For months I have been waking up at 4:00 am and unable to get back to sleep, either because I need to use the bathroom or someone moving around in our house or anxiety attacks. In the past, magnesium supplements have done the trick keeping me asleep but lately they have not helped much. Exercise that tires me out definitely helps keep me asleep all night, but on the days I don't exercise hard I wake up. I bought 3 mg melatonin and tried that. Helped the first night, but not after that.
Finally I tried 1 melatonin and 1 magnesium l threonate capsule before bed. That was the winning combination. I am sleeping deeply until the morning and feeling extraordinarily refreshed and energized. Don't want this to become less effective, so I'm only doing it 2-3 nights in a row, then taking a break from the supplements until I feel the need to do it again. Usually another 2-3 days off. Hope this helps someone.
Has anyone tried a castor oil pack for insomnia? I have seen that some use a drop in the eyes or on the eyelids for sleep.
I find that when I use one overnight I seem to sleep better and longer. I find them cozy and relaxing and that effect seems to last into the next day.
I put castor oil onto a piece of flannel (folded over a couple of times – maybe the end result is 6 inches by 6 inches – not too scientific.) I cover that with some plastic wrap. If I wear a long stretchy camisole under my night clothes, it seems to hold it in place pretty well. (But use old pajamas and sheets anyway, just in case! ) Then I apply a heating pad. I confess I do leave the heating pad on all night. This is not recommended for diabetics, the elderly or children. (Maybe for anyone. A warm rice sock would be an alternative.)
You are supposed to wash off the castor oil with a baking soda rinse in the morning, but I don't actually do that.
Castor oil packs are commonly used to detox the liver. I have heard that the liver detoxes overnight. Maybe the castor oil pack helps this process? Maybe sleep troubles is in part caused by a sluggish liver? Just wild guesses here.
Anyway, castor oil packs do help me to sleep well (even when I am using them over an ovary or my gall bladder.) I would be interested to hear if anyone else experiences this.
~Mama to Many~
Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with one cup of honey and store this mixture in an air-tight container. Anytime you have trouble drifting off, take two teaspoons of this mixture and you'll drift off in less than a half hour. And you won't be groggy in the morning like over-the-counter sleep aids.
My mother, for her entire lifetime, would make herself a hot cup of milk if she got up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep. (1 cup of milk contains 300 mg of calcium. ) She also added a touch of honey. She said it never failed to knock her out after 15 minutes. She also used to give this to us as children about 30 minutes before bedtime. I haven't done it in a long time, but perhaps I shall again. Great night-time ritual memory.
I have no problem getting to sleep, but for the last couple of years I keep waking up after 5 or 6 hours of sleep and then can't get back to sleep. I've tried everything but nothing worked. I think I've discovered the solution to this problem. I always take my calcium supplement at night because it seemed to help me get to sleep. Recently, once again, I was up at 3:00 in the morning and couldn't get back to sleep. As I lay there frustrated with my inability to get a full night's sleep, I thought about how my low dose calcium supplement seems to help me get to sleep so I got up and took another supplement at 3:30 a.m.
I took the pill and started reading my book (with a book light) and after about 15 minutes, I couldn't keep my eyes open. I slept until 7:15 that morning. I now keep my calcium supplements and a glass of water beside my bed. I can't believe something this simple has cured my early morning waking.
I have been experimenting with melatonin after reading Art Solbrig's extensive two articles on it in the Coronavirus and Supplements section of EC. I want to report my results as they have been quite amazing. I hope this will be helpful for those with sleep issues, stress, and anxiety.
Starting a few weeks ago, about 30 minutes before bed, I took 10 mg of melatonin with magnesium L threonate. I slept very deeply and woke up the next morning feeling like my brain had finally gotten a chance to recuperate after YEARS of sleeping poorly. I was astounded at the sensation of deep, restorative sleep. You don't realize how badly you've been sleeping until you start sleeping deeply again. It must have been like that for 10 years, at least.
