Question of the Week

It’s Friday once again, are you ready for the weekend?

When you have problems getting to sleep and staying asleep, what are some natural methods you use?

I have been having a lot of issues lately mainly with staying asleep. I wake up super early around 4:30-5:00am and then am mostly awake after that until I finally get out of bed. I’ve used Melatonin, but since it’s a hormone, and I may be having hormonal-related depression right now, I am not going to use it anymore. Any tips?

Have a great weekend!

-Kelly

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85 comments

  • September 28, 2012

    I sleep okay now (I tend to wake up around 5, but that doesn’t bother me) – but I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping. I tried some natural and OTC remedies, but I found that prescription sleeping meds were the best option for me. Once I started sleeping better I had so much more energy and just felt so much better overall.

    If you ever decide to go that route, there are tons of different prescription options – ones that help you fall asleep, ones that help you stay asleep, one that do both. Some are physically addictive and can only be taken a max of a couple times a week, some are safe to take every day.

    TOTALLY not telling you to take prescription meds – you should do what feels right for you! Just sharing my experiences & some general info :)
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  • September 28, 2012
    Kris

    I’ve had luck with Valerian root capsules or Valerian root tea. It doesn’t KEEP you asleep, per se, but it definitely takes the edge off and helps you ease into sleep in the first place. I hope you get some rest this weekend!

  • September 28, 2012
    Anneli

    I hear you! I often have trouble sleeping and I find what helps me the most if I have some sort of routine/night time ritual that consists of doing certain things at certain times exactly the same each night before I go to bed. I think it’s mostly in my head, but what I typically do is that I take a shower, fluff my pillows and comforter then I hook my laptop up to the TV in the bedroom and watch a tv-show for about 45 minutes, I then get up and brush my teeth and moisturise my face, comb my hair, take one quick look online before I shut off my laptop (must be quick or else I’ll be in front of it for the whole night…). The very last thing I do is making sure there is food and fresh water in the bowls for the cats. It also helps having a cat on my arm purring me to sleep. ;)

  • September 28, 2012

    I take a benadryl an hour or so before bedtime. It had the least side effects that I tried. Melatonin made me feel drugged.
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  • September 28, 2012
    Icequeen81

    I do have the same problem sleep and staying asleep, I got Amantilla Relax it helps a bit. But I think maybe I need something aside. I hear chamomile tea or a table spoon of honing, but not together the same night the tea and honing.

    It really annoys me that I cant sleep is kind that op that moment my mind wont stop working and work faster and more turbulent is like it works per seconds , I hate it Glad im not the only one

  • September 28, 2012

    Usually when I have trouble sleeping I just close my eyes and gently roll my eyes upward (kind of like telling yourself to fall asleep). Don’t be too aggressive in rolling your eyes~ just gently look up will your eyes are closed. I swear I’m not crazy! It has worked a LOT for me. :)

    Also warm milk 30 minutes for bed helps. There’s also a box of tea (sold at Target) I believe the brand is Celestial (?) or something like that, and they sell a “sleeping/nighttime” tea and it’s supposed to help you sleep :D

    Good luck Kelly! Eventually, all things have a way of coming back together ^__^

    • September 28, 2012
      Wendy A.

      Sleepytime Tea!!! yes it’s wonderful it tastes like mint.

  • September 28, 2012

    I’ve had sleep issues for years: both falling asleep and staying asleep. I’ve tried OTC and prescription pills and I don’t like them. Hormones make me feel off. So, exercise is the best natural remedy for me. I found that exercising at least 3 days a week (preferably 4 or 5) has made me sleep SO MUCH BETTER. I run 3-4 miles around lunch time or I swim for an hour after work. I slept pretty well with just running and yoga, but since I added swimming to my exercise routine about four months ago, I’ve slept really well. If you have time, try swimming a few times a week.
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  • September 28, 2012

    I hate to admit but when I was having a terrible time sleeping with everything that has gone on this year I was having a couple glasses of wine a night. I wonder what is a healthier crutch? Sleeping pills or alcohol? *sigh*
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  • September 28, 2012

    Kelly,

    I do truly hate to hear of the trouble you’ve been having recently. I had aura migraines for years caused by hormones only we didn’t realize it until after I had a hysterectomy at the age of 30 and they pretty much stopped. I’ve had maybe 2 dozen migraines in the 16 years since. When our bodies are messed up like that, it can certainly mess everything up, including our sleep cycles.

    I am a chronic pain sufferer now and unfortunately it also means I have problems sleeping because I either can’t get comfortable or just can’t relax enough to sleep. I also can’t take sleep aids because they have the opposite effect on me than they should, they make me incredibly hyper instead of helping me sleep. A friend introduced me to an herbal tea brand called Celestial Seasonings years ago. One of the flavors they have is called ‘Sleepy Time’ and I’ve found it really does help in allowing the body to relax enough to fall asleep, especially if you use along with meditation or relaxating visualization techniques (just closing your eyes and imagining that you are relaxing one certain body part at a time until your whole body is relaxed). I also will usually listen to some classical music turned on low and keep the room as dark as I can. The good thing about these techniques are they are all natural and mainly free (except the tea). :0) If you use the visualization trick, make sure you do each leg and arm seperately because they each deserve attention on their own, at least, that is what the Lamaze instructor told us in the class I took where I learned the technique many, many years ago. :D

    I wish you good luck in finding something that works for you and hope that you start finding the path back to your happy place sooner rather than later!

    Take care!

