Natural Remedies

Natural Remedies for Insomnia: A Comprehensive Guide

Posted by Wendy (Westport, Ct) on 09/22/2013
5 out of 5 stars

I have been suffering from insomnia which really kicked in this summer. I think it is perimenopausal or hormonally based insomnia. The one remedy that has worked beautifully for me has been magnesium. I take 1 teaspoon of magnesium powder (the kind that dissolves in water) just before going to sleep and having been sleeping through the night. What a miracle it has been! If I wake up and need to use the bathroom, getting back to sleep takes only minutes. I tried taking magnesium earlier in the day and it didn't have the same effect. Taking it just before going to sleep is the perfect time.

Before I took magnesium, I would wake up at the slightest sound and then be awake for 2-3 hours.

I started at 1/2 teaspoon of magnesium poweder in 1/2 glass of warm water and have slowly worked my way up to 1 teaspoon because of the loose stools effect. I did get a series of stomach aches and a few rounds of diarrhea when I started taking magnesium but now I can tolerate larger and larger doses. It did take a few weeks to go from 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon.

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.

Selective Insomnia
Posted by Rsw (Uniontown, Oh) on 08/31/2013

It sounds like your Father feels very safe with you, and is able to relax and go to sleep when he stays at your house. He can look forward to the safety of seeing you the next morning. You must be very loving that he feels this way around you. When my Mother became somewhat frail and lived alone, I got her a Lifeline necklace, and she liked to talk with the people who checked to make sure it was working and felt secure. When she had to move into an assisted living facility (she lives in FL and would not move up North near any of us), I let her keep it for a few months until she felt safe there, even though she didn't need it anymore. Maybe you could program his phone with your number so he felt he could call you if he panics, but, of course, you need your sleep, too. You are to be admired for the care and concern you have for your Father, and it sounds like you are doing the best that you can under the circumstances.

Posted by Maria De Suecia (London, United Kingdom) on 10/24/2010
5 out of 5 stars

Oh my god! I have suffered ruthless episodes of insomnia the last 6 years. This has destroyed my life. As a result I had to withdraw from my PhD program, for example. I simply would not be able to sleep at all, for months at a time. Finally a doctor put me on a very sedating antidepressant. It made me sleep but made me drowsy all day and I lost my short term memory. I got off that 2 years ago and have since had poor sleep but I have slept for a few hours. Anyway, 2 weeks ago I got a new episode. I would lay awake for hours and when I finally began to dose off my body would jerk and twitch so I would wake up again. And so it went on the entire night.

Finally I googled "insomnia and twitching" and got thousands of hits saying "magnesium deficiency". One site in particular said "if you suffer from insomnia, body jerks and twitches, chest and back pain and cannot take deep breaths, then you should take magnesium. " So I read thousands of sites and found one particular brand of magnesium that seemed to help the best. I assume I cannot mention the brand here but it's a powder form and you must mix it with hot water. Given the severity of my insomnia I didn't think a mineral would ever do the trick, but what could I loose? So I ordered it as a last resort before going to the doctor to get sleeping pills. I am not kidding you, day 1 was better, day 2 even better and since day 3 I have slept like a rock for 8.5 hours straight. My chest and back pain are almost gone and I can breath properly.

I have read countless of anecdotes by people discussing insomnia and magnesium. It seems as if absorption is a big problem. Please don't give up if the first attempt doesn't work. Go to the health food store and ask for the brand that has the best absorption. If you do get a good intake of calcium you may be magnesium deficient and may do better on magnesium alone. Otherwise magnesium and calcium is recommended. Personally I take 800 mg/night. Google it! Given my severity of insomnia I am blown away that it all came down to a mineral. WOW!!!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Ravi S (Dallas, Texas) on 12/20/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Last night I was reading on ACV/Honey, ACV/baking soda for sleep disorders. Decided to give it a try. I took ACV/Honey one teaspoon each in a cup of warm water at 9.09pm. By 9.30pm I started winding down and by 10pm, I was fast asleep. I had FEWER disturbance. My problem earlier was to get back to sleep if i am disturbed and that happened frequently. This seemed to work pretty good and I woke up real fresh.

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.

Posted by Lorayne (Sun City, Az) on 01/23/2012

I wouldn't use Horlicks, since it contains milk which means it probably contains rBGH (genetically modified bovine growth hormone). Go to to read up on the dangers of GMOs. They are in dairy, soy, corn, canola, zucchini, yellow squash, Hawaiian papaya, cottonseed and alfalfa at present. Organic food cannot be GMO. So if you want to eat these things, choose organic. The Environmental Working Group has a petition of it's website to force labeling of products that contain these poisonous GMOs. Go to to sign the petition.

