Thursday, January 19, 2012

Treating My Insomnia Naturally

I've always been a very light sleeper, but since having kids I've struggled a lot more with insomnia.  My boys were all sleeping through the night by the age of 5 months, but me?  I haven't slept through the night since a week into pregnancy with my firstborn.  I do all the right things - I exercise, I limit caffeine after lunchtime, I never take naps, and I go to bed at the same time every night.  And still I struggle.  I seem to have a mixed bag of insomnia - some nights I struggle to fall asleep, some nights I wake up over and over again, some night I wake up at 3 am and can't get back to sleep.  Such a shame too, because I absolutely adore sleeping.  I miss the sleep of youth.

I've tried various sleeping pills, but some of the over the counter types leave me feeling all twitchy instead of sleepy, and the others leave me feeling groggy in the mornings.  I don't want to take prescription meds, because they would put me to sleep so deeply that if the boys woke up sick in the night, I wouldn't be rational enough to tend to them.  So I decided to try a more natural approach.
 

H & N Health Paradise  offers a natural sleep treatment program for those who struggle with insomnia (they also carry a variety of other homeopathic and natural medicines and supplements).  You use a combination of valerian root (which is commonly known to assist in sleep), St. John's Wort (a very mild antidepressant - used in this case to take the edge off in case the reason you're not sleeping is because you're tossing and turning from worry), calcium & magnesium (deficiencies in either of these can lead to stress and sleep disturbances), and melatonin (a hormone already in the human body that regulates the sleep and wake cycle). Currently their insomnia treatment program is on sale, if you want to check it out.

I've taken all of these before, but most of them were taken ages ago (ages as in way back in college!) and I've never taken them in combination before.  I started them last week, and it's going well.  They don't make me groggy, and I don't sleep so deeply that I wouldn't wake up if the boys were crying during the night.  In the past, when I took melatonin I would wake up with headaches, but the H&N Health Paradise version of melatonin doesn't do this, thankfully.  I'm still having a lot of wake ups, but when I do I am able to go right back to sleep, which is a nice change.  I am only taking half the recommended dosage of valerian, because it tends to cause really vivid dreams, and I have always been very sensitive to it.  But other than that I'm following the dosages as recommended.  I'll be interested to see if the program helps more with time - as if there are deficiencies it may take a few weeks to build my system back up.

I don't take any other medications, and having taken all these supplements before felt good about safely taking them in combination.  But as with all medications or supplements, please discuss with your doctor before starting anything new!  

How about you, reader?  Have you had any great successes using natural remedies?

Disclaimer:  I received the supplements for the insomnia treatment program in exchange for a review.  The opinions stated above are my own.

44 comments:

Jill said...

I sure hope this works for you, Lisa. Keep us posted.

A Quiet Corner said...

Isn't that funny, I didn't know you had a sleep problem. Let me know how that works...not for me...for my friend!...:)JP

Sonya @ Under the Desert Sky said...

It's good to know the natural supplement route is working for you. It's a route I'll keep in mind if I need it.

My calcium supplement has magnesium in it; I hadn't realized deficiencies in these could contribute to issues in sleeplessness.

Your post reminds me that I've forgotten to take both my calcium plus multi vitamin all this week (is someone all excited about school, maybe?).

andy said...

Good luck I hope they work.!!!!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I have gone through times when I wake up in the middle of the night. I haven't tried any meds for them though.

Sagittarian said...

Thanks for sharing, taking natural remedies are really safe, especially if you're sensitive when it comes to medicine. I haven't tried any, but if ever, i would choose natural supplement.

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

I took a shot of nyquil last night and slept like a baby. Old skool, I guess. Haha!

Your method is probably much healthier. :)

the cuby poet said...

I do sympathise with you. I drop to sleep very quickly but tens to wake at about 3 to 4 am and after turning a bit am able to drop off again quickly just sometimes it can take 1+ hour when my brain is racing. Hope these work for you.

Mary said...

I'm so sorry you have trouble sleeping! Hopefully those natural remedies will work. Sleep is such a precious thing. I have nights like you do sometimes. It's such a bummer waking up in the morning wanting more sleep.

