Insomnia
Natural Remedies

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Natural Remedies for Insomnia, Tried and True

Bananas

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 
  100%


Posted by Leah (Victoria BC) on 03/06/2006
5 out of 5 stars

Try eating a banana at bedtime. My stepfather suggested this when a girl he knew had a hard time sleeping after getting into drugs. I tried it & it worked!!


Basil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
  100%


Posted by Kate (Atlanta, GA) on 06/27/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Basil has been by far the best remedy for my insomnia. I bring about 2 cups of water to a simmer, add 1/2 of a tablespoon of dried basil, turn the stove off, and let it sit, covered, for about twenty minutes. I've substituted a bruised sprig of fresh basil on occasion with the same wonderful effects. I start sipping on this tea about two hours before bed, and it knocks me out every time. I've upped the ammount of basil in the tea or the ammount of the tea I drink on occasion but the above measurements are the average ammounts that work best for me.


Bentonite Clay

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
  100%


Posted by GT (Vero Beach, Florida) on 08/24/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Used Medicinal grade Bentonite clay for acid reflux,works within a few sips. Get a small bottle of water put in a teaspoon of bentonite clay (PH is 9.1) shake hard so it disolves in the water and take some sips. You will notice within the second sip the acid starts to calm down. A note; People with bad acid reflux have trouble sleeping, magnesium gets depleted when acid is on overload, a few sips of bentonite clay before bed you sleep like a baby. Magnesium' has a 'calming' effect for the mind and the physical muscles. There is magnesium in bentonite clay.


Blackstrap Molasses

Posted by Audrey (London, UK) on 01/04/2015

Is black strap molasses any good for insomnia?

Replied by Janet
(Illinois)
08/29/2020

Hi Audrey,

I love Black strap molasses, although I find that it gives me energy, even with the calcium and magnesium. It has so many other nutrients too, and a lot of potassium. It gives my body what it needs, like a vitamin. I like to make it into a tea and I drink it in the late morning or afternoon for a pick me up.


Block Blue Light

Posted by Rachel (Newark, New Jersey) on 10/13/2012

Hi all you unwilling Night-Owls: I came across some life-saving information on the benefits of blocking the blue part of the light spectrum before bedtime. Please look at the 3 links below, since they explain this better than I can. Note that blue light is emitted from all light bulbs, and most especially florescent and energy-saver bulbs, as well as from computer monitors and TV screens. You can wear special glasses that block these blue waves for a few hours before bed time. The first link is an inexpensive book, and you can read portions of it on the Amazon site. The author claims that blocking blue-spectrum light waves before sleep also slashes cancer risk by half, since blue light waves diminish melatonin, and melatonin is cancer-protective. Keep in mind that if you suffer from Seasonal-Affective disorder, you WANT the blue light waves. However, confine the blue light waves to your DAY hours, since getting them in the night hours can ruin your sleep, and thus contribute to depression.

Also keep in mind that taking melatonin as a SUPPLEMENT, I mean in pill or capsule form, can bring on depression. So if you have a depression issue, I recommend getting your melatonin (and good sleep) by blocking blue light waves at night, instead of by taking melatonin supplements. You can find online a lot more information about all this. Pleasant dreams!

Replied by Rachel
(Newark, NJ)
10/14/2012
Replied by Rachel
(Newark, New Jersey)
10/15/2012

The book I mentioned is by Richard L. Hansler, titled Great Sleep! Reducd Cancer! : A Scientific Approach to Great Sleep. It's an inexpensive book, but you can read parts of it anyway on the Amazon site. Here is a press release from 2006:

Reducing the Risk of Cancer by 50 Percent Appears Possible by Blocking Blue Light in the Evening

Blind people have half the incidence of cancer, most likely because they make melatonin 9 or 10 hours a night according to a recent study at Harvard University. The body can only make melatonin when in the dark. For most people this is 6 or 7 hours a night. It's the blue component of light that causes melatonin suppression. Glasses that block blue light worn a few hours before bedtime allow melatonin to flow for 9 or 10 hours.
University Heights, OH (PRWEB) March 8, 2006

Blind people have about half the risk of cancer as people with normal vision according to a large study by the National Health Service. The most likely reason is that they produce melatonin and other secretions from the pineal gland for 9 or 10 hours a night while the rest of us only make them for 6 or 7 hours a night. Melatonin is a powerful cancer fighter, but the body only make it when in the dark. Exposing the eyes to light shuts down the pineal gland.