I continued the 10 mg melatonin with magnesium protocol for one week. The first few days, like many report, I was extremely tired during the day. But I didn't fight the sleepiness, I just took a nap or went back to sleep in the morning, figuring I needed the extra deep sleep time. I felt so much calmer and more peaceful as the first week of melatonin and magnesium went on.
After 1 week, the sleepy effects wore off as Art said they would, so I upped it to 20 mg (still with magnesium ) at night. More deep and restorative sleep.
Now on week 3, I am testing 30 mg of melatonin and finding it wonderful. I no longer have the drowsiness issue that people report from melatonin.
Note to Art Solbrigh - thank you so much for writing so extensively on the health benefits of melatonin! Had it not been for all your research and pubmed studies, I probably wouldn't have experimented with it as I didn't like the drowsy feeling it gave when I tried it in the past. Very grateful to you!
I discovered quite accidentally that a strong cup of ginger tea brewed from fresh ginger slices taken one hour before bedtime makes me sleep. After years of using medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, to induce sleep I found that ginger tea, for me, has a soporific effect. Since I couldn't find anything on the web explaining this phenomenon, I looked up information on some Chinese language websites. Only one explained the use of ginger as a sleep agent. Apparently, it works only for people who are "pa leng" or "afraid of cold." This means, if you have the tendency to have cold fingers and toes you may benefit from ginger tea as a sleep agent. Anyway, it works for me.
Well, a friend and I have stumbled upon something for insomnia. Nettle tea! I gave my friend some dry nettle (with some peppermint for flavor) for a health issue. (I don't recall which health issue, but it wasn't insomnia.) She has had trouble sleeping for decades. Since childhood even. She started making and consuming a very strong nettle infusion. After several days she realized she was sleeping 7 hours a night and not waking up and having trouble getting back to sleep. The only thing she was doing differently was taking nettle.
I do not know why nettle is helping her. I have guesses. Nettle is a highly nutritive herb. Perhaps a simple undetected vitamin or mineral deficiency was causing the sleeping trouble. Nettle is a blood purifier. Perhaps the nettle is dealing with something in her system that was causing trouble sleeping. I can't explain it, but I can say that nettle is generally very safe. For someone who has tried "everything" for insomnia, strong nettle tea might just be the solution.
To make a strong nettle infusion:
Put 4 tablespoons of tea leaves (3 T. nettle, 1 T. peppermint) in a quart jar.
Pour very hot water over the leaves.
Cover with a lid.
Strain in the morning and drink throughout the day. Keep in the refrigerator. Discard 24 hours after you begin the brew.
This tea is also great for allergies and asthma and general poor health.
~Mama to Many~
Last week I started taking some Motherwort twice a day. (2 droppers of the tincture twice daily - once in the morning and once before bed)
After a few days, I noticed that my sleep was better. I have a fitbit and each morning take note of how my sleep was the night before. It has been interesting to see what helps my sleep. Definitely, 15 mg of melatonin at night has improved the ratio of deep sleep and REM sleep to light sleep. After a few days of the Motherwort, I realized that my deep sleep is improved further. I wasn't taking it for sleep and it took me a little bit to even realize what in my routine had changed.
Motherwort is a relaxing herb. It is sometimes used for racing heart or for anxiety - I guess often the two go together. And apparently, it can help improve sleep!
I make my own motherwort tincture. I have used Herb Pharm's Motherwort tincture in the past and find it to be a quality brand if you are looking for Motherwort!
~Mama to Many~
A well known Homoeopathic doctor once told me that during sleep the blood leaches calcium from the bones and that taking an alfalfa tablet at night is a good way to take calcium in. (If burned in the field, the ash from an alfalfa crop tests 90% calcium.)
Importantly, being easily absorbed, it doesn't leave deposits in the joints. I've found that for me a low dose is best, the higher strength caused constipation.
