Natural Remedies

Natural Remedies for Insomnia, Tried and True

| Modified on Jan 24, 2023
Add New Post Comments
Home Remedies for Insomnia on Earth Clinic.

Even when exhausted, sometimes it is impossible to get to sleep or stay asleep. Insomnia is stressful, harmful to the health and downright dangerous at times. Natural remedies such as magnesium, melatonin, dietary changes, herbs and lifestyle modifications can often promote a restful night and restore normal sleep patterns.

Insomnia Home Remedies

1. Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency can cause many health problems including insomnia. Magnesium helps the body to relax. Bedtime is a perfect time to take a magnesium supplement. There are a variety of ways to deliver magnesium to the body, including oral supplementation, Epsom salt baths and transdermal magnesium therapy.

2. Herbs

A variety of herbs can help with sleep and relaxation. Chamomile is especially popular but others can help too, including valerian, oatstraw, skullcap and nettle.

Herbs can be taken in a tea, tincture or capsule form.

Chamomile tea with a bit of honey is bedtime tonic that has a long history of usefulness.

Valerian is sometimes used to improve sleep. However, for a small percentage of people, valerian has the opposite effect and can cause wakefulness. For this reason, it’s use should be approached with caution.

3. Blackstrap Molasses

The balance of minerals in blackstrap molasses make it a great remedy for a good night’s sleep. Blackstrap molasses is also a popular solution for RLS (restless leg syndrome) another malady that interferes with sleep. Magnesium and calcium especially are helpful for a restful night.

4. Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles. Melatonin production tends to decrease with age. Certain diseases, including diabetes, dementia, cancer and chronic pain seem to be connected to decreased melatonin production.

Exposure to light while sleeping, caffeine, and shift work can also adversely affect melatonin production.

A melatonin supplement can be helpful for some with insomnia. If staying asleep is the problem, however, melatonin may not be effective as it has a short half-life. (It does not stay in the system very long.) Another option is a slow release melatonin.

Melatonin does have some associated side effects, including headaches, nausea, and a groggy feeling upon waking. Because it is a hormone, working with a doctor to balance hormones may be a better option, as would getting to the cause of low melatonin levels.1

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

It should not be surprising that apple cider vinegar can be an insomnia solution. As it balances the body in multiple ways, sometimes adding apple cider vinegar to the daily routine can encourage better sleep. 2 teaspoons in a glass of water once or twice a day is a common way to use apple cider vinegar.

6. Castor Oil

Off the wall as it may sound, a drop of castor oil applied to each eyelid (on the outside) at bedtime can encourage sleep. This remedy is too simple to discount and can even promote eyelash growth, so it is surely worth a try.

7. Detox

Cleaning out the system can help it to function better. If constipation is a problem, eliminate it - literally! Milk thistle or burdock root herbal supplements can be used to detox the liver and blood, respectively. Castor oil packs are another way to detox the body and using them can actually help with sleep.

8. Improve the Diet

Sugar is stimulating and fills up the body with empty calories. Keep sugar and processed foods to a minimum.

Do not drink coffee, tea or energy drinks later in the day and certainly not in the evening. Sensitive individuals may not even be able to have caffeine in the morning.

A heavy meal in the evening can make it difficult to get to sleep.

Artificial ingredients like food dye and MSG can cause overstimulation as well. These are best avoided all together and especially in the evening.

Nutritional deficiencies can cause insomnia and sleep problems; seek to correct possible deficiencies with diet and supplements if needed.

Certain foods are particularly beneficial to sleep. Bananas and warm milk are two evening snacks that can encourage sleep. Oatmeal is also useful for sleep. One hundred years ago, children's author Beatrix Potter wrote of the "soporific effect" of lettuces on her bunny rabbit characters! Perhaps a salad in the evening can promote sleep and satisfy hunger without overfilling the stomach in the evening, which is more likely to promote indigestion at bedtime.

9. Use a Schedule

Make an effort to establish regular hours of going to bed and getting up in the morning. Sleeping in may feel luxurious but it can make it harder to get to sleep at night. The more consistent the hours for getting to bed and getting up, the better. The body recognizes patterns and thrives on them.

