While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens need even more. And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, most older people still need at least 7 hours of sleep. Since older adults often have trouble sleeping this long at night, daytime naps can help fill in the gap.
The latter portion of this plan is meant to tidy up some of the loose ends, including conditions that can undermine sleep. If the early changes haven't proven to be effective or relevant, it may be because other issues are at play. Ultimately, if your efforts aren't rewarded in the end, it may be useful to speak with a sleep doctor who can provide you the personal assistance you need to overcome any remaining problems. This advice is generally good for all, but carefully crafting it to attend to your individual needs may make it invaluable.
Yes, it sucks when it’s 2 a.m. and you still don’t feel tired, despite knowing you need rest. But climbing into bed when you don’t feel ready for sleep is setting yourself up for failure. Instead, engage in relaxing activities (like gentle yoga and meditation or listening to soothing music) until you get the strong urge to snooze. If sleep hasn’t come within 20 minutes, get back out of bed and try relaxing activities again until you’re sleepy enough to give it another go.
“This is number one—most of us have this reflex where our cellphone has to be within arm's length, even when we go to bed," says Raj Dasgupta, MD, sleep expert and assistant professor of clinical medicine at Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. "We need to break that habit.” Studies have shown that the blue light generated by electronic devices can delay the onset of sleep. (Here's how spending just one extra minute on your phone before bed can rob you of 60 minutes of sleep.) Turn your phone on silent and keep it on a dresser or far end of the bedside table so you’re not tempted to text, check one last email, or get lost in social media.
After being awake for nineteen hours, people who were sleep-deprived were as cognitively impaired as those who were legally drunk… After sixteen hours of being awake, the brain begins to fail. Humans need more than seven hours of sleep each night to maintain cognitive performance. After ten days of just seven hours of sleep, the brain is as dysfunctional as it would be after going without sleep for twenty-four hours.
We evolved from bacteria in the ocean that could differentiate sunlight from darkness—that’s what ended up forming the human eye. That means every organism is responsive to a circadian rhythm that’s largely dictated by sunlight. The photo receptors in our eyes pick up on sunlight, which controls the release of melatonin and all these other neurotransmitters that dictate your energy levels throughout the day.
Even though sleep is pretty much the opposite of physical exertion, exercise conducted at the right time of day (i.e., not too close to bedtime) is one of the best things you can do to get a good night’s rest. Exercise helps regulate the body’s natural circadian rhythm, which promotes sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, exercise can also improve insomnia by lowering symptoms of anxiety and depression, two conditions linked to sleep disruption. Daily physical activity also helps reduce cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone.
“Sleep is not an on-and-off switch,” says the sleep expert and clinical psychologist Michael Breus, PhD, the author of The Power of When. “Your body needs time to unwind and ready itself for shut-eye.” That’s why Dr. Breus recommends practicing a three-part routine called the “Power-Down Hour.” During the first 20 minutes, complete any tasks that absolutely must get done before bedtime. Wash your face, brush your teeth, and get dressed for bed during the next 20 minutes. For the last 20 minutes, lie in bed quietly and meditate. Focus on the rhythm of your breathing and shoo away any negative thoughts during this time.
Kava. The root has long been a favorite among Pacific Islanders for promoting relaxation. In fact, one analysis found that kava was significantly more effective at treating anxiety than a placebo, and some preliminary research suggests it could also help treat insomnia. But like valerian, long-term use of the stuff isn’t advised, since it could have a negative impact on your liver.
Glycine (also known as 2-Aminoacetic Acid) is an amino acid and a neurotransmitter. The body produces glycine on its own, synthesized from other natural biochemicals. We also consume glycine through food. This amino acid is found in high-protein foods including meat, fish, eggs, dairy and legumes. A daily diet typically includes about 2 grams of glycine.
First, we required our natural supplements to be verified by a third party like LabDoor, ConsumerLab, or the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP). These independent organizations analyze off-the-shelf supplements, verifying that the claims on a product’s label match what’s in the bottle. This ensures accurate dosage and that there are no contaminants or unlisted ingredients in your supplement.
Limit Your Intake Of Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine: Caffeine and nicotine can have a pronounced effect on sleep, causing insomnia and restlessness. In addition to coffee, tea, and soft drinks, look for hidden sources of caffeine such as chocolate, cough and cold medicine, and other over-the-counter medicine. Alcohol consumption can result in nighttime wakefulness.

