Defeat Insomnia with Natural Sleep Aids

It’s a fact. Sleep deprivation has become a way of life for Americans. Insomnia is serious. The effect of insomnia is always to make health worse, no matter what medical condition you are dealing with. And if your goal is to achieve your optimum health and natural wellness, you will struggle to get there without restful sleep.

Looking for help with childhood insomnia? 

So while there may be times when a sleep disorder requires professional medical assistance, or prescription sleep medications can be useful as a short term solution, I have never yet had a patient in my office who really wanted prescription drugs for sleep. We all know that natural sleep is deeper and safer sleep, and that natural remedies are the best long term solution. A holistic approach in medicine takes into account lifestyle and stress, physical and emotional health, the sleeping environment, medications and supplements, in order to solve the sleep problem effectively without hazardous side effects.

A sleeping disorder goes hand in hand with some very difficult medical conditions, including any sort of chronic pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, restless leg syndrome, or an anxiety disorder. Not only do these medical conditions make sleep more difficult, but chronic insomnia makes the pain, fatigue, and anxiety worse, just to name a few of its effects. 

More facts about insomnia. 

When looking for causes and cure, my first discussion with any patient is about sleep hygiene. That means a straightforward discussion of the environment of sleep, including everything from the comfort of the mattress, the levels of light and sound in the room, and the rituals and habits we use to signal the body and mind that it is time for sleep. Simple guidelines include:

• Keep a predictable sleep schedule, especially getting up about the same time each morning, with no more than an hour of “sleeping late” on the weekends. If you need more hours, go to bed earlier instead of adding sleep to the daylight hours.

• Enjoy comforting bedtime rituals, such as a small cup of chamomile tea, a warm bath, quiet music, or a favorite book before getting in the bed.

• Avoid bright lights, television, computer screens, video games or e-mail for 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. These stimulate the brain and send a “stay-awake” message to sleep centers.

• Keep the bedroom dark and quiet, and use the bed only for sleeping rather than a place to do homework (teens), or reading or watching television. If necessary, an eye cover or sleep mask can make darkness more complete, and a white noise generator or small fan can cancel out noises.

• Avoid late night heavy meals, late night exercise, or late night alcohol, all of which can interfere with the quality and depth of sleep. Exercise earlier in the day or evening makes a good night’s sleep more likely.

• Caffeine, chocolate, or other stimulants should be avoided after about 4:00 p.m.

Many times those simple guidelines are just enough to tip the balance to sweet and restful sleep, but if not, there are other natural sleep aids to call upon:

• Natural remedies for insomnia include valerian , melatonin ,chamomile, magnesium, and other medicinal herbs. Deep breathing, or other conscious breath practice, is a powerful mind-body technique to assist in the transition to sleep and help get back to sleep after awaking.

• Hypnosis for insomnia is also quite effective in my experience, and patients who come to me for hypnosis for other medical conditions often find that sleep improves as a fortunate “side effect” of clinical hypnosis.


to your health and wellness,

Robert Pendergrast, M.D. 

Childhood insomnia is a special consideration… kids are not just little adults! Get guidance from a holistic pediatric perspective here. 
A user-friendly guide to getting a better night’s sleep. Lots of free information, tips and advice on sleep disorders (such as insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy…) the benefits of sleep, sleep habits, sleep aids, natural sleep remedies, D-I-Y insomnia test and much more. Sleep better tonight and you’ll enjoy tomorrow a whole lot more!


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