Page 1Group 8Group 7Group 7
Beauty Style Fitness Wellness Living #RealTalk #EmbraceYourAge
Stay up to date

Get on the List

Unlock our weekly newsletter packed with tips on living authentically, healthfully, and stylishly at every age.Get on the List: The best beauty, fashion, wellness and fitness tips straight to your inbox

5 Natural Ways to Get Better Sleep

You already know what the experts say: Adults should get between six and eight hours of sleep every night. You also probably know that for women in midlife, good rest can be as elusive as a unicorn.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 30-40 percent of adults say they have occasional insomnia, while 10-15 percent of Americans say they have trouble sleeping all the time. What’s more, research shows that women have more trouble sleeping than men and are more affected by sleep deprivation.

For those of us who want to get more sleep but don’t want to take drugs to do it, there are natural remedies that don’t require a prescription. Here are five worth trying tonight.

Do Yoga

Strenuous exercise before bed is ill-advised for those who want better sleep, but yoga can help prep your body for rest by calming the mind. Spend five minutes in child’s pose or reclining butterfly. Try 10 minutes in legs up the wall or corpse pose. Focus on taking deep breaths, which gives both muscles and mind a chance to find calm.

Eat the Right Foods

Although research suggests that people with the healthiest sleep patterns have the healthiest and most diverse diets, naturally occurring substances in some foods can aid sleep.

Brown rice, cherries, walnuts

Brown rice contains gama-amino butyric acid, which calms the nervous system, making you feel sleepy. Plus, rice is digested slowly, progressively releasing glucose into the blood, which can increase production of tryptophan. An essential amino acid, tryptophan coverts to serotonin, which then coverts to melatonin, which helps maintain our sleep-and-wake cycle by causing drowsiness and lowering body temperature. Cherries and walnuts also contain naturally occurring tryptophan.

Almonds

These nuts help you relax with high levels of potassium and B vitamins. Combine almond butter with bananas, another sleep aid, for a soothing bedtime snack.

Chickpeas

The legumes have vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin. Snacking on chickpeas throughout the day can help you relax come bedtime. Oats also aid the body in releasing melatonin, which makes breakfast for dinner A-OK.

Leafy green kale

A good source of magnesium, which has been linked to good sleep, leafy kale can easily be added to smoothies, salads, stir-drys, and sandwiches. Bonus: Magnesium helps keep nerves, muscles, and bones healthy.

lavender essential oil for better sleep

Try Aromatherapy

Essential oils like lavender have been shown to react the same way biochemically that anti-anxiety medications do. Whether diluted and rubbed onto acupressure points or diffused into the air, the right essential oils can help relieve stress, relax the body, and promote better sleep. Sleep-aiding oils include lavender, lemon or yuzu, bergamot, ylang ylang, clary sage, and jasmine.

Consider Herbs

Make a soothing cup of tea featuring herbs such as tulsi, St. John’s wort, lemon balm, chamomile, or valerian. All contain natural ingredients to help calm a restless mind. What’s more, sipping tea before bedtime can be part of a larger routine that signals your body to relax. If you are taking medication, talk to your physician before trying herbal remedies, as some can interact with certain drugs.

Shut Down the Screens

Reading can be a healthy part of your nightly bedtime routine. Reading a screen like an iPhone, Kindle, or Nook, however, can have negative effects on sleep. Scientists have found that specific wavelengths of light suppress melatonin in the brain. Too much light from screens at bedtime (including televisions) signal the body that you aren’t ready for sleep. What’s more, screens emit light that convinces the brain it is still daytime, and therefore time to be alert. The best solution is to avoid screens an hour or two before bedtime. If that’s not possible, switch devices to nighttime mode (most allow you to set a timer so it will go on and off automatically) and turn down the brightness.

One of the best ways to get better sleep is by following a routine that provides several signals to both your body and brain. Combine a few of the above suggestions, such as drinking herbal tea and munching a handful of walnuts while reading a book (not a book on a screen!) before bed. Establishing a calming ritual makes it easier to transition from busy days into restful nights.

Photos: Logan Nolin, ID Art

You Might Also Like

5 Standing Yoga Poses for Lower-Back Pain
Yoga

5 Standing Yoga Poses for Lower-Back Pain

If you have lower-back pain, you are not alone. According to the...

read
Has the Carbohydrate Conundrum Been Solved?
Wellness

Has the Carbohydrate Conundrum Been Solved?

New research studying carb intake in relation to mortality confirms that contrary...

read
5 Recipes for an Unforgettable Holiday Cookie Party
Wellness

5 Recipes for an Unforgettable Holiday Cookie Party

’Tis the season for a cookie party. Legendary cookie baker Dorie Greenspan...

read
Is Sitting Ruining Your Posture?
Wellness

Is Sitting Ruining Your Posture?