  • September 28, 2012

    I listen to audiobooks with my Ipod and I fall asleep that way. Then if I wake up at night, I put it again and I think I get back to sleep in ten seconds ;-)
    Also, i know if I take the laptop to bed, start a new episode of a tv show on netflix, etc, I will be wanting more! O it’s better a movie or a book!
    It sounda crazy, but sometimes when you’re too tired, it’s more difficult to sleep! I see that with my kids! Maybe a little nap, but I mean LITTLE and early can help you too (i know it sounds that it’s going to have the opposite effect, but not at all!)
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  • September 28, 2012
    Lauren

    My mother and I both struggle with insomnia issues… While we’ve both found success with OTC and prescription sleeping pills, taking them isn’t something we like to do on the long term. What has worked best for us isn’t always the most popular option, but it has worked. We both are very focused on making sure to get some serious exercise in every weekday. Now, we both hate hate hate working out, but we love love love sleep. So we do it.

    I’d also mention that I struggle more with falling asleep than staying asleep, but I do sleep more soundly when I’ve exercised. It might work for you, too, and it has lots of other health benefits!

  • September 28, 2012
    Bee

    I have also tried Sleepytime Tea from Celestial and it definitely works! Another thing that has worked for me in the past is sticking your hands under your bum, palm facing up. Hoist your hips in the air and do 20 bicycle kicks. It sounds bizarre but for me, my mind concentrates on doing the exercise and when I’m done, my brain is blank and I try to hold onto that feeling so I can fall asleep more easily.

    Good luck!!

  • September 28, 2012

    There’s a great app for iPhone/ iPad or Android Called Relax Melodies. It uses binaural beats to help induce sleep. I’ve found that it really helps me get to sleep and stay asleep. I feel refreshed when I wake up, and there’s no chemical side effect. There’s a free version you can try out, and the full app is only $2.99. Well worth it!
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  • September 28, 2012
    nat

    Hi Kelly, so sorry to hear of your problem sleeping. I had problems sleeping too and very likely due to my pregnancy and after as well during breast feeding period, so I think hormones were the reason. I had many natural remedies but mostly for FALLING asleep and not STAYING asleep. So I don’t know if they would work for you.
    First important thing for me was to relax and do some kind of “ritual” before sleeping. A warm bath with some relaxing extract (lavender, or chamomile) may help relax. Then there are all kinds of soothing plants, that you can take during the day as tea:
    – chamomile
    – lavender
    – lime tree
    – valerian

    It’s important also to avoid the sources of stress (ha! simpler to say than to do) but consuming less or none caffeine may help (not only coffe but soft drinks, regular tea, and green tea contain caffeine), and of course spending energy in a very pleasent way ;) help the body relax. Exercising is good, but i hate working out or running! but swimming is a good option for me, in that way that I spend energy and is relaxing also. you may know your own preferred way to “be tired” pleasantly, gardening, riding a bike, making love, whatever…
    I really hope you’ll get better and have a good sleep again!

    • September 28, 2012

      I’m a health coach and Nat’s comments are spot on excellent. There are some places that also make essential oils and valerian oil (one sniff) is very calming. It’s important to eliminate all caffeine and to get off computers and television late at night. Also any form of exercise– even walking is very helpful. Thank you for raising this and I wish you well-being.
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  • September 28, 2012
    Cindi

    I just get up and take a bath, read a magazine or book, clean/dust the house or watch you tube videos on nail tutorials and read blogs, which is how I found yours! I used to get upset that I wasn’t able to sleep, but finally after years of it, and NOT being tired during the day, I quit fighting it and now just listen to my body and if I can’t sleep, I quit trying. I have the same trouble from around 0300 or 330 am to 530 am and then I’m fine. Weird. I actually was reading an article last night/this am during my 0330 am “I’m wide awake” internet surfing and found an interesting article about people really only needing sleep in 4 hour intervals and that it’s normal to wake in the middle of the night. Here’s a link :
    http://www.lifeslittlemysteries.com/1109-bustin-the-8-hour-sleep-myth.html

  • September 28, 2012
    Poppi

    I’ve watched a documentary called You Are What You Eat on Netflix that included an orthomolecular doctor talking about vitamin C. He sounded very knowledgeable, and commented about a patient that suffered from depression and got better. Other people in the documentary were just OK though. I am sorry I don’t remember more details about what he said, or even his name.

    I do believe that nutrition plays an important role in our body chemistry. We definitely don’t eat enough variety and quantity to keep ourselves out of trouble. Multivitamins could be a solution for that, but suspect our bodies don’t absorb them very well.

    I have had problems sleeping a couple of years ago when I couldn’t get any sleep at all for about 3 months. It was the same time I got super depressed, wasn’t eating very well, and lost a lot of weight. That was the only time ever that I had problems sleeping. I normally sleep like a rock.

    Have you ever tried green smoothies in the morning? There are lots of fruits and veggies that are packed with vitamins and minerals, and that are also delicious and inexpensive. A combination of green smoothies, less processed foods, and multivitamins is what I go for.

    Sorry this is super lengthy. I do hope you find your balance soon. Insomnia is not fun at all.

