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Sleep cycles are controlled by a hormone called melatonin, which is secreted by the pituitary gland at nighttime when the body needs to get some rest. Several factors can affect the release of this sleep hormone, some of which are anxiety, age, too little exposure to sunlight during the day, and too much exposure to artificial light at night. Sleep patterns are also affected by stress, loud noises, late dinners, and alcohol intake.

Irregular and insufficient sleep can lead to a deterioration of concentration, physical performance, and over-all health. There are, however, natural ways to remedy and restore normal sleep patterns.

Herbal Teas

Several medicinal teas are known for their relaxing and sleep-inducing properties. One or a combination of the following herbs added to boiling water, steeped for 15 minutes, and strained, will provide the desired sedative effect: lemon-balm leaves, valerian root, passion flower, St. John’s wort, and hop cones.

Aromatherapy

By sewing up small fragrant linen sachets filled with relaxing herbs like lavender, lemon-balm, or valerian root, and tucking them under your pillow covers, you can enjoy the benefits of sound sleep.

The smell of lavender-based aromatic candles and oils can also promote relaxation and help induce sleep.

Warm Baths

Soaking a warm evening baths enhanced with the relaxing effects of the essential extracts of lavender, hops, and valerian is also a stress-reducing way to a good night’s sleep.

Other Sleep Inducers

Melatonin supplements are available commercially but creating a relaxing and sleep-inducing environment is still the best natural remedy for sleep disorders. Reduce light, noise, and other “awakening” stimuli (like computers and TV) when it’s time to get some sleep. Engage in relaxing activities like warm baths and soft music just before bedtime. Avoid eating big dinners or midnight snacks because they will tend to keep you awake.