• KB

Insomnia Agony

Updated: Sep 29

When speaking to people about daily living and the many admittedly minor afflictions we are all familiar with, it seems the anguish of not getting a good nights sleeps ranks highest of all. Insomnia is also the most annoying as we all know getting enough sleep is vital to good health and stamina in all walks of life, whether holding down a full time job or retired.

While we all can experience occasional difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep, either from mental night time wanderings or some physical issues, to have ongoing and constant insomnia can be very detrimental to health.

As a trained Herbalist and Holistic Advisor it is my hope that in writing this article I will be able to offer some simple suggestions to alleviate this.

First a short explanation of the different stages of sleep:

When we first try to sleep we enter what is called a Light Sleep where we start to relax, our eyes move very slowly yet we can still be awakened easily. This type of sleep for a is advantageous for a short nap to revive a bout of fatigue or burn out.

Second stage of sleep consists of our eye movement stopping as our brain waves slow down with occasional bursts of rapid waves called sleep spindles.

Stage 3 of sleep is when we begin to experience the deep sleep we all long for where the brains delta waves appear and are are extremely slow and interspersed with smaller faster waves, which we are not even aware of as we may by this time be " ZZZZZZing " away!

Fourth stage of sleep is the actual Deep Sleep where there no eye movement or muscle activity, we are really starting to sleep well but we aren't quite there yet.

Final Stage 5 of sleep slowly creeps into our our psyche and it is called REM, which stands for Rapid Eye Movement. Our breathing becomes more rapid, shallow and irregular while our arms and legs are temporarily paralyzed and this is nearly always where our dreams may occur.

This whole process generally takes about 2 hours and with any luck will reoccur throughout the night resulting in awakening with feeling refreshed and ready to take on your day.

However not everyone is able to achieve this and many times there are underlying medical issues such as Restless Leg Syndrome, Sleep Apnea, COPD, Diagnosed Depression, Parkinsons, Hypoglycemia as well as a host of other medical problems which would require a completely different approach from what I will discuss here.

So for now I will offer some simple suggestions which may be of benefit for those who have those nights where sleep remains elusive.

To start with it is imperative to understand that I will never advise the use of OTC (over the counter ) grocery or drug store sleep aids and while I am an Herbalist and believe wholeheartedly in the benefits of herbs and other natural supplements and can provide these I will never push them.

So having said that let's get on with it.!

Some tips for a good nights sleep and while they may seem simplistic they do improve sleep habits for many.

1. It is suggested that attempting to stick to a regular schedule for retiring and rising at a regular constant time is one way. I can hear the chuckles now...as I realize that is very difficult for most people unless we live alone in a cave far away from the stresses of life, but I make mention as people often overlook the obvious.....just human nature.

2. Try not to nap during the day.

3. A little exercise goes a long way in ensuring a restful sleep, so depending on your physical state try a few simple movements daily. Mind you now I am not speaking of running a marathon just something a little different than your regular routine.

4. Keep the bedroom dark and quiet and use it for sleep or sex, not watching TV, reading or snacking. If you find it difficult to sleep in a too quiet atmosphere try a fan which can be very soothing or there are devices that provide a type of calming white noise such as soft winds, ocean waves, rain, etc. that are very effective in promoting a restful environment.

5. Try to avoid stimulants like caffeine before bedtime, and this includes hay fever & allergy OTC products which can generally promote drowsiness yet they often have the opposite effect. Also avoid coffee, alcohol, soda pop, tea etc.

Herbal tea is a great replacement such as chamomile, and/or herbal supplements with kava-kava, lemon balm, passionflower, valerian root and many others can help to relax our nervous system and can be of great assistance in adjusting to a different more restful sleep routine. I always keep these herbals in stock and can prepare a custom tea blend or make organic handcrafted herbal capsules.

6. If possible try to eat bananas, dates, figs, milk, nut butters, tuna, whole grain crackers or yogurt with wheat germ as many of these are high in tryptophan which is known to promote sleep.

7. Try not to have large meals late in the evening , such as a midnight pepperoni pizza!

These are but just a few of the myriad suggestions that I have learned are beneficial and I hope one or a combination of them will be of benefit.

I am available to create a more personalized and comprehensive suggestion plan and can be contacted at:


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