In order to break the insomnia cycle you must often systematically eliminate all of the potential causes and the habits you may have developed that perpetuate the problem. Insomnia can tortuous both mentally and emotionally due to the dread of laying awake and the dread of the profound fatigue that morning brings. Even if one sleeps, if the quality of sleep is not there, the body, mind, and spirit awaken with no sense of being rested.
Prescription and over-the-counter sleeping pills are a two-edged sword. They may help you sleep, but the quality of sleep and the ability to awaken feeling rested are often not there. Also, the longer you take these pills, the more they actually start creating insomnia.
The following are ways to use natural things to problem solve your sleep issues. Do as many of these ideas as possible.
Creating your Sleep Sanctuary
You must create the most ideal sleeping experience for yourself. Take the time and effort to make your bedroom as aesthetically pleasing as you can afford. Clutter and chaos is not conducive to rest and sleep. If you have the money, invest in a completely organic, nontoxic mattress from The Healthy Bed Store. (www.healthybedstore.com) At the very least, buy yourself an organic, non-toxic mattress topper. Buy the best organic pillows and organic cotton sheets you can afford.
Never use any scented laundry soaps or scented fabric softeners. These scents can kill...literally! Use fragrance-free everything in your room. Diffuse essential oils instead of poisonous scented air "fresheners" and plug-ins! Place broad-leaf plants in your bedroom to add negative-ions into the air. Broad-leaf plants can also clean the air of your room, as well as shift the energy of the room. Just get advice from your local garden center as to how to keep it watered to prevent mold in the soil.
Put a Grounding Mat on your mattress to enable your body to continually discharge any accumulated static electricity and other environmental frequencies that may be bombarding your body from the wiring and electronics of your house, wi-fi, and computers.
Resist the temptation to lie or recline on the bed to read, rest, or watch television. As it is said, the bed is for sleeping and dying. Psychologically you want your brain and body to only think of the bed as the place to sleep.
Turn off your wi-fi and computers all the way. Don't leave them on "sleep" mode.
We need to start winding down our day pretty soon after 8 p.m. This means turning off the news, getting off the internet, letting go of the challenges of the day, telling all of your friends and family to not text, call, or email after 9 p.m. or so. If they do, don't answer it unless you can remain calm and it is something that wont stimulate your stress levels. Set good boundaries with your friends and family. If you have children, establish a "quiet time" for reading or just settling down before bedtime. Night time is not your time to worry and try to resolve all the problems of the day.
Home Insomnia Bath/Spa Treatment:
Use a Dry Skin Brush all over your body, stroking towards the heart to stimulate the lymphatic system and knock the dead skin and caked soap off of your skin. This will also bring the blood to the surface so that the bath you are about to take works better. Take an Epsom Salt and Hydrogen Peroxide bath and soak for 20 minutes. Do this about 30 minutes to an hour before going to bed.
Resist the urge to take your cellphone to the bath with you. Instead put on your favorite spa music.
Turning the bathroom lights down and lighting candles can set a more relaxing environment as you soak.
Drink a large mug of Nighty Night tea from Traditional Medicinals Inc. or other sleep time tea while you soak.
Once you finish your bath and are dried off, apply Solum Aesculus oil, from Uriel Pharmacy (Available through the Hansa Center), on your legs, feet, arms and hands. Solum Aesculus oil helps restore the warmth organization of your body and puts a protective barrier around your body to shield it from environmental and weather-related sensitivies that might be keeping you awake.
Nutritional Support for Good Sleep
Many people have difficulty turning off their brain. It may feel like their brain wake up about at bedtime, or it may feel like your time to focus on surfing the internet, and thinking through everything you didn't get done, or need to do. It may feel like you can never do enough in the day, say enough, win your points in arguments, or healed enough. There is often an amino-acid deficiency that creates the sensation of "never enough." L-Tryptophan is the "enough" amino acid. It enables your brain to feel like you have done enough, eaten enough, and said enough, so that you can let the challenges of the day go. L-Tryptophan is high in turkey, and contrary to popular believe it does not cause you to sleep, it simply gives you the feeling of having done enough and therefore sleep and relaxation are much easier.
Take 1000 mg of L-Tryptophan just before dinner. This will start the process of resetting the satiety center of the brain, the center in your brain that enables you to feel satisfied. About an hour before bedtime, drink about three ounces of fruit juice, or eat the equivalent of a 1/4 of an apple about 5 minutes before taking 1000-2000 mg of L-Tryptophan. The sugar from the fruit will cause a small release of insulin. Insulin is needed to grab on to the Tryptophan, which then rushes it up to the satiety center of the brain.
If you never dream or have difficulty remembering your dreams it can be a good indication that you are deficient in Vitamin B-6. Dreaming can also indicate that you are not hitting all the sleep stages, which will leave you feeling fatigued even after more than 8 hours of sleep. Take 50 mg of vitamin B-6, (Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate) not the cheaper forms, such as Pyridoxal-hydrochloride. Take this amount for a week, then increase by 50 mg each week until you reach a maximum of 200 mg a day in divided doses throughout the day. If you start getting tingling in your extremities you are taking too much. It is not harmful if you just back down on your dosage again.