But there is good news. Not all colors of light cause melatonin suppression. It's only the blue rays that cause the problem. This means that blocking the blue light from entering the eye the pineal gland can continue making melatonin.

The fact that blind people only have half the rate of cancer was first discovered in the 90s and has been confirmed by more recent studies. A related study of women who consistently sleep unusually long found that the incidence of breast cancer for women who slept nine hours or more a night was only about one fourth that of women who slept 6 or 7 hours a night. A subsequent study found that women who slept unusually long made melatonin for a similarly unusually long time.

Concern about the use of light at night began when it was found that nurses who worked night shift from time to time had a higher incidence of breast cancer. Something about disrupting the circadian rhythm of the body was causing a higher risk of cancer. Studies in animals show that continuous exposure to light accelerates the rate of growth of cancerous tumors. The mechanism is thought to be the lack of melatonin.

Last fall the results of a milestone study were published. The response of human breast cancers to blood with and without pineal secretions was studied. Breast cancers grew rapidly when exposed to blood without melatonin but only very slowly when the blood contained melatonin. Dr. Blask who led the study said that "Melatonin puts the cancer to sleep at night". Unfortunately exposing the eyes to light at night wakes up the cancer and lets it grow rapidly.

Wearing glasses that block the blue light for a few hours before going to bed lets people regain the long hours of melatonin flow that is experienced by blind people. The glasses allow the yellow, orange and red light to pass through so one can read, watch television or work on a computer with no problem. Users of the glasses also report a marked improvement in sleep, which supports the idea that more melatonin is being produced. This minor change in life style could cut cancer risk in half.

Replied by Gillian
(Andalusa Spain)
10/30/2013

Hi, will any sunglasses work or is it only a certain kind? If so where can I buy them. Thanks


Borax

4 User Reviews
5 star (3) 
  75%
1 star (1) 
  25%


Posted by Tina (Croatia) on 03/16/2019
1 out of 5 stars

Hi, I have terrible insomnia for almost ten years and have tried almost every medicine that could help me with my problem. I only sleep one day in month and that day is one day before I get my menstruation. I suppose I have some kind of gynecological hormonal imbalance.I have tried borax solution 1/8 tsp in liter of water five days a week but it is not enough for my problem. Can I use larger dose? Is there any other medicine someone could recommend to me because I tried almost everything from this site? Thank you.

Replied by TeSa
(Usa)
03/27/2019

Sleeping one day a month is impossible. You would have committed suicide already or developed a psychiatric illness. You probably remain in a first state of sleep (dosing) longer and it feels aa if you are not sleeping. Keep trying all remedies. Including pills.

Tammy
(Australia)
11/12/2019

TeSa, I have not slept for 2.5 years, except for some dozing. I experience hypnagogic hallucinations (this is what a sleep scientist calls it) - like dreams but more vivid & strange, & no REM is involved (so there's no rest or any of benefits of REM sleep). I know this b/c around the dozing and hyp. hall., I am either alert or aware orboth. I experience time passing. So if someone says they're not sleeping, I'd take them at their word. It's possible, of course, to think you're not when you are, but I think that's the case for ppl with difficulty sleeping, not total lack of sleep. It is definitely a possible situation & the effects are evident for us & others - in a different way to when we were having "just" difficulty sleeping, not complete insomnia.

Replied by Kerri
(Florida)
04/21/2019

Tina,

Try baking soda in water before bedtime. Also, some nighttime teas from T J.

Replied by bbhe
(Brooklyn)
10/27/2019
5 out of 5 stars

Tina,

Try quitting gluten. Totally cured my insomnia. Dramatically. Now if I even get secretly fed a tiny bit of gluten, I pop awake at midnight and can't get back to sleep. Good luck and God bless.

Replied by Tina
(Croatia)
12/12/2019

To answer on my own question I have insomnia because of high cortisol and aldosterone levels.

Doctors didn't gave me any medicines because I don't have cushing syndrome.I know that cortisol is stress hormone but I am not stressed and I have this problem for 10 years.I tried adaptogenic herbs and they didn't work.

Can someone recommend me something to lower cortisol levels.Thank you

BH
(Texas)
02/22/2020

There is a post above yours saying that Seriphos lowers cortisol. I just read it so have not tried myself yet. Will order today.


Borax
Posted by Leelannee (Sussex, Nj) on 09/08/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I read about using 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon of borax in water for various health issues, although not insomnia specifically. I decided to try it, and right away noticed that I was able to fall asleep easily and sleep through the night better. I've had insomnia & nightmares for years & have tried many natural supplements & remedies. I'm often tired but don't feel sleepy...after so many years of insomnia, I LOVE that delicious sleepy feeling! Magnesium has worked ok for me but gets expensive & sometimes I'd be awake for an hour or more after sleeping for just a few minutes. Perhaps the borax is detoxifying flouride or something from my body, or killing off a fungus that was affecting my health. However, I've skipped the borax twice in the last few weeks and had a horrible time that same night. I've read that boron helps you absorb calcium better, and calcium helps you relax and sleep, so maybe that's why it's helping me. In the morning I prepare a liter bottle with 1/4 teaspoon borax and sip it throughout the day. Even if I finish it in the early afternoon or drink the whole bottle an hour before bed, it seems to work.

EC: More about borax here.

Replied by Linda
(York County, Maine)
09/10/2009

Leelannee-any idea if this could by employed for a toddler? My granddaughter is 17 months old and is waking up during the night; since her crib rail has been removed, she crawls out of bed and sometimes is awake for an hour or more....this has been happening since the rail was removed and she started sleeping in her 'big girl bed'....part of it could be simply because she knows she CAN get out of bed - it's been happening for a month, or more, and her parents are pretty sleepy much of the time!!

Replied by Roy
(Ocala, Florida)
09/10/2009

We solved the problem of baby falling over the top crib rail by taking (sawing) one slat out of one side at the end of the crib. The baby found his way out, but it was a little bit tight, so he stayed in at night.

Replied by Leelannee
(Sussex, Nj)
09/22/2009

Linda: Sorry, I don't know about recommending this for a small child. I use such a small amount, and I imagine a child would need only a fraction of that; but her sleeplessness could be caused by something totally different than mine, or something in her diet. When my son was little, I used homeopathic remedies (rather than herbs or supplements) because they are usually very safe.

Replied by Janice
(Coloma, Mi)
09/22/2009

Leelannee, were you having problems sleeping and having nightmares due to anxiety? I just wondered if this relaxed you overall.

Replied by Leelannee
(Sussex, Nj)
09/27/2009

I really have no idea what causes the nightmares--I guess it's stress or a nutritional deficiency, but these probably vary over time. The nightmares became worse for a couple of years after my boyfriend died in 2006, but I've had them and/or the sleeplessness for at least a decade...then sometimes I'll sleep better for a while, but I have no idea why. I also have bi-polar disorder, and sometimes would barely sleep for 3 days during a manic episode; however, I haven't had a severe episode in almost 3 years, since being on medication.

Replied by Quixote
(Las Vegas, NV)
03/11/2012

maybe you need some vitamin B-1-it helps with nightmares but you should also take a balanced Vitamin B complex so you dont cause an imbalance-usually about 20 miligrams handles it for me.

Replied by Lucinda
(London, On, Canada)
09/06/2012

Re: Nightmares, sleeplessness. In the book, FOOD AND THE GUT REACTION, page 11 tells us that milk/dairy products can cause terrible nightmares or night terrors. This was the case with our son, as a teenager. A chance conversation alerted us to this information, and his nightmares stopped immediately. Good luck.

Replied by Leelannee
(Sussex, Nj)
09/01/2013

Ugh, I feel like such a dummy for forgetting why I was taking borax! I go through phases of trying new supplements & remedies, and eventually either run out or can't remember why I was taking them, and stop... Good thing I tend to share my experiences on the internet, because every now and then I look up remedies and end up stumbling across MY OWN advice that I posted a few years ago!!! Lol!!!

