Listen up my red-eyed-heart-racing-can't-shut-off-the-brain friends - I've got some healthy, natural insomnia remedies for you! I've had my fair share of sleepless nights– and no, I don't even have kids! I've always been a night owl, plus I have Type A disorder + adrenal issues + a creative mind. And all that = extremely restless nights. Followed up by very crabby days.
In years gone by, I would pour a nice glass of chilled wine from the box in my fridge, swallow some over-the-counter blue thingys and eventually, my mind would shut off. Unfortunately, that's not a good long term strategy. And with the removal of alcohol and any sort of medications from my life, I had to look for alternative help.
There are TONS of natural insomnia remedies and sleep aids out there, and I've tried almost all of them. So I'm just going to highlight the ones I keep going back to that WORK with minimal undesirable effects and what has seemed to work for most others. You'll notice that Melatonin isn't on there because it makes you feel groggy all the next day and nobody needs that. It also prohibits the body from producing it's own Melatonin over time, which is bad news.
Keep in mind that no one thing works for EVERYONE. So these are some places to experiment to see what works for your body!
I'm starting with lemon balm because it seems to have the most success across the board for helping people relax. Everyone I've recommended it to has said it worked for them. It has no side effects and can be taken throughout the day to calm the nervous system.
How to take it: You can brew lemon balm tea to sip before bed or whenever you feel anxious. For more potent treatment, I like these drops. You take a few in 2 oz. of water. They are convenient and you can take them with you anywhere.
This is one of the first things my holistic doctor gave me to help "calm me down" before bed. I honestly slept like a baby. It helps to lower cortisol, but can do so much more than help you with insomnia! Here is a great article on all the benefits of phosphatidylserine.
Phosphatidylserine is a key building block for the billions of cells in your brain, among many other functions. It can aid ADHD, depression, reduce cognitive decline, reduce Parkinson's symptoms and numerous other things.
Liddell Insomnia Spray.
I LOVE Liddell homeopathic sprays. They literally have one for every single thing from jet lag to EMF detox to bronchial issues. I have not personally used this one, but I've used their other sprays and they work fabulously. The reviews on Vitacost for this insomnia spray are very positive!
Magnesium is the ultimate natural anti-anxiety medication! I seriously have chilled out so much since I started taking this. Magnesium is a macro-mineral, meaning it is needed by the body in LARGE amounts. Magnesium regulates over 300 biochemical reactions in the body - and is very important for generating ATP (the basic unit of energy in the body). It's also essential to glucose metabolism, production of proteins and antioxidants, creation of DNA, and cholesterol production.
Bottom line here is you should take this REGARDLESS of insomnia. As a whole, it is estimated 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. Check out this great article by Dr. Mercola that goes into the symptoms and dangers of magnesium deficiency. BONUS: this is also a great supplement if you suffer from migraines, cramps, or regular headaches as it relaxes muscles. I completely rid myself of ocular migraines after starting to take Magnesium every night.
How to take it: in powdered form, such as above, mixed with a tiny bit of hot water until it dissolves (like Alka Seltzer) and then pour into larger glass of water to dilute. Take an hour before bed - will have a very calming effect and can also be taken throughout the day in smaller doses to help with anxiety.
Warnings: Ease up to the suggested dose. Too much too soon can cause loose stools in some people.
Epsom salt baths are also a great way to infuse the body with magnesium and calm you before bed! Just be sure to hydrate a lot afterward.
Valerian Root is a flower that has been used medicinally for centuries. In other words, it's safe. It is long regarded as a natural anti-anxiety and sleep aid. This will literally put you OUT!
How to take it: as directed - but try one dose before bed and see how you do. You can take this all day long actually.
Warnings: in some people, Valerian Root can cause intense dreams to occur.
Passionflower is a flower (shocker!) extract that promotes calmness and relaxation of the nervous system. Can also be used to treat digestive issues, muscle spasms, and anxiety disorder. This is probably my favorite product! No side effects. No groggy feeling in the morning. No stomach upset.
How to take it: a dropper in 2 oz of water a half hour before bed.
Warnings: do not take if on any sort of pain medication. It does NOT taste good. But since you're only taking drops in 2 oz of water- just chug it like shot and no biggie.
I have heard a lot of good things about Calms Forte, which is a blend of herbs including chamomile and valerian among several others. It has great reviews and I love Hylands products in general!
TEAS + AROMATHERAPY
Traditional Medicinals Organic Nghty Night Tea works better than ANY nighttime tea I've ever tried. Plus, it's organic. And you don't want to drink non-organic teas. They are highly irradiated and sprayed with chemicals, so you're basically paying to drink concentrated toxins.
Aromatherapy sprays are awesome for spraying on your bedding or the air in your bedroom. Very relaxing. I like Chill Pill from Aura Cacia,
Other natural help for insomnia:
Lastly, my insomniacs, the most effective thing I have ever implemented in getting tired at night was turning on night mode at 7pm (this is a setting on your phone that makes the light "warm") and shutting of all technology at 9:00pm. Literally, put the phone in your room to charge and let it go. Ditto for computer. The constant barrage of blue light from technology tricks your body into thinking it's still daylight and you won't start producing the Melatonin needed for sleep. But Melatonin isn't just needed for sleep - it is an important antioxidant, protecting you from disease. Here is an alarming study from Harvard Health about blue light, Melatonin, and it's correlation to diseases and cancer. Also, don't eat right before bed as the body can't truly rest when it's digesting.
- 7pm—turn phone to night mode
- Don't eat after 8pm
- Put phone/computer away at 9pm and take your herbal calming meds
- Prepare magnesium or nighttime tea and drink it up until bedtime.
- Sleep in as DARK of a room as possible. Get blackout curtains -they help tremendously. I get mine at Target!
- Use a phone app called Sleep Stream— you can select all different sounds, which helps drown out any "noises" that would otherwise wake you
- Put phone on airport mode, so you won't even get vibrations
- Put a humidifier in your room so you don't have breathing issues and turn your heat DOWN
- Use an air purifier in your room to reduce pollutants and irritants
Sleep tight my beautiful friends!
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