescription.
For example, at the drugstore you will find a whole series of natural sleep aids that should promote sleep.
The great advantage of homeopathic sleeping pills is that they have no addictive effect. And that’s a good reason for many people to try it out.
So you can stop at any time without having to taper off.
The side effects of natural remedies are also much more limited and less harmful than those of traditional sleeping pills.
The disadvantage is that homeopathic sleeping pills are less strong than traditional sleeping pills and there is no independent control on quality and safety.
Difference natural and normal medication
Normal medication or traditional medication consists of one or more chemical substances.
When making this medication, excipients are also added such as fillers, colorants, binders and flavors.
Often, traditional medicines have various side effects that can be disturbing and even harmful.
Some side effects of traditional sleep aids include:
- Drowsiness during the day
- Concentration problems
- Less sex drive
- Uneasy feeling
- anxious feeling
The most dangerous side effect is addiction. With these types of pills, physical and psychological dependence occurs very quickly.
In the Netherlands, approximately 700,000 people are addicted to traditional sleeping pills.
Doctors usually advise against taking the sleep medication for more than five to seven days in a row.
For this reason, traditional sleeping pills can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription.
In consultation with the doctor, the correct dose and duration of intake will then be determined.
If you are addicted to sleeping pills, it is better not to stop at once.
That way you can suffer from annoying withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, headache, sweating, dizziness and severe sleeping problems.
It is best to taper off the medication slowly. This way you can prevent a large part of the complaints.
The most commonly prescribed traditional sleep aids are the benzodiazepines. These sleeping pills make you feel sluggish and sleepy.
What not many people know is that it takes a very long time for the active substances of this medication to completely disappear from the body.
Even if you only take a light sleeping pill, you can have the responsiveness of someone who has had a few glasses of wine in the morning. With a heavy sleeping pill, the effects can last up to 24 hours.
Natural medicines or homeopathic medicines are based on natural substances. These medicines are often freely available and you do not need to see a doctor.
In the preparation of natural medicines, the substances are diluted in water, interwoven in milk sugar or dissolved in alcohol. They are shaken in a certain way so that they retain their medicinal effect.
The effect of natural medicines is not scientifically substantiated. They are therefore not intended to intervene in life-threatening situations. They mainly contribute to the self-healing capacity of humans.
Homeopathic sleeping tablets are based on the equality principle.
This means that the condition is treated with a substance containing the substance that induces the symptoms of the disease in normal amounts.
Only registered homeopathic sleeping aids may be sold in the Netherlands. This means that it must be known exactly what is in the pills.
Which natural sleep medication is available without a prescription?
There are many sleeping pills available without a prescription.
A large part of these products are based on certain plant extracts that provide a soothing feeling.
Valerian is a herbal remedy that has a slightly soothing effect. It is not only used for sleeping problems, but also for stress and anxiety.
The slightly soothing effect may make it easier to fall asleep. However, it is not yet fully known how exactly it works.
Because valerian is an herbal mixture, it is not as well researched as other remedies. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for everyone either.
Melatonin is a hormone that we produce in our body. It is also known as the sleep hormone.
It makes us feel tired and sleep well. In a dark room, your body will automatically produce this substance.
And when it gets light, the melatonin in your body decreases and you start to feel alert again. Your body will then produce wake-up hormones so that you feel awake and you can start the day.
Melatonin is therefore a substance that is naturally present in your body, but you can also use melatonin as a sleep aid in the form of a supplement.
Melatonin tablets can be useful if your sleep rhythm is disturbed and your own production of melatonin no longer works properly.
Often people take melatonin when they suffer from jet lag or when they work night shifts.
It is important that you consult a doctor before taking melatonin.
The correct dosage is important as well as the time of melatonin intake. Incorrect use or incorrect intake could lead to sleeping problems.
Every year thousands of patients end up in sleep clinics because they have sleeping problems due to incorrect melatonin intake.
You can use too much, but it could also be that you don’t break down the melatonin properly, so that it can build up in your body.
This can completely mess up your biological clock.