10. Sleep in the Dark

Light hinders sleep cycles. Eliminate light. Move electronics out of the room. Use room darkening shades. Sleep with a mask. Do whatever is needed to get in the dark!

11. Get Quiet

If traffic noise or neighbors are disturbing sleep, use a white noise machine or ear plugs.

12. Limit Electronics Use

Turn off computers and put away phones and devices at least an hour before bedtime. Instead, read a book, take a bath or visit with family or friends. Slowing down stimulation to the mind will help with settling down. Video games in bed is a bad idea!

13. Change Bathing Routines

Some find that a warm Epsom salt bath before bed can be relaxing and promote sleep. A very hot bath, however may actually make it harder to get to bed as the blood flow increases so much with a hot bath. Hot natured individuals may actually benefit from a cold shower before bed!

14. Exercise

Getting some daily exercise has multiple health benefits, including better sleep. Do not exercise right before bed though. Exercise may make muscles feel tired, but is actually increasing circulation. Ideally, get some regular exercise in before the last meal of the day.

15. Address Other Health Problems

Insomnia may not be its own specific health issue – it may be a symptom of another health problem. Hyperthyroid, hypothyroid, arthritis, allergies, and sleep apnea are only a few of the conditions that may be affecting sleep. A medical evaluation and bloodwork to rule out medical conditions and investigate nutritional deficiencies may help to hone in on just the right solution for a particular case of insomnia.

Do you have a natural remedy for insomnia? Please send us some feedback!

Continue reading to learn how our readers have used natural remedies to get more sleep!




10 User Reviews
5 star (5) 
4 star (1) 
2 star (2) 
1 star (1) 

Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 05/30/2018
5 out of 5 stars

I mentioned using a pedometer watch in a recent post as a way to see how much sleep you were getting. A low tech and cheap way, but a possibility none the less.

My watch (when paired with a smartphone) will give you a bar graph each day to show you the light and deep sleep. I was rather horrified to see the sleep pattern of my teenage daughter when she used her watch to track her sleep. Few and brief were her periods of deep sleep. No wonder she is tired a lot!

I tried a few things - some herbs, melatonin, etc.

5 HTP was the best for improving the amount and frequency of deep sleep for her. It does not cause any side effects for her that we have noticed, anyway.

~Mama to Many~

Posted by Blue Star (Tennessee) on 05/01/2018
5 out of 5 stars

5 HTP for Sleep and Depression

I recently discovered 5 HTP for my sleep issues. I never seemed to go into a deep sleep and would grind my teeth. I have back, neck and sciatica issues so the pain would keep me up at night.

With 50 mg of 5 HTP about an hour before I go to bed, I go into a deep sleep and finally become fully rested. I wake up in the morning loving my life. I am feeling that 5 HTP is going to be great dealing with my SAD, which seems to happen every year Jan- March. I just want off the planet with SAD... it will sneak up on me..

My attitude towards life is much better. It seems my depression has lifted somewhat. I don't seem to crave carbs as much.

Posted by C (Ava, Mo) on 06/05/2016
2 out of 5 stars

2 stars for 5 HTP. Oh I forgot the most important one!!! If your stomach is bloated and you have gas, it may be a sign of allergies of food, for example gluten or milk. If people eat what they are allergic to, it can cause severe insomnia. The very best recommendation is go on an elimination diet like I did and I started sleeping. When I mess up the diet, my sleep is bad.

Posted by C (Ava, Mo) on 06/05/2016
2 out of 5 stars

2 stars for 5 HTP.

I have tried it off and on and you can build up an intolerance, which I did and cause you not to sleep. The best sleep aid is not on here are adaptogens for adrenal health.. Helps with deep sleep, energy like crazy---the best!!!!! This is almost my silver bullet and I have had extremely severe problems!!!!!

Oh I forgot the most important one!!! If your stomach is bloated and you have gas, it may be a sign of allergies of food, for example gluten or milk. If people eat what they are allergic to, it can cause severe insomnia. The very best recommendation is go on an elimination diet like I did and I started sleeping. When I mess up the diet, my sleep is bad.