Sleep Tracker to Evaluate Sleep
My daughter and I each got a wristwatch/step tracker and are having a fun time of it. She has a friend she is comparing steps with. I got one because I thought it would motivate me to stay active on a regular basis. We did not get the expensive ones. They were about $25 each. Not only did I not want to spend a lot on one, a friend who was wearing a smart watch was having some weird symptoms that she attributed to her smart watch.
My watch can be paired to my phone to record data, which I do daily.
Honestly, I am not sure the steps are accurate. I did get to 10,000 steps in on Saturday which was supposedly over 4 miles in the day but I am not convinced I walked that much. 80% of it was just stuff I normally do around the house on Saturday (cooking, cleaning, gardening.) But, I do think it is comparatively accurate, so for my purpose of motivation to keep moving, it is effective.
I was especially fascinated by the fact that it can track sleep.
I feel like I am a light sleeper and often worry that I am not getting quite enough sleep. 5-6 hours a night seems typical for me.
I have tracked several nights and it appears that I am getting better sleep than I thought. I am getting plenty of deep sleep. Apparently, in the light sleep cycles one can be somewhat aware of what is happening around. I often feel like I am "sleeping with one eye opened, " but I am apparently getting rest. In fact, more than I might have guessed. One morning data was that I got 6 hours and 20 minutes of sleep, which was 45 minutes more than I was guessing I got.
My point is, if you suffer with insomnia, a sleep tracker may encourage you that you get more sleep than you think, or confirm how little sleep you are getting!
My husband snores and I have been concerned about sleep apnea for him. He has a bad family heart history and sleep apnea is hard on the heart! I had him wear my watch and he registered 8 hours of sleep with a good balance of deep and light sleep!
Obviously this is a very low tech way to evaluate sleep, and not appropriate for someone with significant sleep issues. But for the curious it gives some interesting data.
My watch also gives my heart rate. I thought it was reading too low, but when I compared it to the reading on a pulse oxygen meter I have on hand it appears to be pretty close.
So that is my two cents on a fitness tracker watch!
~Mama to Many~
I developed insomnia after menopause. I tried lots of remedies. One remedy was melatonin which gave me strange dreams and made me groggy during the day. Then Magnesium which also made me groggy during the day. The third remedy I tried was Castor Oil. Since I am a big fan of castor oil I noticed that when I used it for other ailments I would sleep thru the night. So I experimented after reading an article that in the 70's there was a clinic in California that would have great success in curing all sorts of ailments when they gave people full body castor oil packs. I started rubbing castor oil all over my skin and I slept wonderfully thru the night. I don't use a pack at night just rub the oil on every night. Sometimes I cover most of my body and other nights a 1/2 a teaspoon anywhere and it still works! I use an oversized cotton pj with long arms or cotton pajama type leggings if I do my legs.
Thank you for your feedback on melatonin. Yes, I've found sometimes melatonin works and sometimes it doesn't. It definitely has more of an effect for me if taken with magnesium l threonate, as Art mentioned. Also, I found that 30 mg works better than 20. And I take it all at once... Didn't find I needed to stagger the dosage after all.
One thing I would like to mention is that going for a walk to the point of body fatigue has also been very helpful for my sleep. My sleep issues actually correlate to the aging of my two dogs. I used to do a minimum of 3 miles a day with them. However, now they are over 14 and don't want to walk even to the end of the block on most days! Since walking them less, my sleep has gotten progressively worse. The past week I have been walking (on my own), trying to get back to 3 miles and wow, it has made a tremendous difference to my sleep. I sleep better after walking than after an exhausting 1 hour karate class. Interesting, no?
Just thought I'd put that out there for all with sleep issues. Walking, whether slow or fast paced, is unbelievably beneficial to health.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda
I never had trouble sleeping until I got older(50 plus).. For ten years now, I would go to sleep for two hours then wake up for several hours. I discovered by listening to a naturopathic doctor on the radio that the culprit was the digestive system. Before bedtime I put a pinch or two (about 1/8 TSP.) of baking soda into 1-2 tsps. of ACV until the fizzing stops. Add about a half cup of water. Unbelievable results on my sleeping issue. No more waking up during the night, but if I do, I am able to go right back to sleep. This remedy is a God-send.
