If you've ever found yourself lying in bed not able to sleep, you'll know it's a pretty frustrating experience. The longer you lie awake, the more anxious you get that you won't ever fall asleep, and as your brain starts to whirr faster and faster, that elusive state of slumber moves further and further away. You start counting sheep but soon end up counting how few hours are left before you've got to get up again anyway.
Of course, when things get really bad, it's important you seek help from your general practitioner, but it could be worth trying some natural remedies first. We know, we know—we were just as skeptical as you probably are, but having put these to the test, we can attest to the fact that they actually do work.
From the perfect sleep-inducing bath to a tea that will have you snoozing in no time, here are four natural sleep aids that will send you drifting off into a deep slumber in no time at all.
Try a Pillow Mist
Before you raise a skeptical eyebrow, hear us out. Aromatherapy is some powerful stuff for all manner of ailments, not least for curing a lack of sleep. Research has shown that substances like lavender and chamomile are brilliant at massaging a busy mind into relaxation and helping you switch off. The easiest way to incorporate them into your nighttime routine is via a pillow spray.
We've waxed lyrical multiple times on how pillow mists have helped each and every one of the Byrdie editors fall asleep quicker (and stay like that longer), and This Works is like the crème de la crème of all sprays. Around an hour before bedtime, mist this all over your pillows and sheets, and when you lay down your head, its soothing blend of essential oils will act like a lullaby for the brain.
Supplement Your Melatonin Levels
Melatonin is a substance found naturally in the body that helps regulate your sleep and wake cycles, and if you're having trouble getting some shut-eye, it could be because your melatonin levels are off-kilter. As melatonin's production is controlled by light, the winter months can make the body produce more of it at odd times throughout the day, and if it doesn't make enough during the early evening, it can lead to trouble sleeping.
You'll find melatonin in vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, and cucumber as well as grains like rice and rolled oats, but to really make a difference, you'll need to invest in a supplement like Aquaslice Melatonin Spray.
Run a Bath
A bath can work wonders on an overactive brain and tired body. Not only will the warm water relax muscular tension and make your body feel at ease, but it can also help trigger your body's sleep signals. "While you're in the tub, your core body temperature will rise, and then it will quickly drop when you get out. That decrease in temperature signals the brain to release melatonin," sleep expert Michael Breus, Ph.D., told Prevention.com.
You'll also want to maximize the sleepy vibes of your bath by pouring in handfuls of bath oils and salts. Try our favorite relaxing blend of Ren Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil ($48) (rose essential oil's famed for its antidepressant qualities, so it will lift any anxiety that is preventing sleep) as well as a spoonful of L'Occitane Relaxing Bath Salts.
Have a Cup of Tea
It's possibly one of the most overused clichés that Brits turn to tea in times of need, but in the case of lost sleep, it could really help. You'll want to pass on the Tetley, however, as the caffeine will have the opposite of the desired effect, and instead, look for something herbal.
Yogi Tea Bedtime tea ($8) is based on Ayurvedic principles and harnesses the naturally soothing qualities of chamomile, fennel and valerian root—a rather powerful sedative that has been used for centuries.