We all need sleep, but relying on drugs to help you sleep is a dangerous road. Many of these drugs can become habit-forming over time, requiring more of the drug to get the same amount of rest. Getting adequate rest is crucial, but there are better ways to get it. There are natural remedies for sleep that are much better for your body and brain.

A few natural remedies for sleep — suggestions to get a better night’s sleep the natural way.

Reduce stress before bed

This is one of the most important ways. If you have too much stress in your life, especially before bed, you will have difficulty falling asleep. Don’t try to leap from activity to bedtime. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to wind down before you get into bed. That 30 minutes shouldn’t be spent looking at screens either, for reasons we’ll discuss below. Read a book or just enjoy the quiet.

You should also avoid any stimulant drugs before bed as well. Caffeine should be avoided for several hours prior to sleep. Nicotine can also have a stimulating effect. If you’re a regular user of these substances, you may wish to cut back on your intake and see if that helps your sleep cycles.

Make your room right

Humans evolved sleep in the dark or with firelight and cool temperatures. Your bedroom should reflect these conditions as much as possible. Try to make your room as dark as you can by using blackout curtains. This includes covering up LED lights on devices in your room. Blue light is especially bad for sleep because it mimics being out in the daytime.

If it is too hot, lower your AC temperature. You may have to experiment to find the right setting, but it’s usually in the upper 60s for most people for optimum sleep.

Related: Sleeping Habits That Can Negatively Impact Your Health

Adjust your bedding

If your bedding is causing you pain or you have arthritis, you may need to speak with a mattress specialist to find a mattress and pillow set that works with your body.

Most insomniacs aren’t struggling with pain signals, so you may need expert advice. Your doctor may also have some good recommendations for relieving pain at night without resorting to drugs.

You may need pillows under your knees or lower back to prop up joints that don’t like to lay flat anymore, or arthritic pressure wraps to keep inflamed joints from complaining.

One of favorite natural remedies for sleep

Drink honey and ACV before bed

This is a drink that we’ve tried ourselves and was recommended in Tim Ferriss’ book Four Hour Body. Mix one tablespoon of honey, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and a cup of warm water.

Drink it 30 minutes before bed. This is one of the safest and most reliable soporifics we’ve tried. It doesn’t taste half bad either! Why does it work? It has to do with how the body processes these substances.

Their metabolites can be turned into serotonin and melatonin, two hormones that help regulate sleep. 

Get a vaporizer

For people who live in areas where medical or recreational cannabis are legal, vaporizing cannabis products can also help you to fall asleep. Certain strains, notably indica strains high in CBD, promote drowsiness and relaxation. You don’t want a strain with a lot of THC, as that causes the high feeling and can keep some people awake.

Your doctor or local dispensary should have recommendations on dosage and strain types. Dry herb vaporizer is the best method for insomnia because it delivers the highest amount of cannabinoids the fastest and safest way. Sleep can come in as little as 15 minutes!

Try valerian

Valerian root or tea has been used to help people reduce anxiety and go to sleep for centuries and many people swear by it. Science is unsure about exactly why it works but there is plenty of evidence that it does. Here are some recommended dosages from Healthline.com

Pills: 300-600 mg or

Tea: 2-3g valerian root in 1 c of boiling water for 10-15 minutes

Drink 30 minutes – 2 hours before bed

Valerian can take up to two weeks before significant effects are seen. It also shouldn’t be taken more than a month without talking to your doctor. DO NOT mix valerian with other sleep drugs or alcohol to avoid a dangerous reaction.

If you are struggling to get your zzzs, don’t reach for the barbiturates. Reach for one of these natural remedies for sleep to find a natural, non-habit-forming way of falling asleep fast. Your brain and body will thank you!