Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Natural Remedies for Sleepless Nights

From time to time I’ll have a sleepless night. I used to just lay there stressed about not being able to get back to sleep. That certainly wasn’t the answer for getting back to sleep. Over the years I’ve come across some great remedies listed below.

What not to do: Don’t lie there thinking of a million things, thinking about “problems” and challenges, contemplating the next days events etc, that will not get you back into that lovely land of slumber. On the contrary, as they say in yogic philosophy the “Drunken Monkey” (mind chatter) will take you over and you’ll be on a trip that will last way past sunrise. If you’ve been lying there for over 30 minutes it’s time to get up and take action. I know, you’re tired and sleepy and don’t feel like getting up, but get up. I get up and here are some of the lovely things I do. Don’t do them all in one night, choose one or two of the following techniques per sleepless night.

Technique A – Make a cup of soothing tea like Sleepy Time or Chamomile and along with that take two Valerian capsules. It takes at least 40 minutes for the Valerian to kick in. The pharmaceutical drug Valium is derived from the Valerian herb. But taking pure Valerian capsules are natural and safer option. Avoid stimulants like violent television programs or getting on the computer. Instead, while you’re sipping your tea read something relaxing like a novel or spiritual text.

Technique B-
Another great internal natural sleep aid is called Rescue Sleep. Rescue Sleep is a homeopathic supplement that has worked wonders for many. It can be found at your local health food store.

Technique C – Aromatherapy -Put a couple dabs of Sleep oil on your pillow. This can be found at Enfleurage in Greenwich Village. The scent is soothing and you’ll be drifting off with this heavenly scent guiding the way.

Technique D
– Legs on the Wall – This is one of my favorite “get me back to sleep” techniques. If you have a head-board on your bed you can do this in bed instead of on the floor. Lie down on the floor on your side with you buttocks up close to the wall as possible and then swing your legs up so that your butt is facing the wall and your legs and resting up against the wall. While your legs are up like this all your organ are resting and receiving a great supply of blood that is nourishing and relaxing. While all the organs benefit, the heart is especially affected by this inversion. The heart doesn’t have to work that hard at all because the blood is flowing towards the heart instead of away from it. Leave your legs like this for as long as it’s comfortable for up to 20 minutes. To come down, please do so slowly and gently by bending your knees, bringing them to your chest. Then roll over onto your side and very slowly sit up. Lie back down to go to sleep and witness the calm affect over your entire body. Ahhhh…

Technique E
– This is a very effective technique but the one I find the most difficult to talk myself into at 3:30 in the morning, that is simple Hatha Yoga floor postures. Yes, yoga in the middle of the night will make you sleep long and deep afterwards. Avoid power yoga or Vinyansa at this time, those yoga styles require aerobic activity/movement. We’re going for restorative yoga, which is some times referred to as “Sleepy Yoga”. Sleepy yoga as it’s some times called, is practiced with 20 -30 second rest intervals between each pose. The ten basic postures I would recommend for the purpose of getting back to sleep are - Cobra, Boat, Bow, Camel, Forward bend, Plough, Shoulder Stand, Fish, - Half Spinal Twist, and Yogic Seal, and Corpse pose. For best results these postures should also be done in the order presented here.

Please be aware that I recommend this for only those who are already familiar with these fundamental yoga postures. Also be aware that at this time of the night, you will not be as flexible as usual so don’t strain or over extend yourself. Be gentle and loving and enjoy the results.

Technique F – Hot and heavy sex with yourself or a partner!

Sleep Tight!


  1. This is so timely. I have had conversations with several insomniac friends lately. I'll spread the word. Thanks for this post.

  2. with regards to sleep, I was diagnosed with mild sleep apnea. I have that horrid sleep machine which makes me do everything BUT sleep. I have figured out a way to help me get the rest I need.

    Anu, these methods are SO right on. but one thing I think is major that should be listed here...get rid of items, situations or people who cause you to lose sleep! For example, work towards being debt free and find ways to increase your income so that you are not stressing about money. live within your means (which is true for all of us!) and remove negative people from your life, EVEN if they are family. I had to do this. Anyone who causes you to lose sleep is toxic to your health and your relationship with your rest.

  3. Dear HPS,

    You are so right about ridding ones self of stressful people and situations that may contribute to lack of sleep. That's very right on!