  • September 28, 2012
    Heather

    I’ve had a LOT of sleeping problems in my life, and my main ways of getting back to sleep are either to play sudoku on my phone (all that thinking late at night seems to wear out my brain!), or to do a couple of relaxation exercises. One is where you lay still on your back, and then, starting from your toes, you clench the muscles for 3 seconds, and then release. So, start with your toes, and then clench/release each muscle going up through your body. You’d be surprised at which muscles you find you were already subconsciously clenching! Another exercise is to force yourself to remember each and everything you did from the time you woke up that day until you got to bed – I never make it through the whole day, and end up falling asleep. It’s supposed to be good for your memory to do this too!
    I’d watch out for that valerian stuff – I used to take it in tea when I had a tough time sleeping, but you have to bear in mind that it’s not regulated and there’s been little to no testing on it. So if someone put something in there other than valerian, you’d have no way of knowing it. That’s what scares me about “natural” meds. I’d rather take a Tylenol PM cause it’s been tested and it’s effects are reliably clear and certain.
    Sweet dreams and I hope your sleep issues go away!

  • September 28, 2012

    Hi, I have not read all the responses, so it might be already said. In Holland you can buy melatonine. It is a medication which give you a natural feeling of getting tired and want to go to sleep. Children with adhd use it often. Maybe you could google it and find out if they have it in your country. Good luck!

  • September 28, 2012

    i have been having sleep problems too the last week. I never have and now all of a sudden I do. I notice f I work out a little more it hepls but not always. I dont want to take anything so I hope someone has some good suggestions : )
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  • September 28, 2012

    I drink some kind of herbal infusion (Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime) before going to bed, and it functions like a cue for my body to settle down. I don’t have a lot of sleeping problems, but I can recommend something with valerian root (Sleepytime Extra). Every time when I drink something that contains it, I’m knocked out for 10 hours afterwards (that’s why I stay away from it)! Hope it helps :)
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  • September 28, 2012

    For a long time, I was having problems sleeping and I realized it was because I was using my bed for EVERYTHING. Eating, watching TV, reading, talking on the phone. When I made the bedroom the place I ONLY sleep, that helped for awhile. I also moved my TV and computer out of my bedroom. I’d drink Sleepytime Tea (available for the Keurig too!) with milk and sweet n low before bed.

    However 4 years later I was stuck again not sleeping so I went to my doctor and he prescribed me Triazolam. I take half a pill about an hour before I want to sleep and get a solid 8 hours. I take one less than once a month because I was able to just naturally relax again after a few good nights of sleep. I hope you get the sleep you need!
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  • September 28, 2012
    Zorbs

    masturbation. Orgasms are the best sleep aid ever.

  • September 28, 2012
    Emily

    I find that I always feel the most relaxed after a yoga class, and often feel like I could drift off during the “sleep of the yogis” meditation. I suggest googling “bedtime yoga workout” or something similar, I found several different quick and easy yoga workouts that are about 10 minutes long and should help promote relaxation before bedtime. Since it’s supposed to be relaxing instead of challenging all the of the positions are easy to do and most can be done in bed.

  • September 28, 2012
    Jo Green

    I was looking into a few sleep studies at work last week and there’s some fascinating stuff about your circadian rhythms which was explaining why I was waking up constantly and never feeling like I was well rested. Just had a quick google and Philips have an online rhythm test – http://www.philips.co.uk/c/circadian/178344/cat/ Might be another thing that’s worth a shot. When you’re never feeling refreshed after a sleep, you’ll try and research anything to try and improve it, especially if your natural rhythms are out of kilter from trying different things.

    Hope you feel better soon, it must be so horrible, got lots of sympathy for you.

  • September 28, 2012
    Julia C.

    Benadryl also works the best for me without the groggy feeling I get from Melatonin. Also, any sleepy time tea that contains passion flower or passion flower tincture mixed in a little bit of warm water an hour before bed helps to relax.

  • September 28, 2012

    Sorry to hear about your troubles with getting a good night’s sleep! The last couple nights have been like that for me (lying awake until 2am, waking up at 5am, and staying awake for an hour until drifting off to get another couple hours…). Ugh, I hate it. What I find helps me (and which I sadly did not adhere to last night):

    -turn all the lights down low for two hours before attempting to sleep
    -don’t watch TV or work on the computer for the hour before bed… instead read an easy-to-read/fun novel.
    -take a Gravol! This is hugely helpful in getting me to sleep and keeping me there for a solid night’s rest. It just makes me pleasantly drowsy and allows me to sleep soundly.
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  • September 28, 2012

    I try not to get on my computer or phone and warm up some milk and honey. Works like a charm. As long as I don’t look at my phone or computer. :)
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  • September 28, 2012

    Mexican food. It always makes me sleepy. ;P Seriously, a love lavender and chamomile tea.
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  • September 28, 2012
    Arlyn

    I had many problems sleeping I took many different sleeping pills and various drugs. But honestly, the BEST thing I have found is not going to bed unless you are exhausted! I know they say you shouldn’t watch TV in your bedroom; but I do. Watching something light hearted and fun that doesn’t require a lot of thinking is the best (non drug) way I found to fall asleep. I LOVE Anthony Bordain, South Park, Golden Girls, I Love Lucy, Frazier, Three’s Company. I can put those on and know that beacuse I don’t have to get fully engaged to watch them I can fall asleep with a light hearted show. I hope that you find your own thing that helps you!!! Thinking of you!! :)

  • September 28, 2012
    Karli

    I use a body cream with a soothing scent – usually something vanilla – and listen to one of the “sleep” cd’s I have loaded on my ipod. Really helps!

    I hope you find something that works for you very soon!

