17 Natural Ways to Beat Insomnia

By Dr. Kneale

It’s 3 a.m.

You’re tossing and turning searching for that magic spot to drift off to peaceful sleep.

No luck.

It’s 5:00 a.m. and you are still wide awake.

7 a.m., your eyes are puffy, your head is foggy and you stumble out of bed feeling heavy and listless.

You head to the coffee shop before work; the only way you know how to push through the day.

As evening approaches, you know it will be another excruciating long night.

How long can you go on like this?

 

Common Symptoms of Insomnia:

  • Heartburn at night
  • Irritable during the day
  • Regularly overwhelmed
  • Anxious
  • Depressed
  • Lack of energy with easy tasks
  • Fatigue even after a good night sleep
  • Forgetfulness
  • Tendency to be accident prone
  • Lack of joy, feeling melancholy
  • Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome (uncomfortable tingling in legs when sitting or resting in the evening, can include arms)

 

 

Tried all the Usual Advice?

Sleeping pills help pass the night by faster, but you still feel unrefreshed.

Going to bed earlier only extended an already long night.

Drinking a couple glasses of wine did absolutely nothing to aid sleep.

Do you feel like there is nothing left to try to improve sleep? That it is hopeless and you are just going to have to live with it?  Don’t give up just yet.

What if I told you that there are some surprising ways to enhance sleep?

You do not have to keep suffering night after night watching the clock go ever so slowly.

 

 

Solution for long lasting sleep night after night

Get a hair test and start on a mineral balancing program to alleviate the root cause of insomnia. Remedies are only helpful temporarily for sleep.

Let me explain.

I have had many clients that could not sleep and it was related to their body chemistry. For instance, copper and mercury toxicity are common and both can cause sleep issues. Another is how your body burns foods (oxidation rate). If it is too fast, you will need a food plan and targeted supplements that help balance your oxidation rate.

Leslie had suffered for many years with insomnia. She had tried everything from sleeping pills to hypnotherapy. Nothing worked. Due to years of lack of sleep she could only work part-time, was sick often and could not make plans ahead of time for fear of being ill.

Leslie’s hair test revealed copper toxicity (copper was 21, normal is 2.5!). She also needed calming minerals (calcium, magnesium and zinc). She started adding healthier food choices, targeted nutritional supplements and coffee enemas. Within two months she noticed she was able to get a good night of sleep every few days. It continued to improve. After 1 year on the program her retest revealed copper had come down to 3 from 21! She was sleeping well most of the time with an occasional bad night.

 

Insomnia and I were close friends for more than 20 years. I was usually awake at 3 a.m. cleaning, reading or doing something to occupy the night hours. Not surprisingly, I just thought insomnia was part of the rest of my life.  My hair test revealed extreme slow oxidation (very low energy), a need for calcium and magnesium and other nutrients to help my adrenals. All heavy metals were considered too low, meaning that I did not have enough energy to detoxify; they just stayed in my body causing health issues. It took about 2 1/2 years, but I eventually slept every night like a baby. No sleeping aids needed. Not one. Ever! I stopped driving my family crazy about my bedtime routine. Over those two years my hair test revealed an improved oxidation rate (how your body burns foods you eat and turns it into energy), improved adrenal and thyroid activity, inflammation indications improved and many heavy metals eliminated!

If you are just starting a mineral balancing program or are not sure if it is for you, see below for a list of remedies.

 

17 Natural Sleep Remedies

1. Near infrared sauna

Why does it work? The infrared sauna inhibits the sympathetic nervous system. This is the system that we refer to as the “fight of flight”. Many people are stuck in the sympathetic mode so their body just does not calm down, making it impossible to fall asleep or even relax. The warm heat can relax the muscles and the nervous system. It helps the body unwind before bed. There are many other health benefits too numerous to list here.

Sauna Fix

For sleep: 20-30 minute sauna session before bed. These recommendations are for adults only. Children under 6 should not use a full near infrared sauna due to immature sweat glands.

2. Take a warm shower or bath

Researchers have found that fluctuations in our internal body temperatures regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle that controls metabolism, sleep and other bodily functions. [1]

Enjoying a warm shower can increase your body temperature slightly. Once you get out of the shower and head to a cooler bedroom, the difference in temperature causes the body to start to cool down which signals the body to relax. The blood vessels dilate allowing the muscles to relax. You begin to feel tired, drowsy, and ready for your comfy pillow. A warm shower of 5 to 10 minutes before bed (at or below hot tub temperature of 104 degrees) is one way to help prepare the body  for sleep.

3. Decrease EMF (electromagnetic field) in your bedroom

For some people (many of my clients with adrenal fatigue), EMF can interfere with going to sleep and staying asleep. EMF’s are wireless energy fields that surround electronic devices. These fields are completely invisible, odorless and tasteless, but harmful.

Devices that give off a strong electromagnetic field:

  • Computer (laptop, desktop)
  • Cell phones
  • Cordless phones
  • Cordless phone base
  • Cell towers
  • Smart meters
  • Wireless routers
  • Electric clock radio
  • Refrigerator
  • Hair dryer

 

What to do?

