We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
Insomnia causes a person to have difficulty falling and staying asleep. There are various things that a person can try to help them fall and stay asleep, such as herbal tea, aromatherapy, white noise machines, and more.
This article examines various things a person can try to help them sleep. It also looks at when a person should seek medical help for insomnia.
Although research suggests that essential oils may have some health benefits, it is important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor or regulate the purity or quality of these. A person should talk with a healthcare professional before using essential oils, and they should be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. A person should always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.
Aromatherapy may help people to fall asleep and improve the quality of sleep.
A 2012 study found that using aromatherapy oils mixed with lavender, roman chamomile, and neroli helped ease anxiety, improve the quality of sleep, and lower blood pressure in those with heart conditions in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Those interested in trying aromatherapy should choose fragrances they find appealing.
There are many options for incorporating aromatherapy into a bedtime routine, including:
- taking an oil or salt bath right before bed.
- lighting candles while preparing for bed
- using a linen spray on the pillows or sheets
- using a diffuser while sleeping
- massage with aromatherapy oils
White noise machines produce a consistent noise that some people may find relaxing.
White noise is not the only option. Some devices produce noise at other frequencies.
Pink noise is a deeper and more consistent and smooth sound. A 2012 study suggests it may slow brain waves, potentially helping improve sleep stability.
A weighted blanket is a blanket that contains materials, such as plastic pellets or beads.
Research on weighted blankets has mixed results.
A 2015 study of adults also found that weighted blankets could ease nighttime anxiety.
Weighted blankets come in different sizes and weights.
Wearing an eye mask may help a person sleep because they help block out light.
According to a small
Excessive noise can interrupt a person’s sleep or stop them from falling asleep.
Earplugs may help a person to block out noise.
Snoring can affect a person’s quality of sleep.
According to the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom, if locked or narrow airways causes the snoring, anti-snoring devices can help open up the nasal passages.
A wide range of options is, available, including strips that go on the outside of the nose and filters that go inside the nose.
Some pillows can help reduce snoring by keeping the head and neck aligned, which opens the airways.
Herbal teas may help a person sleep. This effect may be due to the act of drinking a warm drink, or it may be due to the specific herb.
However, at 4 weeks, both the chamomile and placebo groups had similar results. This likely means that the effects of some herbal teas are only temporary.
People can experiment with different teas to find which works best for them.
A person can try taking OTC medications.
According to the
Although a person may become sleepy when taking antihistamines, a person should talk to a healthcare professional as they can be unsafe for some people.
Melatonin is a sleep hormone that the body produces naturally. It helps the body identify when it is time to sleep. Melatonin is not a potent sleeping aid, but taking supplements may help.
It is important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not regulate dietary supplements in the same way as conventional medication.
Side effects can include:
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine emphasize the importance of therapy and lifestyle changes to minimize the need for sleeping pills.
To get a better night’s sleep, a person can adapt some of their normal routines and practice good sleep hygiene.
- Ensure the bedroom is sleep-friendly: Maintain a comfortable temperature and avoid artificial light from electronics.
- Maintain a routine: Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine: Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, and alcohol can cause a person to sleep more lightly than normal.
- Exercise regularly: A person should try exercise at least
5–6 hoursbefore bed as exercise close to bedtime can make it more difficult to fall asleep, especially if it is very intense exercise.
- Eat meals on a regular schedule: Avoid late-night dinners.
- Limit fluids near bedtime: This helps a person sleep longer without waking up to use the bathroom.
- Learn ways to manage stress: A person can follow a bedtime routine, such as reading a book, listening to music, or taking a bath to relax.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT for insomnia may also help. It may
- Cognitive therapy: This can help encourage positive thinking and reduce nervousness about going to sleep.
- Relaxation or meditation therapy: This can help teach a person how to relax and fall asleep more quickly.
- Sleep restriction therapy: This gives a person a set time to be in bed, regardless of how much sleep they get. This can help a person sleep better over time.
- Stimulus control therapy: This involves going to bed only when a person is sleepy, then getting out of bed if they cannot sleep.
Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3 percent THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.
CBD is a chemical that comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD may improve a person’s quality of sleep. According to one 2019 study,
However, these results appeared to fluctuate over time. The researchers concluded that CBD might be beneficial for sleep in the short term.
A person should see a doctor if their insomnia is affecting the daily activities.
They should also see a doctor if:
- they experience insomnia at least
3 nightsa week, and it is interfering with daytime functioning
- it does not get better with sleep improvement products or a better sleep routine
- a person has other symptoms, such as confusion or memory problems
- a person experiences severe snoring or wakes up throughout the night
Insomnia can be frustrating, and the side effects can last for a day or longer after a restless night.
The right sleep products can help a person get a better and more relaxing night’s sleep.
If insomnia persists, talk to a doctor.
SHOP FOR SLEEP AIDS
Some of the products listed in this article are available for purchase in stores and online: