If you've ever been exhausted after a busy day, only to climb into bed and have your thoughts start racing, leading to a night of tossing and turning, you can no doubt relate to people who are searching for ways to improve their sleep. If you want to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer without disturbance, there are several natural remedies you can try.

Nix Electronics Before Bedtime to Avoid Melatonin Disruption

Your body functions on a 24-hour cycle or internal clock system known as "circadian rhythm." Humans aren't the only ones equipped with such rhythms. Plants and animals also have similar systems. Melatonin is a hormone that functions within your circadian rhythm to facilitate sleep. Certain things can disrupt the function of Melatonin in your body. One of those things is blue light, which is emitted through the screens of many types of electronic devices. Long ago, when there was only natural light or candles, there were fewer ways to disrupt a person's circadian rhythm because after the sun went down, it was mostly dark for the rest of the night. If you hope to improve your sleep patterns, one natural way to do so is to stop using electronics several hours before going to bed at night and to make your bedroom a technology-free zone to avoid blinking lights and noises throughout the night. 

Try Sipping Herbal Tea for Better Sleep

You'll definitely want to avoid caffeine before bedtime if your goal is to induce restful, uninterrupted sleep. Certain herbal teas, on the other hand, are known for promoting relaxation and helping to improve sleep patterns. Perhaps you've brewed a cup of chamomile tea for a child or other loved one who wasn't feeling well at the time. Chamomile is an herb that contains Apigenin, which is a naturally occurring chemical compound that has been shown to act as a tranquilizer in the body. Other teas you can drink to trade in restless nights of insomnia for a good night's sleep include lavender, lemon balm, and Valerian root. The latter has been used since ancient times to help reduce stress, alleviate headache pain and stop the heart from racing, which are all underlying issues that can keep you from sleeping well. As with any use of herbs, it's important to research first because not all herbs are safe to use for all people at any time, such as children or women who are pregnant. 

Essential Oils Are a Good Option, Especially If You Don't Like Tea

If you're just not the type of person who is going to drink a cup of tea each evening, you might want to try using essential oils, instead. You can keep a diffuser near your bed to send a mist of calming aroma into the air around you or you can learn to use a particular oil topically. According to the American Sleep Association, when essential oils are rubbed into the body, they affect the limbic system, which is the part of your brain that controls your emotions. If you're feeling stressed, worried, afraid, upset, angry, etc., your body can't do what it needs to do to sleep. Using quality essential oils such as lavender, jasmine, frankincense, or clary sage (among others) may have sedative and calming effects that help you fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Sleep Like a Baby with Calming Music or White Noise

Have you ever enjoyed a mid-day nap near a screen in a window while a gentle rain falls outside? Soft background noise is called "white noise," and it is soothing because it doesn't evoke startling emotions or cause you to have to think or focus on a specific thing. You hear it without focusing on the fact that you're hearing it. It calms you. There are white noise devices that you can use to create sounds of a tropical rain forest or waves gently crashing on a shore, etc., to lull you to sleep. Listening to music before going to bed is another natural way to help improve sleep, as long as you choose the style of music carefully. It's not a good time for your favorite heavy metal band! Instead, you might try listening to instrumental music featuring stringed instruments or a recording of a Hapi drum, which is an Asian percussion instrument that is tapped with the fingers to produce soft, soothing tones that sound similar to a xylophone. 

Exercise is a Natural Way to Improve Sleep

You may have been told never to exercise before bedtime because it's counterproductive to sleep. A medical director for Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep says otherwise. Studies show that moderate exercise about an hour or so before going to bed increases slow-wave sleep. This is the deep level of sleep you need for your body to fully rest and rejuvenate itself. If you've been having trouble sleeping and don't feel rested and refreshed when you wake up in the morning, you might want to try one or more of these ideas for natural ways to improve sleep. As for oils and herbs, there is evidence that many kinds have other health effects on the body. Not only might you get better quality of sleep but you can strengthen your immune system at the same time!