In addition, there are also several side effects to take into account:
- mood swings
- hot flashes
- Stomach and intestinal complaints
- being stuffy
- Skin rash
- muscle cramps
Many sleeping pills lead to habituation and addiction, so that you have to take higher and higher doses with long use to obtain the same effect. However, this is not the case with melatonin.
There are no known cases of melatonin addiction.
This has to do with the body that already naturally produces the substance melatonin. Your body does not have to get used to it. Since melatonin is not addictive, you should not taper it if you want to stop.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that our bodies get through food.
Our brains turn tryptophan into serotonin. Serotonin improves our mood and it also has a calming effect. So it can also promote sleep.
Serotonin cannot be used on its own as a supplement. Tryptophan and 5-htp then come closest.
By taking tryptophan as a supplement, the body will produce enough serotonin.
Tryptophan is also used by the body to make melatonin. So it also regulates sleep patterns.
A lack of tryptophan is linked to a deficiency of melatonin and serotonin.
A tryptophan supplement is therefore ideal for people who want to improve their sleep and mood in a natural way.
Chamomile is a plant that occurs naturally in the Netherlands. It has been used for many years to make teas, oils and homeopathic medicines.
Chamomile has medicinal properties. It is anti-inflammatory, slightly antiseptic, slightly relaxing and soothing.
Thus, the calming effect of chamomile could help you fall asleep better.
A cup of chamomile tea can help you relax, but this has not been scientifically proven.
There are not many known side effects of this plant. Hypersensitivity may cause itching and skin rash.
#6 kava kava
Kava kava is a root with a soothing, muscle relaxant, analgesic and sleep-inducing effect.
Still, there are also some reports claiming that kava kava can cause liver failure.
That is why this herb is now regulated in various countries. However, this has to do with misuse of the kava kava.
Some companies use other parts of the kava plant such as the leaves or stems. And it contains substances that can damage the liver.
Kava kava is safe if only the root of the plant is used.
Kava kava grows in Vanuatu, a group of islands in the South Pacific and has been used here for many years.
In addition to the analgesic and calming effect, it can also provide a slightly euphoric feeling.
It was often used to resolve conflicts and also as a ceremonial drink to promote a state of relaxation. Even now it can help people with depression and sleeping problems.
5-HTP is a substance produced by the body that is used, among other things, to produce serotonin and melatonin.
These are two neurotransmitters that play an important role in our sleep and mood.
If we produce enough melatonin, we will fall into a deep sleep more easily.
It can therefore be used as a supplement in people who produce little serotonin and melatonin.
5-HTP is similar to tryptophan, but with 5-HTP we can produce a greater amount of serotonin than with tryptophan.
This is because tryptophan first has to be converted into 5-HTP and then it is further converted into serotonin.
5-HTP is a safe and natural remedy, but there can also be some side effects such as heartburn and nausea.
These side effects mainly occur when the 5-HTP is taken in higher doses. It can help to drink a lot of water when taking a higher dose.
#7 CBD oil / cannabis oil
CBD oil is made from the hemp plant.
It contains all kinds of substances, including cannabinoids that are also produced in the human body.
It means that your body can absorb the cannabinoids from the hemp plant well and quickly. This ensures that you fall asleep faster and easier and that the sleep quality generally improves.
In addition, CBD oil can increase the deep third stage of sleep and decrease the duration of REM sleep. The third sleep phase is the most important phase of a good night’s sleep.
And shorter REM sleep has been linked to a reduction in symptoms of depression.
Not much research has been done about CBD oil yet. CBD generally has no side effects and can therefore be used by anyone.
The disadvantage is that it can take a while before the desired effect occurs. So it’s important that you give it a shot and also find out which dosage works best for you.
#* Warm milk with honey
A cup of warm milk with some honey before bed can also promote a good night’s sleep.
It is of course not a suitable method for people with lactose intolerance, but for people who can tolerate it, it may work.
Honey contains natural sugars and tryptophan.
Tryptophan stimulates the production of melatonin, a substance that we need to sleep well.
