Sometimes a quiet room or a comfortable bed is just not enough to get a great nights sleep. It happens to everyone at some point in their life and you gotta reach for some type of aid. Before you reach out and grab some over-the-counter medications, try these natural remedies first.
- Passion Flower
- L Theanine
- Homeopathic Remedies
- Vitamin B12
These all natural sleep aids are used all over the world to help get some much needed sleep when the normal methods fail. There are some medical reasons for some people that they do not get the “sleepy” feeling, or they do and they are unable to actually get to sleep.
I am a big believer in finding natural ways to get some sleep before turning to prescriptions, or over-the-counter alternatives. Prescriptions can lead to abuse and addictions, I would like to think we can all live without those options.
Lets cover the top 8 all natural sleep aids.
Passion flower, also known as Passiflora Incarnata, is a naturally grown herb for medicinal use in North America as a sleep aid. The German Commission E has also approved it for the treatment of insomnia and restlessness.
It is called Passion Flower because the flower’s corona resembles Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns.
It is also known to be used as a sedative in some nervous disorders that can prevent someone from sleeping due to anxiety and other difficulties in sleeping. The typical use is mixed with warm water about 10 – 20 minutes before bed time.
A normal dosage with Passion Flower is 20 – 40 of tincture drops in water, or an infusion of half of a teaspoon of the dried flower in a large cup of hot water.
There are some contraindications with some momoamine oxidase-inhibiting antidepressants. Also consult your doctor if you are pregnant.
Theanine, or L-Theanine, is an amino acid found in the leaves of Camellia sinesis, better known to most people as green tea. Most people already know of the anti-oxidant benefits of green tea, the theanine in green tea adds an anti-stress benefit as well. This anti-stress benefit will help you relax and eventually, fall asleep.
L-Theanine is unique, in that it acts as a non-sedating relaxant by increasing the brain’s production of alpha waves. It is very effective in helping to relieve tension, stress and anxiety in your life and helps to promote a good nights sleep. Taking capsules before bed can help you rest easier without causing drowsiness throughout the day.
If you feel sleepy, but just cannot seem to cross into actual sleep, theanine is for you. Theanine can help you transition from tired and staring at the ceiling to sleep.
As well as being relaxing, l-theanine has also been shown to promote concentration and other cognitive abilities, by increasing the production alpha waves in the brain. This allows you to focus on tasks easier, think of ADD or ADHD.
L-Theanine has been shown to effective in dosages ranging from 50-200mg a day. Three to four cups of tea would usually contain about 100-200mg of l-theanine, which counteract the stimulant effects of caffeine. Unfortunately decaffeinating green tea also loses l-theanine.
If you want to avoid caffeine or have a more reliable source of l-theanine, l-theanine comes in capsule and tablet form.
It reaches maximum peak blood levels about 30 mins to 2 hours after ingestion, so it can be used as needed in the day and regularly at night.
Try taking one or two 100mg l-theanine capsule at night. If you’re stressed or need to focus or concentrate more during the day, take half a capsule or 50mg. You can also open the capsule and put half the powder in your mouth and leave the rest of the theanine in the capsule for another time, or you can also get 50mg capsules of l-theanine.
Theanine can be found at most Nutrition stores like GNC or online stores like Amazon and Walmart.
Aromatherapy is my favorite option on this list. I love the different smells and sensations brought on by the different type of oils you can use. My better half has her favorites smells too. We thought this would be a total load of crap, but after research and trying it out ourselves, we are now believers!
Using essential oils to relieve stress and promote relaxation has been practiced for as long as we can find the oils in existence. As far back as ancient Egypt, we find the Egyptians using essential oils for more than just sleep, but for perfumes and healing!
Using essential oils is simple, they can be used by putting a few drops in the bath (3 – 6 drops added to bath water), diluted in vegetable oil or other massage oils for massaging (12 or 13 drops in 25 milligrams of oil) or in the case of lavender, the dried buds in a pillow, or just simply a couple of drops on the pillow.
Homeopathic remedies tend to work best when treating most short term insomnia episodes. Extended bouts of insomnia should be discussed with your doctor if these do not help you fall asleep, and stay asleep.
These remedies can be found in bottle form and usually are accompanied with instruction on how to use them properly. Take one at a time and do not mix up multiple remedies in one usage. Also avoid flavored drinks and brushing your teeth with a minty toothpaste while using homeopathic remedies.
If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding, contact your doctor prior to using any of these remedies.
Some popular homeopathic remedies for sleep:
Aconitum Napellus is ised to the temporary relief of restlessness and tension. It calms you down to a more relaxed stated and makes it easier to transition to a great nights sleep.
Homeopathic Sleep Formula Boiron, is used primarily for women during painful menstruation. Helps to relax those muscles to allow for better and easier sleep.
Arsenicum Album 9H is for minor, or temporary, relief of symptoms associated with flu and indigestion. If these symptoms are prevent a good nights sleep, Arsenicum Album 9CH is for you.