  • September 28, 2012
    Lesley

    I am a heavy sleeper and don’t usually have issues, but I did start having them when I was having problems with anxiety. I ended up having to put the sleep timer on the tv with some funny show I’ve seen 1000 times (Futurama, The Office, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) just to have something in the background to distract me. However, one thing that also helps me is to think of all the good things that happened that day to distract me from thinking about the bad things or what is coming up tomorrow. I forget who told me that one, but it works! You can also try one of those “white noise”-type apps, although I personally hate those things!

  • September 28, 2012
    Erica T

    I have issues too and use lavender essential oil from whole foods. I place a few drops on a cloth next to my bed and breathe in deeply a few times and have it close enough to my pillow where I can still smell it. I use that mixed with drinking chamomile or lavender earl grey tea. Really helps (foot baths with lavender oil is a help too!)

  • September 28, 2012
    Daintynymph

    I have a really narrow nose, so sometimes if I think my breathing is the problem I use those Breathe-right (or generic) nose strips. It really helps take the effort away from breathing evenly and helps me get to sleep faster.

  • September 28, 2012
    Melody

    For prevention, cutting down on caffeine, exercising, not napping too late in the day making sure I’m not really hungry when I go to sleep.
    For sudden cases of insomnia I like to take a bath and read or drink some calming herbal tea. I like rose petal tea. But the most effective thing for me is meditation. Specifically it’s a technique I learned with cbt therapy for depression where you start at your feet and focus on all the sensations in your body parts until you get to your head. I almost always fall asleep before I cab finish. It’s just so relaxing.

  • September 28, 2012
    Melody

    Oh also my therapist recommended Unisom and there’s a version without melatonin. I’ve never tried it though.

  • September 28, 2012

    Before I go to sleep, I try to do some mindfullnes. Getsomeheadspace.com is a great way to relax and well, get some head space in just 10 minutes. I’m not using the website anymore because I found a different CD with the same kind of exercises.
    Oh, and I always make sure I have warm feet. I cannot fall asleep with cold feet ;)
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  • September 28, 2012

    I have a homeopathic spray from Sprayology called SleepEase that I use. I honestly can’t say if it works or not, but I have it and use it on occasion.

    If I have sleeping issues, it’s usually when I’m under stress and then I will wake up at 3 am every morning. I usually just watch a bit of tv (in bed) or read until I get sleepy again.
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  • September 28, 2012
    Jennifer Patrone

    My guide to sleep:

    1. Warm Shower with any sleep aromatherapy shower gel (i use the one from bath and body works in Lavender Chamomile)

    2. Aromatherapy pillow mist for sleep (Its a pillow mist but I spray it all over my room)

    3. Drink Chamomile tea

    4. and what I find helps the most, take Melatonin. It does wonders.

    IF YOURE NOT SLEEPING WITH ALL OF THIS, YOU SHOULD SEE A DOCTOR

  • September 28, 2012
    Marisa

    Here are some of my remedies (besides RX meds which I ended going to and work so well I stayed with them).

    1) Benadryl
    2) Daily exercise makes a huge difference. Even just walking.
    3) No using the bedroom for anything other than sleep/sex.
    4) Starting with your pinkie toe and working your way up concentrate on making sure every fiber of the muscle in that body part is relaxed. I’ve never made it up past my ankles.

  • September 28, 2012

    I’ve had insomnia most of my life. I either don’t fall asleep for hours or I’ll fall asleep and wake at 3 and be up til 6. I’ve tried everything. The most helpful thing was when I still had my iPod and I had meditation tapes on it that were specifically for sleeping. Unfortunately I lent the tapes out and she lost them and my iPod is gone.

    I just bought a drink today at the grocery store that’s supposed to help with sleep. If it works I’ll come back and post about it. (It’s in the fridge so I don’t remember the name)
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  • September 28, 2012
    ReaderRita

    This is what helped me, so- here goes:
    First, no caffeine after 3:00pm and nothing sugary after 7:30 pm. (argh-I know!)
    Next, I don’t watch TV in the bedroom, and I stopped reading things that got me all awake at bedtime.
    But, the most important things are: Calcium Citrate 1000mg, and Magnesium Glycinate 400mg at bedtime.
    That routine has been working for me since I started it, about 10 months ago. Sometimes I throw a cup of chamomile tea into the mix.
    Plus, us gals need the Calcium anyway! :-)
    I hope you find relief! Best wishes!

  • September 28, 2012
    ReaderRita

    Oh, and what Marisa said about exercise! SO true.
    When I don’t do any it definitely makes a difference!

  • September 28, 2012

    Melatonin, Chamomile tea, works by Emile Durkheim (look him up, you’ll see what I mean), mellow music (Enya, ballads, Native American flute).
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  • September 28, 2012
    peachgirl

    Melatonin occurs naturally in your brain and without it you don’t have a natural sleep cycle. Even though avoiding it might seem rational I would suggest talking to a doctor about dosage as this may well be a solution short term. I’m on 3 x 2mg tablets per night in addition to my regular Rx for insomnia and still am not able to get a proper sleep pattern going for any duration (yes, I am what they call a “serious” case).

    Stuff you can do to aid better sleep;
    *go for a walk in the evening (but not too cloe to bedtime)
    *yoga (the slow variety, not the action-packed stuff!)
    *keping a healthy diet (obvious) with plenty of healthy fat; avocado is one of my favourites for this!
    *eating tryptophan-rich foods (milk, bananas, turkey) to boost your natural tryptophan levels
    *taking a bath (the body will emulate sleepy feel when the temperature drops after getting out of the tub)…I like to add a little bit of rose oil to my bath but other oils can also be nice (lavender or anything you find soothing)
    *de-clutter your bedroom and rid it of TV/computer/mobile phones. use this room for sleep only
    *try reading a boring book…I once plowed through an entire guide on how to build a fish pond (despite not actually having a garden for said pond) …just try to get your mind off the fact that you’re awake. so no exciting books or page-turners, stick to the boring!

