Natural Sleep Aids for Women

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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

Try: Yantra Mats or Spoonk Space Mats
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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.

Try: iChill
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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
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Enter to win Sleepy Time Special tea from Jade and Pearl by commenting below and answering: Have you ever taken sleeping pills?

  • My insomnia is creating great stress on my nervous system resulting in panic attacks and elevated blood pressure. Thanks for the points in the article. Nice things to incorporate. – Anna

  • Pat

    Yes, I take Ambien on occasion. I had to take this after my husband suddenly died a few years ago. I have also used melatonin tables. I would really like to try your tea.

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  • ktpotat

    Bedtime

  • mindy42954

    No, I rarely have trouble falling asleep. When I do I have always taken tylenol.

  • Carol Hanson

    I have slept well all my life. I am 65 years old. I recently developed neuropathy in mg feet due to diabetes which is very painful. In order to sleep I take OTC Midnite Sleep Aid. It always helps and I have no morning grogginess.

    I don’t want to use a prescription sleep medication because I feel it might be too strong and addictive.
    The MidNite works great for me.

  • Soledad

    I’ve been taking sleeping pills for over ten years. I was recently taken off them because my MD said they have not been tested for longterm use. So now I take an anti-depressant that makes me drowsy, although I still have some Ambien left and take that once in a while. I’ve had insomnia for most of my adult life. If I don’t take anything, I don’t sleep at all. I’ve tried chamomile, warm baths, warm milk, etc. and none of that helps. But I’d like to try the tea. I would rather fall asleep naturally, although I don’t remember what that’s like. 🙁

  • Jacque

    Yes I have. They leave me feeling sleepy the next day. Not good.

  • Karen

    I work from 11 pm to 7 am and have taken sleeping pills because it can be so hard for me to go to sleep during the day.

  • Judy

    I’m not a lover of sleep-aids in pill form. If there is an ache or pain at bedtime, I might be inclined to take one pill with the “PM” additive with one that doesn’t. But those do nothing for the “wake-up hot flashes” that come in the night. Sounds like this tea might really help. Thanks!

  • mamavalveeta03

    Have I ever? When do I not!!?? I have had trouble sleeping for about the past 10 years, so I’ve been on Valerian Root, Melatonin, and then went the “Prescription drugs for better living” route with Ambien. My doctor recently told me that she’d feel more comfortable putting me on an anti-anxiety drug, Klonipin, since there are fewer known side effects. All I know is, I have to sleep somehow!

  • susan

    yes, I routinely take melatonin—but I’ve also found that a chunk of cheese helps me sleep,or even a melted cheese sandwich on whole grain bread

  • kay wolter

    Yes I have tried more then 30 pills and teas and everything else that works and zero work today up after taking 3 pills and nothing still up….

  • StillwaterSue

    Yes, not for the purpose of sleep however! The chronic pain center I attend uses a sleeping pill as part of their pain management program.

  • Penny B.

    I am an insomniac. I have taken prescription sleeping pills for more than 20 years. Hate it, but I have to sleep, otherwise I feel awful the next day. But, now, it’s harder to get to sleep than it used to be – taking sleeping pills too long I guess! Occasionally I add a Benedryl to help with the allergies and sleep problem. I’ve tried reading, decaf tea, going to bed later: nothing seems to work! I would LOVE to quit taking them!

  • oldenbks

    Yes. I use them as a last resort, after several nights in a row of waking every hour. Sometimes u just need help

  • Diane P

    Yes I do take sleeping pills, some times Tylonol PM sometimes a perscription, depending on the time of night and what I have to do the next day. I don’t take them all the time, but more often than I would like.
    I did not know about the peanut butter helping with sleep – but strangly enough I have been doing a vegin lifestyle and peanut butter is my staple if I am still hungry before bed, I keep the jar and a spoon in my bedside table. May have more peanut butter instead of pills.

  • Kate

    my mom has sleeping troubles almost 15 years. She takes strong prescription drugs and tried teas as well. Now I hope she will try all presented remedies! Thank you! She is unemployed and I hope we’ll get away from prescription drugs in times without health insurance .

  • Kate

    my mom has sleeping troubles alm

  • Irishstar

    I’m a firm beliver in the power of tea. I would also give the cherry juice a try.

  • Julie O

    Not so far. My favourite night time tipple is Lavender Tea produced in Maui. I cannot recommend enough.

  • Val

    Yes I have taken sleeping pills. I found that they work when I am traveling or in a motel room. I tend to hear everything that is going on in the halls or the rooms next to mine. 1 pill will help me get to sleep and keep me asleep for 8 hrs. Thank goodness.