I actually came to EC to post about a new remedy I've discovered for nightmares (**below if you just want to skip to that), but I'm still having trouble falling asleep. My commute + workday is often 10-13 hours, and it's very stressful when I can only get about 4 hours of sleep! I will start taking borax again TODAY!

I have diabetes (possibly for years before I found out 2 years ago, because my labs were mis-filed at my doctor's office), and have been doing quite a bit of reading on nutrition & hormones. One day various bits of information just sort of clicked together and I came up with an idea that maybe you don't wake up just because you've had a nightmare, but that your brain manufactures the nightmare IN ORDER to wake you up--when your blood sugar gets low, or if you're having muscle cramps, or maybe even just to go to the bathroom!

When you haven't eaten for several hours and your blood sugar starts to get low, your liver will "dump" stored glycogen. In order to do that, cortisol must be released. Cortisol is supposed to be low at night and rise slowly around dawn until it wakes you up. Cortisol is also released when you feel threatened or frightened, and nightmares usually make you feel that way. So my hypothesis was: your body needs cortisol in order to wake you up (so you can eat) and/or to force the liver to release glycogen. The best way to do that is to make you have a nightmare.

I started looking up information and was led to some forums that discuss childhood diabetes and glycogen storage disease. Some of these children will fall into a coma or die if their blood sugar gets too low, and their parents have to wake them several times a night to test their blood sugar and feed them. Corn starch is widely used to help these children make it through the night because it is digested very, very slowly and releases glucose steadily for 5-8 hours. Many parents also reported that their children had nightmares caused by low blood sugar, and that the nightmares ceased when blood sugar was stabilized.

So that same night I started taking:

**Raw cornstarch.
I take 2-3tbsp mixed into cold water right before bed, and don't have nightmares at all!

But it won't work if you cook it; the starch molecules change, and it will cause a blood sugar spike. You can tell if it has "changed" because it will thicken. So don't mix it into warm drinks (such as cocoa) or anything with lemon--lemon also makes it thicken.

If you don't like the cornstarch in water, you could try mixing it into something else cold, like milk, yogurt, or a protein shake. There is also a product that you can find if you do an internet search for "blood sugar crisps" if you need something more convenient, or easier for a kid to eat.

Replied by Timh
(Ky, Usa)
09/02/2013
2105 posts

@Leelannee: Thanx for the remedy post. Your logic seems accurate, but you didn't inform us as to type 1 or 2 diabetes and anything else that might be helping. Let us know how the Borax goes.

Replied by Leelannee
(Sussex, Nj)
09/02/2013

Timh--In my post yesterday, I mentioned diabetes only because that's how I came across some of this information, but I hope I didn't imply that this remedy could only be used by diabetics. Even non-diabetics can experience low blood sugar at some point during the sleep cycle, and may have nightmares as a result.

I have Type 2 diabetes, but I learned the "raw cornstarch trick" from people with Type 1.

Also, I double-checked my internet search suggestion and it doesn't bring up what I intended; "blood sugar nutrition crisps" works better!


Borax
Posted by Leelannee (Sussex, Nj) on 09/08/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I read about using 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon of borax in water for various health issues, although not insomnia specifically. I decided to try it, and right away noticed that I was able to fall asleep easily and sleep through the night better. I've had insomnia & nightmares for years & have tried many natural supplements & remedies. I'm often tired but don't feel sleepy...after so many years of insomnia, I LOVE that delicious sleepy feeling! Magnesium has worked ok for me but gets expensive & sometimes I'd be awake for an hour or more after sleeping for just a few minutes. Perhaps the borax is detoxifying flouride or something from my body, or killing off a fungus that was affecting my health. However, I've skipped the borax twice in the last few weeks and had a horrible time that same night. I've read that boron helps you absorb calcium better, and calcium helps you relax and sleep, so maybe that's why it's helping me. In the morning I prepare a liter bottle with 1/4 teaspoon borax and sip it throughout the day. Even if I finish it in the early afternoon or drink the whole bottle an hour before bed, it seems to work


Breathing Exercises

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
  100%


Posted by Mary Lee (Coaldale, Colorado) on 08/31/2017
5 out of 5 stars

I've been doing deep breathing exercises with Dr. Andrew Weil and they have given me the rest I need. They have also helped with my blood pressure, my atrial fibulation, and my moods. You can get his tape just about anywhere. He's amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And so are his instructions for breathing.


