By: Jill Ettinger
You could be sleeping better. Unless you’re living deep inside a well-oxygenated forest full of birds singing and chirping in lullaby-like harmony, or maybe on a deserted island with nothing but the sound of lapping waves to lull you to your slumber, you could be sleeping better. No judgment, of course.
The fact remains: most people tethered to modernity are in desperate need of natural ways to fall asleep and stay asleep. For those of you who are as obsessed with your Mab Tabs as we are, you probably already know that your blend can be specifically crafted to help you catch and keep more valuable Zs.
We can (and should) blame our sleepless nights on our smartphones, computers, the (ahem) art of binge-watching. But the truth is a bit more complicated. Sleeping isn’t easy. We’re intelligent, complicated creatures with lots to think about. We eat weird food or drink strange fermented things. We stress, we obsess, we get distracted—and before we know it, we’re wide awake on our sleep number mattresses counting so many sheep that even they get tired and lay down to nap.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. And we don’t have to ply ourselves with sleep drugs that keep us feeling groggy and tired the next day. There are plenty of natural ways to fall asleep fast and stay asleep. Here are five.
The fact that melatonin is a hormone can scare some people off. We associate taking hormones with extreme athleticism or menopause. But this one is different. Every single body produces melatonin. It’s made in the pineal gland. It regulates sleep. But here’s the thing: most of us don’t make enough of it anymore. Blue light exposure, stress, even more stress—it’s all enough to send our body’s natural rhythm out of whack. Melatonin supplements are not only an easy and effective way to help the sleep cycle, but they won’t leave you feeling groggy the next day. Bonus: melatonin is one of the least expensive sleep aids on the market.
This member of the daisy family is a veritable cure-all. From nausea to nerves, chamomile is the sunglasses emoji of the herbal kingdom. And its benefits extend to improved sleep. Researchers have looked at how it works in the brain. “Its calming effects may be attributed to an antioxidant called apigenin, which is found in abundance in chamomile tea,” says Healthline. “Apigenin binds to specific receptors in your brain that may decrease anxiety and initiate sleep.” Not only can it help you relax and fall asleep faster, but it may also help you to stay asleep longer. And dream of fields of flowers, while you’re at it.
Fun fact: Hops is code for beer. Yes, alcohol may be a social lubricant and a way to take the edge off, but for those who enjoy it in moderation, beer may be your BFF for those sleepless nights. That’s because hops—the fruity, floral flavor that’s intensified in IPAs and other ales—is a known sleep aid. One 16-ounce bottle of a hoppy IPA should do you wonders, especially if you don’t regularly consume too much alcohol. But that’s caloric, and the alcohol itself may actually negate the effects of the hops. Word to the wise: you can get hops by itself as a tincture or supplement. You can even steep up a cup of hops tea (do note, however, that it’s going to taste like warm beer). And if there are nights when nothing else can do the trick quite like a cold beer, we won’t judge.
If you’re not starting your day with oat milk in your coffee yet, give it a go as soon as you can. You won’t be disappointed. But did you know you can end your day with oats, too? And that may actually help you eliminate the need for the caffeine jolt in the morning altogether. Just think of how much more sleep you’ll get instead of standing in the coffee queue! Oats raise blood sugar, which can make you feel sleepy. And they’re a natural source of melatonin, too. Make yourself a chamomile latte with oat milk—or even go for a late-night bowl of oatmeal before you climb into bed. All you’ll be dreaming about is fluffy white soft things. You’re welcome.
Did you just groan? You knew this was going to be on the list though, right? It’s why it’s the last one—because it’s the most important (don’t shoot the messenger). If you want to sleep sooner, better, and longer, you need to move your body. Every day. Unglue yourself from the computer. Pause the Netflix, and go connect to your body in the way only exercise allows. Countless studies show the benefits to heart health, metabolism, mood, and yes, sleep. The more you work your body, the better it’s going to self-regulate in all these areas, and you’ll have nothing to stress or obsess about as you drift off into that pure and restorative dreamland.
If you’re in need of a good night’s sleep, get your custom Mab Tab today.
Jill Ettinger is an LA-based writer and editor focused on vegan and cruelty-free living.