The effectiveness of Belladona have been recorded as successful, but is still widely considered a dangerous homeopathic medicine by much of the world. It is used as a sedative and has also been used for things such as stopping asthma attacks and stopping other bronchial spasms. It is also used in hemorrhoid suppositories and for colic and Parkinsonism disease. Belladona can help you sleep by relaxation and blocking pain receptors, but can be very dangerous if used improperly.
If you are suffering from insomnia and are still very sleepy, then Belladona may help push you into that sleep zone that you need.
I have found several places on the web that swear by the effectiveness of this product, but it still has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug administration for safety and efficiency. The FDA has yet to find any scientific evidence to show this homeopathic medicine as effective.
What I have found claims this is what to take when you have several sleepless nights in a row. Follow the instructions on the label and let me know in the comments if this has worked for you.
Coffea, also known as Coffea Cruda, is a well known homeopathic sleep medicine due to its ability to overcome the effects of caffeine and alcohol on the brain. Insomnia can leave you laying in your bed with nothing but your own thoughts. If you have a stimulant in your body that is causing some overactive brain activity, Coffea can help calm it down and let you drift away to sleep.
Coffea is also known to help stop waking up during dreams that disturb your sleep. You may not remember them anymore, but a good, solid, non-stop 8 hours of sleep is absolutely worth it.
For those suffering from insomnia that are on the very verge of getting sleep, only to wake up or not really fall asleep, then Gelsemium is what you should try. Gelsemium will help push you past that anxiety or drowsiness and help you actually sleep, as opposed to just laying there with your eyes closed.
Sometimes getting bad news will also push you into this insomnia type state. Grab some Gelsemium and it should help you get some sleep.
Nux Vomica is one of the best homeopathic remedies for people that can fall asleep, but just cannot stay asleep. It also helps to overcome the effects of certain stimulants like coffee, tobacco and alcohol that can cause you to wake up after you fall asleep, and keep you awake.
If these sound you like you, then Nux Vomica is what can help you get that great nights sleep that you have been missing out on.
This is one of the best homeopathic remedies I have come across and for good reason. It has so many other uses other than just relaxation and sleep. It is also used frequently to treat a very wide variety of mental health issues physical problems like aches and pains, headaches, etc.
Stramonium is also used to help treat children with ADHD, early stages of autism and learning difficulties. Do some research on this one.
Ignatia amara is used to treat anxiety and nervousness. A study in 2012 shows its effectiveness in mice by calming down their behavior. When you need to calm down or have some forced relaxation after getting upset or excited, Ignatia Amara is a good homeopathic choice.
Zincum Metallicum is a homeopathic medicine is primarily used for people that have cramping or restlessness in the legs. People that are suffering from insomnia relating to restless leg syndrome will want to reach for this.
Diabetics suffering from nerve damage can find some use for Zincum Metallicum as well. This homeopathic medicine can help give some temporary relief from damaged nerves.
Theridion is a commonly used homeopathic medicine for people that suffer from extreme hypersensitivity to noises while sleeping. If you suffer from waking up from every little noise from the cat having the zoomies outside your bedroom to water dripping in the bathroom, theridion is for you.
Some people even suffer from nausea related to the noise sensitivity that adds to the insomnia they already suffer from. Try theridion and let me know how that works for you in the comments.
Homeopathic medicine is a great approach to getting a good nights sleep without using over-the-counter sleep medications. Sleeping pills can help you sleep, but can create an addiction that will only worsen your insomnia. Trying out homeopathic methods might save you a trip to the doctor and give you a sleep so good you didnt know that could be possible.
A great nights sleep is a wonderful way to increase your energy, improve our mood and give you an overall well-being boost for the next day! That is why I am here, to help show you the way!
Valerian’s proper name is Valeriana Officinalis, and it is sometimes called God’s Valium because it is very effective and it is widely found in nature! It is a mild yet effective sedative and is extracted from the root of Valerian, a tall, fern like plant.
The mechanism by which it works is believed to be by stimulating the neurotransmitter GABA, which dampens the brain’s arousal system. GABA is a neurotransmitter in your brain that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain.
Valerian can be combined with other mildly sedating herbs such as hops, lettuce, lemon balm, passion flower (passiflora), and chamomile to give a synergistic effect. Synergistic means the herbs work together to give a better effect when combined than when taken singly. Think teamwork makes the dream work. Combining some herbs together can have a unique and profound effect on the body.
Almost all the propriety blends of natural remedies and supplements for insomnia contain valerian dosage in some form or another. Valerian is the generic all natural drug that binds the most popular medications together.
Valerian can also be used for mild anxiety, stress, muscle relaxation, or to just help you relax and get some good sleep. When taken as a relaxant it can break the pain cycle in someone who is experiencing back or leg pain etc. It can be taken in tablet, capsule or tincture form which is an extract of Valerian. It can even be taken as a tea when mixed properly.
The tincture form has shown to work faster than capsules or tablets.
Valerian dosage for the tincture varies as it depend on the concentration of the tincture. The tincture is used by using 10 drops in half a cup of warm water for anxiety or relaxation and 30 drops in water to aid sleep. You can add honey or additive to help make it tastier. Avoid using caffeine and other stimulants when mixing to add flavor.