    If all else fails; embrace the sleeplessness for a bit, sit in the dark and just rest; trying to force sleep will not make it happen.

    best of luck to you and other sleep-challenged readers!

  • September 28, 2012
    KD

    There was just a Dr. Oz show on melatonin, and how people take far, far too much. On the show, they said anything over 1 mg in a day is way too much. It has some seriously bizarre side effects as well, including making you unable to sleep. :/

    When I can’t sleep, I count “one” when I breathe in, “two” when I breathe out, until I fall asleep. I have issues staying asleep, and I found this really works in getting back to sleep at 3 am.

    • September 29, 2012

      I saw that and actually I tossed mine out afterwards! Mine were 3mg. I just do not need another hormone interfering with all the stuff I have going on right now!

      • October 1, 2012
        Teiva Campbell

        When I take melatonin it gives me the feeling that I have crawling skin and I have to move my legs!

  • September 28, 2012

    A half hour of regular exercise at some point during the day, more than two hours before bedtime (preferably four); chamomile tea before bed, and valerian root (natural remedy) as a sleep aid.
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  • September 28, 2012
    Shadelight

    Personally. The only “natural” sleep aid I’ve ever used in Melatonin 5mg. size. It’s produced naturally in your body but, it you have insomnia your body slows production of Melatonin. And taking this supplements that and helps slow your brain down so, you can sleep easier. I’ve been taking it for a year and I much prefer this over medicated sleep aids. I don’t feel groggy in the morning and I feel much more refreshed. And it’s super cheap at any drug store, or supplement store. I love it.

  • September 28, 2012

    Oh man, I totally know what you’re talking about. I’m naturally inclined towards insomnia, but whenever my depression kicks up, it’s about 10x worse so much that in winter of last year, I could only sleep for about 3-5 hours a night and I was miserable for months.

    One thing that I figured out that sort of works — create a “sleep” playlist of songs that you find soothing and quiet. I actually find that words help because it gives you something to concentrate on that’ll drown out your own thoughts. Turn on the playlist so it plays on speaker, but not too loudly (I play from my phone and set a sleep timer). Play this playlist every night — it’ll condition your brain to associate falling asleep with these sets of songs so when you turn it on again, it should help a little.
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  • September 29, 2012
    QueenMiSeRy

    I usually drink a Passion Flower and Camomile infusion before going to sleep. And this makes me sleep well and heavy till morning, despite all my mind troubles (thoughts, anxhiety and so on..).

  • September 29, 2012

    So many ways to sleep better, but despite those many ways I currently experience some very tough nights, I think that the shift of seasons always messes me up. Especially when fall sets in. I prefer a calming herbal tea or meditation.
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  • September 29, 2012
    Nicole

    I have sleeping issues almost all my live. It works best for me if I do the same things every evening before I go to bed and I try to do this at the same time every day. I experienced that acuclosure helps me really well. There is a point called H7 on your wrist which helps fall asleep or stay asleep when stimulated. I use patched from http://www.h7insomniacontrol.ch/d_prodotto.php and they work really well. I hope something similar is available in your country as well. I have never realized any adverse effects while using the patches.
    Hope you get well soon!

  • September 29, 2012

    I have used melatonin, chamomile tea and valerian with varying success. Combining melatonin, (5-10mg), with chamomile tea can deliver a 1-2 punch.

    If you take the melatonin and then make and drink the tea, they hit you at once. You have to lie down and try to drift off, it is easy to fight if you are wired up.

    I think withdrawals from the anti depressants can cause insomnia as a side effect. I think this could be happening to you??? If so you just have to ride it out.

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    • September 29, 2012

      I just re read, duh. Melatonin is out, right substitute valerian.

      I hope you get some rest, take naps if you need to Kel.
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      • September 29, 2012

        Thx! I have some Sleepytime tea with valerian root I am going to try tonight. I only slept about 4 1/2 hours and that’s after I walked/hiked for 3 hours yesterday. :/

  • September 29, 2012
    mary

    Well, try don’t take food with caffeine, like chocolate, coffee, black tea… I think sugar itz not good as well. Maybe a little chamomile tea itz help. I believe u can try don’t drink or eat those things for a couple of days and see the results! Try don’t see the clock when u wake up because make us a little stressful seeing so little time we have ahead…well, more natural than this, itz impossible! I like yr blog! Greetings from Singapore!

  • September 29, 2012
    Seagulls

    Exercise, especially right before bed (which they used to say not to do, but now they say it’ll help if one suffers from insomnia).
    Taking a shower seems to help “reset” me, so if I’ve been trying to fall asleep for a while, that helps.
    Stretching. Mouth, neck, shoulders, arms, legs… My insomnia is restless leg syndrome related and really stretching my legs especially seems to short circuit the need to move.
    Take a pill. Any pill – fish oil, vitamin d, Advil – it seems to have a placebo effect nome.
    Flip head to feet, or sleep on the floor.
    Moisturize my feet and hands. I have no idea why this helps.
    Pull my hair into a ponytail. Again, I have no idea what this does.

    If it’s anxiety related, I get up and make lists of things I’m trying to remember.

