Natural Remedies

Natural Remedies for Insomnia: A Comprehensive Guide

Posted by Betty (Florida) on 03/07/2019

Valerian helps me sleep at night, deeper+ longer.

Occasionally I also take tryptophan along with valerian once or twice a month if I am stressed out. I take a valerian capsule around 8pm, about 2 hours after dinner. Not too early and not too late.

Reduce Cortisol Levels
Posted by GertJr (Alabama) on 03/07/2019

I don't know about Molly, but I take Seriphos (be sure to get the original formula). It helps a lot with cortisol.

Reduce Cortisol Levels
Posted by Leslie (New Castle, PA) on 03/06/2019

Hello, What was the natural supplement you took at bedtime to reduced cortisol? Thank you!

Reduce Cortisol Levels
Posted by Molly (San Francisco) on 03/04/2019

I had terrible insomnia for 6 years following the birth of my first child. I was 37 when it started. I took several different sleep drugs during that time: Lorazipam, Trazadone, Benedryl. They made me depressed, so I was also taking a morning antidepressant. I did not like how flat and foggy I felt, and I worried that my sleep quality was not natural. I finally went to a naturopathic doctor who tested my cortisol levels and found that that hormone was not cycling properly for me. I took a natural supplement to suppress cortisol at 9:00 pm every night for about a month. I also improved my diet (no gluten, no milk and no sugar). Within a few months, I was off all drugs and sleeping great. Now I only take it if I stay up too late and feel that a second wind is keeping me awake. I have started waking around 4 in the morning lately, and I've found that a tablespoon of MCT oil helps me get back to sleep quickly. I've also started having a healthy carb and fat snack before bed (usually sweet potato with butter and salt and a little Brain Octane Oil). When my kids have insomnia or restless legs, they get magnesium - either lotion or drink. I used to put lavender essential oil on their pillows as well, when they were having trouble sleeping. Sleep hygiene is great too, but when my cortisol was off, no amount of sleep hygiene could get me a full night of sleep. Also, if I start eating poorly (too much gluten and/or sugar), it can bring some sleep issues back for awhile. And if I don't eat 2 healthy meals during the day, that can also cause my sleep to suffer. I would recommend seeing a naturopath for help in discovering the underlying cause of your sleeplessness, if possible. I am so thankful that I finally did!

Posted by BH (Tx) on 02/22/2020

Have you tried Mastic Gum?

Posted by GertJr (Madison) on 01/16/2019

I am taking ashwagandha for my insomnia (along with several other items). They say don't take the ashw if you have ulcers, which I did but don't want to have come back. Does anyone know if I can avoid aggravating the ulcer? Maybe eat crackers or something when I take it? I try to fast between 7 pm and noon the next day, so haven't had anything in my tummy when I take it. I wonder if I couldn't take slippery elm or marshmallow at the same time since they protect the gut from ulcers? I'm finally getting sleep when I go to bed, so don't want to stop taking this mix.

Multiple Remedies
Posted by GertJr (Madison) on 01/09/2019

I found something that works for me for insomnia. I take 1 Seriphos capsule + 1/2 tsp Ashwagandha powder + 1/4 tsp each of glycine, l-theanine, taurine and gaba + spoonful of blackstrap molasses in warm milk about 1/2 hour before bed. Tastes terrible and doesn't dissolve well at all. As I get into bed, I take a 1 mg melatonin sublingual tablet. Most nights I get to sleep pretty quickly and, although I wake frequently, I go back to sleep fast. Wake up rested. Some nights it seems to not work as well and others it's like I'm passed out I sleep so hard. I got on this from trying adaptogens for my adrenals. In the morning I take rhodiola, ginseng, and schisandra. I seem to feel more awake during the day.

Sunflower Seeds
Posted by 2q&learn (Southern California) on 10/11/2020 139 posts

When I want hell to relax & get sleepy at bedtime, I've found that eating Sunflower seeds soon helps me relax & start yawning! (For extra help, I add a Banana.)

When I've eaten foods high in Phosphorus it creates an imbalance, & I wind up getting painful leg cramps, usually at night. When I eat either Sunflower seeds (or Almonds) that same day, I never get those cramps!

Cherry Juice
Posted by Gracie (Nottingham) on 09/25/2020


Some nights I have problems getting to sleep, and lie there for seemingly hours tossing and turning and churning over in my mind past hurts and making mountains out of molehills. And the same occurs if I wake up in the middle of the night to use the toilet and can't get back to sleep again. However, I've discovered that if take 4 - 6 teaspoons of Concentrated Montmorency Cherry Juice in a drop of water and a small bowl of oats made with milk it puts me to sleep for six to seven hours. Apparently, the cherry juice is naturally high in melatonin and so are the oats but less so.

