July 9th, 2012

How to Beat Insomnia Naturally

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Groovy Green Livin Insomnia

After the birth of my third child I suffered from insomnia that lasted well beyond the newborn phase. For those of you who haven’t experienced insomnia it’s pretty awful. During that year (yes, 12 months) of sleepless nights there were times when I was able to fall right asleep, but would then wake up and stare at the ceiling for hours unable to fall back asleep. There were other times when I was unable to fall asleep from the get-go and would lie awake for hours listening to my husbands sleeping breath, feeling envious of  his uncanny ability to fall asleep the minute his head hits the pillow. I was desperate to find a way out of this horrible, sleep-deprived state.

Insomnia stats

  • More than 30% of the population suffers from insomnia.
  • Between 40% and 60% of people over the age of 60 suffer from insomnia.
  • Women are up to twice as likely to suffer from insomnia than men.
  • Approximately 10 million people in the U.S. use prescription sleep aids.

I turned to a combination of natural, non-toxic remedies for insomnia that ultimately did the trick-it took time and it wasn’t easy.  I’ve happily joined the ranks of  “those” people whose eyes close the minute their head hits the pillow.


Acupuncture has been a part of my life for many years. I have used it for everything from plantar fasciitis to the flu. I knew from past experience that acupuncture really worked, so it was worth a shot for insomnia.

Through the insertion of needles into pressure points around the body, acupuncture helps to activate the body’s qi (our bodies natural energy or life-force) throughout the body. Insomnia was letting me know that my body was out of balance.

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet can pave the way for a good night’s sleep.

  • Caffeine in moderation is OK, but there is such a thing as too much caffeine and it messes with your sleep.
  • Avoid processed sugar and processed foods-especially before bedtime.
  • Consume foods that are rich in magnesium: leafy green vegetables, pumpkin, sesame or sunflower seeds, salmon and halibut contain high levels of magnesium.
  • Drink chamomile tea which contains tryptophan (also found in turkey), an amino acid known for its tranquilizing effects. When taken as a tea infusion, these properties act as a relaxant in our bodies and help to promote sleep.

Relaxation techniques

During my stint with insomnia I turned immediately towards my yoga practice. Kripalu style yoga was a perfect fit at the time-a combination of relaxation, meditation and postures. There are so many different types of yoga so it’s important to find a practice that meets your needs. I also went regularly to my massage therapist.


When I’m desperate for relief  I often find myself buying out the entire Whole Body section at Whole Foods. I’m not big on taking anything, but I decided to try out a few natural sleep aides to see if anything would help. I was most interested in finding something that wasn’t addictive or would cause grogginess in the morning. Most of the products I purchased contained valarian. Valarian is a flowering plant that is native to both Europe and Asia and is now also grown in North America, has long been used medicinally particularly for sleep.

The combination of all of these things helped me put an end to sleepless nights. The trick is to find a combination of remedies that work for you.

Have you ever had insomnia? What do you do to  get a good night’s sleep?

© Dan Race – Fotolia.com

Linked up with Farmer’s Daughter and Natural Mothers Network.

*I’m not a physician. If insomnia persists please seek medical attention.

14 Responses to “How to Beat Insomnia Naturally”

  1. The only thing worse than insomnia is actually getting a decent amount of sleep but then not feeling rested when you get up in the morning – what’s the point?! Well, okay, maybe insomnia is worse than that. But it’s a close second. 🙂

    I would recommend a guided body scan meditation, which lets you check in with different parts of your body to pay attention to what’s going on and then progressively relax those areas. When practiced during the day, it’s great for stress relief and to some extent pain relief. When practiced before bedtime, it can bring about that relaxed state that is very conducive to drifting off. There are plenty of free downloads online!

  2. Hi Andrea, A guided body scan is a great suggestion. When I first started practicing yoga we did a lot of them in class. They do give an opportunity to check in and it’s so rare to take the them for that (at least for me!). Always nice to hear from you!

  3. Chamomile tea is the best, i love its taste and it really helps me relax during the night time and it gives me a very sound sleep. *’.`;

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  4. I would also recommend high quality liquid ionic minerals and trace minerals. Minerals, especially calcium, help me sleep like a baby and stay asleep. Insomnia and not being able to sleep restfully may also be related to a hormone imbalance.

  5. I suffer from insomnia and have trouble staying asleep. I’ll have to try some of the methods you shared here. I usually sleep with the TV on, which probably doesn’t help. When I was on vacation last week, I slept without it and got much better sleep.

  6. I always take sleep aids becuse i have some difficulty getting a good night sleep. melatonin really helps a lot. ;”`*;

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  7. I love chamomile tea because it is very soothing and relaxing to the body. the smell is quite great too. ^

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  8. This may seem overly simple – but I found changing out my alarm clock from the standard digital (i.e.: bright green glow, and EMFs next to my head) to a battery operated one that only lights up when I touch it to be very helpful.
    Liane recently posted..California Baby Eczema Cream Calendula and Lavender — 4.5 ozMy Profile

  9. Thanks for the suggestion Liane. It doesn’t seem overly simple-it’s really whatever works!

  10. I had insomnia real bad about 8 years ago. I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep until 5 or 6AM. It through my whole life off for about 5 months. Thankfully I had an awesome employer and partner in life.
    Jen @ Go Green recently posted..Easy Actions to Reduce WasteMy Profile

  11. That’s just the worst Jen! I’ve been there too. You feel like someone kicked you in the stomach. It truly does help to have support all around you when you’re going through it. Hopefully your sleep is back….mine is and I love it!

  12. […] Sleep is so important for maintaining a strong immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover from an illness. […]

  13. […] to visit family or friends. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but can also be stressful. Please remember to take care of […]

  14. […] to get enough sleep. The kids are up later and out later, which means that I’m up later too. Sleep is so important for maintaining a strong immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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