    Kelly, I know you’re working hard at the depression already; have you read the Depression Cure? http://www.amazon.com/Depression-Cure-6-Step-Program-without/dp/0738213888

  • September 29, 2012

    I used to have terrible insomnia. It went on for like 2 years. I ended up sick a lot because of exhaustion. All the docs told me to try this and take that. I tried taking all sorts of pills, and none of them worked without heavy, addictive meds. Finally a new doctor gave me great advice. He told me I had to retrain myself. At first I thought he was nuts but it worked.

    The rules: no naps, hydrate well, exercise daily and eat properly. He told me to start performing the exact same sequence of things for an hour before I was ready to sleep at night. My example was I got a drink, washed face and brushed teeth, then read in bed for 30 minutes. At this point you turn off your light and close your eyes. For the first few nights I sat there frustrated (sometimes for a couple of hours) because I couldn’t sleep. After about a week it started getting easier. Once I broke the cycle it was like my body “remembered” that it was time to sleep. It was odd because it was so simple but it worked.

    If you find yourself worrying during the progress, force yourself to think about other things like something fun you are looking forward to, a nice vacation you took recently or other positive things.

    Anyway, it really made a difference in my life. The few times I have started to experience insomnia since then I go back to this and it “resets” me.
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    • October 4, 2012
      Maggie

      I agree with Christy about re-training your body and that whatever is most effective will take at least a few days to really work. If melatonin used to help, re-training your body in regulating and making its own melatonin might be a good idea.

      –Eat more tryptophan in the evening (turkey, milk, bananas): Tryptophan is a pre-cursor to melatonin.

      –Begin dimming or turning off some lights as early as 4-5 hours before bedtime: this mimicks nature’s own day-to-night light cycle which is what our circadian rhythms and melatonin regulation are based on. Dim or turn off more lights as it gets closer to bedtime. If you have brighter lights throughout your home like I did, replace some of the bulbs.

      –if working on your computer, dim the monitor as low as you can stand.

      –Thick curtains or black-out drapes in bedroom.

      Here’s what else that helps:

      –comfortable mattress and pillows with breathable linens
      –daytime: active exercise I enjoy 3 times a week (whatever gets heart rate up: I like dancing, kickboxing, swimming, hiking, circuit)
      –cutting caffeine at least 9-10 hours before bedtime.
      –only sleep in bedroom–don’t read, watch TV, eat, work, etc.
      –relaxing evening workout: if you like Dr. Oz, he has a 7 minute video “PM workout” on Realage.com. Something that gets your blood flowing, relaxes tense muscles, but not your heart rate too high.
      –calming/relaxing tea like chamomile (or my favorite: Choice Lemon-Lavendar-Mint)
      —neti pot/saline spray (clean out nasal passages to ease breathing)
      –warm shower to relax muscles (but don’t go to bed with hair wet–this can throw off how your body regulates your temperature to get you to sleep. either don’t wash your hair or dry it afterwards)
      –sleep in cool (but not cold) sheets–your body’s internal temp is supposed to go down a tiny bit in sleep
      –do ALL night time stuff in the same order, everyday to establish a routine so your body can subconsciously recognize “bedtime.”

  • September 29, 2012
    Popcorn Glamour

    For many years I suffered with hormone indused insomnia (took forever to go to sleep, woke up every hour, sweated profusely beginning around 1:30 am) and then my doctor put me on Diindolylmethane (aka DIM) and within one week I was sleeping through the night. It also helped reduce the length and severity of my periods.

    I take one capsule in the morning and I use Nature’s Way DIM-Plus (60 cap bottle lasts two months). If you try this you may want to use 2-4 caps in the morning to flood your system and then take 1-3 caps per day after that.

    Good luck to all you wonderful ladies!

    • September 30, 2012
      Popcorn Glamour

      Whoops, that should have been 2-4 caps in the morning *for the first week* etc… :)

    • October 1, 2012
      Teiva Campbell

      Oh my gosh! I had the same thing in college but no one gave me any answers. The doctors on campus just told me to get more sleep..but I could not sleep. And then I got SOO hot and sweat like crazy for half of the night. Thanks for posting this!

  • September 29, 2012

    Hmm…wish I could help. I rarely have trouble sleeping. Often, I just put my head on the pillow (it’s so comfy) and I’m out like a light in a few seconds. I think my mattress is also very comfortable, so that helps, but it’s also dangerous. Sometimes I’ll just relax on the bed without feeling tired, but somehow end up falling asleep!

    Okay, I haven’t tried this, but one of my suggestions to help you fall asleep would be to use some sort of aromatherapy aid like a candle or essential oil that has camomile.

    Another idea I have is to read a boring book. (For me, that would be a technical manual or a calculus book. It could be different for you.) Read it, and maybe it’ll bore you so much that you’ll fall asleep. (I’m not kidding about that! Back in high school, my calculus book would put me to sleep in minutes! I’d literally wake up with the light on and the textbook on top of my chest.)
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  • September 29, 2012
    Gwendo

    I will second the warm feet thing that someone mentioned earlier. There are legit studies indicating that keeping your hands and feet warm is a big signal to your body to fall asleep. Here is one small article on it, I’m sure you can find more: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/435342.stm

  • September 29, 2012

    I’ve always had trouble sleeping even back to when I was younger. Unfortunately nothing really works for me. I’ve tried sleeping pills prescribed by my dr and they’ve left me feeling worse and even more groggy than when I went to bed. I’m not a wine drinker so I’ve never tried that, but I do like having some tea before bed. Caffeine free. Some previous posters mentioned Sleepy Time and that relaxes me but still hasn’t helped quite enough to relax me enough to just want to nod off. I do find though a hot shower right before has helped me, I even use the Johnsons baby bath gel, it’s got lavender in it but I can’t think of the name right off hand. Good luck with finding what works for you!!
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  • September 29, 2012
    Natalie

    It has to be dark for me to sleep, so I sleep with an eye ask every night. I avoid my cell phone (as well any other light source), and occasionally listen to nature sounds or white (or pink, brown, etc.) noise. Cool side of the pillows, making sure the room And blankets are warm or cool enough. I nothing else seems to be working, I try putting my pupil low at the end of the bed and sleeping backwards. For some reason it seems to help!

