It’s easy enough to agree there’s nothing quite like the joy of your head meeting your pillow after a long day, right? Well, regardless of how relieved you are to retreat to bed at night, if you’re one of the many people who suffer from insomnia (which is as common as one in three, according to the Sleep Health Foundation), the tossing, turning, and late nights that follow are less than desirable.
But since sleep is essential for everyone’s well-being, we decided to chat with sleep experts for the best, natural remedies for insomnia. Read on for seven, expert-approved tips—like drinking lemon balm tea and creating a routine.
Drink a cup of lemon balm tea.Photo: Free People
Although lemon balm is lesser known in U.S. practices, Joel Granik, licensed acupuncturist and founder of Floating Lotus, cites the herb as a powerful, natural sleep aid. “Studies show that lemon balm extracts have sedative effects on the central nervous system,” he explains. “Studies also show that it helps reduce anxiety, which often contributes to insomnia.” Lemon balm comes in tea form, which Granik suggests mixing with chamomile and lavender to increase its effectiveness.
Wind down before bedtime.Photo: Urban Outfitters
Try creating a wind-down routine each night before bed. “Take some time for yourself before bed,” says Adam Tishman, sleep expert and co-founder of Helix. “Get off your devices, do some things around the house that you’ve been meaning to do, wash your face, and brush your teeth.” As a final step, Tishman suggests lying in bed and meditating: “You will find that by the time bedtime rolls around, you’ll be ready for sleep.”
Take an Epsom salt bath.Photo: @gouldhallie
Epsom salt contains magnesium, a known sleep-cycle regulator. “It’s believed that magnesium helps improve sleep by improving muscle relaxation and regulating sleep hormones,” explains Granik. “Try taking a long bath with Epsom salt for at-home help.”
Keep a schedule.Photo: @songofstyle
“Even though you might be exhausted,” explains Tishman, “try to go to sleep within a half-hour of your normal bedtime to keep your sleep cycle consistent.” That means holding yourself accountable each night. “If you stray from your schedule too much, it might be difficult to get to sleep the next night and the night after that,” he warns.
Create a comfortable environment.Photo: @gouldhallie
Sure, mattresses and pillows are expensive, but splurging on more comfortable materials (we love Helix and Brooklinen) is an investment in your sleep. “Try getting a mattress that is custom-made for your needs and preferences to help with falling and staying asleep,” suggests Tishman. In addition to bedding, take steps to ensure your bedroom is a quiet, peaceful space. “If your bedroom is noisy, or you just can’t stand total silence, getting a white noise machine is an easy fix,” he says.
Try acupuncture.Photo: Getty Images
“Acupuncture works to balance your body’s chi,” says Granik. “When it comes to insomnia, acupuncturists look for the cause and treat the body as a whole. One common problem may be that your body traps internal ‘heat,’ causing you to wake up often throughout the night. An acupuncturist can help unblock this heat energy, as well as other root causes of insomnia.”
Don't forget to exercise.Photo: @girlfriendcollective
Exercise is a simple, although often under-looked, solution for a good night’s rest. Fitting a quick class in after work is ideal, but there are also plenty of apps loaded with sleep-specific exercises. “It may sound counterintuitive, but physically moving is vastly beneficial, as it can help reduce tension and prepare the body for sleep,” says Derik Mills, founder and CEO of YogaGlo.
Next up, check out the absolute best pillows for side sleepers.