Milk also contains melatonin and tryptophan.
The combination of milk and honey is therefore a good natural remedy for a better quality of sleep.
An American study showed that most people consume less magnesium than the daily recommended amount.
Magnesium can activate your parasympathetic nervous system, regulate melatonin and bind to GABA receptors to help improve sleep quality.
You can get magnesium from foods such as green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, almonds and wheat germ, but you can also buy magnesium supplements.
Do you want to buy magnesium supplements? Then go for magnesium taurate or magnesium malate. Magnesium taurate is thought to improve insulin sensitivity, making it a useful supplement for diabetics.
Lavender is a purple plant with a nice scent that has been used for a long time as a calming and stress-reducing agent.
Inhaling lavender or a few drops on the pillow contributes to peace and relaxation.
Lavender does not directly affect the quality of sleep, but it does help to reduce stress and get into a more relaxed state.
And this can contribute to a better night’s sleep. Lavender has no side effects.
#11 Green tea
Green tea leaves contain l-theanine. This is an amino fatty acid that can help fight anxiety. In addition, it decreases the heart rate so that you can relax better.
Tea also contains caffeine, a substance that you should avoid before going to sleep.
However, the l-theanine in green tea can counteract the effects of caffeine. A cup of green tea before going to sleep can certainly help you fall asleep better.
Maca is a root vegetable that originates from Peru. The most important part of this plant is the root. After harvesting, it is boiled, dried and then ground into powder.
Cortisol is a hormone that plays an important role during sleep. You will feel less stressed, making it easier to fall asleep.
In addition, maca has many other health benefits.
Thus, it is said to relieve the symptoms of menopause, improve sports performance, improve memory and increase libido.
The passion flower has been used for centuries as a medicine by the Maya and the Indians of North America.
They used this plant against restlessness, nerve pain, swelling and cramps.
Passionflower can take away fears and oppressive feelings.
Its action can be compared to the action of valerian. Passionflower has a calming and soothing effect, which improves the quality of sleep.
Few side effects occur while taking passionflower.
However, if you take high doses, the risk of side effects also increases. Possible side effects include dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
#14 St John’s Wort
St. John’s wort is best known for its antidepressant effect, but it can also help with sleeping problems.
St. John’s wort is a plant with small leaves and golden yellow flowers.
You can find it on forest edges, dry roadsides and open spaces. The plant is originally from Europe, but nowadays it is spread all over the world.
The substances hyperforin and hypericin in St. John’s wort are not only a natural antidepressant, these substances are also conducive to a good night’s sleep.
St. John’s wort is also able to increase the dopamine in our brains. Dopamine regulates our mood and also ensures that we can get enough sleep.
You can get St. John’s wort in tablets, but also in the form of tea.
Some side effects that can occur with doses over 6 grams are stomach problems, restlessness, headache, fatigue, intestinal upset or allergic reactions to sun exposure.
#15 Lemon balm
Lemon balm is an herb with a lemony taste. You can easily grow it in your own garden.
You can make a nice tea out of it that helps you sleep better. Or you can also use the leaves in a salad.
This herb contains high amounts of essential oils and flavonoids that have a calming and relaxing effect.
You relax so that you can fall asleep faster. It also works for digestive problems and stomach cramps.
When we think of hops, we immediately think of a beer, but it is better to avoid a beer before going to bed.
However, if you drink tea from dried hops, you will sleep better.
Hops contain substances that balance your hormones and improve your digestion.
In addition, it contains substances that relax the nerves in the head, making it easier to fall asleep.
Ginseng is a root that originates from China.
This root has been used there for centuries because of its medicinal powers.
Today, ginseng is available in various forms: as an extract, as fresh or dried root, in tablets and as an ingredient in tea.
It is said to be good for the immune system, blood pressure, hormones and metabolism, and it can also improve sleep.
However, it doesn’t work for everyone.
Combination of natural sleep medication
It is not dangerous in itself to combine natural sleep medication with each other.