A high-dose B-complex is always a good idea, since B-vitamins are known as the "stress vitamins." B-complex will help with proper energy levels as well as getting your circadian rhythms reset for proper waking and sleeping.
Magnesium L-Threonate is the form of magnesium that most benefits the relaxation of the brain. See Mercola.com to order.
Just before closing your eyes to go to sleep take 3-6 mg of Melatonin. Once you take the Melatonin do not look at any light source. If you have trouble darkening your room completely, it may be very neccesary to use a sleep mask and even possibly wrap your head in a dark scarf that will cover the head and forehead, since the pineal gland can sense even the smallest amount of light and negate the melatonin from your body and from the supplement. It may help to diffuse an essential oil, such as Peace and Calming blend by Young Living Oils.
A half hour before bed drink an 8 ounce glass of water with a 1/2 tsp of Alkalime powder, by Young Living Essential Oil company, or just use 1/2 tsp of Organic Baking Soda (Not Baking Powder). This will alkalize the brain and can often prevent nightmares and exhausting busy dreams, not to mention help keep you from having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Sync Your Brainwaves to Sleep
The following are tools and techniques to help get your brainwaves in sync with sleep and keep you asleep until morning. Combining all of the tips in this series will go a long way to not only getting to sleep, but also having restful sleep.
If you have speakers that you can put on either side of your bed place them so that both speakers face your pillow. Good quality external computer speakers work well for this purpose, although any good speakers will work. If you don't have speakers then you can use the best quality headphones or in a pinch you can use Earbuds.
Download into your ipod, or mp3 player the CD's called Deep Relaxation and Super Sleep from HemiSync company. You can make a playlist that can have just a couple of songs. Use the HemiSync Deep Relaxation CD when you lay down to sleep.
Adjust the volume to your comfort level. It does not need to be loud. Then have the very next CD be the HemiSync Super Sleep. The Deep Relaxation has verbal guidance that instructs how to relax your body and mind. Most people fall asleep by the end of this CD, however if you don't fall asleep, just continue relaxing, keep your mind quiet, and let the next CD which is the Super Sleep CD do its work. You can let the Super Sleep play all night if you like.
Set your alarm on your player to awaken you with the HemiSync CD called Morning Exercise. This CD has frequencies that gradually and naturally help your brainwaves synchronize with awakening. Upon awakening to this CD just lay there and let your body and mind wake up to the entire CD. This CD will be much better than jarring your body and mind with a loud alarm clock.
Complete Darkness is Best
Make sure your room is as dark as possible. If you have any light getting in around your curtains or blinds you need to mask/block it somehow. Use an organic fabric/natural fiber sleep mask, if it is impossible to have a completely dark room.
Turn the dimmer of your alarm clock to its lowest setting. If it does not have a dimmer then wrap it in a black pair of hose to dim the light. Turn off any night lights. It is best to not have an electric clock near the bed due to the emitted electromagnetic pollution, and light it shines.
It can help to calm the neurons of the brain by placing a 1/2" x 4" x 6" ceramic magnet under your pillow with the negative polarity facing the head. Never use the positive polarity of the magnet facing your head as this will over-stimulate the brain and promote hyper-acidity. (Available by calling our clinic 316-686-5900)
If you awaken in the night to go to the bathroom, stay as "asleep" as possible and only open your eyes just enough to not run into anything. Keep your mind completely quiet. Be sure not to look at any light to and from the bathroom. Go right back to bed without checking the time. Your bladder is often like a spoiled child who thinks it is fine to wake you up all hours of the night. Once trained to understand that it can wake you up at night, it will. However, you can re-train your bladder to break this habit, by telling it to, "Go back to sleep, we can to the bathroom in the morning." Often the urge to pee will pass and you before you know it, you are not waking up all the time.
Other considerations must be addressed by your doctor of natural medicine depending upon your unique urinary sleep problems. You could have prolapsed organs pressing on the bladder, infections, prostate issues, or other biochemical issues causing frequent urination at night.
Dental or Oral Causes of Insomnia and Poor Sleep
Many sleep problems can be resolved by Biological Dentists that specialize in correcting the position of your bite and tongue. The tongue often falls back in your throat compromising the airway. When this happens, the adrenals kick out adrenaline to wake you and get you breathing again. This adrenaline also causes your bladder to want to empty. It can cause panic and anxiety, not to mention nightmares that wake you up.
Many people take adrenal supplements for fatigue and have good success, however often the root cause of the adrenal fatigue is poor sleep from oral problems setting up the adrenaline release all night in response to apnea and snoring.
Chinese medicine describes a busy brain syndrome that prevents sleep that is caused by what is called a Spleen Qi Deficiency. Chinese formulations, such as Gui Pi Wan by Plum Flower brand, or Gather Vitality, by K'an Herbals company, were developed over 1000 years ago to correct the fluid regulation and transportation problems that are caused by too much mental stimulation. This over mental stimulation is very common in the chronically ill person because their body is too sick to have a real life, so the person is stuck essentially living in their head. This busy brain can lead to obsessing over figuring out one's illness, digging and pouring and surfing the internet until you are causing this Spleen Qi syndrome. This is also seen in college students who become overloaded mentally.
