Can’t Sleep? Natural Remedies to Fight Insomnia.

Via Brigitte Mars
on Sep 10, 2008
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Bonus Update: “The Evidence Points to a Better Way to Fight Insomnia”

Another: Sleeping In A Cool Bedroom Increases A Person’s Stores of Brown Fat, Which Improves Metabolic Health and Insulin Sensitivity (”“There is a neat connection between Brown Adipose Tissue and sleeping here that I wonder if the authors discussed. Humans sleep better in cold rooms. Animals hibernate during cold seasons (common knowledge). Brown Adipose Tissue is classically associated with hibernation. Is this some sort of pseudo-hibernation effect in humans?”

And: holy wow, read this.

Let’s Cool It in the Bedroom


Sleep is that rejuvenating repose in which we spend 30 percent of our lives. Our body uses the sleep cycle to repair itself. Still, for many, sleep is elusive. Here’s a few tips for natural, deep, dreamy sleep.

Feng shui your bedroom to improve the energy. Blue is a calming color for sleep. Keep your bedroom space sacred: don’t use it as a place to do homework, business or have arguments.

Calcium and magnesium are calming, and found in green leafy vegetables, almonds, figs and sea vegetables. Caffeine or food within three hours of bed stimulates. Be active during the day. Naps are healing when needed, but longer than 20 minutes can interfere with nocturnal rest. Take a walk after dinner.

Many prescriptions can interfere with sleep including antibiotics, steroids, decongestants, cold remedies, appetite suppressants, contraceptives and thyroid medications. Sugar (the legal drug for kids) doesn’t help either. It can be wise to stop drinking anything several hours before bed, as waking to urinate can disrupt sleep.

Electro-magnetic pollution close to the body can be stimulating—keep all electrics (outlets, electric alarm clocks, your cell phone) at least six feet away from your bed. Light is a stimulant—if a light shines into your bedroom at night, consider getting heavier curtains (lights on clocks, DVD players, phones and computers can encourage wakefulness).

If your mind is active at bedtime, write down goals, thoughts and things to do so you can forget about those things until tomorrow. Laying out clothes and even packing a lunch after dinner can help nocturnal serenity-as can relaxing in a bath with seven drops of lavender essential oil.

Avoid mental activity before bed (action-packed TV or page-turning novels). Making love before sleep is a great way to promote deep rest. Earplugs or a sound machine that makes white noise or ocean waves can also help. If sleeping with pets is disturbing, get a doggie bed. If sleeping with a partner is disturbing, try a bigger bed (or, yes, the couch).

Herbs have long been used in sleeping potions and are available as tea, tincture tabs or caps. Chamomile is a nerve restorative that calms anxiety and stress. Hops contain lupulin-a strong, safe, reliable sedative. Passionfl ower relaxes the mind and slows the breakdown of serotonin and norepinephrine, allowing one to attain a more peaceful state of consciousness. Skullcap stimulates the brain to produce more endorphins. Stronger herbs include valerian, which calms anxiety and relaxes muscles. Kava kava is a tropical tribal remedy for insomnia and nervousness. Be aware that large doses of any of the above herbs can make one feel too relaxed (don’t drive after taking them).

Get comfortable in a good bed and take eight breaths while lying fl at on your back. Then take 16 deep breaths lying on your right side. Last, take 32 breaths while on your left side. Most people fall asleep before completing this.

If you lie awake for more than a half hour, get up and write a letter or read something that is not too actionpacked. Should you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t snack. Sweet dreams!