Psychological stressors like deadlines, exams, marital conflict, and job crises may prevent us from falling asleep or wake us from sleep throughout the night. It takes time to "turn off" all the noise from the day. No way around it. If you work right up to the time you turn out the lights, or are reviewing all the day's events and planning tomorrow (sound familiar?), you simply cannot just "flip a switch" and drop off to a blissful night's sleep.
Regular exercise will go a long way toward improving your sleep, Cralle says. Finding the perfect time in your day where a workout won’t hinder your sleep is crucial—some people have no problem falling asleep after an evening workout, but others may need to hit the gym first thing in the morning. The key is working out at least several times a week, whether it’s a 10-minute walk, a yoga class, or a sweaty weight-lifting session.
The pineal gland, located within the brain’s two hemispheres, receives signals from the SCN and increases production of the hormone melatonin, which helps put you to sleep once the lights go down.  People who have lost their sight and cannot coordinate their natural wake-sleep cycle using natural light can stabilize their sleep patterns by taking small amounts of melatonin at the same time each day.  Scientists believe that peaks and valleys of melatonin over time are important for matching the body’s circadian rhythm to the external cycle of light and darkness.
Reasonable care is taken to provide accurate information at the time of creation. This information is not intended as a substitute for medical advice and should not be exclusively relied on to manage or diagnose a medical condition. NPS MedicineWise disclaims all liability (including for negligence) for any loss, damage or injury resulting from reliance on or use of this information. Read our full disclaimer. This website uses cookies. Read our privacy policy.
One of the key strategies that sleep specialists employ to help patients overcome behaviors that contribute to chronic insomnia is stimulus control therapy. This approach includes tactics such as removing yourself from the bedroom if you can’t fall asleep and not watching television or surfing the internet while you’re in bed. Instead of staring at the clock, get up and do a boring. Only return to bed when you’re sleepy.
But the good news is that you can take steps toward a good night’s sleep that are easy and painless. There are effective natural sleep aids that can help improve the quality and duration of your sleep, and they won’t leave you with all the unwanted side effects of conventional sleep medications. Here are the five most powerful all-natural sleep aids:
Cherries. They’re the only edible source of the sleep hormone melatonin, so consider having a bowlful for dessert. If they’re not in season, opt for thawed frozen cherries or a glass of tart cherry juice. Drinking two glasses daily helped people with insomnia sleep for 90 more minutes, found one study published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
21st Century Melatonin 3 mg, 21st Century Melatonin 5 mg, 21st Century Melatonin Quick Dissolve Tablets 10 mg, Advanced Orthomolecular Research Ortho-Sleep, Allergy Research Group Melatonin 20 mg, Allergy Research Group Melatonin 3 mg, Alteril All Natural Sleep Aid, Amazing Formulas Sleeping Formula, Amazing Nutrition Melatonin 10 mg, American Biosciences SLEEPSolve 24/7 Tablets, Bach Original Flower Remedies Rescue Sleep Liquid Melts, Bach Original Flower Remedies Rescue Sleep Spray, Bell Lifestyle Master Herbalist Series Sound Sleep #23, Berry Sleepy, Boiron Quietude Quick Dissolving Tablets, Botanic Choice Homeopathic Sleep Formula, Botanic Choice Melatonin Orange-Flavored Lozenges, Botanic Choice Restal, Buried Treasure Sleep Complete, California Gold Nutrition Targeted Support Sleep 101, California Xtracts G’Night Sleep Formula, Cenegenics Rest Assured Capsules, Christopher’s Original Formulas Slumber, Country Life 5-HTP, Country Life Melatonin 1 mg, Country Life Melatonin 3 mg, CTD Labs Noxitropin PM Sleep Aid Fruit Punch, DaVinci Laboratories Liposomal Melatonin