Help for Insomnia

So, what do you do for insomnia?  I write.  Seriously, this all started when I wrote my book.  Most of it was written between 3:00 and 6:00 in the morning.  That’s my creative time.  Sunday’s “internal alarm clock” went off at 3:45.

Now, as an herbalist, I would suggest you (perhaps that could also be “I”) look into a few combinations including one of my favorites that has netted a following.  I call it my Rest Tea, a combination of chamomile, skullcap, catnip, passion flower, licorice, and peppermint.   Some other herbs that encourage rest include nutmeg, hops, and valerian; though not necessarily together.  Insomnia can also be linked to diet, stress, lifestyle, and believe it or not, even the phase of the moon.

I had a client who was taking larger than recommended doses of a sleep tincture (2 full droppers) before going to bed thinking it would help and because it was herbal would not create a problem.  The client as it turned out came to me complaining of restless sleep patterns and low energy.  After working with them  for a few weeks and seeing improvement, but not enough to my liking, I was beginning to get a bit frustrated.  In the midst of general conversation during one of their regular visits they mentioned the sleeping tincture they had been taking for months.  When I heard of the dose red flags went off in my head.  Most tincture doses are 10-30 drops (30 drops is close to a quarter dropper in a typical 1.5 oz bottle), so they were overdosing by eight times the recommended dose.  The typical protocol for that tincture was to take it for two to maybe three weeks and then stop.  Their physiology had been pushed into a crisis stage of a constant need for rest, literally too much of a good thing.  The good news?  They weaned off the tincture in four days.  Now they are sleeping all night and awake rested, fully alert, and their energy level is returning to normal.

So, what’s the help for insomnia?  Try establishing a regular sleep pattern of 7-9 hours of sleep.  Avoid eating anything heavy, sweet, or caffeinated two to three hours before bedtime.  Begin to slow down activity a couple hours before bedtime.  If insomnia kicks in, identify the cause first (diet, lifestyle, stress) especially if it’s becoming chronic.  If you try a sleep aid follow the directions.  Something as simple as some deep relaxed breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth can also help (3-4 breaths like this will help, but be careful to avoid extensive or quick breaths like this to avoid hyperventilation).  If you are still experiencing problems talk with a trained herbalist or health practitioner.

I should add this, as with any herbal remedy or preparation, if you are in doubt or have questions about using specific herbs consult with an herbalist or your health professional first to make certain the preparation will not interfere with any current medications or treatment.

I’m going to bed for a nap now…

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