About Brigitte Mars

Brigitte Mars is an herbalist and nutritional consultant of Natural Health with over forty years of experience. She teaches Herbal Medicine at Naropa University, Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition, The School of Natural Medicine, Living Arts School and Heilseimestraskollin in Iceland. She has taught at Omega Institute, Esalen, Kripalu and The Mayo Clinic, She blogs for the Huffington Post and Care2. She is a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild. Brigitte is the author of many books and DVDs, including The Home Reference to Holistic Health and Healing, The Country Almanac of Home Remedies, The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, Beauty by Nature, Addiction Free Naturally, The Sexual Herbal, Healing Herbal TeasRawsome! and co-author of The HempNut Cookbook. DVDs include Sacred Psychoactives, Herbal Wizardry for Kids of all Ages, Natural Remedies for Childhood Ailments and Natural Remedies for Emotional Health. Her latest project is a phone app called IPlant. Brigitte and her daughter, Sunflower Sparkle Mars run Herb Camp for Kids in Boulder, Colorado. Brigitte's other daughter is world famous activist/yogini-actress/supermodel, Rainbeau Mars. Please check out her website.


14 Responses to “Can’t Sleep? Natural Remedies to Fight Insomnia.”

  1. Ken Lauher says:

    Great information. I really appreciate you sharing this with others.

    Some additional information regarding nutritional guidelines for insomnia.

    Inability to sleep owing to nervous tension and/or excess acidity in the system.

    Pecans: 10 – 15 whole raw pecans per day provide all the organic pyridoxine (vitamin b6) the nervous system needs for normal function; this helps eliminate the nervous tension that causes insomnia.

    Molasses: Besides iron, copper and potassium, molasses is rich in organic pyridoxine and calcium, which enhance nervous functions; organic calcium is well known as a promoter of sound sleep; a glass of milk, if pasteurized, will not deliver organic calcium to the system owing to the lack of the vital lactase enzyme, which is required to extract calcium from milk; 2 tbsp in warm water, before bed.

    Bananas: ripe bananas are very rich in potassium, sodium and magnesium, all of which restore health and balance to nutritionally exhausted nervous systems; also rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which is known to promote sleep.

    Other beneficial foods: lecithin, wheat germ, grapefruit, parsnips, soy beans, honey.

    Foods to avoid: vinegar ( except apple cider vinegar); cooked meats, especially at dinner, refined starch, especially white bread and sweet pastries, hot peppers, strong coffee, tea and alcohol.

    Source: The Tao of Health, Sex & Longevity by Daniel Reid

    Best wishes,
    Ken Lauher
    Feng Shui consultant

  2. […] columnists: Frank Berliner, Peggy Markel, Mary Taylor, Susan Edwards, Dr. John Douillard and Brigitte Mars will continue to write for elephantjournaldotcom. And we’ll continue to video conversations with […]

  3. Laura M. Miller says:

    Sleep Awareness Week! Hurray!

  4. Jess says:

    Lavender oil rubbed on the temples, forehead and back of the neck works every time for me. Or a few drops on your pillow.

  5. Beth Willson says:

    Funny I find this at 2:59 AM! I'm going to try the lavendar

  6. I don?t even know the way I stopped up right here, but I believed this publish was good. I do not know who you might be but definitely you’re going to a well-known blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  7. Davetta says:

    Love the pecans one…will immediately add more to my diet.

  8. […] Sedatives, be they herbal or pharmaceutical, offer short term symptomatic relief at best. […]

  9. Keeping electronics unplugged/turned off/tucked away is really key for me. I wish more people would take this advice to heart! These are all such great suggestions, and they really do work.

  10. Dana says:

    Thank you for this. Any information that adds to the collective info "out there" to help those with insomnia overcome this debilitating condition.

  11. Janine says:

    suprised melatonin wasn't mentioned at all – any reason for this?

  12. website says:

    Fantastic list. I've always been a big fan of using valerian root and lavender to relax and calm my system down. Helps me get some super restful sleep, too!

    -Joshua Rogers

  13. Elizabeth Michael says:

    Activate your body more during the day ? work , walk , talk , dance , sex and be happy and get out of your home and plenty of fresh air even at night keep window open a little for Oxygen ? …

  14. Most Americans have some type of problem with sleep. They now know that while you sleep, your brain is being cleansed of toxins including those that cause dementia. But I feel the biggest cause of sleep problems is stress. Our ancestors did not deal with the stress that we have. Doing things like yoga and any exercise can help with this.