I love the smell of cloves. Oddly, I am not a fan of clove essential oil, but the powdered cloves smell wonderful to me. So I had the jar of cloves out on the counter and thought, I should make me some clove tea! I put 1/4 teaspoon in a little mug and added boiling water. I meant to drink it after a few minutes but got distracted. By the time I remembered it, the cloves had steeped for 20 minutes or more. I remembered reading a story about someone who used very strong clove tea to help them sleep. I considered not drinking the tea but it sounded so yummy. (It was dinner time and I didn't want to be sleepy yet.)
I sat down for a few minutes after my tea and next thing I knew I was waking up from a cat nap. Oops! At least I didn't burn dinner or anything.
I guess clove tea really does help you to relax and zone out. If you try it, let me know if it works for you!
~Mama to Many~
Melatonin is considered to be safe over the short and long term and has a "huge multitude of other prohealth effects" including, AD, PD and fighting cancer, but also having synergy with chemo and radiotherapy while also fending off the negative side effects associated with these two standard of care cancer treatments, but don't take my word for it, read this NCBI article that discusses an incomplete list of the many potential health benefits of melatonin as well as a very good safety profile based on a large volume of previous studies
Keep in mind that even though they explain how safe it is, I still maintain that some people cannot tolerate melatonin. Here is a most interesting quote from this article regarding very long term use of melatonin over 4 years at 75 mg/night :
Melatonin has also been suggested for use as a contraceptive for women,  which might raise the question of whether melatonin damages the female reproductive system. Notably, no side effects were reported in a report of a phase 2 clinical trial in which 1400 women were treated with 75 mg of melatonin nightly for 4 years.
Regarding the addition of vitamin B6 and its safety, most melatonin products contain only 1 - 10 mg of vitamin B-6 and since you are only taking 5 mg of melatonin, your max B6 dose would be 10 mg. Here is a link to an NIH vitamin B-6 fact sheet and below the link is an important quote from the report that should answer your question on the safety of long term use of vitamin B-6 :
Can vitamin B6 be harmful?
People almost never get too much vitamin B6 from food. But taking high levels of vitamin B6 from supplements for a year or longer can cause severe nerve damage, leading people to lose control of their bodily movements. The symptoms usually stop when they stop taking the supplements. Other symptoms of too much vitamin B6 include painful, unsightly skin patches, extreme sensitivity to sunlight, nausea, and heartburn.
The daily upper limits for vitamin B6 are listed below. These levels do not apply to people who are taking vitamin B6 for medical reasons under the care of a doctor.
|Life Stage||Upper Limit|
|Birth to 12 months||Not established|
|Children 1–3 years||30 mg|
|Children 4–8 years||40 mg|
|Children 9–13 years||60 mg|
|Teens 14–18 years||80 mg|
It is worth noting that too much B-6 can cause nerve damage/neuropathy as outlined in the above article and too little can have a similar effect!
The other day I posted that anyone using high dose melatonin (HDM) with B6 in it should not use this type of melatonin because you can potentially get too much vitamin B6 using HDM or very high dose (VHDM). This is when you could potentially expose yourself to nerve damage/neuropathy, so don't do it. Dr Neel does not use HDM with B6 in it and Dr. Shallenberger does not use the type with B6 either.
Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium
We've been using now brand powder calcium, its very inexpensive, natural calm magnesium and now brand powder potassium all powder supplements for sleep. It really has helped us to get a good night's sleep. I mix them all up 30 mins before bedtime in a little juice. Also limit caffeine after noon, even chocolate. I sometimes need 3 mg melatonin. My husband was on sleep meds 6 years ago. He no longer needs them. It takes time and persistence to get off the drugs but it's worth the effort.
Hope this helps.