Sleep Aids From Your Kitchen, Garden and Bedroom

To help you get a better night's sleep, try the following:

  • Warm Milk and Cookies. The milk contains an amino acid known as tryptophan, which raises levels of the brain chemical serotonin - nature's own powerful relaxant. The cookies are carbohydrates, which can also help make you sleepy. There's also something to be said for the relaxing effects of comfort goodies like cookies and milk. One caveat: If you suffer from RLS - restless leg syndrome - skip the cookies. A high-carb snack could encourage this problem and may keep you from sleeping.
  • Lavender Pillows. Lavender is one of the most relaxing herbs you can find. Dusting pillows with lavender powder or sprinkling some lavender herb inside your pillowcase can do wonders for helping you relax and gently fall asleep. You can even find a lavender-scented linen spray for sheets and pillowcases. Do, however, choose only products scented with English or French lavender. The Spanish variety can be stimulating and may keep you up all night.
  • Chamomile Tea. This relaxing beverage not only helps your body to feel warm and calm all over, it has particularly good effects on your digestive system, helping to ease gastric complaints and heartburn associated with pregnancy. Chamomile is also one of the few herbs deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration for ingestion during pregnancy.
  • Sex. It may not be the first thing on your mind, but sex can be a great way to relax your body - not to mention distract your mind - and help you fall asleep naturally.

Important note: If you have ragweed allergy or hayfever, you might be allergic to chamomile. To test yourself, hold tea in your mouth for thirty seconds and spit it out; if your tongue or cheeks feel itchy or strange, it could be an allery.