  • Christine

    I suffer from chronic back pain and ankle neuropathy from a MVA five years ago; I;ve had trouble with pain control as well as sleepless nights. I’ve been sleeping pills until about a month ago, but finally got off; i think they have attibutated to some of my health issues….enough to scare a person off them. I now try relaxation exercises to sleep, now if I just get off the rest of my meds.

  • Carmen

    I have never taken a sleeping pill, I also do not sleep well. The smallest sound can make me be awake. If the furnace kicks in, if the water heater runs, if the dog snores, or if the weather is bad – I am awake. I don’t think I get too much sleep. I average 3-4 hours a day. I guess I need to try the remedies listed to see if they work!!

  • Katie Seamands

    I am a 59 yr old woman, and don’t take a sleep medication. I do wakeup 2-3 times per night, and have sporadic night sweats. I am also unemployed, and find I don’t have the energy I once did. I will try some of the remedies from your list–thank you!

  • Barbara

    I have eaten peanut butter to help me sleep for years…but I really did think it was in my head and only added calories at the end of the day. What a wonderful thing to find that I am not nuts…not pun intended!

    thank you.

    b

    http://www.retireinstyleblog.com

  • linda

    No, I have never taken sleeping pills, even when my husband died. God blessed me with the ability to sleep at night, and since then I have been OK staying alone without fear.

  • Ashley

    I don’t like sleep Meds but I do like Sl
    eepytime tea!

  • Debbie

    I have taken sleep Meds for almost 32 yrs., well before it was really popular. I love their camomile tea for night too. I have tried everything even hypnosis, iPhone apps, tea, melatonin, HTTP, sound machines, sleep tapes, etc. Nothing works, but I have used Sleepy Time for well over 20 yrs or more to help me calm down before bed!

  • jgr

    yes! or i would be in a padded room by now!

  • Janet

    I occasionally take one Tylenol PM (or Advil PM) especially when I’m traveling and sleeping in an unfamiliar environment. Occasionally at home I’ll take one or sometimes even half of one, for example if my husband is out of town for a night or two.

  • cindy quisenberry

    Yes,prescription for ahile put I felt I was needing them so I switched to over the counter,tylenol PM and felt so groggy so I had tried and use sometimes doxy succ(letters so small I can’t see them) lol,once in awhile.

  • Robyn

    OMG yes I did and never again. I guess the sleeping part was ok, but I had nightmare’s . I was sleeping and jumped out of bed because someone or something was chasing me. My bedroom door was closed and I ran smack full speed into it. Needless to say I ended up on the floor waking up. I guess you could say I was “sleep running”. I smashed my toes and could not walk correctly for a month or so. Worse thing I could have ever taken !!!

  • Toni

    I take a prescription medication that I would love to quit. I go a few nights without it now and then but I don’t sleep, so I go back on it. Even with it, I only sleep a few hours… Back when I was young, I slept like a baby!

  • Patti

    Ambien….I had a prescription for awhile when it first came out.

  • Sherry

    When I know I have a particularly long day ahead of me, I take one Advil PM and that helps me sleep thru the night. If I take 2 pills, I’m groggy all morning, but one seems to do the trick without making me groggy. I try not to take them often, but sometimes it’s the only way I can get a good night’s sleep!

  • Sandra Marshall

    I have never taken a sleeping pill. I have drank a cup of calming tea or tried reading to help when I feel restless and cannot sleep.

  • Lynn

    Yes, I have taken and continue to take a prescription sleep pill. I would love to discontinue using a prescription, but I would be awake most of the night tossing and turning without it.

  • beth w.

    i don’t take sleeping pills, but i did take benedryl to help me sleep. then i heard that it could affect my already diminishing memory…so i went cold turkey quitting that. i am falling asleep fine now..or maybe i just can’t remember having trouble….

  • Nell Jean

    About 20 years ago I had eye surgery. After the first eye was done, I was given an old hypnotic sleeping capsule rarely prescribed. It worked very well. When the right eye was done, the drugstore didn’t have the medication, so my brilliant husband instead of taking the prescription to another store let the pharmacist call the doctor for a substitute. He went off to work that night and I dutifully took my Chloral Hydrate and went to bed. I slept less than an hour and woke with some kind of hallucinations of bright colors, frightened to death. That was my last sleeping pill.

    My philosophy is that if I don’t sleep tonight, I will certainly sleep tomorrow night. Rest is not a problem for me.