Sleeping on CouchIn the United States, millions of adults struggle with insomnia and other sleep disorders. However, seniors are particularly prone to these issues. The increase in sleep disturbances may be caused by medications, pain, or the stress of retirement.

Whatever the cause, it’s important for seniors to seek out natural sleep aids before turning to prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills.

Seniors are typically much more sensitive to these drugs than their younger counterparts. Sleeping pills also can cause confusion and memory issues, which, in turn, increase the risk of falls, fractures, and car accidents in seniors.

To avoid these serious, life-threatening risks, seniors who are experiencing sleep difficulties should try to correct them with one of these four natural sleep aids.

1. Increase Your Magnesium Intake

Many people who struggle with insomnia are actually deficient in the calming mineral magnesium.

Researchers have identified a connection between higher levels of magnesium and deeper, more consistent sleep.

Some good sources of magnesium include:

  • Goat’s milk kefir

  • Spinach

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Dark chocolate

  • Almonds

  • Dark cherries

  • Tart cherry juice

Magnesium should, ideally, be consumed with calcium to ensure adequate absorption.

2. Upgrade Your Mattress

If your mattress is lumpy or worn out, you will likely have a harder time falling and staying asleep. This is especially true for seniors who have arthritis or other chronic, pain-causing conditions.

Sleep is essential for minimizing inflammation from these conditions and helping the body heal.

If you’re not getting a good amount of sleep, or if your sleep quality is poor, consider upgrading your mattress. If you can’t afford a whole new mattress, you can invest in a high-quality foam topper or wedge instead to ensure pain-free sleep.

3. Use Essential Oils

Certain essential oils have been proven to improve sleep quality without any of the negative reactions that often accompany prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids.

Some oils that are particularly beneficial for people with insomnia are lavender, bergamot, sandalwood, and frankincense.

You can simply inhale the scent of these oils before bed, or diffuse them throughout your bedroom. Some people also like to combine the oils with a “carrier” like coconut oil and then massage them into their skin.

4. Try Herbal Remedies

There are several herbs that have been used for centuries to reduce nervousness and fight insomnia. Two popular options are valerian root and chamomile.

Valerian is often consumed in capsule form, while chamomile is usually sold as a tea (you can also find chamomile extract and topical ointments infused with chamomile). Both herbs are considered safe and effective sleep aids that come without any dangerous side effects.

Chamomile can also be used to treat a variety of other health conditions, including digestive and gastrointestinal disorders, eczema, and the common cold. It even has cancer-fighting properties!

Sometimes, sleeping pills are the only thing that will work to help you get to sleep. However, lots of people turn to these drugs prematurely, without considering the natural options that are available to them.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, give these four natural aids a try -- they might be just what you need to finally get a good night’s rest.