Keep technology out of your bedroom as best as possible.

Sleep with your head away from the wall facing the center of the room to avoid wiring in walls.

Turn off WiFi when you go to bed, even when you are not using it, the WiFi currents continue to run.

Turn off any wired electrical devices such as T.V., stereos and even your plug in clock. Get a battery operated alarm clock and keep it on the other side of the room away from your head.  Put your cell phone on airplane mode as that will help reduce EMF. Even better, keep it outside of your sleeping area.

Add EMF protective shielding devices  for cell phone, computer and others.

For further information on EMF and protective devices click link: EMF Experts

4. Caffeine

This one is a monster culprit for many people. Caffeine is a stimulant and can disrupt sleep.

You may be someone who cannot have any caffeine otherwise it interferes with sleep. If you suffer with insomnia or any type of sleep issue try stopping caffeine altogether and see what happens.

Maybe you can have caffeine but not after a certain time of the day.

If I drink green tea after 3 p.m.  I pay for it that night!

It does not mean that you cannot partake in your favorite drink; you just might have to enjoy it sooner in the day or get a decaffeinated version.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid all caffeine products after 3 p.m. in the afternoon.

5. Reduce Pain

I realize that this might not be a simple task, but if pain can be lessened, sleep will improve.

Back pain, leg pain, arm pain, any type of pain can make it difficult to sleep or stay asleep.

Here is a list to help reduce pain:

  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture/acupressure
  • Foot reflexology
  • Physical therapy
  • Hellerwork
  • Rolfing
  • Tapping technique
  • Craniosacral
  • Stay hydrated ( drink spring or carbon filtered water)
  • Massage
  • Wobenzyme N (proteolytic enzymes) This one takes about a month to notice
  • Epsom salt bath

6.  Dinner and Snacks

Eating too late can interfere with sleep because your body is working on digestion rather than sleep.

Start paying attention to what you eat for dinner and snacks before bed.

Get a journal and write down what you are eating daily to become aware of any food patterns that are causing sleep problems (may take a couple of weeks or more).

If you are hypoglycemic and wake famished during the night, eating a snack right before bed may help you stay asleep rather than raiding the refrigerator at 2 a.m.

 

7. Reduce Worry and Mental Stress

  • Write it down: sometimes this can help take it off your mind
  • Talk to your significant other, a friend, or a coach/counselor Global Nutritional Healing Counselors
  • Meditation: there are so many online and some are just a few minutes. Free on YouTube: Inner Peace, The Honest Guys, Headspace 100 videos
  • Realize that you only have control of yourself. This one can take a huge burden off of your shoulders.
  • If you are religious you may have some other way of reducing stress such as praying, reading scriptures
  • 5 second rule: This one I give credit to Mel Robbins. When you notice that you are heading down the rabbit hole and going to end up in panic mode,  catch yourself and count down from 5. After the countdown think of something that you are grateful for or something that you are happy about in your personal or business life.
  • Add exercise: walking, biking, light jogging, weight lifting, swimming a few times a week

8. Mattress

I’m embarrassed.

But I have to share my story with you.

I knew I had a bladder infection. I could feel it in my back. Nothing worked and the pain grew to include my kidneys. Standing up straight was painful.  After 2 months I decided to see my doctor. She confirmed no bladder or kidney infection. She then stated “maybe it is your bed.”

It was my bed! Our bed was about 10 years old.  We purchased a new bed and guess what? The back pain miraculously disappeared.

 

 

9. 30 minutes of sunlight daily

Let’s face it,

spending so much more time in-doors, we miss gaining the benefits of the sun.

We obtain better light outdoors even if it is raining, hailing or snowing. Just wear the appropriate clothing and get outside.

Sunlight assists in balancing our circadian rhythm (our internal body clock) by producing melatonin, the sleep hormone.

Do not have 30 minutes?  Go outdoors for a few minutes as every little bit helps.

Live in a place with not many sunny days? Try a day lamp: Happy Light

10. Clean sheets

Washing your bed-sheets once a week can eliminate bacteria, skin cells, and germs that we as humans normally have.

I really do not know why this works. I have many clients report that they feel cleaner or are more excited to go to bed when the sheets are fresh and clean. This may have to do with allergies or the immune system. There is something to it so give it a try and see if it works for you.

11. Sound Machines

These work beautifully if you are a light sleeper. It really does fade out noises from neighbors, storms, hotels, and the night owls in your family.

Some have beach sounds, rain, and calming frequencies.  Here are a few great sound machines:

Sound and Sleep Mini battery operated option

Ultra Portable Sound Machine

Big Red Rooster plug in or battery operated

12. Sleep in separate bedrooms

There is a common myth I want to squash right now. Sleeping in separate bedrooms does not ruin your marriage.

I have clients that have separate sleeping quarters and have a strong, healthy relationship.