Epigenetic miasms are described in homeopathy that deal with inherited tendencies to being a night owl and groggy and/or grumpy in the morning. The homeopathic remedy that addresses this is called Medorrhinum. Only a doctor or practitioner highly trained in homeopathy should determine which miasm remedy you need.
Hormonal Help for Sleep
Balancing Progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone can help both men and women with sleep issues if they are tested as being too low or high. A saliva test should be performed to test progesterone levels. It is a good idea to have a 24-hour saliva cortisol test and DHEA test performed for those who are feeling stressed out all of the time or those who are exhausted yet cannot sleep. This test can be done using a test kit from DiagnosTech, Inc.
Breaking Emotional Triggers of Insomnia
Use EFT to address the emotional distress revolving around the conviction that you are not going to be able to go to sleep. Learn how to do EFT at this link from Dr. Mercola: http://eft.mercola.com/
Control your thinking and don't let yourself get uptight about anything. Do the best you can at what you do each day and at the end of the day, let the issues of the day go. You have done all you can do for one day. "Lean not unto your own understanding" of how things will work out.
When I trained in Anthroposophical Medicine in Germany, the doctors taught me a process that can help not just with sleep, but with life in general. The point of the exercise is to allow the subconscious to finish processing anything that was incompletely processed from the day. Remember, almost 90% of what your brain processes each day is on the subconscious level. Anything that your subconscious brain didn't get fully processed during the day will set up an irritation to the conscious brain. This loss of equilibrium between the subconscious and conscious mind often feels like anxiety about something you cannot quite define.
To correct this problem, the German doctors said you should take 15-20 minutes when you first lay down to sleep and replay your day in reverse. In your mind, see yourself like you are watching a movie of yourself starting to get into bed, and retrace in your mind everything prior to that, such as you getting ready for bed, and see yourself all the way through your day when you first woke up that morning.
The point is NOT to rehash things in your mind, or to do the "woulda-shoulda" thing about the situations in your day. You should simply watch it without judgement. The point is not to resolve things on an emotional and/or mental level, but to allow your subconscious to have the chance to revisit and find balance about things it didn't process through completely. This process gets easier once you get used to it. You will notice you go to sleep and awaken more settled in your mind and spirit.
Organ Circuits and Organ Time Zones
I also want to discuss those people who may get to sleep fine, yet awaken at specific times during the night. (Click to read a detailed article on the science of this topic)
You may recall my health tip on the fact that if all of the body's energy had to go to all the organ circuits all the time, there would not be enough energy to go around. Each organ circuit has its time of highest energy being dedicated to it.
Often there is a body clock "time zone" problem that is the issue, causing a circuit that should only be active during the daytime to be getting its time of highest energy at the wrong time, night time. For example, the bladder circuit, which should have its time of highest energy between 3-5 p.m. This type problem can only be addressed by a doctor trained to correct the body's "clock" and "time zones."
My primary focus here is on those whose organ clock and time zones are correct, yet problems within those organ circuits are so bad that they wake you up.
A common time to awaken in the night is between 1-3 a.m., which is the liver's time of highest energy. People who awaken every night during this time might benefit greatly from taking some liver support supplements during the day and again just before going to sleep. It could help to take more if you still awaken between 1-3 a.m. even after taking a supplement during the day and at bedtime.
A good general liver support supplement for this purpose is Total Liver Detox, by NutriWest Inc. A general recommendation of 1-3 pills, 2-3 times a day for most adults is well tolerated. Check with your doctor before starting any new supplement.
I feel it is worth finishing with this tip for those people who awaken every night between 3-5 a.m.
The lung circuit is getting the most energy from the body between 3-5 a.m. and by supporting the lung circuit you can often just “cruise” right on through to a more reasonable time for the rooster to crow.
People who awaken between 3-5 a.m. often have acid reflux, though not always. Having acid reflux/heart burn is due to the fact that the diaphragm muscle is on the same circuit with the lungs. When there is a problem with the lungs, the diaphragm muscle loses tone and the hole in the diaphragm where the esophagus passes through to the stomach gets bigger. This allows the stomach to herniated up into the chest cavity and often causes acid reflux.
Your doctor of natural medicine is likely able to pull the stomach down and out of the chest cavity manually…no surgery required! Then you must support the integrity of the lungs with a good supplement, such as Core Level Lung, by NutriWest, Inc.
A good general adult dosage recommendation would be 2-3 pills, 2-3 times a day, or as directed by your doctor, whom you should check with before starting any new supplement.
There are obviously many potential reasons your lungs might be having problems, such as infections, toxins, asthma, and other breathing problems. These will need to be addressed by your healthcare team.
Hopefully these tips, when combined, will result in a very restful and satisfying night’s sleep, allowing you to awaken refreshed and ready to face the day!
May you find a peaceful nights sleep tonight and every night!