The usual dose for capsules or tablets is 150 to 500 mg of a standardized Valerian extract about half an hour before bedtime taken with a glass of water, per the instructions.
Valerian’s most common side effects are occasional stomach upset, headaches, nausea and restlessness if taken in large doses. Some people may experience drowsiness into the next day. It is best to start off with a slightly lower dosage than recommended until you can get used to the drug.
The side effects of Valerian are extremely rare and usually stop when you stop the herb.
Corydalis is a native herb to the Chinese province of Zhejiang. The part of the plant we use medicinally is the tuberous rhizome.
This herb has sedative properties that helps with insomnia, nervousness, depression agitation and anxiety. People with tight muscles or other muscle pain can use Corydalis to help ease the pain to get to sleep and stay asleep.
If you suffer from insomnia, taking 100–200 mg per day of a corydalis extract (called dl-tetrahydropalmatine, or DHP), will help you get a great nights sleep when used properly. People taking the extract reported no drug hangover symptoms, such as dizziness or vertigo or grogginess that can show with other types of medications.
In insomnia patients, sleep was induced within 20-30 minutes after oral administration of 100-200 mg dl-THP.
Corydalis should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women. There have been several reports in Western journals of THP toxicity, including acute hepatitis. In addition, people taking corydalis can experience vertigo, fatigue, and nausea.
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with corydalis, but if you experience unwanted side effects, stop using Corydalis and consult your doctor before using again.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland of the brain and keeps our wake-sleep cycle in perfect sync with daytime and nighttime. It resets our internal body clocks, making it a very useful supplement for shift workers and travelers suffering from jet lag. It is also used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
The majority of people that use melatonin for sleep like it since it is not only effective, but works extremely quickly.
Melatonin is made in the body from the amino acid l-tryptophan and the levels your body produces decline with age. It is also a powerful anti-oxidant and even used in anti-ageing regimes.
Amounts as low as 0.3 mg have been shown to improve sleep patterns, helping people sleep better, fall asleep faster and have higher energy and alertness levels upon waking. Leaving you feeling better rested and ready to conquer the next day.
Doses vary between 0.25 mg and 5 mg, taken 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. It is available in capsules or tablets, and even time release formulas which prevent the hormone levels from peaking too soon, ensuring a long nights sleep.
Information regarding long term effects of melatonin supplements is unavailable, which is why I personally take it for short periods of time when I really need it and use the minimum amount that puts me to sleep. I am not a fan of addictions, but this is one of the resources I will use when I need a good nights sleep and its been a rough week. I work in retail and it is the Christmas season, so you can imagine why I need a great nights sleep. What is your reason?
You can start with a quarter of a 1 mg tablet of melatonin and take more if you’re not asleep in an hour. Higher doses can cause some people to have vivid nightmares, so if that does happen to you, try reducing the dose of melatonin.
You can now get a liquid form of melatonin that you spray it under your tongue and keep it in your mouth before swallowing it. I find that this is the quickest and easiest way of using melatonin for sleep.
A deficiency of vitamin B12 can cause insomnia and therefore supplementing your diet with vitamin B12 can help you sleep faster, better and longer than usual. Vitamin B12 can be found in meats such as fish, eggs and poultry products. Vegetarians can suffer from a lack of B12 in their diet due to the lack of meat based products.
Vitamin B12 influences the sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin is a critical hormone produced in the absence of light stimulation, by the pineal gland which is located in the brain. It is responsible for regulating sleep and circadian rhythms and helps you fall asleep.
There are many different causes of insomnia and a lack of vitamin B12 is one of them. Studies show that normal B12 levels causes an earlier release of melatonin at night which resets the circadian rhythm (sleep wake cycle). Very serious circadian rhythm disorders have been successfully treated with vitamin B12 in the methylcobalamin form, although it may not work for everyone.
What Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
As meat is the primary source of vitamin B12, people who do not eat animal products whatsoever, like vegetarians, are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. However vegetarians who eat eggs and fish will get enough B12 in their diet through those means. Some seaweeds contain the vitamin, and the gut may manufacture a certain amount of B12 naturally. Certain medical conditions which causes a lack of intrinsic factor can also cause a vitamin B12 deficiency.
People with medical conditions that interfere with absorption in the small intestine such as Crohns, IBS, and Celiac disease can be lacking in B12 absorption. Nicotine is well known to reduce vitamin B12 levels although the need for vitamin B12 supplementation in smokers.
Certain medication also puts you at risk for B12 deficiency whether you eat meat or not. Omeprazole (Prilosec, Losec), cimetidine (Tagamet)and other drugs that inhibit gastric secretion can cause a deficiency. If you regularly take tablets for stomach ulcers, heartburn acid reflux etc, this may be creating a B12 deficiency.
Some older people develop a B12 deficiency because they don’t have enough hydrochloric acid in their stomach to maintain intrinsic factor, but in fact some older people who have enough stomach acid are still deficient. Researchers don’t yet understand why this is so.