How to sleep better at night naturally? Sleep expert Julia Griffin King shares some of her favorite tips.
Julia blogs at I Dream Of Sleep. Her site is filled with information on how to sleep better, without drugs. She writes with authority. Because she’s battled insomnia and won. She’s here to try and help you do the same.
It is possible to learn to sleep well again. Even when you have long-standing insomnia. In the interview below, Julia tells you what worked for her.
It’s important to note that what works for one person may not help another. So we can’t claim or promise good results. Everyone needs to find the right solutions that work for them. Hopefully, Julia’s sleep tips can help you find the best natural sleep remedies for you.
How To Sleep Better At Night Naturally
When did your sleep problems start?
My problems with insomnia began when I was in my late 20s, early 30s. I’m not really sure what caused it. It just got to the point where I was wide awake until the wee hours of the morning, then dragging to get up in the mornings for work.
With your insomnia, how many hours of sleep did you get every night, on average?
When my insomnia was at its peak, I’d say I got maybe 4-5 hours of sleep. I had trouble winding my mind down at night, and I’d wake up in the early morning hours, only to fall asleep right about the time it was time for me to get up.
How did lack of sleep affect you during the day?
Oh my gosh, I was a total witch. I was short tempered with my friends and family, and work was difficult because my brain just wasn’t functioning on all cylinders.
How To Get Deep Sleep Naturally
How did you learn how to sleep again?
I had to start approaching getting a good night’s sleep during the day, and not waiting until it was time to crawl into bed at night.
First off, just by chance I happened to see a magazine article about magnesium. Until that point I had no clue that insomnia was a symptom of magnesium deficiency. It was a light bulb moment for me. It never dawned on me that my insomnia may have been caused by a deficiency.
Next, I looked at my caffeine intake. By eliminating it completely from my diet and then slowly adding it back in at certain times of the day I found that I am extremely sensitive to caffeine and don’t metabolize it quickly. If I drink caffeine after 9a-10a, I’ll have trouble falling asleep that night. I’ve done research into this since, and I learned that caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours.
The third key to sleeping again was changing my complete attitude towards sleep. I’d been sleepless for so long, that I had developed sleep anxiety. I was focusing on my insomnia day and night, which has been proven to actually make your insomnia worse. I had convinced my brain that I had insomnia and sleep was impossible. Once I started thinking about sleep in a more positive light and stopped stressing out over not sleeping, sleep actually started to come easily to me again.
Tips On How To Sleep Through The Night
What one thing has helped you the most?
If I had to pick one thing out of what worked for me, I’d have to say changing my sleep mindset. I would actually dread going to bed at night because I knew I was just going to lay there wide awake for hours. There were actually times I didn’t even go to bed because of that.
I know most people would balk at the idea of negative thoughts is what’s causing their insomnia. But since I’ve been working with people through I Dream of Sleep, I’d say that 75% of people’s insomnia is caused by their mind.
What can you tell us about essential oils?
Oh, my gosh, I love them! I knew absolutely nothing about essential oils when my insomnia was at its worst. To be honest, I thought it was a bunch of junk. How could a smell make you sleepy? I’ve since learned how they work, and I keep them in my sleep arsenal.
The great thing about essential oils is you don’t necessarily have to take them to make you drowsy. You can use specific essential oils to address specifically what’s keeping you awake. Does your mind race? You can use Roman chamomile. Do you have trouble staying asleep? You can use bergamot.
What are your favorite essential oils for sleep?
If I’m wanting one to relax me overall and get me drowsy, lavender is my favorite, followed closely by frankincense and cedarwood.
How do you use them?
When I use essential oils, I almost always diffuse them. My favorite way to use them though is in my bath water. I’m a soaker, so I’ll add a few drops along with a carrier oil, then relax and get my mind and body ready for sleep.
Do you have a recipe to share?
My favorite sleep recipe is anything that uses honey. Did you know it’s a sleep super food?
Honey activates a series of sleep hormones, releases tryptophan which then turns into serotonin. The serotonin turns into melatonin that gets released in the brain.
Plus, it contains magnesium!
But if I had to pick one favorite honey recipe, it would have to be my Nutmeg Sleep Elixir.
Just heat up a cup of milk (almond or cow’s), then add a tablespoon of raw honey and ¼ tsp of nutmeg. Tastes just like custard!
How To Get Deep Sleep Naturally
Have you ever heard of white noise machines?
Yes, they’re awesome, and I use one myself.
Do you recommend these machines?
Definitely! Especially if you’re a light sleeper and every little noise wakes you up.
What other kinds of natural sleep remedies should we know about?
I had great success with homeopathic remedies. Breathing exercises are a great way to relax your mind and your body. A famous one is the 4-7-8 exercise. I struggle with an overactive mind and counting breaths made me think too much, so I breathe along to an expanding and contracting light with my Dodow.
What do you recommend for good sleep hygiene?
I know ya’ll are going to hate me, but, please, stop using tech at night. This means your smartphones, computers, tablets, even your TV. They all give off blue light which tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This means your brain won’t release melatonin, the sleep hormone, and it will be difficult for you to fall asleep, if at all.
If you can’t live without your electronics, you can wear quality blue light filter glasses in the evenings after the sun goes down. It will block the blue light your devices give off and it will let your melatonin flow. 🙂
What can you say to encourage someone who’s struggling with insomnia?
So what if you haven’t slept? It’s okay. You’ll be okay. You can sleep again. Concentrate on cleaning up your bad sleep habits, then make sure you keep the right mindset to avoid getting stressed out about your sleep and falling into a circle of stress/no sleep/stress. Remember, God made your body to sleep, and with a little help you can get the sleep you need.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use essential oils or herbal or homeopathic remedies unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.