Eszopiclone. Ramelteon. Triazolam. Zaleplon. Zolpidem. If you can not pronounce any of those words, well, neither can I. Millions of Americans take these synthetic drugs every night. And it's all to fight insomnia. These drugs are known as Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta, but that does not cover the fact that they're synthetic and not an ideal long-term solution to insomnia. This is why I believe in finding an herbal insomnia remedy in place of synthetic pills.
What happens when your head hits the pillow? Do you quickly fall into a deep, restorative slumber? Do you peacefully transition into sleep? Or do you lie wake, eyes wide open, wondering why something so natural as sleep can be so elusive?
I'm a recovering insomniac. It takes me about 5 to 10 minutes to fall sleep now. When I had insomnia it took me 1 to 2 hours. I do not take Ambien or other synthetic pills, but I do use natural herbal supplements when I need the extra help in falling asleep.
I thought I'd share some of my secrets to falling sleep fast without the pills.
Secret # 1: Caffeine really does make a difference. I know, I know. We've heard it a million times: Do not drink caffeine if you have insomnia. Well, I need the caffeine, especially in the morning. It's not easy to give up. My solution is to just use green tea for caffeine, and to only use it before noon. It really does help!
Secret # 2: Expose yourself to bright lights RIGHT when you wake up. You can go outside or use a light box. In the morning, light will "reset" your body clock. This means that when you go to bed the following night, your body will be ready to sleep too.
Secret # 3: Take magnesium. Yup, magnesium, just like calcium and potassium, is critical for health. Magnesium regulates your brain activity by keeping brain cells from over-firing. A bit of magnesium before bedtime can help your brain from being too hyperactive.
Secret # 4: Take a natural sleep aid. Yup, the good news is that there are supplements that contain natural herbs for insomnia. They're not only healthy, but help you relax before bedtime. Many of these supplements also contain melatonin, which as many of you know, helps trigger "sleep mode" in your brain.
[Bonus] Secret # 5: Forget about counting sheep and warm milk. The trouble with having insomnia is that you're given countless advice from "sleep experts" or well-meaning relatives and friends. Some of this advice works, and some of it does not. It's up to you to find out what "tricks" help you fall sleep fast, and what tricks simply do not work. For me, counting sheep and warm milk do not help in any way whatever. They might work for you, they might not. Experiment.