However, it is not recommended because it makes it difficult to find out which drug works for you and which does not.
Note: If you would like to experiment a bit, start with 1 natural sleep aid. Give this a chance for a few weeks. If it doesn’t work or doesn’t work enough, you can switch to another remedy.
You should never just combine chemical, traditional sleep medication.
This can disrupt its effects and even be dangerous for your health. Always follow your doctor’s advice when taking traditional sleep aids.
Tackle the cause of your sleeping problems
Traditional sleep medications and homeopathic sleep aids can help you sleep better, but they won’t eliminate the root cause of your sleep problems.
Of course it is very useful to tackle the cause of your sleeping problems.
You first determine what your sleeping pattern looks like at the moment. You can do this, for example, by keeping a sleep diary.
Do you lie awake very long? Then write down how long you lie awake and how often this happens.
Does this only happen if you have an important appointment the next day? Or is this an always occurring problem?
Do you always fall asleep immediately and then wake up in the middle of the night or is it just the other way around?
By first finding out exactly what your problems are, you can better identify and tackle the cause.
The three most common causes of sleep problems are stress, diet and lack of exercise.
- Stress: An elevated cortisol level caused by stress keeps you awake. Stress causes you to worry so that you can’t get to sleep. Playing computer games or watching television until late at night also creates tension.
- Nutrition: Some foods contain substances that keep you from sleeping. Eating too much can also cause problems. Opt for a light meal in the evening and avoid drinking alcohol.
- Too little exercise: research has shown that if you exercise regularly, you will also suffer less from sleeping problems.
In addition to these three main causes, there may be other causes for your sleep disorder:
- Predestined causes: this includes your hereditary predisposition, your personality and your living environment.
- Triggering causes: these are causes that can lead to sleeping problems such as stress or medical complications.
- Sustaining causes. These are beliefs or behaviors of people in response to the sleep problem. For example, some people drink alcohol just before going to bed to help them sleep better, but this has the opposite effect.
To address the cause of your sleeping problems, it is best to consult a doctor or specialist. The doctor first determines what is causing the sleeping problems.
In most cases this is done by completing questionnaires, keeping a sleep diary and in some cases referral to a sleep laboratory.
This is often done when there may be physical complaints such as sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person stops breathing repeatedly during sleep.
These interruptions last a minimum of 10 seconds and can last longer than 30 seconds. As a result, the brain does not get enough oxygen.
If the cause is clear, an appropriate treatment can be considered. These can be changes in lifestyle or in the diet, for example.
In addition, it may also be an option to try traditional or natural sleep aids.
17 Natural Sleeping Aids To Sleep Well
In addition to sleep medication, certain behavioral actions can also ensure that you sleep better.
There are many tips that you can apply to fall asleep better and faster and to increase the quality of your sleep.
#1 Avoid blue light
Blue light from mobile devices and televisions is best avoided.
They reduce the natural production of melatonin. It is best to turn these devices off completely an hour before going to bed.
#2 Exercise during the day, not before bedtime
Exercise is healthy and it can help you sleep better.
However, it is important that you do not exercise too late because then your energy level is too high.
#3 Schedule quiet activities before bedtime
In the evening, do quiet activities such as reading a book, taking a warm bath or going for a walk.
You can also do relaxation exercises such as meditation.
Meditation exercises can help you calm your mind before going to sleep.
A common problem is that people cannot fall asleep because they are constantly worrying.
All kinds of thoughts pass by so that you cannot fall asleep.
While meditating, focus on your breathing and let all thoughts pass you by without paying attention to them.
After meditating you often feel more relaxed and calm and you are less likely to worry.
#4 Ensure good sleep hygiene
Good sleep hygiene is also very important. A ventilated bedroom provides sufficient oxygen and you need it to sleep well.
So leave your window ajar every day and certainly do not sleep with the heating on.
Your sleep can be disturbed if the temperature is lower than 16 degrees and higher than 22 degrees.
Also make sure your room is dark enough by covering the windows well. You can also wear an eye mask to keep out unwanted light rays as much as possible.
