You’re frazzled, stressed, and totally burned out — and on top of that, you can’t get to or stay asleep.
You don’t want to pop a pill to get some zzz’s, so what are your options?
Fortunately, there is a bevy of natural sleep remedies available, and research shows they can help you get the quality snooze you crave, according to alternative medicine guru Deepak Chopra.
Here are some of Chopra’s tips for getting a good night’s rest:
1. Start with a strong foundation
Making sure you have a comfortable mattress is critical for sound sleep, Chopra says.
“I recommend a firm mattress so that the body doesn’t sag when sleeping or create an unwilling distortion of the spine,” he explained. “I also use a grounding mat over my mattress to decrease inflammation.”
By having direct contact with the earth, you can neutralize free radicals, which can accumulate due to stress and, in excess, cause harmful oxidative stress in the body. “The mechanism” of a grounding mat, Chopra said, “is supposed to be negative icons entering the body from the earth.”
2. Tame stress
Speaking of stress, you’ll want to manage it to get — and stay — asleep. Chopra
said stress is at the root of all modern health problems, including insomnia, which is characterized by persistent sleep trouble that interferes with daily function, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
“Stress is also associated with insomnia, which in turn is associated with inflammation and premature death,” Chopra said. “It is a vicious circle: insomnia, stress, and susceptibility to chronic illness and, therefore, premature death.”
3. Set the scene
“A room that is totally dark and sound free with no blue light, such as mobile phones, tablets, and electrical devices, always helps,” Chopra explained.
Indeed, research shows exposure to blue light from devices disrupts the body’s natural circadian rhythm and suppresses production of melatonin, which is a hormone that triggers sleep.
4. Use your scents
Certain smells, including ones that are floral and fruity in nature, may help relieve sleep woes, Chopra said. He said lavender can help “calm the mind.” Small studies have shown that smelling lavender improved sleep quality and duration among participants.
5. Be mindful
Mindfulness practices, including daily vigorous exercise and meditation before bed, can help promote quality sleep.
“Silently watching your breath at the same time, and breathing through the nose will slow down breathing and thought activity simultaneously,” Chopra said, “allowing you to dive into the silence and peace of sleep.”
6. Pop a pill (a natural one, that is)
Traditional medication for sleep isn’t the best fit for everyone. Instead, a supplement, such as cannabidiol (CBD) or melatonin, alone may aid your slumber.
“All of the evidence seems to indicate that a lot of people respond very well to CBD as a sleeping aid,” Chopra said. “CBD also reduces inflammation in the body, so I recommend it as an aid to both decrease inflammation in the body and help with sleep.”
Want to tackle sleep trouble with a one-two punch? Add another popular sleep supplement, melatonin, on top of it.
“A dose of melatonin — even 1 milligram — along with CBD can help restore circulation rhythms,” he said.
7. Stay still
Chopra suggested a before-bedtime trick: “Lie on your side in bed, pretend you are paralyzed and keep still.” He explained that during deep sleep, your muscles spontaneously become paralyzed. So don’t toss and turn, as much as you may be inclined.
“When you fake paralysis or keep your body still, the brain is fooled into thinking you are asleep and modulates its own activity in the direction of deep sleep,” he said.