It works for me, give it a try!

Posted by Azuka (Michigan) on 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.

Blackstrap Molasses
Posted by Janet (Illinois) on 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.

Posted by Maria (Canberra, Australia) on 08/28/2020

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.

Oil Pulling With Safflower Oil
Posted by Mary Lou (Louisville Ky) on 08/27/2020

Just reading you comment about taking safflower for belly fat blasters and noticed it helps sleep. How much do you take?

Hot Milk
Posted by Deirdre (Ct) on 08/26/2020

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.

Posted by Clatterbuck (Beltsville, Md) on 08/26/2020

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.

Posted by Art (California) on 08/03/2020 2185 posts


LDN is available by prescription only, but if the doctor is familiar with LDN and its good safety profile, they will sometimes prescribe it for you. It is generally used at less than 5 mgs per night. Otherwise, some of the LDN websites can recommend a doctor in your area who will prescribe it for you. LDN is used for many health issues and more recently, possibly for Covid-19. Here is a link to a brief article that discusses the use of LDN for IBS-c/d :

Here is a link to 2 LDN sites :


Posted by Charity (Faithville, Us) on 08/03/2020

Gertjr, I see you are a beautiful soul, applying knowledge and energy to your life. I read a lot trying to find solutions to my questions three and I'm a weirdo . I use to resent my weird but now it is what makes me me. I read Dr.Batmanghelidj when I ruptured L-5 and spend a lot of time in the tub praying . In his books he talks about how healthy exercise can create more cortisol issues and affect digestion further. I realize you are going through a lot and my heart is with you in prayer most days. Faith and love surround you. My gut health was a mess since birth . Dr. Eric Berg, free information on you tube, has really shed light on my gut health. I don't do the fasting or keto stuff. I have to take ox bile most days to eat food. I use the mag threonate in the now brand most days too for my brain. Mag does not bother me at all but I got c diff once from a dental treatment and had a horrible time trying to get my life back from that. I know what these things are like to walk out day in day out. I only pipe in here as led. I have my own dragons to slay and frequent Mark Hemans on zoom for miracles. I am still learning how to be who I was created to be. A spirit being in a body full of all the power to override any natural facts with spiritual truths. I still use a lot of supplements but hope to enter the day when the truth that I know overrides all facts. Bless you Gertjr as you journey, you sound like an amazing woman. Charity

Posted by Gertjr (Madison) on 08/03/2020

Art, is the LDN over the counter or by prescription? I would definitely try it but, when I look at Amazon, I don't see it. Can you tell me where to get it or recommend a brand? Thanks. I see my gastro doctor at the end of August, so a prescription would probably be doable.

Posted by Joanna (Boise Id) on 08/02/2020

Please Art, what is IBSD? Thanks

EC: IBSD = Irritable Bowel Syndrome Disease

Posted by Art (California) on 08/02/2020 2185 posts


I forgot to mention to you regarding your IBSD because I was so busy talking about melatonin usage for sleep. Look into low dose naltrexone (LDN) for the IBSD, because if it works for you as it has for others, that relief is also likely to help ameliorate your sleep issues. Melatonin may also be useful for this issue, but quality studies on this specific health issue are insufficient, but the known methods of action for melatonin would also tend to suggest potential benefit from melatonin.


Posted by Art (California) on 08/02/2020 2185 posts


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, [145] 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.[145]


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
Adults 100 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.


Posted by Florie (Hayward, Ca) on 08/02/2020

Hi Art, I've been following all your post regarding melatonin's effectiveness as far as anti-aging and sleep issues, which works best for my insomnia, glycine before bed melatonin 5mg. Is it safe to take it long term?

Also I've read, can't remember where, but there's a warning, do not take melatonin with b6 is detrimental to your health! Scared what may happen? Taking the brand that was recommended here in earth clinic. Your opinion what I value most. Thanks for your contributions to this site.

Posted by Art (California) on 08/02/2020 2185 posts


A couple more things to consider. The form of magnesium that Deirdre takes is Magnesium L Threonate (Mag-T) and for me this one has never caused diarrhea, but I do not have IBSD. I think the reason for this is the L-Threonate is the largest ingredient that is supposed to target the magnesium to the brain. It may be worth a try to see if it helps with sleep.

