HomeSleep Science8 Drug-Free Sleep Remedies that Will Help You Snooze Through the Night

8 Drug-Free Sleep Remedies that Will Help You Snooze Through the Night

By - Last Updated: July 24th, 2019

Life is more stressful than ever and it’s getting harder for us to get a good night’s sleep.

For years doctors treated sleeplessness with prescription drugs that knock you out cold and make you feel horrible the next morning.

Most of these medications come with lots of terrible side effects and can’t be used for more than a few days.

Nowadays, people are seeking natural, drug-free solutions for their sleep loss.

To help you tackle your sleep loss without resorting to drugs, I’ve put together a list of the best natural sleep remedies currently available.

1. Natural Sleep Supplements and Sleep Herbs

Some herbs and natural molecules are a great alternative to sleeping pills. Below is a list of oral supplements that can help promote sleep:

Melatonin for Sleep

Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by your brain when it gets dark. It regulates your sleep/wake cycle by telling your body when to prepare for sleep.

Melatonin is well tolerated at low doses and can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night. It comes in a variety of dosages and can be taken as a tablet, gummies, liquid, or spray.

I always recommend starting with a low dose of melatonin and slowly increase your dose if needed. Always consult with your doctor before increasing your dose over 10 mg.

Last updated: 2020-04-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

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Further Reading:
The Essential Melatonin Guide and How to Use it Safely

Valerian Root for Sleep

Valerian is a native herb to Asia and Europe and contains compounds that promote sleep and reduce anxiety.

Studies have shown that taking 450 mg or 900 mg of valerian root at night helps you fall asleep faster and improves overall sleep quality.

Valerian root is safe if taken at the recommended dose. It’s available in various forms including capsules, powders, and liquids.

Last updated: 2020-04-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

L-tryptophan for Sleep

L-tryptophan is a naturally occurring amino acid that we get from our food. Not only does the amino acid promote sleep but it also helps us regulate our internal body clock.

Tryptophan works by stimulating the body to produce more serotonin, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel calm, relaxed and sleepy.

Taking the L-tryptophan supplement, also called 5-HTP, before bedtime may help increase the quality of your sleep. As with melatonin, I always recommended starting with a low dose of 100 mg and increases it as needed.

5-HTP is handled well if taken at the recommended dosage. It’s commonly supplied as tablets and capsules. Check out the following L-tryptophan options in 100 mg and 200 mg:

Last updated: 2020-04-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Kava for Sleep

Kava is a plant native to the South Pacific islands and has been used for hundreds of years to increase relaxation.

A study found that kava supplements may reduce anxiety and is best used by people who suffer from stressed induced insomnia.

The recommended dosage to help reduce anxiety is 70–250 mg taken before bedtime. Kava is available in many forms including teas, capsules, and liquids.

Last updated: 2020-04-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

2. White Noise and Sound Machines for Sleep

White noise is background sound that masks the noise in our environment It’s consistent and unchanging frequencies allow the brain to stop focusing on distractions and fall asleep.

A white noise machine is a device that produces relaxing sounds such as a crackling fire, rain, or the ocean. The machines are available from numerous manufacturers in many forms, for a variety of different uses, including as a sleep aid.

If you’re thinking about getting a white noise machine, I recommend looking for one with a variety of sound options. It’s difficult to know which sound will provide the best results for you until you’ve used it for several nights in a row.

For adults, I quite like the LectroFan Machine because it has 20 different options, including several ‘fan noise’ settings. In addition to white noise, it also plays pink and brown noise.

If you’re looking for a white noise or a sound machine for babies and toddlers, check out the LectroFan Kinder Sleep Sound Machine. It provides soothing sounds and music that are appropriate for little ones. As an added bonus, it also has a nightlight.

You can find both of these machines below:

Last updated: 2020-04-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

3. Essential Oil Diffuser for Sleep

Your sense of smell is strongly tied to your sense of wellbeing. The nerves in your nose that detect scent are directly connected to the limbic system, an area of the brain important for your emotional processing.

Scientific studies have shown that pleasant fragrances can improve mood, increase relaxation, and reduce stress.

Essential oils won’t make you fall asleep sleep but keeping a calming scent in your bedroom at night helps you maximize your relaxation before bed.

You can maintain a steady flow of scent throughout the night by using an oil diffuser. They work by dispersing oils into the air as a fine mist.

