Natural Insomnia Help

insomniaPraise the Lord I have been able to sleep well the last two nights, thanks to some helpful tips from some of my readers and my midwife. These are helpful suggestions for those who deal with insomnia in or outside of pregnancy. The top two suggestions are what I have been doing primarily and seeing a vast improvement!

1. Calcium/Magnesium – regulate relaxation, especially with muscle tension and physical restlessness. Take approximately 2000 mg of calcium and 1000 mg of magnesium before going to bed (they are usually balanced properly in a cal/mag supplement). Best in a liquid combination form. If you take in tablets you will have to drink a large glass of water to swallow that many pills which results in an increased amount of times having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night (at least for the pregnant ladies).

Foods rich in magnesium include: legumes and seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, and whole grains. Food rich in calcium include: dairy products, canned fish with bones, nuts, fruits, vegetables, dried beans, rice beverages, molasses, and some leafy greens.

2. Chamomile tea - a wonderful relaxing tea to take before night time. Aaron picked me up some Traditional Medicinals Organic Nighty Night Tea which has a combination of chamomile, passionflower, and linden flower. It even has a bit of the hops herb described below. It is a delicious tea that promotes nighttime relaxation. Take 1/2 hour before bed. Chamomile is a particularly good choice for younger children whose insomnia may be related to gastrointestinal upset.

3. Hops – a herb that is actually added to beer as a relaxant. This is debate over the safety of consuming hops herb during pregnancy, but my midwife recommended it, although I have not tried it yet. Dose: Tea, 1 cup 2-3 x daily; Tincture, 30-40 drops 2-3 x daily.

4. Honey – Honey is said to have sleep inducing properties. Dark honey contains more antioxidants than light-colored honey. It can be used in herbal teas or mixed into warm milk.

Milk and Honey Sleep Remedy
1 glass warm milk
1 drop vanilla extract
1 teaspoon honey
Use this just before going to bed. Mix, then drink while it is still warm.

Recipe found here.

5. Take a relaxing bath with a bit of lavender oil. The oil is calming and can be helpful in some cases of insomnia. Oil may be inhaled, massaged into the skin (use 10 drops essential oil per ounce of vegetable oil), or added to baths (3-10 drops).

6. Lack of exercise can contribute to poor sleep, although avoid exercising at night, as it can increase adrenaline levels. Limit exercise to the first portion of your day. Read more about exercise and insomnia here.

7.  Avoid eating within an hour or two of bedtime, if possible. If necessary, eat a light snack (for the pregnant ladies).

Practical Tips

1. Write down your thoughts! I have found that I can often lose sleep because I am distracted with my to-do list for the next day. Plan for your next day by writing it all down before you go to bed. This helps get your mind at ease and undistracted.

2. Pray! – I have so greatly appreciated the prayers of my husband for me before going to bed. This has helped me greatly in just relaxing and focusing in on trusting the Lord for the gift of sleep. What a blessing! Don’t be afraid to ask someone to pray for you before bedtime and if you do wake up in the night, use it has an opportunity to pray for others.

3. Cover the clock! This was very helpful for me! It just increased my worry and anxiety about lost sleep as I stared at the hours ticking by …2am…4:30am…etc.

I pray these ideas might help assist anyone else going through this struggle!

Sources & Further Reading

Insomnia during Pregnancy
Natural Sleep Aids

Herbs and Natural Remedies for Insomnia
33 Secrets to a Good Nights Sleep by Dr. Mercola

As always, these suggestions shared are purely from my research and for educational purposes. Always consult your personal naturopath or midwife before making any changes or additions to your diet.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

10 Responses to Natural Insomnia Help

  1. margi February 5, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    i am new to your blog site. i am so grateful for the perspective it provides to me and my family. i am curious as to where you found your calcium/ magnesium liquid that you have found so helpful. would you mind sharing?

  2. Shalene August 27, 2009 at 11:07 am #

    Hi! I stumbled across your site purely by “accident,” but am glad I did. (I don’t truly believe that ANYTHING happens by accident…I know that God plans everything for our good.) Anyway, I am pregnant with my 5th child (not counting the 4 miscarriages I have had, as well.) Not one of my pregnancies has been the same, and I have found that I suffer from insomnia as well. Thank you for this post. I was unaware that it was safe to use chamomile tea during pregnancy, so I’ve not done so. (And I hadn’t bothered to try to find out…) Anyway, now I think I’ll indulge. I had figured that it was probably safe, but hadn’t wanted to take the chance. Some nights though, the lack of sleep really gets old. And by the way, you are absolutely correct about using the awake time as a time to pray. Prayer for others and over the worries or stresses that may come are so great at really putting things in perspective. I will definitely be back, and plan to put a link on my blog (though I don’t write there as often as I once did.) Be blessed and congratulations on your little one!

  3. patty December 22, 2008 at 9:03 am #

    Peter Gillham’s “Natural Calm” is a “relaxing magnesium supplement.” It’s a drink in powder form and you put it in a little warm water, kinda lemony,you could put a packet of emergen-C in it for flavor kicks. Also helps with the wonderful constipation factor that we all know and love during pregnancy! It helped me a lot when I was pregnant too and I was told it also helps you relax your cervix when labor time kicks in, put in a water bottle, contract, breathe and enjoy your labor pains!

    • Elizabeth July 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

      I just wanted to share that in my experience, Emergen-C gives quite an energy boost, such that in my household, I typically only give it before 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Before I realized the correlation between later doses and sleepless nights, I gave it at any time of day, and suffered the consequences.

      I should note that I don’t have children, and am a caregiver for my beloved 90 year old grandfather, so my circumstances are different, but since the issue here is insomnia, I wanted to share my experience, as well.

      Bless you all. Lindsay, I discovered your site recently and relate so strongly. Thank you and praise God!

  4. Ann at mommysecrets December 21, 2008 at 5:59 am #

    Great tips – I just shared them with 2 friends that have trouble sleeping. Thanks!

  5. Farrah December 20, 2008 at 11:59 am #

    My family uses Natural Calm when we have trouble sleeping, or if my son who has pretty severe OCD gets out of control. I’m glad that you are getting some sleep!

  6. Mrs. M December 20, 2008 at 10:59 am #

    I will try the Chamomile Tea with my 8 yr old daughter. She is up in the night sometimes with leg cramps and has tummy aches several times a week. They are ususally during the day and we haven’t been able to pin point the source. Not sure if it will help but can’t hurt.
    Thanks for the tip on the honey…I had no idea darker honey was better for you.

    PS Glad your sleeping better!

    • Kate December 21, 2008 at 1:44 pm #

      Mrs M, try a banana. Cramps can be associated w/ lack of potassium.

      Lindsay, I’m glad the tea is helping you out. I know it did me! i got that from my Aunt, she has a cup of chamomile tea and an english muffin every night shortly before bed.

  7. Willow December 20, 2008 at 7:35 am #

    So glad you are sleeping better! I found that prayer and “claiming” a verse…like “come to me you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” was so helpful as well. KNOWING that God designed me to sleep and that he WANTS me to sleep and trusting Him to help me sleep has been helpful in the periods I have struggled with insomnia.

    Oh, and I agree covering the clock is ESSENTIAL! :) When we have little ones the day doesn’t start later when we get no sleep and it can be so frustrating thinking of all the responsibilities that lie ahead when morning comes. :)