Here is a link to a typical product :

Since melatonin at 15 mg/night is doable for you, it may be worth testing a 5 mg melatonin product that has vitamin B6 in it. Melatonin is poorly absorbed and the B6 aids in the absorption of melatonin. I am currently experimenting with a melatonin product with B-6 and time release and it does seem to be slightly more potent than the same quantity of regular melatonin. Here is a link to a 5 mg melatonin product with vitamin B-6 and time release in it:

Here is another melatonin product with vitamin B-6 without the time release :

The mag oil (MO) applied to the upper chest, shoulders and rear of neck should be synergistic with the melatonin while having minimal if any impact on the gut.

The night shades can be useful in signaling your body that it is definitely nighttime and time to go to sleep because they block out almost all light in the room and when combined with the bright sunlight exposure for 10 to 15 minutes in the morning, can help to put your circadian rhythm back on track which should also help you get to sleep. Here is a link to those fabric sleep glasses and this one comes with ear plugs which can be useful if you are dealing with significant background noise :

It sounds like your daily activity level is likely high enough to help induce sleep, but this may be a case of more is better, so you can experiment a little to see if slightly more daily exercise will be additive in promoting sleep for you.

The medical marijuana is also a consideration if legal where you are located, but I would "only use it on the nights when your regular regimen is not letting you get to sleep". The less you use it, the more effective it can be for the purpose of sleep. Think of it as an emergency backup plan only to use when you absolutely have to get to sleep. The form to consider is Indica with high THC content and low CBD content. This is strong and very little should be needed. The Sativa variety, in my experience, tends to wake me up, but definitely does not help me sleep.

Lastly, you can also test some of the multi-ingredient sleep aids that may contain some of the herbs and supplements that I mentioned in my previous reply to you. Mixing all of these options up seems to be useful in insuring that they all remain effective for you.


Posted by Gertjr (Madison) on 08/01/2020

Do you really think I would say I cannot take magnesium if I haven't tried? Trust me. With my ibsd, ANY form of magnesium will trigger my bowels. Period. I can use mag oil but only up to a point. As I said in my post, I swim several miles on the days I don't lift weights. I am doing everything in my power to get myself some sleep. Not much works and, like the melatonin, what works one day may not work the next.

Posted by Missm (Ny) on 08/01/2020

There are different forms of magnesium to take. Look up and try this form of it: Magnesium glycinate

Most magnesium supplements that you will find at drugstore are with the oxide form because it's cheap.

Are you able to find a pool? Water is an excellent therapy, it de-stresses and soothes.

Posted by Gertjr (Madison) on 08/01/2020

I started lifting weights to help with sleep, so I lift every other day and then swim several miles on the other days. I follow all the other sleep hygiene rules, so blue light/devices, wrong foods, etc, are already under control. I can only take magnesium through my skin and do that every morning and at night. If I use too much, I get loose even if it's topical applications. I am under much stress (husband passed, had new floors installed, a/c broke and had a plumbing leak all at once). And my cat is mourning DH being gone, so she's acting up a bit. I am handling all of this well enough (he was sick for so long that it's actually restfully quiet around here now) but just need to get some good, restorative sleep. Haven't felt rested in years. Menopause doesn't help. I will try to up the melatonin and see if it helps. But last night was worse than the night before and I really thought I'd be too tired to not sleep. I drink one cup of coffee in the morning and then nothing but water the rest of the day.

Posted by Deirdre (Ct) on 07/31/2020

Hi GertJr,

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.

Posted by Missm (New York) on 07/31/2020

Art has given excellent advice BUT if you don't do things like stop caffeine intake early in the afternoon, indulge in chocolate at night which has caffeine, use your computer before going to sleep, have light emanating from devices in your bedroom you will have problems.

Work on above and sleep improves. Also setting regular sleeping hours! Melatonin does work. I love it. I get deep rest from it.

Another option is to listen to theta waves with headphones before sleeping. if you are not familiar with these just google theatre waves for sleep.

Posted by Art (California) on 07/31/2020 2185 posts


Yes, unfortunately I have not found anything natural that works everytime, not even medical marijuana which is the best natural sleep aid I have found using the indica variety with high THC content and low CBD content. Overall, melatonin 123, for me is more effective than just taking the melatonin all at one time.

I would suggest you use Deirdre's addition to the melatonin of magnesium l threonate (Mag-T) or magnesium glycinate will also have a similar effect. The melatonin helps to slow the mind down a bit and magnesium tends to help your muscles to relax. Mag oil (MO) can also work quickly if you forgot to take your magnesium pill about an hour to an hour and a half before bed, by applying to the back of the neck and shoulder area as well as the chest as that whole muscle group tends to tighten throughout the day making it harder to get to sleep at night and MO loosens those up quickly, just spray it on and rub it in. Magnesium Taurate works also for helping with sleep. Melatonin and magnesium (M&M) are better than either one alone. My personal experience is that M&M gives a slightly better quality of sleep than either one alone.