Replied by Teasmiles
(Wysox pa)

What adaptogens do u recommend for sleep and how do u take them? I like adaptogens for stress and energy but not sure how to use it which ones for sleep..I do randomly take 5 htp and not sure about it for sleep. Thank you

Posted by Anon (Roanoke, Va) on 04/14/2013
1 out of 5 stars

Even in small doses 5 HTP leaves me wide awake ALL NIGHT LONG if taken in evening. I've have started experimenting with taking it in morning, primarily for mood, however so far I have had not experienced any change or improved sleep.

5 HTP is supposedly useful for weight loss, pms, anxiety/depression, migraines and fibromyalgia in addition to insomnia. It is recommended to take it with vitamin B3 or C.

Posted by Jp (Ottawa, On) on 02/16/2011
4 out of 5 stars

Regarding 5htp for insomnia: Dr. Roger Murphree recommends up to 300mg at bedtime on an empty stomach with grape juice. I found that this helped me (I started at 50mg and worked up) quite a bit. Sleep was more restful, although still broken. Daytime anxiety and tremours really subsided.

Posted by Lila (Kodiak, Ak) on 04/29/2010
5 out of 5 stars

I have been able to sleep less and less over the last few years. I have tried so many things to help get past my insomnia (I have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep). I heard about your website and searched for things to help me sleep. The only thing I had in the house that night was 5htp. I take it for mood but have always taken it in the mornings. I didn't think it would help but felt desperate so i tried it. I have been taking it for 9 nights and have only had trouble sleeping 2 of those nights; a HUGE improvement! Thank you!!!

Replied by Judy
(Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)

I am having a real hard time finding something to help with my sleep problems. I have tried the magnesium, niacimide and soda with apple cider vinegar. No luck so far for myself but, amazing results for insomniac daughter. Thinking about trying 5 htp next. Any thought or suggestions would be appreciated.

Replied by Steve
(Las Vegas, Nevada)

I have found that valerien root, passion flower, melatonin, and 5htp all help me to get a good night sleep. You have to experiment a bit to see what is the right amount of each to take. If you have emotional issues, worry, anxiety etc that are keeping you awake I recommend doing EFT or emotional freedom techniques. You can google EFT tapping points for insomnia and get lots of info/videos.

Replied by Tina
(Houston, Usa)

Hello Judy from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada - Please google Rutavala Essential Oil. Rub it liberally on your back neck, temples, wrists (and bottom of feet) about 1/2 hr before bedtime, and you will find that it miraculously lulls you into sleep.

I generally do a sea salt bath with lavender oil for about 20 mins. Then rinse off with soap/water, and do the rutavala oil routine before turning off the lights.

I also know folks who put 2-3 drops of rutavala oil in empty 00 size capsules and drink with water (however I have not needed to try this) since liberally applying oil takes care of my 20 yrs of insomnia.

Good luck, T


I like the idea of an essential oil!

I often have bad side effects to pills (mostly prescription ones), so I'm a bit leery about taking the 5-htp, as the reactions to it reported by others are mixed.

Thank you!

Replied by Baldev
(Mumbai, Maharashtra, India)
189 posts

Hi Judy, Some times we miss the things available in our own kitchen. Try a pinch of ground Nutmeg in a cup of milk before going to sleep. It works. Good Luck, Baldev

Replied by Andrea C
(Cardiff, Wales)
0 out of 5 stars

I had really bad side effects from 5-htp. I couldn't sleep, and every joint in my body hurt!!! It was 100mg slow release. I tried again 2 weeks later, same effects!!!! I threw them out, and found out these are known side effects to 5-htp. love Andrea C xxx

Posted by Shino (Auckland, NZ) on 09/29/2008
5 out of 5 stars

ive taken 5HTP (150mgs) and it relaxed me and made it way way easier to sleep. with stress during the day, i hadnt been able to sleep until 5-7 in the morning, but when i started taking this i was feeling sleepy by about 10pm, asleep before midnight!

