by Nikki Moses© 2010 – Revised June 2018
Sleep is vitally important to healing. Unfortunately, today many people have trouble sleeping. There are many causes for this. Adrenal fatigue, toxic metal accumulation, stress, deficiencies of calming nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and zinc, poor diet choices, electromagnetic stress, and other imbalances all can play a role. While there are many sleep remedies one can try, the only real long-term solution is to balance one’s body chemistry, which in my opinion, is best accomplished through a hair analysis test and a properly-designed nutritional balancing program. But it can take time on a nutritional balancing program to fully handle the problem or problems causing the sleep difficulties, so the following suggestions may help in the meantime.
Also, for those who may not have had difficulty sleeping when they started on a nutritional balancing program, various bio-chemical changes taking place can cause temporary sleep problems for which the following remedies may be helpful.
Lifestyle Suggestions For Sleep
Expose yourself to as much bright light during the morning hours as possible (between 8am and noon) as this will help set your “body clock” so you can fall asleep more quickly at night.
Try to go to bed at the same time every night (even on weekends). The body likes patterns and regularity.
Daily exercise early in the day can help you sleep later. A simple walk can be enough. NOTE: If we have advised you to limit your exercise, please follow the instructions we provided for you.
Avoid going to the gym and other types of strenuous exercise before bed. Although you may initially feel tired, this can actually activate your sympathetic (“Fight or Flight”) nervous system and make it hard for you to fall or stay asleep. Walking in the evening, on the other hand, if done gently, can help to remove stress and aid in sleep.
Avoid anything that excites, stresses, or causes you to problem-solve or think intensely before bed. This includes stressful conversations, work, video games, etc. Definitely avoid checking emails before bed, because you never know if something upset is in an email.
• Evolve a bed-time routine that includes dimming or shutting off lights, quiet and calm sounds only, walking and moving slowly, etc. Keep the house as dark, quiet and calm as possible leading up to bedtime so your body recognizes it is nighttime and produces the proper sleep hormones. This includes not using your computer at night, and for some people, dimming their TV’s or keeping them off some time before bed. In fact, blue light, such as that emitted from electronics and some energy-efficient light bulbs, has a very stimulating effect. You can often find blue-blocking applications for your phone or computer or even buy blue-blocking glasses to wear if you have to work on your computer after sundown. These will help tell your brain that it is night and keep your body clock running properly.
Reduce your salt intake if you are eating a lot of salt and especially do not eat salty foods in the evening.
Avoid any sugars and sweets at night.
Try to have a protein-rich snack before bed (like yogurt, a small piece of chicken, some raw or goat cheese, almond butter, etc.), and keep something by the bed to snack on if you wake up in the night. You may need this food even if you don’t feel hungry. This is especially important for those who have hypoglycemic tendencies — when the body’s blood sugar level dips, the brain will wake you up to make sure you eat something.
Try to be in bed by 8 or 9 p.m. If you stay up, your sympathetic nervous system starts to kick in and can interfere with sleep the entire night.
Rub your feet and especially the toes before bed. This can help relax and balance the body.
Lie down and take slow, belly breaths for up to 15 minutes.
An infra-red lamp sauna before bed is excellent for sleep.
Keep the bedroom very dark while you sleep. If light is getting into the room through a window, consider blackout curtains. If light is coming in under a door, consider putting a towel down to block the light.
If you live in a safe neighborhood, take a slow, quiet, relaxed walk in the evening or even before bed. This can be very calming and takes your mind off of things. Often you will find yourself starting to yawn while walking. Avoid heavy conversation during this walk, and use the time to look around at your environment and get your attention off of your thoughts and worries.
Keep all plugged-in electronics at least 10 feet from the bed. The magnetic fields generated by these things can interfere with sleep. If you need a clock by the bed, try using one that is battery operated.
For many people, keeping the bedroom cool is helpful, so that you aren’t too hot under the covers. If you have to, add a fan. For others, if the room is too cold, this will interrupt sleep. So find a good temperature that assists your sleep.