Have a great day Lisa!

Chatty Crone said...

I hope this works - I am lucky - I sleep pretty good! sandie

Slamdunk said...

I hope you find something that works Lisa--that sleep schedule would make me a grump.

The Mrs. has trouble sleeping and I have eliminated many of my noisy obnoxious behaviors to try and help. She hates that I can almost fall asleep walking up stairs.

The Other Redhead said...

Sleep such a lovely word, but one not in my vocabulary either. Mine is more I can't shut my brain off. I get anxious at the thought of attempting to go to sleep. I am taking OTC sleeping pills that leave me zombified in the mornings. Thanks for the tips with the natural supplements. I never thought of going that route. It is just pushed on you anymore, got a problem theres a prescription med for that lol.

The Incredible Woody said...

Good luck! I take melatonin on occasion. Mainly if I'm away from home, which always leads to trouble going to sleep. I have found that if I take it for very many nights in a row, it loses efficacy

My Journey With Candida said...

My sleep problems have always been due to low magnesium, although I have heard only good things about melatonin.

I like the fact that Homeopathic and Natural Health Paradise has calcium with their magnesium. Another thing I am low in.

TexWisGirl said...

oh, good for you! hoping you get relief and can get regular sleep from these! i (thankfully) have been a good sleeper for most of my life.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I don't take anything, but should at times. Thanks for the suggestions!

Valerie said...

Lisa-you poor girl! I hope this will help! I know how frustrating it can be to not get a good night's sleep, and to have it happen chronically would be-for lack of a better word-so tiring. Good luck:)

Angela said...

I'm in that same boat with you Lisa! I can't sleep at night at all. I think I know the reason for mine. It's the allergy medicine. It causes vivid dreams and restless sleep too. I had a very strange one last night! I wish I didn't need the allergy medicine. I did quit them all cold turkey 2 years ago and after 3 weeks of very intense insomnia I could go to sleep within 5 minutes of going to bed. Now it is taking me well into 2 hours of just laying there before I fall asleep. Hope those work for you! I already take calcium and magnesium. I don't want the one that causes vivid dreams.

Sally said...

Oh goodness. Nothing worse than not getting a good night's sleep. I sure hope these options continue to work, and even get better for you.

Ann said...

I have been usng Melatonin for about 6 months now - only when I feel wide awake at night and it has DEFINITELY helped me...good luck!!

Anne Payne said...

I hope all that works! Sleep is such a precious thing :) For years I woke up at 2 am every night, even when the children were asleep. That was such a bummer! Not much of a problem now that I am older ;) My oldest daughter took melatonin for years but I had no idea it caused headaches.

Loretta said...

Thanks for this post today Lisa...I need to pass this info on to my son. Since his two boys were born, not twins but close, he tells me he never sleeps a full hour! Worried about him is putting it mildly, especially because of his job. Thanks for sharing Lisa! Hugs

Ginny said...

I am an extremely light sleeper, too. But I've never really suffered from insomnia. I do wake up several times a night with pain, so need to stay in bed a long time, because I only sleep about half of the time I"m in bed.

Helene said...

I used to take melatonin but at some point it just didn't seem to work for me any longer.

I hope this continues to work well for you. It's no fun being tired all the time from lack of sleep at night.

Susan Evans said...

I always like to hear about what other people are doing about sleep problems. My husband has had trouble sleeping for 2 years now, and I want so badly for him to have a good night's sleep.

laughwithusblog said...

After years I realized that if I even drink one cup of regular coffee even in the morning I have trouble sleeping. Weird huh? Caffeine in other things like chocolate or Coke doesn't bother me the same way!

Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

That's sounds miserable--I'm glad you found something that seems to be working! My husband is the one that struggles with sleep the most. Looks like a great option.

Lexie Loo, Lily Boo, and Dylan Too! said...

You sound exactly like me!
I'm curious, can you take these while breastfeeding?

LOVE MELISSA:) said...

