Natural Remedies

Natural Remedies for Insomnia, Tried and True

Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium
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.

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 1515 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
5 out of 5 stars

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
5 out of 5 stars

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
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.

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.

Carbohydrate Snack Before Bed
Posted by Gina (Alberta) on 08/31/2018
5 out of 5 stars

I recently read an article by a physician who suggested a carbohydrate snack at bedtime to cure insomnia. After years and years of believing that one should have a protein snack for sound sleep and never being able to fall asleep, I thought I would give it a try. So simple, right? It works. Every single time. Just an apple or some grapes, juice, whatever you like. Cherry juice even is a source of melatonin, so that might work really well. I can now fall asleep quickly and effortlessly and sleep soundly. It's beautiful.

Posted by Gert (Hg, Al) on 07/31/2018
0 out of 5 stars

I finally found a formula that helps my insomnia and now have a pain--does anyone think this is from the stuff I take or could it be something else? I take 1 Seriphos (1000mg), 200 mg L-Theanine, 1000 mg Glycine, 1000 mg Taurine, 1000 mg Gaba and 500 mg niacinamide. This mix also calls for 1 mg extended release melatonin, which made me fall asleep faster but left me with a migraine all day after. Without the melatonin I fall asleep within an hour, wake up several times but go right back to sleep and have strange dreams.

Now, after a week of doing this at night, I have a pain in my back (slightly lower than kidney) that radiates over to my hip and on to my groin. Almost like a kidney stone? Never had one, so no idea what causes this. It aches during the day unless I'm moving and is what I notice most when trying to go to sleep. Any ideas what it could be? Almost like a pulled muscle, except I haven't done anything to pull a muscle.

Multiple Remedies
Posted by Mary (Mn) on 07/10/2018

I'd put money on Microscopic Colitis.

Posted by Raphael (Seals, Tx) on 07/01/2018

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 Martin (Cambridge) on 06/12/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Melatonin to regulate my sleep cycle which was worsening with age (62 y/o male). Give it 2 weeks or more time before you see results. People give up too soon when experimenting with melatonin. Give your brain time to adjust to a new circadian pattern. 3 mg sublingual melatonin before bed is what I do.

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 Gert (Hg, Al) on 05/25/2018

I've been taking niacin (flush type) for cholesterol for years, 1g/day. Cholesterol levels are great. Now I have read that it is part of the Healthy Sleep Formula (Steve Gibson), but he says take the non-flush inositol type. So I have bought that. My sleep is terrible.

Anyway, can I take both types? Should I take the flush in the morning and the non-flush in the evening? I don't want to screw up my liver.

There are 2 sleep protocols: 1) niacinamide + extended release melatonin or 2) seriphos + glycine+ taurine+ gaba + l-theanine + timed release melatonin. I am desperate for sleep. This #2 formula seemed to let me sleep but it was like being awake until I realized that I had dreamed something that couldn't be possilbe since I was at home in bed. I have all these things already, so just need guidance on the niacin.

Also, mama to many mentioned nettle tea so I tried it some time ago and didn't see that it helped. But recently I purchased a large bag of nettle loose tea and have been drinking a quart of it per day--it does seem to make me sleepy at this dose.

My problem is that I get so so very sleepy but don't drift off to sleep. Then I get weak and take an ambien--which is awful, but I've gotten so desperate for sleep. I just want to be unconcious for a time and feel rested.

Posted by Claudia R. (Maryland) on 05/14/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Melatonin for nighttime stress and anxiety. I take a low dose 3 mg sublingual melatonin 1/2 hour or more before going to sleep. I used to wake up in fits of anxiety a few times a night and it would take me 2 hours or more to get back to sleep. Sometimes it happened twice in a night. Since taking melatonin, I sleep much better. Still sometimes I do wake up but go back to sleep within a min or two.

Posted by Peacepasstethallunderstanding (Usa ) on 05/04/2018
5 out of 5 stars

For those searching for insomnia helps I like to try tinctures. Catnip has helped along with skullcap. If I wake middle of night tincture of catnip and the 4-7-8 breathing has helped. I got a Saliva hormone level test that verified my need for help.

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 Terry (Md) on 04/29/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Was interested in nutmeg for nocturia. I recently read that a grandmother used her mother's remedy as a cure to stop from having to pee when she went shopping. It was incredibly easy. Granny said to put about a teaspoon of nutmeg in the palm of your hand and lick it off. She did this just before leaving the house and she did not have to find a bathroom during the whole time she went shopping.

Anyway, I have tried everything under the sun and nothing is too weird when you have to get up all hours of the night to pee. So, I have tried it for the last 3 nights and Alleluia! I got up after 3 1/2 hours the first time, then 3 hours the second time. By the time I needed to go again, it was time to get up. It was wonderful to feel refreshed, something I had not felt for many months.