    They say the more you worry about not sleeping the harder it is to fall asleep, so clearing your mind or focusing on something simple like your breathing can help.

  • September 29, 2012
    Natalie

    That should read: If nothing else seems to be working, I try putting my pillow at the end of the bed.

    Teach me to proof read before I post stuff–especially from my phone! :P

  • September 29, 2012
    Candace

    I find humming sound from a fan or dehumidifier helpful when I have trouble sleeping. Now the weather is becoming cooler, I’m gonna have to take out my dehumidifier soon.

  • September 29, 2012
    Lily

    I have had severe insomnia in the past so I’ve seemingly tried EVERYTHING. Here are some things that helped me:

    I am not sure if it affects hormones but valerian root proved to have a calming effect on me that allowed me to sleep. *miracle!!!* I got it from a place that sells natural remedies and I am pretty sure it’s widely available. Valerian root is considered an herb so…I think it should be pretty safe. It also helps with anxiety.

    A type of breathing, Pranayama (I think that is what it’s called) helped me too. It’s like taking a never ending breath – you inhale the moment you are done exhaling and you exhale the moment you are done inhaling. The body becomes flooded with oxygen and for me it was really relaxing which then eased me into sleep. I focused deeply on my breathing and nothing else. If it’s too difficult to focus on just breathing it’s best to count your breaths. Try counting 1 inhale, 2 exhale, 3 inhale, 4 exhale, and so on… Say the words in your head, “one”, “two”, etc. The counting will forcefully occupy your mind enough not to let it wander off to stressful things. If you think you can count every other breath then just count the inhales (or exhales, your pick). Afterwards try to sleep! :)

    Before doing the breathing^ you may want to do some light stretching just to help your body relax a bit before you start. Easy yoga positions like cat and dog are great. Look up some yoga positions that would be beneficial to your needs too. After light stretching lie in the corpse position for a little while and see how you feel. If you feel drowsy like you could stay that way hop into bed and continue there! You could fall asleep! :) If not, continue on to the breathing exercise.

    There were points were my insomnia was so, so bad that my doctor prescribed week long drug treatments with sleeping medication. I was to take the medicine at the same exact time every night and the idea was to first, get me some sleep (as I hadn’t slept in days) and second, to get me on a sleep schedule. After the week of drug treatment I was to continue to attempt to sleep at the same time every night. I was worried it wouldn’t work but it ended up kinda helping me for a while. I did end up falling asleep (which was a miracle for me!)! I didn’t sleep all the way through the first night but I got four hours of solid sleep all by myself which, for a mega-insomniac, was amazing. So…even if you don’t use medications try going to sleep at the same time every night. The idea is to get into a rhythm.

    Turning everything off was recommended to me – no lights, no music, no tv, no internet. This didn’t work for me because I’ve lived in a city/urban environment for my entire adult life (always light, always noise). Dead silence and pitch blackness = a stress movie playing loud and bright in my head. Not good. Tailor things to what works best for you but also don’t be afraid to try things. If dead silence and pitch blackness help you go for it! If not it’s fine to have a nightlight. I once tried listening to a recording of ocean waves and it was very relaxing so I kept listening to it. Ocean wave recording listening = something worth trying! :)

    My parents always used to put on what they called “a sleeper” before bed. “A sleeper” is a super boring and/or slow movie, haha! But it worked for them! So it’s okay to try something outside the box if you think it might work. If your mind is racing like crazy it’s totally not wrong to try watching a show or a movie. It could be distracting enough to calm your mind. If my mind is racing and super distracted I watch a show or movie in another language. I find reading the subtitles and watching the show/movie to force my mind to focus on just that and nothing else which helps me soooooooo much. I feel more relaxed after watching it and this is conducive to sleeping so…it helps!

    I hope something I wrote proves helpful! Wishing you lots of peaceful wonderful zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’s! <3

  • September 29, 2012

    When I have trouble sleeping I start feeling more and more anxious the longer it’s taking me to sleep. So I “accept” that I can’t fall asleep right then. I go and do a boring, tedious, but small household chore (i.e. dusting a bookshelf i seem to never get to). Then i go back and lay down again. If i can’t fall asleep then and start feeling more anxious, i do the same thing with a new chore, then repeat until i fall asleep. I was trying to remember if I’ve ever made it past three chores, but i don’t think i have. Good luck :-)

  • September 30, 2012
    Danielle

    For me, I have issues sleeping because I can’t relax. If I watch an episode of The Brady Bunch or Boy Meets World (anything light, really) then I can sleep so much better. And I have to make sure I’m not on my laptop before I sleep, other I am awake for hours.