Back pain, leg pain, shoulder pain, headaches. We tend to attribute inconvenient...

read
Put an End to Your Perfectionism
Wellness

Put an End to Your Perfectionism

Earlier this year I had an epiphany: The never-ending feeling that I needed...

read
Holiday Gifts for Women Who Love Wellness
Wellness

Holiday Gifts for Women Who Love Wellness

Don’t stress over holiday gifts for your gals who walk the wellness...

read
10 Real Women Who Endlessly Inspire Us
Living

10 Real Women Who Endlessly Inspire Us

They’re not celebrities. They don’t have a ton of money. But they...

read
5 Exfoliators for 5 Aging-Skin Problems
Beauty

5 Exfoliators for 5 Aging-Skin Problems

It seems that with age comes a more complicated skin care routine....

read
I Feel OK About My Neck
#RealTalk

I Feel OK About My Neck

The late Nora Ephron’s essay “I Feel Bad About My Neck” is...

read
Office Hours: How Can I Get Back Into the Workforce?
Living

Office Hours: How Can I Get Back Into the Workforce?

Welcome to Office Hours, where a Fairygodboss expert answers a question from one of...

read
7 Lessons for My Younger Self
#RealTalk

7 Lessons for My Younger Self

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards,” said...

read
Women Who Inspire: Model Gillean McLeod
Living

Women Who Inspire: Model Gillean McLeod

Gillean McLeod, 62, admits being “late to the game” has been somewhat...

read
The Fine Line Holiday Gift Guide
Living

The Fine Line Holiday Gift Guide

From hard-to-shop-for men to the gal who likes it all, the people...

read
Fitness Gifts You Won’t Have to Sweat Over
Fitness

Fitness Gifts You Won’t Have to Sweat Over

If even thinking about shopping gives you a hot flash, you’re not...

read
Perfect Presents Under $150
Living

Perfect Presents Under $150

Holiday gift giving shouldn’t break the bank. We found 13 presents under...

read
Great Gifts for Good Guys
Living

Great Gifts for Good Guys

Why are guys so hard to buy for? We don’t have the...

read
The Tastiest Holiday Gifts for Foodies
Living

The Tastiest Holiday Gifts for Foodies

We got hungry just thinking about wrapping up these tasty holiday gifts...

read
Hostess Gifts to Show Your Gratitude
Living

Hostess Gifts to Show Your Gratitude

Whether you’re just popping over for dinner or staying a few days,...

read
Eat This Now: Ultimate Cleansing Foods
Wellness

Eat This Now: Ultimate Cleansing Foods

If you’re among the millions of Americans suffering from obesity, diabetes, high...

read
Need to Know: Heavy Metals
Wellness

Need to Know: Heavy Metals

Heavy metals are odorless, invisible, and virtually undetectable — but they’re of increasing...

read
Every Wrinkle Tells a Story
#RealTalk

Every Wrinkle Tells a Story

As I approach 50 and beyond, I look at myself differently. Whereas...

read
Problem/Solution: Teensy Bladder Leaks
Style

Problem/Solution: Teensy Bladder Leaks

You laugh. You sneeze. You cough. You do 13,791 burpees at the...

read
Shave Your Face: Yay or Nay?
Beauty

Shave Your Face: Yay or Nay?

Hair removal has long been an integral part of beauty routines. As...

read
How to Get Started With Exercise at 75
Fitness

How to Get Started With Exercise at 75

When you hit your mid-70s, you may feel like your daily routine...

read
5 Hormone-Balancing Foods
Wellness

5 Hormone-Balancing Foods

Are your hormones out of whack? Often the best place to start...

read
The Science-Based Solution for Aging Hair
Beauty

The Science-Based Solution for Aging Hair

There’s no question that our hair changes as we get older. It...

read
37 Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
Wellness

37 Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance

Hormones play an enormous role in how we look, think, and feel....

read
6 Questions With... Skin Care Pioneer Jane Iredale
Beauty

6 Questions With... Skin Care Pioneer Jane Iredale

Jane Iredale began her eponymous brand in New York in 1994. As a casting...

read
7 Reasons to Embrace Cardio
Fitness

7 Reasons to Embrace Cardio

Cardio is any form of exercise that raises your pulse and conditions...

read
Problem/Solution: Aging Teeth and Receding Gums
Beauty

Problem/Solution: Aging Teeth and Receding Gums

If your teeth are more dingy yellow than pearly white or you’ve...

read
Load More
share
To Top