Spray, Doctor’s Best 5-HTP, Doctor’s Best L-Tryptophan 500 mg, Doctor’s Best Melatonin 5 mg, Dragon Herbs Lights Out, Dream Water Zero Calorie Sleep & Relaxation Shot Snoozeberry, Earth’s Bounty Sleep Perfect, Eclectic Institute Valerian Passion Flower, Emerald Laboratories Sleep Health, Emergen-C Emergen-zzzz Nighttime Sleep Aid with Melatonin Mellow Berry, Enzymatic Therapy Fatigued to Fantastic, Enzymatic Therapy Sleep Tonight Drops, Enzymatic Therapy Sleep Tonight Tablets, Flora Sleep Essence, FutureBiotics Relax & Sleep, Gaia Herbs RapidRelief Sound Sleep, Gaia Herbs Sleep & Relax Caffeine-Free Tea Bags, Gaia Herbs SleepThru Liquid Phyto-Caps, Health King Quality Sleep Herb Tea, Herb Pharm Relaxing Sleep, Herbs Etc. Deep Sleep Alcohol-Free Softgels, Hyland’s Calms Forte Sleep Aid, Hyland’s Calms Nerve Tension and Sleeplessness Relief Tablets, InstaSleep Sleep Aid, Irwin Naturals Power to Sleep PM, Irwin Naturals Power to Sleep PM Melatonin-Free, Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP Capsules, Jarrow Formulas L-Tryptophan 500 mg Capsules, Jarrow Formulas Melatonin Sustain, Jarrow Formulas Sleep Optimizer Capsules, Jarrow Formulas Theanine 200, Just Potent Melatonin, Kirkman Labs Restless Sleep Herbal Blend, L.A. Naturals Sleep Complex with Valerian & Melatonin, Liddell Homeopathic Insomnia Oral Spray, Life Enhancement Sleep Tight, Life Extension Enhanced Natural Sleep with Melatonin, Life Extension Melatonin 1 mg Tablets, Life Extension Melatonin 6-Hour Timed Release, Life Extension Natural Sleep Melatonin, Life Flo Health Melatonin Body Cream, Luminite Natural Sleep Support Capsules, Mason Natural L-Tryptophan Sleep Formula, Mason Natural Relax & Sleep Tablets, Maxi Health Mel-O-Drop Liquid, MD Products SleepMD, MegaFood Dream Release, Metabolic Maintenance 5-HTP, Midnite PM Drug-Free Sleep Aid, Midnite Sleep Aid Tablets, MRM Melatonin 3 mg, NatraBio Insomnia Relief, Natrol Advanced Melatonin Calm Sleep, Natrol Advanced Sleep Melatonin 10 mg Time-Released Tablets, Natrol Melatonin 1 mg, Natrol Melatonin 10 mg Fast Dissolve Tablets, Natrol Melatonin 2.5 mg Liquid, Natrol Melatonin TR 3 mg, Natrol Sleep’n Restore, Natural Balance Herbal Slumber Melatonin and Valerian Formula, Natural Care SleepFix, Natural Factors 5-HTP, Natural Factors Melatonin, Natural Factors Sleep Relax with Valerian & Hops, Natural Factors Stress Relax Tranquil Sleep Tablets, Natural Vitality Natural Calm Calmful Sleep Wildberry Flavor, Nature Made Max Strength Melatonin Tablets 5 mg, Nature Made Melatonin + 200 mg L-Theanine Softgels, Nature Made Melatonin Gummies, Nature Made Sleep Softgels, Nature Made VitaMelts Sleep Chocolate Mint, Nature’s Answer Slumber, Nature’s Bounty Dual Spectrum Bi-Layer Melatonin Tablets, Nature’s Bounty Maximum Strength Melatonin 10 mg Capsules, Nature’s Bounty Melatonin 1 mg, Nature’s Bounty Melatonin 3 mg, Nature’s Bounty Sleep Complex Gummies, Nature’s Bounty Super Strength Melatonin 5 mg, Nature’s Bounty Valerian Root 450 mg Plus Calming Blend Capsules, Nature’s Lab L-Theanine 200 mg, Nature’s Plus Sleep Assure, Nature’s Trove L-Theanine 200 mg, Nature’s Truth Valerian Root, Nested Naturals Luna Sleep Aid, NeuroScience Inc. Kavinace Ultra PM, New Chapter Zyflamend Nighttime Vegetarian Capsules, New Nordic Melissa Dream Sleep Formula, NoctuRest, NOW Foods 5-HTP, NOW Foods L-Theanine, NOW Foods L-Tryptophan, NOW Foods Melatonin 10 mg, NOW Foods Sleep, NOW Foods Valerian Root, NutraLife Melatonin 5 mg Tablets, Nutricology Melatonin 20 mg, Nutricology Slow Motion Melatonin, Nutriden Advanced Sleep Aid Supplement, Nutrition53 Sleep1, NutritionWorks Sleep Soundly Melatonin 10 mg, Olly Restful Sleep Vitamin, Oregon’s Wild Harvest Sleep Better, ProSupps Crash PM Shredder, Pure Encapsulations 5-HTP, Pure Encapsulations L-Theanine, Pure Encapsulations L-Tryptophan, Pure Encapsulations Melatonin 3 mg, Pure Encapsulations Seditol, Pure Vegan SleepAway, Puritan’s Pride Quick-Dissolving L-Theanine 200 mg, Puritan’s Pride Super Snooze with Melatonin, Puritan’s Pride Super Strength Rapid Release Melatonin, Puritan’s Pride Valerian Root, Quality of Life Pure