Natural insomnia cures

The everyday pressures of work and family life can leave many of us feeling like there aren't enough hours in the day, let alone time to enjoy eight hours of sleep a night. If you struggle to drift off, or find yourself waking in the night, there are alternatives to over-the-counter sleeping tablets. As well as gentle yoga stretches, Thai Chi, breathing exercises and meditation, these natural remedies are believed to help...

Flower remedy
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Dr. Bach Rescue Night
Many of us turn to Dr. Bach Flower Rescue Remedy in times of stress or upset or have used a flower essence for a particular health problem. If you have difficulty dropping off and can't seem to wind down from the day, there's Rescue Night. It contains a blend of six flower essences including white chestnut, which has traditionally been used to help the mind switch off unwanted, repetitive thoughts.

One of the best known and most widely used remedies for insomnia, valerian has been shown to help people drop off and improve the overall quality of deep sleep. Most effective when used over a longer period of time, a dose of 200 to 800 milligrams is recommended before bed. If you're one of the 10 per cent who feel energised rather than relaxed after taking it, take it during the day rather than at night.

You don't have to be a beer drinker to benefit from the calming effects of hops. The hop extract is widely used to help relieve anxiety and acts as a mild sedative, helping you to drift off to sleep. Try taking 30 to 120 milligrams before turning in for the night.

Lavender essential oil
Lavender boasts a long list of healing properties. As well as helping to heal burns, it has been shown to alleviate headaches and aid sleep. Essence of lavender is found in a variety of products promoting sleep, from bubble bath, gels and plug-ins to pillow sprays. For a cheaper option, add a few sprigs to your bath or pillow, or dab a little of the essential oil around your bed.

L-theanine in green tea
Green tea is widely known for its health-boosting properties. One of the magic ingredients is L-theanine, an amino acid which helps maintain a calm alertness by day and promotes deep sleep at night. Although drinking green tea is good for you, it doesn't contain enough of the amino acid to significantly improve your sleep. Instead, try taking 50 to 200 milligrams of pure L-theanine before bed.

Can you recommend a good natural cure for insomnia? Leave a comment below...