Replied by Marcella
(Moscow, Idaho)

I would like to know at what time did you take the 5HTP and how many mg?

Replied by Shino
(Auckland, New Zealand)

hi, sorry for the very late reply..i took 150mg of 5HTP after my evening meals. I think that may be relatively high, as I was taking it for depression too. Other people here seem to be having good results with a dose of 50mg.

(Seals, Tx)

The past half year I could not get to sleep until 5-7 in the morning. Luckily I am retired and be able to sleep through 11a-1p. I will try your dosage of 5htp to see if it can bring the sleep clock back to 10-12 at night.

Posted by Stefanie (Minden, Louisiana) on 07/17/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I found this remedy when I was looking for herbal remedies for my daily headaches. I found 5-HTP. According to the article, some of the things it helped with are insomnia, headaches, anxiety & depression. I thought could it be? I immediately went to my husband to show him what I had found because he had problems sleeping at night as well. We went a few days later to our local drug store and picked up a bottle of 50mg. 5-HTP. We had decided on the lowest dosage available in our area, upping the dosage as we went along if it was necessary. We have only been on it for a few days now but there is a very noticeable difference. We both have been sleeping through the night and feeling more refreshed when we wake. My anxiety attacks are gone as well as my headaches. We both are much less snappish than what we were before. We haven't noticed any side effects so far. We are taking them with a meal or a small snack and so far we have stayed at 50mg. Thanks for the very useful information that lead to this discovery!

EC: Read more about 5-HTP here.

5 HTP and GABA

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Juliette (Reston, Va) on 11/08/2012
5 out of 5 stars

5htp and GABA supplements were sooo helpful for my insomnia. Taken in the late afternoon and right before bed. The GABA especially just knocks you out feels like a xanax and 5htp really helps quiet the worrisome thoughts.

5 HTP and Magnesium Citrate

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Robin (Rural, VA) on 07/11/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I have been on a quest to find a good nights sleep, naturally. I have recently been taking myself off of antidepressants and prescription sleep aides. And trying to find a way to balance out the seratonin naturally. This is what I have found: Rhodiola is an enormous help. However, I was still having insomnia, and anxiety. I tried Kava. This helps with the anxiety, and would help me relax, but wouldn't put me in the sleep zone. So I recently got 5-Htp, and magnesium citrate. And it hasn't been long, but I feel I am in balance. I am finally sleeping like a baby.

Replied by Joyce
(Joelton, Tn)
509 posts

To Robin with insomnia: Hi Robin, If you are still having problems sleeping, I think that you should keep on taking the magnesium and add a good stress tablet at rate of l tab at mealtime and bedtime. Stress tablet usually only has B complex vitamins + C & E, and I consider them the best nerve pill or antidepressant going, much cheaper and seldom any unwanted side effects.


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Yasir (Stockton, CA) on 09/16/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I found acidophilus to be very helpful with insomnia.

ACV, Baking Soda and Cayenne

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Clayton (Willamina, Oregon, USA) on 12/05/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I have been using ACV for a couple of months now. I started off with one Tbls in a glass of cold water. Now I am using 2 Tbls of ACV, 2Tbls Raw Honey, 1/4 tsp of baking soda, 1/2 tsp of Cayenne Pepper. I mix the ingrediants in a large mug, add hot water from a tea pot. This concoction tastes pretty good, is not very spicy (the pepper is hardly noticable). I have had more energy, felt better, sleep MUCH better. And like others I have noticed my dreams to be very vivid & clear.

Replied by Christie
(Charlotte, Nc)

I have been taking 2 Tbsp of ACV per day in water for several months now, but am still feeling the effects on insomnia. Wondering about this baking soda/honey/cayenne concoction... My questions is do you drink this in the morning or in the evening?

Are you still sleeping better?

Replied by Debbie
(Melbourne, Australia)

Insomnia is also a symptom of a magnesium deficiency. You could try taking magnesium and even having an epson salt bath before bed (magnesium sulphate I think).

