20 Moms Share Their Favorite Natural Sleep Aid

Maressa Brown | Dec 17, 2018 Healthy Living
20 Moms Share Their Favorite Natural Sleep Aid
Image: iStock.com/Geber86

woman sleeping

No matter what stage of the game parents are in, getting enough rest is a very real struggle. And merely being a woman sets moms up for even more of an uphill battle when it comes to falling and staying asleep. One scientific explanation for this: A study from McGill University involved 15 men and 11 women and involved the “cat nap” paradigm, in which the lights were lowered and raised so that the participants slept for an hour and rose for an hour. The researchers measured levels of melatonin, the central sleep hormone, as well as wakefulness and sleepiness. And they also made sure to note where the female participants were in their reproductive cycle, as hormones play a role in sleep quality. 

The result: Women's sleep cycles were different than men's in that their sleepiness tended to set in earlier and their nighttime alertness was lower than men's. The researchers' conclusion explains why women might have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. 

Sure, this is just one rationale for moms' sleep struggles. A bevy of other variables play a role, too -- from running the kids' bedtime routine to being up late on a laptop for work, not to mention breastfeeding and a variety of potential hormonal fluctuations. All in all, although 40 million American men and women suffer from sleep disorders, the National Sleep Foundation says that sleep problems affect more women than men. 

The good news, though, is that there are plenty of natural, truly effective sleep aids that moms say give them a bit of extra support when it comes to winding down and drifting off to snoozey land. 

Here are 20 things -- such as completely free exercises and truly enjoyable activities, apps, podcasts, and herbal or homeopathic products -- that moms swear by. 

  • Reading

    woman reading

    "I never fall asleep without a book in my hands -- and never have long as I can remember!" -- Lorraine D, Brooklyn, New York

  • Taking a Homeopathic Remedy


    "I love Bach’s Flower Essence Sleep Aid Liquid Melts homeopathic remedy!" -- Helene C, Bergen county, New Jersey

  • Taking Melatonin

    woman looking at smartphone screen

    "I use a melatonin supplement. This mama needs her sleep!!!" -- Billie S, Los Angeles

  • Drinking Ice Water with Lemon

    ice water

    "Ice cold lemon water! I like to hydrate hard before bed." -- Christine C, Riverdale, New Jersey

  • Listening to a Bedtime Story for Grown-Ups


    "I listen to the Sleep With Me podcast [which is like a bedtime story for adults]." -- Jill B, Oneonta, New York

  • Taking a Hot, Steamy Shower

    shower steamy

    "A nice hot shower! One where the steam fills the whole bathroom!" -- Stacey M, Illinois

  • Applying a Sleep Mask

    woman applying mask

    "I love applying a sleep mask. It's instantly relaxing." -- Kelly K, Los Angeles

  • Supplementing With Magnesium 


    "I love taking Natural Calm to help relax my whole body, my muscles, and my thoughts. It gives me a great night’s sleep without making me drowsy in the morning." -- Caitlin D, Lake Wylie, South Carolina 

  • Getting Intimate With a Partner

    hands intertwined

    "I super-prioritize sex in my relationship. ... After sex, my sleep quality is better. I know that it sounds like the most obnoxious humble brag in the entire world. I will also not hesitate to use a toy by myself if need be. I find it to be a great way to stop the running list of 'I need to remember to do that, did I forget that,' that keeps me up at night. Getting myself into my body keeps me out of my head and lets me sleep." -- Alex C, Chicago

  • Running an Aromatherapy Diffuser

    aromatherapy diffuser

    "Using an aromatherapy essential oil diffuser helps. I run lavender." -- Christine C, Riverdale, New Jersey

  • Doing a Breathing Exercise

    woman sleeping

    "I like the 4-7-8 breathing technique [pioneered by Harvard-trained Dr. Andrew Weill]." -- Jordanna K, UK 

  • Snuggling With a Warmed-Up Teddy Bear

    teddy bear

    "I put a 'sleepytime' essential oil on a warmed up teddy bear for snuggles!" -- Amy B, South Carolina

  • Listening to ASMR Videos 


    "I’ve been listening to ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos on YouTube almost every night for many years. They help me turn my brain right off. The only problem now is having a baby who sleeps erratically. I don’t even want to let myself relax some nights!" -- Toni T, Tallahassee, Florida

  • Warming Up Jammies

    woman starting dryer

    "I pop my pajamas in the dryer so they are nice and warm. It helps me fall asleep fast!" -- Stacey M, Illinois

  • Listening to an Audio Book

    woman listening to audio book

    "The Dr. Seuss Sleep Book! Especially the audio book. I haven't heard the end in years." -- Beth H, Salt Lake City

  • Having Sex in a Warm Shower 


    "It's soothing, kills two birds with one stone, and is calming AF. A relaxing shower and some 'D' from your husband equals one happy mama who's ready for bed." -- Tanvier P, Buffalo, New York

  • Spritzing a Pillow Mist


    "I love the Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy SLEEP Pillow Mist!" -- Caitlin C, Butler County, Ohio

  • Using a Meditation App

    woman meditating
    iStock.com/katleho Seisa

    "I use the Calm app for meditations. I do a 10-minute one every night, light off, in sleeping position. And rarely do I make it to the end of the meditation. There are lots of free meditation options out there too!" -- Melissa P, Rochester, New York

  • Enjoying Solo Sex

    woman happy in bed

    "If I'm having a hard time falling asleep, I find a quick orgasm -- usually with my Lelo vibrator or La Wand Petite for expediency -- gets me very relaxed." -- Christina P, Seattle

  • Sipping a Mug of Tea

    woman sipping from a mug

    "We are big fans of Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time teas. I like the vanilla. It knocks my husband right out when he can't sleep." -- Ragon D, Los Angeles