You’re laying in bed after a busy day, but you find that no matter how sleepy you are, you still can’t help but toss and turn all night. You wake up feeling groggy and agitated. Dealing with insomnia can feel like an uphill battle — sometimes it seems like the more you try to sleep, the more awake you become. Worst of all, insomnia gets more common with age, and it can feel particularly brutal for anyone who’s menopausal and struggling with hot flashes. Thankfully, there is natural relief for sleeplessness: Here are five insomnia cures to help you drift off to dreamland in no time.
1. Can’t fall asleep? Eat pistachios.
Try eating a handful of pistachios two hours before bed. The nuts have high levels of melatonin, the hormone often taken in supplement form as a natural sleep aid. The high vitamin B-6 content of pistachios can also help your body convert tryptophan (a sleep-boosting amino acid) into melatonin.
2. Wired and tired? Mist your pillow.
If you’re exhausted but your mind is racing, mist your pillow with chamomile before bed. A Case Western Reserve University review suggests the scent calms the brain in the same way sedative pills do. To feel chamomile’s sleep-inducing effects, steep five bags of chamomile tea in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes, then let cool. Mist your pillow and top sheet with the chamomile before bed. The remaining brew can be refrigerated for up to five days.
3. Gotta go to the bathroom? Drink baking soda.
If your bladder wakes you up overnight, help is here. A study in the International Urogynecology Journal found that women who stirred ½ teaspoon of baking soda into one cup of water and drank it twice a day made fewer trips to the bathroom at night. Baking soda may rebalance your urine’s pH, and urine that’s less acidic won’t irritate the bladder wall and trigger spasms as much. Have high blood pressure? Substitute with potassium bicarbonate instead.
4. Wake up too early? Massage your feet.
A study by the North American Menopause Society found that menopausal women with insomnia who gave themselves a foot massage before bed slept longer than those who did not. Activating pressure points eases body-wide aches and tension triggered by hormonal shifts, so you snooze longer and deeper.
5. Struggle with snoring? Stir vanilla in your drink.
Stir ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract into your favorite decaf tea before bed, and you may reduce snoring (even your own can wake you up!), suggests a review published in Nutrition Today. The extract contains vanillin, a compound that may calm an overactive respiratory system and diminish sleep apnea, a condition often linked to disruptive snoring.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.