  • September 30, 2012

    If you don’t have difficulties falling asleep, only staying asleep, then I can warmly recommend Vallergan. It is an old anti-allergies medicine that was not very good at treating allergies, but is still on the market because of it’s sleeping aid effects instead. I am super sensitive to medicine, but have no trouble tolerating Vallergan.

  • September 30, 2012

    I used to have alot of problems with sleeping. I found nothing OTC worked well, and I have realized that alot of it is aout changing your lifestyle. No caffiene or excess sugar/ processed sugar or anything like that past 3:00, and I have a glass of tea right before bed each night. I go to sleep and wake up at the same times everyday, and stay away from ‘screens’ (TV, texts, Ipad) for at least 45 mins. before i go to bed.

    Find what works for you, and trust it! Hope something helps you :D
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  • September 30, 2012

    Rescue Remedy is VERY good (but it has alcohol fyi) but it will wear off if you use it too much. Valerian is good–but it can cause headaches (raising hand). Kava is another natural remedy.

    Chamomile tea is another remedy–Republic of Tea has a sleep tea (but it has valerian).

    Honestly I couldn’t make it without my Ambien CR. And I’ve never had any weird side effects whatsoever. It just helps me get to sleep and stay asleep (though if you do go that route, the generic is NOT the same and it doesn’t work for me at all).

    Relax Wraps are AMAZING (relaxwraps.com no affiliation). The herbal blend when warmed really helps a ton–my son loves his wrap too.

    Also, the Body Shop has a sleep spray that is very nice & relaxing.

    I’ve had sleep problems connected w/ my illnesses for 17 yrs, so yeah I’ve been through alot of different remedies….I hope something helps. Not sleeping only makes my issues worse!

    Feel better hon xoxo
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  • September 30, 2012

    I avoid caffeine in the afternoon – usually I try to avoid it totally after coffee in the morning. I turn off all digital gadgets and put them in another room an hour before I want to sleep. A lot of times, I’ll read a book that I find interesting but not so fascinating that I’ll keep pushing myself to stay awake to read it. I did try Melatonin, I know you said that it actually isn’t good to use all the time, which I didn’t know, but it didn’t help me. anyway When I took it, I actually woke up in the middle of the night an couldn’t fall back asleep, which was really weird. So I don’t use that. I don’t really find any teas or anything help, mostly for me the best thing I can do is get myself away from anything that has a bright light and lock my cat out of the bedroom (actually if she’s being annoying and incessantly scratching at the door, I’ll put a towel under the door opening and then can barely hear her). Deep breathing does help me too. Also, when I’m having trouble falling asleep, I purposefully don’t look at the clock. I find if I’m up a lot for a few nights, I often have more trouble falling asleep the next night, so staying on a good sleep schedule helps.
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  • September 30, 2012

    I use Badger Sleep Balm. The scent is so relaxing it helps me calm down and go to sleep when my mind is running a million miles an hour. I also drink a cup or two of decaf or herbal tea before bed. I sit in a mostly darkened room and read with a book light for a little while. I try to stay away from bright screens and lights.

  • October 1, 2012
    Hannah

    I’ve had repeated bouts of insomnia most of my life. The things I’ve found really work for me are:
    -Lavender oil on pillow (also helps if you get headaches when on waking)
    -YogiTea bedtime teabags
    -Water by bedside
    -No lights in bedroom (no LEDs, glow in the dark clocks, thick curtains)
    -Cool bedroom, warm bed, window open if possible
    -Very quiet classical music/calming music
    -bath LUSH dreamtime bathmelt – guaranteed to knock me out, the only problem is getting from the bath to bed.

    Hope you find something that works for you

  • October 1, 2012
    Phoenixx

    I feel ya! I’m an Aries gal and sleep is such a struggle for me that I actually suffer from Nocturnal Lagophthalmos. (I don’t close my eyes when I sleep). I wear a sleep mask which really helps me get to sleep on it’s own, but if it slips off in the night I wake up with dry irritated eyes, blurred vision and it just really sucks :-( My trick for falling asleep is strange, but it usually works so bear with me here:

    I envision a large, empty movie theatre. Everything is gray (a safe, warm fuzzy color for me. But use any color that will help you drift off) on the screen is the number 200. It very very slowly counts down 199, 198, 197 in time to my breathing. And any thought that pops into my head I imagine it being hit with a GIANT gray paintball and fading into the walls of the theatre. I know it sounds silly but I am always ‘on’ and I can never shut off to sleep voluntarily until I get sick or have a migraine. I’m very visual and this method really helps me block out everything that is infringing on my right to a good night’s sleep! Try it, I have never made it to the end of the countdown :-)

  • October 1, 2012
    Teiva Campbell

    I am prescribed Xanax for that and my anxiety. I guess that isn’t very natural, though!

  • October 2, 2012
    Tanz

    Valerian root! It doesn’t MAKE you go to sleep, but it really helps me sleep through the night without waking up repeatedly. I usually take it about an hour before I’m ready to go to sleep and I can get a full, restful night.

  • October 7, 2012
    Lauren

    I drink some sleepytime, or bedtime tea (by Yogi) that has Valerian root in it. I also fall asleep to some relaxing video/audio on youtube. There is a whole community on youtube to help you relax and fall asleep. Check it out! :)

  • October 10, 2012

    I like to take a bath with lavender bath salts, and just lay there and read a magazine. It makes me so relaxed and sleepy, sometimes I want to fall asleep in the tub! ;) When I get out and put my warm flannel pajama pants on, I feel all warm and snuggly and ready for bed! :)