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Sleep Health

3 Natural Ways to Treat Insomnia That Work Better Than Ambien

Get a deeper sleep tonight.


Since COVID arrived, 75 percent of us report trouble sleeping. Thankfully, scientists say overcoming ‘corona-somnia’ is easy — no Rx needed!

Trouble dozing off? Soak at this time.

Researchers recently found that taking a 10-minute soak before bed helped folks fall asleep 36 percent faster — as good as Ambien without next-day grogginess. Study authors at the University of Texas say warming up skin triggers your internal thermostat to dial down to the cooler levels that mimic a deep slumber. “Cooling off after a hot bath also releases melatonin, the ‘sleep’ hormone,” adds behavioral sleep medicine psychologist Shelby Harris, PsyD. The trick: Soak 1 to 2 hours before bed so your body can shed enough heat to induce sleepiness.

Toss and turn? Mist your pillow with mandarin.

Harvard scientists report 80 percent of women in their 50s toss and turn, which blocks deep, restorative sleep. The fix: misting a pillow with mandarin orange essential oil and taking 12 breaths, exhaling longer than you inhale. Not only does deep breathing cut restlessness by 52 percent, new research proves citrus is better than Valium at helping you reach deepest sleep.

Wake up too early? Sip a tart nightcap.

Women who sipped tart cherry juice before bed slept nearly an hour-and-a-half longer, say Louisiana State University researchers, over six times longer than folks who took Ambien! Tart cherry compounds maximize the amino acid tryptophan. And Dr. Harris, author of The Women’s Guide to Overcoming Insomnia, explains: “Tryptophan is a building block of melatonin and serotonin, which work to quiet your brain.”

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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