Natural Remedies

Natural Remedies for Insomnia, Tried and True

Posted by Allmymarbles (New York City, New York) on 04/04/2010
5 out of 5 stars

For 30 years I suffered from ever-worsening insomnia. The cause was never found, but it was suggested slyly that I was neurotic. Ultimately I developed short-term memory loss and my exhaustion was profound.

One winter I developed a craving for clams and could not seem to get enough of them. I noticed that occasionally I had short periods of normal sleep. Then it hit me - iodine! I had myself tested for hypothyroidism. The result was positive. And I was furious. I never got help from the medical profession, lived for years as a zombie, and had to find the cure all by myself! Thanks to potassium iodide I sleep just fine. Although I started at a higher dosage, I currently take only four drops of 5 per cent solution a week. Now if I could get a refund of all the money I wasted on doctors who resorted to facile psychology instead of medicine . . . .

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.

Castor Oil
Posted by Mel (Katy, Tx) on 01/17/2010

Kay, I just use a q-tip and dip in the Castor oil bottle and have just a drop fall on the tip of my finger and quickly apply to my eyelid. Do the same for the other eye. Rub it in very well and get in bed. It works very fast. I am more excited about my pterygium diminishing and maybe possibly going away for good. Keeping my fingers crossed. So, for me it has helped in two ways and I hope that it helps someone else with insomnia and a pterygium.

Posted by Quixote (Las Vegas, NV) on 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.

Posted by Lucinda (London, On, Canada) on 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.

Posted by Leelannee (Sussex, Nj) on 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.

Posted by Leelannee (Sussex, Nj) on 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!

Cod Liver Oil
Posted by Erika (Vancouver, Bc) on 08/04/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Hi, my eyes have been sensitive to light lately, so I researched and found that it may be a lack of fish oils, so I started taking cod liver oil capsules and very suddenly I started sleeping like a log through the night. So I told my father to try the cod liver oil for his sleep problems and sure enough the very first night he slept through 8 hrs. (usually he gets 3 hrs. then wakes up!) People with insomnia try this and let others know. Note: On one site I read says that if you get oil reflux or diahrea it is due to the oil being old. I've been feeling very healthy lately with no daytime tiredness since I have started this as well as great bowel movements, and my farsightedness has become clearer. Good Luck. Erika

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 Kathi (New Brunswick, NJ) on 02/07/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I developed severe insomnia last winter (nov 07) and went through quite a trial for months, with none of the many things I tried helping much except some tips on how to improve sleep habits through cognitive behavioral therapy. I was doing better May-Oct 08 then all of a sudden the same severe insomnia symptom was back in full force. Last month I decided to try vitamin D3 2000 IU/day, after reading so many recent articles about the importance of this sunshine vitamin. I chose tablets with D3 source from lanolin, since I am allergic to fish. Within a week I was sleeping soundly at night, and I am continuing to sleep well. In retrospect, it is likely that I became more susceptible to vit. D deficiency after I became lactose intolerant and stopped drinking milk.

Posted by Marcella (Moscow, Idaho) on 02/02/2009

I would like to know at what time did you take the 5HTP and how many mg?

Posted by Stefanie (Minden, Louisiana) on 07/17/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I found this remedy when I was looking for herbal remedies for my daily headaches. I found 5-HTP. According to the article, some of the things it helped with are insomnia, headaches, anxiety & depression. I thought could it be? I immediately went to my husband to show him what I had found because he had problems sleeping at night as well. We went a few days later to our local drug store and picked up a bottle of 50mg. 5-HTP. We had decided on the lowest dosage available in our area, upping the dosage as we went along if it was necessary. We have only been on it for a few days now but there is a very noticeable difference. We both have been sleeping through the night and feeling more refreshed when we wake. My anxiety attacks are gone as well as my headaches. We both are much less snappish than what we were before. We haven't noticed any side effects so far. We are taking them with a meal or a small snack and so far we have stayed at 50mg. Thanks for the very useful information that lead to this discovery!

EC: Read more about 5-HTP here.

Posted by Cathy (Richmond Hill, Canada) on 02/29/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Insomnia: My kids have a hard time sleeping at night. I've struggled for about 10 years trying to put my ADHD girl to bed at night. The older she became, the worse it was, telling me to "get lost" when I came in the room at 11:00 p.m. She would just continue on the computer and ignore me. It was very depressing. I had to sleep so I would just go and leave her alone. Her dad didn't help much. Rescue remedy! melatonin! I bought the chewable kind and used to give it to her when I was totally exasperated at 10 or 11 p.m. Now I give it to her at 8 or 8:30 p.m. and now she jumps into bed by 9 or 9:30 p.m. What a miracle! Why did it take me so long to figure that one out? She was sleep deprived for many years!