There are also a wide variety of scents that promote relaxation and are intended specifically for sleep. These include:

The Best Essential Oils for Sleep

The best scents recommended before bedtime include:

  • Bergamot
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Jasmine
  • Juniper
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Marjoram
  • Ravensara
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Sandlewood
  • Valerian Extract
  • Vanilla
  • Ylang Ylan

You can find many different oil diffusers in stores around the country but I personally like machines that are quiet and don’t disturb sleep.

I like the ASAKUKI 300ML because it’s simple to use, humidify’s as it dispenses oils, and has several relaxing colors settings to increase relaxation.

Last updated: 2020-04-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

5. Sleep Masks

Exposure to artificial light from our environment is known as light pollution. Research shows that light pollution increases the risk and severity of insomnia.

A simple way of combating artificial light while you sleep is by wearing a sleep mask. Previous research found that individuals that wear sleep masks to bed are less prone to sleep disturbances and have better-regulated sleep patterns than those without.

I’ve used sleeping masks for years and have tried at least a dozen different brands. I personally find that masks that contour around your eyes are the best at blocking light and also the most comfortable.

I’ve had great results with the 3D Contoured Eye Mask in particular. Not only does it block more light than other masks I’ve worn but its memory foam padding makes it exceptionally comfortable.

Another mask that I really like is the Sleep Headphones Wireless Eye Mask. It allows you to connect wirelessly to your device so you can listen to soothing music, ASMR, or an audiobook without disturbing your partner as you drift off.

This is also perfect for sleeping in noisy locations. Plus the mask itself is comfortable and does a great job at blocking light.

Last updated: 2020-04-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

6. Blue Light Glasses and Screen Protectors for Sleep

Most electronic devices with screens such as your smartphone and laptop emit blue light that mimics the sun.

Discontinuing use screens two hours before bedtime is the best way to prevent disruptions to your brain’s melatonin production.

Some companies offer products that filter the blue light before it can reach your eyes. If you absolutely must use screens before bed, try using blue light blocking glasses made specifically for night time use.

The best affordable blue light glasses, in my opinion, are BioRhythm Safe(TM) nighttime blue light blocking glasses. Not only do they filter out most incoming blue light but their tint is made to help relax your eyes before sleep.

If you don’t want to wear glasses before bed, you can also use blue-light filter covers that fit directly over your screens. These come in a range of sizes and styles.

I use the Retina Guard for my iPhone but you can find screen covers for almost all current smartphones and computer screens.

Last updated: 2020-04-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

7. Cooling Gel Pillows for Sleep

Scientists discovered that your core body temperature needs to drop by 1 to 2 degrees before you can fall asleep. In hot environments your body struggles to reach its optimal sleeping temperature, resulting in restlessness.

Your head releases the most heat so using a cold pillow is an excellent way of speeding up the cooling process, especially on warm summer nights.

Cooling pillows contain either gel or water inserts that absorb heat energy radiating from your head, neck, and shoulders.

While the effect doesn’t last all night long, the initial drop in temperature may help you fall asleep.

I live in a warm climate and the best cooling pillow, in my opinion, is the Columbia Cooling Memory Foam Pillow.

It works really well at drawing out the heat and is actually comfortable. The high-quality memory foam makes it feel like you’re sleeping on a normal pillow and not a bag of gel. It’s also great for people who suffer from night sweats.

If you live in a climate where heat is only a short-term issue or are looking for a budget option, check out Weekender Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Pillow. The cooling memory foam pillow is really comfortable and the ventilation keeps it from retaining too much heat.

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8. Weighted Blanket for Sleep

Weighted blankets, weighted comforters, or sometimes called ‘anxiety blankets’ are filled with materials that give them extra heft.

The weight and pressure of the blankets provide a feeling of safety, and owners often report a peaceful and more comfortable sleep.

A recent study found that insomnia sufferers that use weighted blankets sleep longer and wake up less. They also reported feeling more rested the next morning.

I had my first experiencing using a weighted blanket last year while I was at a resort that offered one in every room.

I had amazing sleep the entire time I was there and ordered my own weighted blanket as soon as I got home. I haven’t gone back to regular bedding since.

There are weighted blankets for adults and children and you can order them in different sizes and weights.

I quite like the premium weighted blanket. It’s available in 5lb – 25lb options and comes with a soft outer cover that’s is easy to clean. For best results, choose a size that’s approximately 10% of your body weight.

If you’re looking for a budget option, try the 20lb cotton blanket below. It’s made from 100% cotton and is machine washable. It breathes well and won’t overheat you at night.

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Further Reading:
Can’t Sleep? The Comprehensive Guide to Insomnia