The medical marijuana is generally my last resort and it also works well with magnesium and that combination probably is the strongest in the natural products. If that isn't enough, then you would have to talk to your doctor about prescription sleep aids, which I have never done.

Some people do fairly well with valerian root extract or GABA or both, but I consider these a bit weaker than the above mentioned items. Some people use benadryl, but this is not good for regular use as it is thought to contribute to the potential for dementia and or other neurodegenerative issues. Nyquil also has a product that contains Diphenhydramine, the active component from Benadryl and of course it will have the same drawbacks as Benadryl in longer term usage.

The blackout soft fabric night glasses are useful too when you are unable to darken your room enough. These fabric sleeping glasses let your body know that it is definitely night time. The soft foam ear plugs can help if there is significant background noise such as traffic.

A 10 to 15 minute dose of bright morning sunshine every morning helps to get your circadian rhythm back on track.

No computer, tablets, laptops, bright lights or tv for at least 1 1/2 hours before bed as these trick your body into thinking it is still daytime and will not allow natural melatonin production to do its job properly. Generally, the more active you are during the day, the easier it will be to get to sleep.

For mild sleeping problems, ashwagandha, lemon balm, teas for sleep, chamomile, deep breathing, epsom salt bath soak, passion flower and valerian root extract can be helpful. There are also combination sleep aids that have many of these in various combinations. One word of caution, the valerian root extract capsules have a smell to it that to me is disgusting and I can not tolerate that smell every night.

Lastly, getting on a regular schedule of sleep and waking is also longer term helpful and it is free.


Posted by Gertjr (Madison) on 07/31/2020

I've been taking melatonin the way Art suggested--2 hours before bed I take 1/3 total dose, then 1 hour before the next 1/3, then at bedtime the final 1/3.

I also take niacin, 100 mg, at bedtime since it helps also. So, most nights this really works and I fall asleep fast. I still wake several times per night but go right back to sleep. I wake up well and feel okay for several hours, then feel like I could nap but power through it since I'm at work.

I've been taking a total of 15 mg melatonin. But, like last night, nothing helped me sleep. I took another 5 mg melatonin an hour after bedtime and still didn't sleep but maybe 3 hours total. Any idea why? Or is this just something you have to deal with? (No choice there, I guess). Also, some days I get a real headache that lasts until noon or so. Is this the melatonin? I think so but it could be allergies.

Thanks, Art, this has worked more often than not and I'm happy for that.

Posted by Marie M. (NZ) on 06/28/2020

Acsessing MELATONIN you can send for it via internet.I live in NZ and here we are only able to get it at 3mg via MD script so I order it online and have found an outlet via Australia (www.... au )that has its source from America.They sell it from 3mg up to 10mg and the brand I usually get has small amount B6 added to it and it has an instant factor and a time release over the night incorporated into the tablet. I get it free shipping over a smallish outlay for the order. Works out hugely cheaper than a script and I can bulk up the order if I want (I take it every night)at the mg count that suits me.

I was 65 when I first took it and a remarkable thing happened.

I lay on my bed all day in a state of profound bliss and relaxation with my eyes partially closed not wanting to stir.

Sleeplessness had set in with menopause and I had noticed this affliction also in my mother and a sister a year younger than l.

Posted by Deirdre (Ct) on 06/25/2020

Hi Gertjr!

I suggest you take Art's lead on the melatonin dosage. I am going to try his 123 method tonight with 10 mg each hour. I decided to skip melatonin and magnesium last night to see how I would do. Was wide awake at 3:00am and couldn't fall back asleep, so I ended up taking 10 mg of melatonin and mag l threonate at 3:30. It did eventually kick in.

Note: I also regularly use my Waff max to help put me in the sleep and peaceful zone. Not sure you saw my video on it a year ago. It's almost impossible to explain how well it works until you lie on one and, unfortunately, there is no way to demo it unless you happen to work at Loreal in France where they have a giant room with Waffs for their employees to recuperate on! At any rate, the Waff at least once a day plus the 2 supplements have totally turned night-time around for me in the past month. Good luck!

Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium
Posted by Art (California) on 06/25/2020 2185 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!


Posted by Art (California) on 06/25/2020 2185 posts


It could be difficult coming off something like Tramadol that is fairly strong and can be on the habit forming side, especially since it was helping you with sleep. Your body has adjusted to it so you could try tapering off of it gradually instead of just stopping it all at once to help with the transition off of it.