Honey and Cinnamon
Posted by Bonnie (Long Beach, US) on 12/13/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I was looking on your site a couple days ago and saw a remedy with honey to help lose weight. I tried it and found that i had more energy during the day, had less of an appetite, and fell asleep faster at night!! i love it! the remedy i found was every morning, a half hour before breakfast, as well as right before bed at night, drink a tablespoon of honey in one cup of boiling water with a teaspoon of cinnamon. It has only been four days, but man, what a difference!!!

Honey and Cinnamon
Posted by T.Srikantharajah (Wimbledon, England) on 12/04/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Daily in the morning, 1/2 hour before breakfast on an empty stomach and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup water. If taken regularly it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also drinking of this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.

Cumin Seeds
Posted by T.Srikantharajah (London, United Kingdom) on 11/27/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Cumin seeds: Cumin seeds, when boiled in plenty of water and drunk as a herbal tea before bedtime, can help counteract insomnia. It also contains anti-cancer agents carevol and limonene.

Posted by Yasir (Stockton, CA) on 09/16/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I found acidophilus to be very helpful with insomnia.

Amino Acids
Posted by Canadian Dave (Canada) on 11/26/2016 15 posts

People may have to avoid arginine if they have cold sores or herpes. Glutamine can also be a problem in high doses in people who are gluten intolerant.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Karin Street (Us) on 09/12/2013

Reply to Cheryl's question about ACV. It's the potassium in ACV that helps w/ so many ailments, isn't it? Eating much salt causes us to need more potassium than we can get in foods.

Posted by Eric (Mt. Airy, Maryland) on 03/07/2007
5 out of 5 stars

For me, its not eating a bannana before bed, rather incorporating bannanas into my diet. If I eat 1 or 2 a day I can fall asleep with no problems whatsoever.

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!!

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.

Onion by the Bedstand
Posted by Rich (Las Vegas, NV)
5 out of 5 stars

Cut an onion in half and place it by your nightstand. You will sleep like a baby. My mother did this for years.

Don't Stress!
Posted by Gert (Al) on 09/30/2013

This has got to be the most idiotic comment I have ever read in my life. If I could shut down and just enjoy my bed, do you really think I wouldn't? People are looking for answers, not dumb statements like this one.

Posted by jake (Chicago) on 10/15/2022
5 out of 5 stars

Tracy: I used to have sleeping issues. I cured myself and now am regularly soundly asleep within minutes after taking a third of a teaspoon of GABA powder. It is tasteless. I am 78 years old and have among other issues, prostate issues. When I awaken every 2,3 or 4 hours to go to the bathroom, I just take another dose. Of the many people I have turned on to GABA, I've heard many rave reviews and no failures. The same goes for the people turned on to it from those my friends and family forwarded the remedy. I take high doses of melatonin and other herbs for health reasons, but the GABA works like a charm by itself. My son btw takes it in a capsule, and it works as well for him - his comment the first night he tried it the the next morning was - it is intense -LOL. Try it - I think it will change your life, maybe dramatically.

Posted by GertieJr (Madison) on 09/10/2022

I agree, when melatonin works, it works great. It just doesn't work consistently. I recently bought some gummies w/ melatonin (total 3 mg/ dose) and have started using apigenin as well. The first few days of these 2 items, I slept like a log. Then it stopped working and I was up and down all night again. So I added another apigenin and slept again. After the 2nd night of this higher dose, I see my face is breaking out. Not whitehead pimples, but red bumps that soon scab over. It looks like I have rosacea. So, what to do? I'd rather sleep than worry about my skin, so hope it gets better over time. This insomnia is terrible and NOTHING I have ever used works very long.

Posted by Bwhiskered (ON) on 10/17/2021
5 out of 5 stars

A spoonful of Honey before bedtime. If you waken though the night a spoonful will usually get yo back to sleep,

D3, B3, B12 and B Complex
Posted by Ivanka (Nevada) on 07/12/2021
5 out of 5 stars

The supplements that I had the most success with for my severe insomnia were:

  • Vitamin D3 5000IU every night for a couple of weeks and then one every other night.
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) 500mg every night plus
  • B12 5000mcg
  • and B complex in liquid form.

I hope this helps you too.

Vitamins D and B Complex
Posted by Tessa (Okanagan) on 03/30/2021

Hi GertJr -

That's a really good question! I found this article very informative:

Vitamin D3 is only found in animal-sourced foods, whereas D2 mainly comes from plant sources and fortified foods (it's cheaper to produce).

Vitamin D3 appears to be better than D2 at improving vitamin D status.

You can also get Vitamin D3 through sun exposure on your bare skin. The further you are away from the equator, the harder it is to get proper D3 levels from sun exposure alone.

If your total Vitamin D levels are in the optimal range, I wouldn't worry about the breakdown between D3 and D2 (none of my tests had a Vitamin D2 category - just D3).

Hope that helps!