Holy cow- this is a great post. I suffer from insomnia on/off for the last 5 years ever since having Hayley. It is a constant struggle. SOrry you are going through this too:( I will check out these products!

Jenny @ Practically Perfect... said...

Ugh, insomnia. There are few things so frustrating as not being able to sleep! I saw a naturopath when I was pregnant with Joe to help with my lack of appetite and poor sleep. One of the things she strongly recommended for sleep was the calcium + magnesium combination. I also learned that there are certain foods that will keep you more awake (anything particularly iron rich). I'm also like you in that the thought of taking any medication for sleep (OTC or Rx) makes me nervous when it comes to taking care of Joe. Hopefully this treatment will work for you!

Michaele said...

One glass of wine, 1/2 sleeping pill, 1 hr Netflix. Works like a charm - every time. I know for a fact it can't be worse for me than lack of sleep.
Another thing that really is very calming and also very good for you, is CalMag have you heard of it?

Jen said...

Glad to hear it's working! That would be pretty miserable!

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Oh wouldn't it be nice to sleep sound like a little pug!
My moms both have trouble sleeping.
They take calcium mag and the valarian.
They say they don't sleep, but I know they do, cause I hear them snore... its just not a good sleep like mine.
I hope your sleeps get better
love
tweedles

Kasey @ TFOMplus2 said...

Maybe I need to try something that helps me sleep just a bit lighter! I sleep like a brick, and it isn't a good thing!

Kim said...

Your post is so timely. You have me thinking because like you I adore sleep!

Mere said...

before this pregnancy I used to take melatonin to help me fall asleep after work. Either because I was sleeping during the day, or in I worked evenings and needed something to help me wind down.

I hope your treatment program works! Taylor is a light sleeper too, I know he gets very frustrated when he has trouble sleeping.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

My bouts with sleeplessness are usually just once a month or so, and so I've never done anything to treat them. I have to admit that I rarely go the natural route though for anything.

cestMoi Sandy said...

I remember those nights when I am awake for hours at end.
John, is one of those who loves to go to bed really early. I can't because if I do... I will be awake halfway through the night... Horrid.
Also...
I wanted to ask you, what did you do that your kids sleep through at 5 mo.
With my kids only my first born slept through at 8 weeks. The rest just takes till about 3 years. Can't take many more of those broken nights...

My remedy against the insomnia? Stay up later.
Read a book... (which you already do) Prayer and ask for good nights.
Drink warm milk with anise or anise tea... lavender tea... chamomile tea before bed... but don't drink to much or you have to run to the bathroom the whole night.

Hope it will help and you will get some rest. Insomnia is exhausting.

Hugs

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

I know many people who cannot sleep...I am glad to know this combination works for you...I will tell my friends of this

le Chef said...

I have been a chronic insomniac since high school, and pregnancy amplified it by about 1,000. I have tried every drug known to man, and some that were probably not recommended by the FDA. (Let's just say a trip to Fiji, a cannibal, and an impassible bridge were involved.)
I've also tried every. single. natural / herbal / tree-hugging / crystal rubbing / native voodoo remedy from here to Mars, and nothing has worked.
Until I found something totally by accident.
A fry pan and my skull.
Kidding.
It's called Alteril. It's all natural, over the counter, and sold at drug stores and places like Wal-Mart. You don't need a program or several bottles or doses. It has a lot of the regular natural sleep aids in it, and in normal doses, and for some reason it just works. Give it a try. It will either work, or it won't. Can't hurt to try. I did out of desperation - works for me.
Hope it helps.

Myya said...

This is definitely something I should think about trying out. I hardly ever sleep. I'm just not tired most nights.

Marilyn said...

I take two benadryl every night and sleep like a baby :)

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I did find out that wine in the evening will wake me up in the middle of the night. I do like MidNight but I can only take one or I get twitchy too. Sometimes one childrens benadryl will help me.

Sandy said...

I have been wanting to read this since you first posted it...been busy/lazy lately. I have terrible insomnia, lately I have just been dealing with it by going to bed incredibly early and just giving in and getting up at 2:30 to 3:00. So far it is going OK. But dang am I going to bed early!