Deirdre has the best method of taking melatonin with magnesium. The magnesium tends to help the muscles and tension relax, while the melatonin helps with sleep. Magnesium glycinate is going to be about as good as any form of magnesium for this purpose taken about 1 1/2 hours before bed.

The lowest dose of melatonin that has shown effectiveness for sleep is one third of a milligram, but you are already taking 3 mg. The next dose is 5 milligrams and then 10 mg. Myself, I have used a method I call "melatonin 123" to help me get to sleep. I determine what time I want to go to bed, so lets say I want to go to bed at 11:00pm, I take one melatonin at 9:00 pm, one melatonin at 10:00pm and one melatonin at 11:00 pm and usually by 10:45 I am yawning and ready to go to bed. In your case, you might use 1 mg x three melatonin in order to maintain your current dose of 3 mg. The time released melatonin can have a similar effect as "melatonin 123", but my preference is the melatonin 123. The idea is to release melatonin at a more natural rate into your system. When I take my dose all at once, I do not get as good of a sleep effect as melatonin 123.

There are additional things you can do to help improve sleep. The first thing is exposing yourself to a good dose of morning sunlight, to try and get your circadian rhythm in sync. Avoid using the tv or computer monitor at least 1 1/2 hours before bed because these can trick your mind and body into thinking it is still daylight. Make your bedroom dark enough where you can not see your hand in front of your face in the dark. Failing that, using the soft fabric night glasses like these can make it plenty dark:

If there is ambient noise such as traffic, noise deadening ear plugs may be useful.

Medical marijuana can also be useful, but may be on the habit forming side too.

Antihistamines can help initially, but they are not good for you on a regular basis or long term as they have been shown to possibly contribute to dementia with long term use and they can affect blood pressure in some people.

Lastly, getting on a regular sleep schedule or routine sets your body up for certain expectations of when to fall asleep and when to wake up in order to help sync the circadian rhythm.

You may have to make this extra effort to help with the transition off of Tramadol in order to get back into a good sleep rhythm.

Good luck and keep us posted on how you do!


Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium
Posted by Linda L. (Al) on 06/25/2020

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.

Posted by Gertjr (Madison) on 06/25/2020

Hello Art and Deirdre,

I've been taking a lot of things (ashwaghanda, valerian, etc) for sleep. I had read that melatonin for sleep was best if taken in low doses, but here you say large doses helped you. So, if I want to take only melatonin for my insomnia, how much would you take to start?

I've been taking 3 mg along with my other herbs and sleeping fitfully. I had surgery and the tramadol plus my other stuff has made me sleep wonderfully but, taking the tramadol at night only for pain (and I don't have pain anymore) I only have 4 left.

So I'm now stressing about not getting good sleep anymore. I need to be awake for work, but have a long weekend coming up and could start a high dose to see how it affects me. Any suggestions? I really don't like taking a whole concoction of stuff, it tastes terrible and doesn't really work all that well anyway.

Posted by Art (California) on 06/24/2020 2185 posts

Hi, Deirdre,

I'm very happy that melatonin is useful for improving your sleep! The addition of Mag-T is also additive at helping you to get to sleep and sleeping well. Mag-T, like magnesium taurate are both noted for targeting the brain. Another form of magnesium that is quite helpful for sleep is magnesium glycinate and I always find that adding the magnesium to the melatonin is very helpful for getting the best quality of rest!

Thank you for the feedback as it is helpful in confirming what is useful and what is not useful for everyone on EC!


Posted by Deirdre (Ct) on 06/24/2020

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!

Posted by Raeofsun13 (Colorado) on 12/25/2018

Thought I would share my remedy and experience with not sleeping great. I have had two cervical fusions and am fused at 3 levels. I also have had an arm surgery with screws in my arm. I have arthritis and a bone spur on my big toe, arthritis is my thumbs and numerous other aches and pains. I was a competitive gymnast in my youth and hard on my body. I have tried various things to help me sleep, during the time of my surgeries I was on ambien, which I wouldn't recommend to anyone.

The thing that I have found most helpful is Magnesium Glycinate, it is the most highly absorbable form of magnesium for our bodies. I am amazed at how much better I have been sleeping. Have been taking 3/4 teaspoon at night, typically able to sleep through the night now, I used to wake up around 3 and toss and turn due to aches and pains. I have used this also when feeling sore or whenever I feel too many aches and pains. It works great.

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

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.

Posted by Jenny (Uk) on 09/06/2018

I live in the UK but get my melatonin from the USA from Iherb. It's very cheap and if you choose the slower shipping, very cheap to ship or even free depending on the spend.

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