#5 Invest in a quality mattress and bedding
A suitable mattress and good pillows are essential for a good night’s sleep.
You spend an average of 8 hours a night in your bed or about a third of your life.
Investing in a quality mattress is therefore highly recommended. Find a pillow that provides adequate support for your head and neck.
Also use bed linen that breathes. This way you will sweat less and your skin will not be irritated.
#6 Keep a regular sleep routine
It is very helpful to have a regular sleep routine.
Just like you eat at fixed times, it is also important to always go to sleep and get up at a fixed time.
Also on the weekend it is best not to deviate too much from this. This way your body comes into a fixed pattern so that you can fall asleep more easily.
#7 Don’t look at the clock
If you wake up at night, don’t look at the clock.
You will soon start to worry that you will not be able to fall asleep at all. Tell yourself you still have hours to sleep.
#8 Get up if it really doesn’t work
Have you been awake for minutes? Then get out of bed and do some quiet activity.
For example, read a book, do relaxation exercises or drink a cup of warm milk.
Do not stay out of bed for too long and try to keep the light as dim as possible when you get up at night.
#9 Avoid coffee and alcohol
Coffee can be invigorating in the morning, but it is better to avoid it in the evening. There is a good chance that you will lie awake for a long time.
This also applies to other caffeinated tendrils such as cola and other soft drinks.
Often people think that having a nightcap before going to bed can help, but that’s just not a good idea.
Alcohol can make you fall asleep faster, but it still disrupts your sleep. You wake up more often and you will also feel less rested afterwards.
#10 Don’t go to bed with a full stomach
Do not eat a large or heavy meal right before going to bed. It is best not to eat anything 2 to 3 hours before going to bed.
A light snack is possible. Also make sure not to drink too much water.
There is a greater chance that you will have to get up at night to urinate.
#11 Don’t take your problems to bed
During the day, keep yourself busy with your problems and looking for a solution. Don’t take them to bed.
If necessary, talk to someone about it or write down your feelings before going to sleep.
This way you avoid having to worry about it all the time at night.
#12 Listen to soothing music
Certain soothing music, such as meditation music or nature sounds, can help you get into a relaxed state.
Your heart rate slows down, your blood pressure goes down and you automatically breathe easier.
So you can listen to relaxing music when you lie in your bed.
Note that if you do this via your smartphone, you turn off all notifications and put the screen down so that you don’t look at the blue light all the time.
#13 Wear special glasses
There are special glasses on the market that filter out 95% of the blue artificial light so that you see everything in your environment in orange tones.
By wearing these glasses, your brain gets a signal that it’s time to go to sleep.
You can put on these glasses an hour before bedtime, even when you start your normal sleep routine such as brushing your teeth, putting on sleeping clothes and reading some more. Due to the effect of the glasses, you will fall asleep faster afterwards.
#14 Take enough time to sleep
If you have to get up at 6 in the morning, don’t go to bed at 12 noon.
This way you quickly build up a lack of sleep, which causes even more sleeping problems. Going to bed early is a natural process.
When it gets dark, our body automatically produces more melatonin.
By going to bed on time you contribute to this natural rhythm.
#15 Don’t sleep in between
If you have sleeping problems, it is better not to sleep in between. So don’t take an afternoon nap and don’t fall asleep on the couch in the evening either.
An ideal afternoon nap turns out to be only 27 minutes. If you go to sleep for more than 40 minutes, you have a chance that you will end up in the deep sleep phase (Rapid Eyes Movement).
If you want to wake up faster, expose yourself to bright light. That signals your brain to stop producing melatonin.
#16 Only use your bedroom for sleeping
Do not put a TV, laptop or other equipment in your bedroom.
Associating your bedroom with other activities like working or watching TV will make it harder for you to fall asleep.
So only use your bedroom for sleeping.
#17 Sleep in the right position
It is important that you find a sleeping position that is most comfortable for you.
Some people prefer to sleep on their side, others on their back or stomach. Your pillow and your mattress also largely determine which sleeping position you adopt.