Balance Serotonin Capsules, Radiance Platinum Melatonin Tablets, Rainbow Light Sleep Z-z-zen, Ridge Crest Herbals DreamOn Natural Sleep Aid, Schiff Knock-Out Melatonin with Theanine and Valerian Tablets, Serenity Natural Sleep Aid and Stress Relief, Siddha Flower Essences Sleep Homeopathic Liquid, Similasan Sleeplessness Relief, Sleep-Max Nature’s Night Time Sleep Aid, Solaray Sleep Blend SP-17, Solgar 5-HTP, Solgar Melatonin 3 mg, Solgar Melatonin 5 mg, Solgar Sweetest Dreams, Somnapure Natural Sleep Aid, Source Naturals Melatonin Serene Night, Source Naturals NightRest with Melatonin Tablets, Source Naturals NutraSleep, Source Naturals Seditol, Source Naturals Vegan True Melatonin, Sundown Naturals 5-HTP, Sundown Naturals Dissolvable Melatonin, Sundown Naturals Melatonin Gummies, Sundown Naturals Valerian Root Capsules, Superior Source Melatonin 5 mg Dissolve Tablets, Traditional Medicinals Organic Nighty Night Caffeine-Free Herbal Tea, Truly Dark Chocolate Melatonin Supplement, Twinlab Melatonin 3 mg Capsules, Vitafusion Beauty Sleep Gummies, Webber Naturals Timed Release Melatonin 5 mg Tablets, Youtheory Sleep, Zenwise Labs Sleep Support

People should be able to sleep like they’re able to get healthcare. This also means making our work environments more conducive to sleep. For optimum productivity, we need around eight hours of sleep, right? But that doesn’t have to be in one go. Maybe I’ll get a little less than that during the night, and then I’ll take a 20-to-30-minute power nap at midday. There’s a siesta for a reason! New Yorkers oftentimes try to pound through with coffee and whatever, but giving in to your natural circadian rhythm during that afternoon lull might be a good thing. We weren’t made to produce for eight hours straight.
Even if you’re exhausted, try to stick to within 30 minutes of your normal bedtime. Going to bed hours earlier than usual may throw your body’s normal rhythm out of whack, says Dr. Emsellem. “Sticking to a routine is key to keeping insomnia at bay. While you may hate being locked into a schedule, your brain likes following a pattern.” Likewise, daytime napping, even if you slept poorly the night before, is also a no-no if you’re prone to insomnia.

This secret was revealed in a 1981 book called "Relax and Win: Championship Performance," but has gained traction online in recent months. It's a meditation method designed specially for soldiers trying to fall asleep in difficult conditions. It's said to work for 96 percent of people after six weeks of practice. Here's how the Independent describes it:
Even a hint of dim light—8 to 10 lux—has been shown to delay the release of nighttime melatonin in humans. The feeblest of bedside lamps pumps out twice as much: anywhere from 20 to 80 lux. A subtly lit living room, where most people reside in the hours before bed, will hum at around 200 lux. Despite being just 1 to 2 percent of the strength of daylight, this ambient level of incandescent home lighting can have 50 percent of the melatonin-suppressing influence within the brain.

You know now that it’s not about the amount of sleep that you get, but the quality of those zzz’s. You can deepen the sleep that you’re already getting with the help of high-tech sleep devices on the market. For a budget buy, a smartphone sleep app like the Sonic Sleep Coach can track your sleep and play audio to cover any disruptive noise. On the higher-end, wearable sleep devices like headbands and rings measure your sleep, and in the case of headbands, increase the number of your slow brain waves. The result? Deeper, more restorative sleep. Learn more about sleep headbands here, and read the Bulletproof review of the OURA Ring sleep tracker.  


One of the key strategies that sleep specialists employ to help patients overcome behaviors that contribute to chronic insomnia is stimulus control therapy. This approach includes tactics such as removing yourself from the bedroom if you can’t fall asleep and not watching television or surfing the internet while you’re in bed. Instead of staring at the clock, get up and do a boring. Only return to bed when you’re sleepy.
