Stop popping pills and counting sheep, FOFs. Here are 9 unconventional aids for catching zzz’s.
1. Teas and Tinctures with Passion flower: Decaffeinated herbal tea has long been a fix for sleeplessness, but natural product companies have become savvier to the distinct needs of menopausal and post-menopausal women. Many have created blends of tea including Passion flower, a plant recently show to help women with menopausal symptoms such as aches and cramps, fall asleep.
Try: Jade and Pearl Sleepy Time Special
2. Peanut butter: The ubiquitous nutty spread is high in tryptophan, an amino acid with soporific effects. For best results, eat it on whole-wheat toast, another sleep-inducing food, an hour before bedtime (that’s how long it takes for the tryptophan to reach your brain).
Try: One of ten varieties such as “Mighty Maple” or “White Chocolate Wonderful,” from Peanut Butter and Co.
3. Chinese herbs: Herbal remedies for insomnia have been used in China for generations. They have become widely available, more recently in the United States in the form of herbal packs and tinctures. The blends differ vastly but can include sleep-inducing roots, seeds, oils and extracts from herbs commonly found in Asia such as Poria (Fu Ling), Spiny Jujube (Suan Zao Ren) and Biota Seed (Bai Zi Ren).
Try: iSleep Herb Pac
4. Cooling sleepwear: Many nightwear companies have caught heat for neglecting the needs of FOFs experiencing menopausal night sweats. But some are listening; they’ve swapped cotton for micro-fiber fabrics that wick away perspiration and are quick drying. So…cool!
Try: Cool-jams Sleepwear
5. Bedtime Bars: A new line of NightFood Bars claims to help you fall asleep, and they just might be on to something. According to the National Sleep Foundation, eating a balance of protein and carbs before bed can actually help you sleep better. The Night Food bars boast a combo of protein (soy) and carbs (oats, cookie crumbs, flour) as well as the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin.
Try: NightFood Bars
6. Cherry juice: Just this year, a study conducted by three universities found that cherry juice could reduce insomnia in older adults. Researchers believe the high content of melatonin in cherries plays a role in inducing sleep at night and wakefulness during the day.
Try: R.W. Knudsen Organic Just Tart Cherry juice
7. An acupressure mat: Acupressure mats, with their rows of plastic or rubber “spikes,” may sound and look like torture devices, but they have actually been reported to have sleep-inducing effects. The thousands of small points on the mat stimulate specific reflex points and release blocked energy. This in turn can ease tense muscles and create deep mental and physical relaxation.
8. A sleep shot: We have energy drinks galore, but what about an anti-energy shooter? A few companies have developed relaxation shots; mini-beverages sans caffeine and sugar that promise to help you doze off. Different brands contain different ingredients, but many rely on natural substances such as chamomile, Ecklonia Cava, Valerian root extract or melatonin, a hormone known to induce sleep.
9. A smartphone app: A cell phone and uninterrupted sleep don’t usually go hand in hand, but a new smartphone app works through Bluetooth sensor technology to track your sleeping habits. A wristband measures body movement during sleep to find your ideal wake time. The app will set your alarm to this time so you awake feeling naturally alert and refreshed. It also will analyze your sleep cycle to determine your quality of sleep each night and the number of nightly awakenings.
Try: Wakemate Smartphone App