Sea Salt
Posted by Cal (Calgary, AB) on 05/13/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I was having problems falling asleep at one point and I resorted to all kinds of things even drinking alcohol, working out hard in the day so I would be exhausted but still wouldn't fall asleep but somehow (don't know how and why) it stopped and I was able to fall asleep. Then I would fall asleep fine but around 2am I would just awake sometimes for no reason sometimes to pee and I would hardly be able to fall asleep again. This happened for months. My eyes would just open and I would like there for hours trying to fall asleep again and no matter what I did it just won't happen. I even got eyebags due to lack of sleep now I want to get rid of them. I had gone to a health store and bought some sea salt - one without preservatives or additives and just sun and wind dried. Somewhere I had read something about sea salt but didn't quite remember what so I decided to try it. Add some to my drinking water and lo and behold that solved the problem. Another thing is I could only fall asleep on my left side so I started developing pain in my left shoulder and I could only sleep in that position. I couldn't sleep on my back or right side or belly but since drinking the sea salts I sleep on my back or right side like a baby. Sometimes i even sleep all through the night and even if I wake up to pee I will fall asleep again. I am sooooo happy. Hope this helps someone. I still take it daily or almost daily by adding about a little to about 1 liter of water - enough to taste it but not be salty. I think I was missing some minerals which the salts provided

Sea Salt
Posted by Jennie (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia) on 03/09/2012
5 out of 5 stars

I have had great success with this over the past week!

"Sea salt is very important for regulating sleep. It is a natural hypnotic. If you drink a full glass of water then put a few grains of sea salt on your tongue and let it stay there, you will fall into a natural, deep sleep. Don't use salts on your tongue without drinking water for repeated use of salt alone might cause nosebleeds".

ACV, Baking Soda and Cayenne
Posted by Clayton (Willamina, Oregon, USA) on 12/05/2007
5 out of 5 stars

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

Coconut Oil
Posted by Rosemarie (Carlsbad, CA) on 10/06/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I am on my 3rd week using vco and have lost 10 pounds, sleeping through the night, and having more energy. I have cut out gluten from my diet, milk, and coffee also. Now I am going to get my husband to take it..

Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc
Posted by Sasha (Sav, Jamaica) on 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!

Cold Showers
Posted by Leon (Wichita, Ks) on 08/11/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I like taking cold showers at night. It helps to sleep and I feel confident getting up in the morning. I encourage everybody to take a cold shower at night. It really helps with insomnia.

Wiggle the Toe Method
Posted by Hazel (London, England) on 07/04/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I had psychotic depression after my childs birth. I didn't sleep for days. A reflexologist told me this. You wiggle one toe, then the next one, then the next one and so on. Over and over. It works brilliantly, try it tonight!

Coconut Oil
Posted by jeffrey (bournemouth, ENGLAND) on 06/07/2007
5 out of 5 stars


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

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

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

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

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

Sleep Pointing North in Absolute Darkness
Posted by Ricardo (CA) on 02/07/2006
5 out of 5 stars

Total darkness allows the iris of the eye to completely relax. Eyes are the only place your nervous system is exposed to the world directly. If you are resting in a partially darkened room, cup your palms over your eyes for a while until it seems totally black. Remove your palms and keep your eyes closed. You will perceive some light or lessening of the black through your eyelids. Closing your eyes to sleep, in any illumination, does not allow complete relaxation. Always use a sleep mask or soft cap pulled over your eyes, doubled if needed, and test with palms over mask to be absolutely sure of total darkness.

Sleep Pointing North in Absolute Darkness
Posted by Brad (Wisconsin) on 08/01/2005
5 out of 5 stars

Sleeping with your head pointing North can improve the quality of your sleep. Also sleeping in absolute total darkness(no alarm clock lights, no light from the door jam) can have a huge impact on your over all health. It will allow more melatonin release by your body and for a longer period of time during the night, which is vital to living longer and healthier. This kind of sleep quality lifts your levels of attention, energy and motivation, awareness and helps keeping aging down to a minimum.

St Johns Wort
Posted by Brad (Ontario) on 12/08/2022
5 out of 5 stars

St Johns Wort is good for anxiety and depression, also a calmative. I found it helps with restless sleep when taken on an empty stomach. However be cautious when taking it because, similar to grapefruit, it will interact with other medications and supplements.

Cannabis Tea
Posted by Brad (Ontario) on 11/26/2022
5 out of 5 stars

Cannabis tea seems to work for getting back to sleep. I heard indica strain is better for relaxing than sativa. Put like 1/2 grams of dried herb into 8oz boiling water let steep and cover to infuse for as long as you can. Keep in mind this can have side effects such as racing thoughts, anxiety, dry mouth and increased heart rate, keep this in mind as everybody is different, so use caution if you're on any medications.