Many couples tried for years to make it work. One couple expressed that he liked to stay up late and watch TV. His partner had to have complete silence and needed to go to bed early.

Another couple was struggling with snoring. They tried to have the snorer fall asleep last. It didn’t work and just created more stress for both.

A side note here: loud snoring and/or long pausing between breaths while sleeping are not normal and should be checked by a doctor. It can be a sign of sleep apnea.

13. Calcium and Magnesium

Most people do not get enough calcium and magnesium. These are calming minerals and are easily depleted by stress.

A sign that you are low in calcium and magnesium is that you may be able to fall asleep but you do not stay asleep.  Leg cramps can be a clue that you need magnesium.

William Sears, M.D. writes: “Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.” [2]

Magnesium helps GABA receptors in the brain. GABA receptors help calm the brain and nervous system. Magnesium helps to activate the GABA receptors. Why is that important for sleep? Inactivated GABA receptors can contribute to many sleepless symptoms such as remaining uptight, racing thoughts and muscle cramps.

Good sources of calcium include dairy products (preferably organic or raw), green leafy vegetables, and sardines.

Good sources of magnesium include beans, nuts and seeds (preferably butters as they are easier to digest), and green leafy vegetables.

Avoid magnesium oxide and calcium carbonate as they are not good for helping with sleep. Some affordable trustworthy brands are Solaray, Nature’s Made and Now .

14. Gaba

GABA ( Gamma-Aminobutyric acid ) is an amino acid produced naturally in the brain. It enables the body and mind to relax and fall asleep.  GABA is found naturally in kefir, yogurt, lentils, almonds, fish, citrus, berries, broccoli, spinach and tempeh.

 

You can purchase GABA as a supplement to promote sleep. 100-200 mg and higher doses is what has been seen to be effective in scientific studies. I usually recommend 500-750mg at bedtime: GABA 500mg,  or GABA 750mg

15. Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that your body makes naturally. There is no daily recommended amount for melatonin, but it is usually sold in amounts of 1 mg to 10 mg. Take melatonin 30 minutes before bedtime.

 

Melatonin regulates night and day cycles (sleep-wake cycles). Darkness triggers the body to produce more melatonin, this signals the body to prepare for sleep. Light decreases melatonin production and signals the body to prepare for being awake. Some people who have trouble sleeping have low levels of melatonin. Adding melatonin as a supplement might help sleep.

Here are a few: Natrol 10mg, Nature’s Made 3mg, Natrol 1mg

Please skip this one if you are dealing with RLS (restless leg syndrome) as it can worsen symptoms. Also avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.

16. 5-HTP

An amino acid which is naturally produced by the body. 5-HTP produces serotonin, which can be converted into the hormone melatonin.  Melatonin plays an important role in regulating sleep. 5-HTP levels begin to rise in the evening to promote sleep and fall in the morning to help wake you up.

5-HTP may promote sleep by increasing melatonin production, an important sleep-regulating hormone.

Start with a dose of 50–100 mg two times per day and increase to the appropriate dose over a two-week period Sleep aid: 100–300 mg, 30–45 minutes before bed. Stack with GABA to increase effectiveness.[3]

Natrol 200mg, Nested 100mg

17. CBD oil (Cannabidiol)

CBD is a phytonutrient found in the hemp plant. It is non-psychoactive which means it does not get you high as it does not contain THC.

CBD has the ability to reduce anxiety, which can be helpful in diminishing sleep difficulties and improving sleep quality. If you suffer from anxiety, this may be a good one to try. Anxiety and sleep — “Cannabidiol may hold benefit for anxiety-related disorders,”[4]

 

CBD may increase overall sleep amounts, and improve insomnia, according to research. CBD has been shown to reduce insomnia in people who suffer from chronic pain. [5]

 

Here is a list of top picks of CBD oil brands for 2019: Best CBD Oil Brands 2019

 

A common mistake when adding sleep remedies is expecting them to work immediately. One night is not enough time to figure out if something is working or not. Give it at least a week to see if it is truly helping or not before moving on to the next remedy.

 

Here’s to your sleep!

For more information about the author: DrKneale.com

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article is strictly educational and is not, in any way, meant to be prescriptive or to constitute professional medical advice. The information provided is designed to be used in conjunction with the guidance of a healthcare professional. The author assumes no responsibility for any presumed health effects associated with using this information. Always check with your doctor before taking natural supplements if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have any ongoing medical concerns, or are currently taking other medications.

 

[1] UT Southwestern Medical Center, Temperature rhythms keep body clocks in sync

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101014144314.htm

[2] Poleszak E. Benzodiazepine/GABA(A) receptors are involved in magnesium-induced anxiolytic-like behavior in mice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18799816

[3] Shell W1Bullias DCharuvastra EMay LASilver DS .A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of an amino acid preparation on timing and quality of sleep. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19417589

[4] Perm J. 2019;23. pii: 18-041. The Permanente Journal

[5] Dr. B .The Sleep Doctor. https://thesleepdoctor.com/2017/08/10/understanding-cbd/

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