Replied by Butterfly
(Greenfield, Ma)

Hi, I wish I could take acv, but due to candida, I feel awful when I take it, my pain increases and I feel just rotten. Is there another way to take it with out the side effects? or a substitute? Thanks, butterfly

Replied by Myra
(Oc, CA)

Dear butterfly, I think you are experiencing candida kill. Look up candida in earthclinic. Fortify your system by taking the supplements recommended to help during the candida kill process. I too have candida and am reading and following the recommended process. God bless you and keep you!

Replied by Shifra

When do you take it. If I use it for sleep do I take before bed?

Replied by Stephanie
(Cantonment, Fl)

Regarding having candida, and feeling so bad with taking the feel so bad, bacause the ACV is killing the candida and working. Just increase your intake of good water daily and eat mainly lean proteins and nutritious vegetables. When your body is finally rid of the dead candida, you will start feeling great.

Amino Acids

2 User Reviews
5 star (1) 

Posted by James Wallace (Seattle , Washington) on 05/19/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Recently I wanted to increase my body's growth hormone production to repair stressed muscles. I read in a book on physiology that people who don't sleep well do no release enough growth hormone in the first few hours of sleep to repair the stress of muscles caused during the day. The book pointed to studies of taking the amino acids L-Arginine and L-Glutamine an hour or less before going to bed.

So I bought the two amino acids (500 mg strength each) and took one of each. I got the muscle repair I wanted. But something else happened - I SLEPT THE WHOLE NIGHT THROUGH! And I have been sleeping soundly since.

I think this works like a two way street. Insomniacs don't release enough growth hormone: Increased growth hormone release causes sounder sleep.

Also you don't have to take Arginine and glutamine every night. Just 3 to 4 nights a week (I know this because I sometimes forget to take the capsules). So it works in a Ted kind of minimalist sort of way. I appreciate that Ted from Thailand is a minimalist in supplement taking. It's refreshing advice.

Replied by One2die4
(Washington, DC)

What brand have you used for L-arginine and L-glutamine.or doesn't matter.

Replied by Wing Sum
0 out of 5 stars

I have been taking L glutamine before go to sleep for the past few days. And I cant sleep the whole night. My eyes are wide opening. And alert through the night.

I cant think of the reason why I cant sleep. I have stopped already but still not yet can sleep. Is it because I didnt take L arginine together?

Can you please advice me? I hope I can survive in these few days without sleep.

thank you

Replied by Rainman
(Central, Vt, Usa)

I don't know if this will help... but, I started taking L-Tyrosine awhile back. I would take 100mg at night, usually with dinner (I weigh around 180lbs). It really helped me sleep... Within a couple hours I would begin to feel really relaxed. Once in bed, I would fall asleep fast. I actually fell into deep sleep faster than I ever have in my entire life. However, it wasn't as easy waking up either. I felt so relaxed in the morning I didn't want to get out of bed. Which is why I stopped taking it. But, it really helped me through a tough time. I would also try some camomille tea... I have a comomille, mint, lavender tea that really helps me to relax before bed. Something warm in my stomach always helps.

Replied by Rosali
(Mumbai, India)

I would suggest you to try homoeopathic remedies for insomnia for a long lasting relief. These remedies are prescribed based on the constitution of the person. They work on our body by calming and strengthening the nerves, slowing down your thought process and relieving your anxiety, helping you fall asleep more easily and improving the quantity and quality of sleep which will keep you refreshed and energized. Some of the frequently used remedies for the treatment of insomnia are Sleep CM INS formula, C35 INS formula, C55 neurocalming formula, etc.

Replied by Canadian Dave
15 posts

People may have to avoid arginine if they have cold sores or herpes. Glutamine can also be a problem in high doses in people who are gluten intolerant.

Apple Cider Vinegar

12 User Reviews
5 star (11) 
3 star (1) 

Posted by RM (Missoula Mt) on 10/06/2021
5 out of 5 stars

Apple Cider Vinegar

Helps you go to sleep. Pills (Nature's Bounty) work well, take 2-3. And stop eating wheat gluten which is the cause of so many ailments including insomnia in myself. 50 year old male.