Calcium

3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 
  100%


Posted by Maria (Canberra, Australia) on 08/28/2020
5 out of 5 stars

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.


Calcium
Posted by Clatterbuck (Beltsville, Md) on 08/26/2020
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Replied by Deirdre
(Ct)
08/26/2020
5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful remedy, thank you! 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.

Go calcium!

Replied by Azuka
(Michigan)
08/29/2020

I never would have thought of taking a calcium supplement to assist with sleep. I have never taken calcium supplements. I also never have trouble falling asleep.

Also, I never get more than 5 or 6 hours of sleep. Can't seem to force myself to sleep more than that at a time. Perhaps some folks don't need as much as others. And some need more. I think the 7 - 8 hours a night thing is an average, and most people fit in with the average, and a few don't.


Calcium, K2 + Holy Basil Tea

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
  100%


Posted by Maureen (USA, Maryland) on 03/11/2019
5 out of 5 stars

I've, by accident, discovered a couple of new things that have improved my sleep. With aging a good nights sleep has become harder to accomplish. I noticed that when I started taking a low dose calcium supplement with a vitamin K2 supplement in the evening I started getting sleepy about an hour later. This happens every time I take them so I don't think it's just a coincidence. The calcium and vitamin K2 give me a really good night's sleep. Also, I noticed that when I drink tulsi tea (holy basil) I get very sleepy and when I drink it in the evening I don't wake up to go to the bathroom. I'd like to see if these things help other people with their sleep problems.

Replied by Roseanna
(LaGrange, GA)
04/23/2019

Maureen, Where did you buy your Tulsi tea and how many cups do you drink? Chronic insomnia has ruined my life! Please let me know. Thank you.


Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 
  100%


Posted by Linda L. (Al) on 06/25/2020
5 out of 5 stars

Hi, Art.

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.

Replied by Art
(California)
06/25/2020
813 posts

Hi Linda L,

Magnesium citrate is also good to help with sleep, but for those who are sensitive to magnesium, the citrate form can increase your chances for diarrhea. The form Deirdre uses, magnesium L threonate is one form that I have never seen a problem with diarrhea. I use magnesium taurate, magnesium l threonate, magnesium glycinate and topical mag oil (MO) and none are a problem for me. Mag oil can be applied a half hour before bedtime to the back of the neck, upper shoulders and chest areas to help relax those muscle groups in preparation for sleep.

A senior man usually does not need calcium other than from diet, but there are always exceptions. On the other hand, calcium helps tryptophan to generate melatonin. I believe this is the idea of why a warm glass of milk is considered a mild sleep aid because it contains calcium and tryptophan while the heat of warm milk is relaxing.

Thank you for the feedback!

Art


Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium
Posted by Clatterbuck (Beltsville, Md) on 09/12/2018
5 out of 5 stars

I had been having trouble getting to and staying asleep for over a year. I tried melatonin, meditation, magnesium, castor oil, etc... Nothing really seemed to work consistently. For other health reasons, I started upping my intake of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. After this change to my diet, I noticed my sleep improved dramatically. I try to get 1,200 mg of calcium through my diet each day, but if I fall short, once in a while I will take one 500 mg chocolate supplement. Every night before I go to bed I take a half of a magnesium supplement with a glass of watermelon water (for potassium). This combination of minerals knocks me out. I still get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but when I get back in bed I fall right back to sleep. I also wake up feeling refreshed. I never would've thought that a nutritional deficiency could cause insomnia.


Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 
  100%


Posted by Margaret (Tallahassee, FL) on 09/14/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Insomnia -- This really works. Combo Vitamin of Calcium 1000 mg, magnesium 400mg, & zinc 25 mg. 1 hour before bedtime. Also take Valerian Root 530mg 1 hour before bedtime. I guarantee in 1 weeks time, you won't need sleeping pills anymore.

Replied by Sasha
(Sav, Jamaica)
09/14/2009
5 out of 5 stars

This really works. I took it one evening and i was trying to remember what i ate or drank why i slept so calm and peaceful. Now that i saw this post, i realized that it was the calcium, magnesium and zinc combo. Thanks for sharing!



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