Although it's common to have the occasional sleepless night, insomnia is the inability to sleep or excessive wakening in the night that impairs daily functioning. Of natural remedies, three have been shown to be useful, and others have some preliminary but inconclusive evidence. Since chronic lack of sleep may be linked to a number of health problems (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression), it's important to consult your physician and avoid self-treating with alternative medicine. Here are 14 natural remedies to consider:
Ahh, valerian. Relaxing, calming, and downright amazing, if you have trouble sleeping, then get some valerian root. Valerian inhibits the GABA - gamma aminobutryic acid - neurotransmitters that are responsible for sleep. It's this amino acid that dampens nerve activity, causing the brain to become calm and relaxed. Those with insomnia often have reduced GABA levels.
Researchers from a Swiss study published in the journal Nature observed that warm feet and hands were the best predictor of rapid sleep onset. In the study, participants placed a hot water bottle at their feet, which widened the blood vessels on the surface of the skin, thereby increasing heat loss. Shifting blood flow from your core to your extremities cools down your body, working in concert with melatonin.
Treatment issues related to sleep and depression. Thase ME. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 2000, Aug.;61 Suppl 11():0160-6689. Most often, insomnia stems from a combination of factors, including medical and psychological issues, scheduling issues, relationships conflicts, and behavioral factors (poor bedtime routines, physical hyperactivity, watching TV right before bed, etc.).
“This is number one—most of us have this reflex where our cellphone has to be within arm's length, even when we go to bed," says Raj Dasgupta, MD, sleep expert and assistant professor of clinical medicine at Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. "We need to break that habit.” Studies have shown that the blue light generated by electronic devices can delay the onset of sleep. (Here's how spending just one extra minute on your phone before bed can rob you of 60 minutes of sleep.) Turn your phone on silent and keep it on a dresser or far end of the bedside table so you’re not tempted to text, check one last email, or get lost in social media.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, research has shown that mindfulness-based stress reduction, and other relaxation techniques, such as music-assisted relaxation, can be beneficial. Cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) has also been shown to help — a study published in November 2017 in the journal Sleep that followed more than 500 women with insomnia found that CBT was significantly more effective than other treatments, including drugs or even yoga.
Slowed responses and dulled concentration from lack of sleep don't just affect school or sports performance, though. More than half of teens surveyed reported that they have driven a car while drowsy over the past year and 15% said they drove drowsy at least once a week. The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration estimates that more than 100,000 accidents, 40,000 injuries, and 1,500 people are killed in the U.S. every year in crashes caused by drivers who are simply tired. Young people under the age of 25 are far more likely to be involved in drowsy driving crashes.

If you suffer from insomnia, try to stick to a routine at bedtime, and go to bed at the same time every day. Avoid caffeine and nicotine before bedtime, and get plenty of exercise during the day. A dark room free of noise may also help-consider buying a “white noise” device if your bedroom is noisy. If you are having trouble falling asleep, try relaxation techniques like breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga.


Depression and anxiety: Depression is more common in persons with disabilities than in the general population. Also, we know that signs of distress and depression tend to increase as people with disabilities age from young adulthood (18 to 44 years old) into middle age (45 to 64 years old), although we also often see improvement in depression as people age from middle age into older ages (65 years and older). Sleep problems such as difficulty falling asleep and early morning waking are common symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mood problems.

According to the American Sleep Association, one in every three adults experiences occasional insomnia, while another one in 10 has chronic insomnia. While most of us crave a good night’s sleep for the short-term benefit of feeling more alert, we also realize that sleep is crucial to our health. During those nightly hours of shut-eye, our bodies experience a prolonged period of repair and renewal that can improve everything from treatment of chronic conditions to weight management.
This technique acts like a natural tranquilizer by slowing down your heart rate. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, “Unlike sleep medications, which often lose effectiveness over time, four-seven-eight breathing is subtle at first but gains power with practice.” In other words, the more you do it, the better it works. So, what are you waiting for?
See a Doctor. While lifestyle changes are the first line of treatment for sleeplessness, if you’re still not getting enough rest after improving your bedtime routine and trying a variety of relaxation strategies, a physician may be able to help determine if your sleeplessness is merely a symptom of another health concern, and prescribe appropriate treatment.
×