• First thing when you wake up, expose yourself to as much bright light during the morning hours as possible (between 8am and noon) as this will help set your “body clock” so you can fall asleep more quickly at night.
Alcohol and cigarettes can be very stimulating, so avoid these in the evening. (In fact, both of these should be avoided in general as they are toxic and stressful on the body – especially cigarettes!) Some people find that wine calms them at night. The problem with this is that for many people the blood sugar fluctuations caused by the wine can result in them waking up in the middle of the night due to a low-blood sugar dip.
If you are anxious or have mind-racing, reading something very light or inspiring may be helpful. Also, some people have found it beneficial to find movies that they’ve seen before to watch in bed. They should be happy, calming or inspiring movies and should not be movies you’ve never seen. This way you know what happens already and don’t force yourself to stay awake to see the ending. Replaying the same movie every night can actually train your body to fall asleep because you have fallen asleep to it many times. For some who have done this for a while, all it takes is to hear the soundtrack music start to play, and they start to yawn and are ready to drift off to sleep. Be sure to lower the volume as needed, and set a sleep timer so that the television turns off after 30-90 minutes. Another suggestion is to listen to some light classical or other soothing music.
Some other sleep remedies:
Use the remedies discussed below on an as needed basis. One can become dependent on them, which is not optimal. Sleep remedies are most often excellent while on trips or in situations when you are under stress that interferes with your rest and sleep. They should not be needed as your body heals on a nutritional balancing program.
Note that the best time to take sleep remedies is while you are quiet and preparing for bed at an early hour. They may be less helpful when one is anxious and tense, or at a late hour when the sympathetic nervous system has kicked in to give you extra energy because you did not rest when you should have.
Remedies are just that. They are not a substitute for correcting situations that interfere with your healthful early-to-bed, daily sleeping habits.
A chi machine can be fabulous just before bed. This is a box that sits on the floor and you place your ankles in cradles on top of the box. When activated, the machine gently moves your legs back and forth, relaxing the spine and the entire body. These are not expensive, as a simple one usually works just fine and costs about $120.00 new.
A small cup of warm, preferably raw, milk can be very good.
A cup of strong, freshly brewed chamomile tea, valerian root, herbal combinations, Sleepytime teas and homeopathic remedies that are available at health food stores can help.
Every once in a while, 5-Hydroxy L-Tryptophan (which Endo-met carries) or Tryptophan (1 or 2 at bedtime), will work, but do not take these if you are on MAO inhibitors, SSRI’s or prescription anti-depressants.
We carry many products which can help with sleep that you are free to try: Gaba-Val by Progressive Labs (1 or 2 at bedtime or when waking in the middle of the night), Orchex by Standard Process (as many as 3 at bedtime), Valerian Complex by Standard Process (1 or 2 at bedtime or when waking in the middle of the night), Serene Sleep (1 or 2 at bedtime or when waking in the middle of the night), Melatonin at bedtime (up to 3mg at most). (Be conservative with Melatonin use, especially men — more is not necessarily better.) Some of these products have some crossover. For instance, Serene Sleep has Melatonin so you don’t want to take Serene Sleep and Melatonin as it would be far too much Melatonin, but Gaba-Val and Serene Sleep can be taken together. Orchex doesn’t have any crossover and could be taken with any of these.
Occasionally for people on a nutritional balancing program, toxins will dump at night and can interfere with sleep. The following can help:
You may do a coffee enema at night, even in the middle of the night if you have a headache or other toxic symptoms. But perhaps use a little less coffee than usual.
You may also use a sauna in the middle of the night, and it may help move a toxic reaction along faster or stop pain so you can sleep. Be sure to drink a little water afterwards.
NOTE: Nutritional Balancing Science and Hair Mineral Analysis do not diagnose, treat or cure any diseases, and are not substitutes for standard medical care. Nikki Moses is not a medical doctor. She operates as an unlicensed nutritional consultant only. None of the statements on this site have been evaluated by the FDA. Nothing on this site is intended to discourage anyone from seeking or following the advice of a medical doctor.