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This post is very similar to one of the first posts I ever made on this blog: How to Prevent Jet Lag the Natural Way. As a flight attendant, I always have different report times. Sometimes I have to wake up at 4am to work. Other times I don’t have to be at the airport until 10pm if I’m working a red-eye flight. With these 7 steps, I have learned natural ways to help myself fall asleep when I don’t have a normal sleep schedule.
[Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. All of my advice is not intended to replace medical advice. It is always best to talk to a doctor before taking any new vitamins or supplements]
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Step 1: Get Comfy
Put on some comfy pajamas or fuzzy socks! I can’t get comfortable with out some fuzzy socks.
These pants are amazing for lounging around the house and can be used as pajamas or you can wear them out! They’re perfect as pajamas because they’re long but very airy so you don’t get too hot at night.
Step 2: Turn Down the Temperature
According to the National Sleep Foundation, between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 – 19.5 degrees Celsius) is the suggested temperature for optimal sleep.
Step 3: Use Essential Oils
This is the exact essential oil diffuser I own:
For layovers, I make my own essential oil mist that I spray on my bed to help me fall asleep.
I use these bottles:
I usually mix lavender and jasmine essential oils with water and shake it before I spray. I also use a blend called Dreamy Sleep.
Step 4: Take Magnesium Supplements
Most people are actually deficient in magnesium. There are so many symptoms of a magnesium deficiency, which can include anxiety, depression, insomnia, and sleep disturbances- all which can obviously lead to an inability to fall asleep. Magnesium binds to receptors in the brain and helps activate neurotransmitters that help calm the body and mind.
When I’m home I drink this magnesium supplement, mixed in warm water:
When I’m traveling, I bring magnesium supplements:
Step 5: Drink Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea helps calm the body and induce sleepiness by relaxing blood vessels. Some people claim chamomile tea works better than prescription medications for anxiety and sleep. This is possibly because a certain compound in chamomile binds to the same receptors in the brain as a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, the types of medication often prescription for anxiety and sleep (Xanax and Valium are benzodiazepines).
Step 6: Listen to White Noise
I always sleep listening to white noise. White noise helps drown out sounds that could prevent you from falling asleep. When I’m traveling, I use the app Rain Rain. This app has all different types of white noise sounds to choose from. I personally use the “forest rain” sound every night.
For your home, the Echo Dot with Alexa has really good white noise options. For example, say “Alexa, play Thunderstorm”
You can also buy a sound machine – this one is easy to take with you anywhere:
Step 7: Take Melatonin
Lastly, when you’re in bed and getting ready to fall asleep – you can take a melatonin supplement. Melatonin is the hormone that guides the sleep-wake cycle in your body. The body starts to naturally produce melatonin when the sun goes down- or when it’s dark. Artificial indoor light can prevent the release of melatonin, that’s why it’s important to sleep in complete darkness and not look at screens, like your phone, before bed. I only take melatonin supplements if I’ve tried everything else and still can’t sleep because it’s better not to take it too frequently. Also, people tend to take a much bigger dose than they need. Supplements are often sold in 3 milligram tablets, which is much higher than the ideal sleep dose of 0.3 – 1 mg. I never take more than 1 mg at one time. I have in the past and it actually caused me to stay awake longer. Taking more than recommended can also cause you to feel groggy and have trouble waking up the next day. The more you take it, the less effective it becomes – so avoid taking this unless you really need it.