However, about the nutmeg: I just used a good 1/4 tsp on the palm of my hand and licked it off just before going to bed. I also took a very tiny sip of water to get rid of the nutmeggy taste on my tongue. I will up the amount to 1/2 tsp and see what happens. I am thrilled even tho nutmeg is pretty expensive. It's worth it!

Sleep Tracker to Evaluate Sleep
Posted by KT (Usa) on 04/24/2018

Thank you for this post! My husband snores too...that's why we have to sleep in different rooms!

I'd be interested in getting this tracker watch because he feels he NEVER gets enough sleep. I think he underestimates how much he gets.

I have an internal alarm that gets me up after six hours, sometimes less. I think if you go to bed exhausted you can sleep hard for four hours and have enough. It has been reported that a 20 minute mid-day "power nap" can revive as much as sleeping eight hours. I did that when I was pregnant and worked full time. Little did I know that what I was eating (hidden sources of MSG) made me that tired.

BTW, I worked almost all day on my feet, went for monthly check-up, drove home thinking I was just having Braxston Hicks after exam, had my husband's labor inducing spaghetti sauce for dinner and had my first baby that night!

Sleep Tracker to Evaluate Sleep
Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 04/23/2018
5 out of 5 stars

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~

Castor Oil
Posted by Jean H. (Us) on 04/14/2018

Be careful giving melatonin to children as my research indicates it can cause seizures in children. I researched it for an article for my blog which is how I came across this. Plus, taking it can cause your body to stop producing it.

Posted by Jean H. (Us) on 04/15/2018

I don't doubt what you're saying, but magnesium has what's called 'bowel tolerance' where your body shunts any excess to the GI tract washing it out. When you've reached the amount your body needs, you develop loose stools and/or diarrhea that washes the excess out of your system. Look at the magnesium citrate given for bowel cleanses and colonoscopies that are at least 12,000 mg, and are considered to be safe.

Posted by Jean H. (Us) on 04/15/2018

If the magnesium oil stings, it's an indication that your body is low in magnesium so dilute the oil with a bit of purified water so it doesn't sting. You can also make a magnesium body butter with 2 parts cocoa, shea or mango butter, 1 part coconut oil and 1 part magnesium oil. Melt butter and oil over double boiler, stir to help emulsify. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes. Slowly mix magnesium oil in butter/oil mixture, mix with hand mixer. Put in the fridge for about 20 minutes to cool and then blend a second time with hand mixer and put in container. I saved a large necked jar from some herbs for my dogs that I use that works well. A teaspoon of the body butter provides approximately 250 mg of magnesium chloride.

Coconut Oil
Posted by Jean H. (Us) on 04/14/2018

Don't spit the coconut oil in your toilet or down your sink as it's solid below about 76 degrees and will clog your pipes.

Ginger Tea
Posted by Jean H. (Us) on 04/14/2018

Ginger also lowers cortisol levels.

Melatonin and Magnesium
Posted by Mary (Ca) on 03/29/2018

I have struggled with insomnia. will try this. Thank you.

Posted by Lisa (Westport, Ct) on 03/28/2018
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Lettuce Tea
Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 02/22/2018


This is great!

100 years ago, Beatrix Potter wrote about the "soporific effect of lettuce on the Flopsy Bunnies" in a children book! The bunnies were sound asleep from eating too much lettuce.

I guess she knew what she was talking about!


~Mama to Many~

Lettuce Tea
Posted by Mary Martinez (Arcadia, Ca) on 02/21/2018
5 out of 5 stars

LETTUCE TEA. For insomnia

I found this recipe from a lady I buy plants from. She said that her baby grandaughter was very troublesome so he said she rubbed the baby with lettuce leaves and placed a few underneath her pilllow as well and the baby went right to sleep! I found the recipe on the computer here it is:

How to Make Lettuce Leaf Tea

If you are wondering what else to do with all that lettuce laying around the house - try making a great cup of tea for insomnia. This simple recipe for lettuce tea will help you with insomnia and also acts as a mild sedative. The recipe was found in a 40 year old herbal medicine book - and I have tried it. It works ever so gently.

After the basic recipe there is more information about the particular lettuce that I chose, romaine, which is by far more nutritious than iceberg. I always recommend that lettuce be bought organic only.

Recipe for Lettuce Leaf Tea:

- 2 outer leaves of organic romaine lettuce

- 8 ounces of water

Thoroughly wash the leaves and then simmer for 20 minutes in the 1/2 pint of water.

Strain and drink before bedtime

How often should I drink it? - While it is recommended as a nightly drink - I'd suggest trying it first on the weekend when you don't have to get up for work and see how you feel. It is supposed to have sedative effects and I found the next day that I wanted to lay around and read a book. I didn't feel tired but wanted to lay around - it felt quite good. Perhaps that is the sedative effect.

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