When you visit a healthcare provider for problems sleeping, you’ll likely be offered sleeping pills. After all, one in three older adults takes medications to help them sleep. However, many side effects can be associated with sleeping pills, such as dependence, drowsiness, and even increased mortality. If you’re struggling with high-quality sleep, you don’t always need to reach for sleeping pills. Instead, you can explore some of these sleep support options below.
While mushrooms are already a nutritional and delicious staple, you can also purchase or forage mushrooms for sleep. There are at least three popular mushroom types for sleep support: Reishi, Lion’s Mane, and Cordyceps.
At least 34 sedative-hypnotic components have been found in reishi mushrooms, with researchers stating that reishi mushrooms have the potential to help with insomnia-related problems. Lion’s mane has also been associated with improved nocturnal rest. Studies focusing on cordycepin mushrooms believed they could be helpful for sleep disturbances.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)
CBT-I therapy is a holistic option for treating insomnia. It’s described as a first-line treatment option, with many studies showing it as effective. CBT-I focuses on understanding and changing the thoughts and behaviors related to sleep. The goal is to develop healthy sleeping habits and ensure people have the tools to enjoy sound sleep in the future.
There’s no denying that taking a pill to sleep is quicker and easier than exercise. However, physical activity is better for your overall health. Aim for at least 30 minutes daily, but avoid exercising as bedtime approaches. By incorporating exercise into your daily routine, you might enjoy better sleep, less stress, and enhanced well-being.
Exercise also doesn’t have to be a chore you dread. You can partake in classes with friends, walk in nature, or swim at your local pool or watering hole. Even cycling through a community park can be a fun form of exercise.
Stress and anxiety can sometimes make it hard to fall asleep. Even when you’re exhausted, thoughts milling around in your mind can keep you awake long after you should be sound asleep. Relaxation exercises might be an excellent way to feel less stressed and make it easier to drift off.
Try different breathing techniques like pursed lip breathing, resonant breathing, and alternate nostril breathing. A breath focus exercise may also be helpful, which involves using imagery or focus words to help you focus on your breath.
While there isn’t much literature focused on the benefits of breathing exercises for sleep, plenty supports the theory that it can be beneficial for stress. If stress keeps you awake, alleviating that stress might make you drift off to sleep easier.
Lavender essential oils are widely available, yet not everyone understands their value for sleep support. When paired with improved sleep hygiene, lavender has been shown to improve sleep quality. Some people put a few drops of lavender oil on their pillows, while others use specific lavender oil patches. You might even apply lavender essential oil directly onto your skin.
Sleeping pills might be an ideal short-term sleep support measure for many people, but natural options can also be worth exploring. If you’re struggling to achieve the sleep you need, now might be the right time to consider some of these sleep tips above.