Insomnia remedies
- the best sleep aids

Are you struggling to get to sleep at night, or to stay asleep when you finally do drop off? Are you waking too early, feeling exhausted and miserable? 

This is one of a number of pages on my site with sleep tips and insomnia remedies. I'm convinced that we can find you the right remedies and aids to help you to sleep like a baby again.

On this particular page with sleep aids and tips I've collated lesser-known and less obvious insomnia remedies. You can find even more information on my pages Insomnia and Treatments, and Natural Sleep Remedies

In addition, you'll find on those pages several lists of common sense sleep tips and sleep aids. These can help you deal with your sleep deprivation now and prevent future sleep problems. I'll still be here when you come back.

Effects of insomnia

If only you could sleep like this!

Occasional sleeplessness is a 'pain'; relentless insomnia is soul-destroying. Insomnia causes irritability and mood-swings, as well as a host of physical problems.

Sleep is absolutely vital to mental, emotional, physical and social well-being. I'm going to do all that I can to help you with my (and indeed others') sleep tips, which I've collated over time.  

You may also be interested in my page on the physical effects of sleep deprivation (see links further down).

Why is sleep so important?

Have a look at Prof Medina explaining the link:

Searching for remedies for insomnia

If you just can't function, can't think straight, are angry with just about anything and everyone, feel exhausted and would kill for a decent night's sleep... do not be tempted to just blindly try out any insomnia remedy.

Instead, take a measured approach by searching first for the cause of your insomnia, as insomnia is almost always a symptom of an underlying condition.

This means you may not in fact need any remedies for insomnia, but you may need treatment for another health problem altogether.

Been suffering from sleeplessness for a while?

If you've been suffering from insomnia for too long, I'd much rather you identify the underlying problem and deal with that first.

Therefore, my first sleep tip is to visit my page on problem solving strategies (see link further down).


Well, it'll help you to uncover what may be at the root of your sleep disturbance; those worries and racing thoughts. The questions on that page will help to steer you past the emotional 'clutter' to find the real reason for your particular sleep problem.

Only by finding the reason for your insomnia will you be able to find the right insomnia remedies in the short-term - and prevent further sleeping problems in the longer term.

Prescribed sleep medication?

Sleeping pills like Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata and Rozerem only decrease the time needed to fall asleep by 18 minutes.

Ambien comes with an additional side effect: somnambulism (sleep walking). People walk, drive, make phone calls and even have sex whilst asleep (see:  

Prescribed sleeping pills have many more side effects and they are addictive - the longer you use them, the higher the dosage you need for them to have an effect.

However, if you're going through a major crisis and haven't slept for days, taking the sleeping tablets your doctor has prescribed for two or three days may just be a life saver.

Does your partner suffer from insomnia?

All too often the partner of an insomniac finds her/himself at the receiving end of hurtful remarks, lack of interest, reduced drive, decreased motivation and low sex drive (see: How to Increase Female Libido and How to Increase Libido in Men).

If your partner sleeps badly, why not email this page to him/her. Not only can it help them, but it can help you too. Your partner may disturb your sleep at night, and make your life miserable during the day, as well as suffering themselves.

In addition of course, you could be causing each other sleepless nights for all kinds of reasons. If you're having relationship problems, you may be in need of relationship advice.

I have over 24 years' experience of helping couples find solutions to their relationship problems - so you're in the right place for this too! Do take a look around my site, as you'll find plenty of pages to help with any Relationship Problems you might be having at the moment. 

Supplements to improve falling and staying asleep


Krispin has written extensive information on magnesium, which is necessary for all kinds of biochemical reactions in our bodies. A deficiency in magnesium may be a contributing factor to quite a number of often serious health concerns. Krispin lists them, including insomnia.  

Learning more about magnesium is one of my best sleep tips, as it may be all you need. The pay-off is that it can help with other health problems too.

Vitamin B12

Vit B12 can be called the energy vitamin. For more about this, see the LifeExtension report for detailed information on all aspects of Vit B12, including its link to your sleep-wake cycle and melatonin.


Although Melatonin is so obviously linked to sleep, I've included it in this page as well as my other pages on insomnia.

Melatonin is produced by the pea-sized pineal gland in your brain, which is involved with your body's natural rhythm (circadian rhythm). Melatonin is produced mainly between the hours of 9pm and 9am.

This is why it's so important that you go to bed in time and don't habitually entertain yourself way beyond the time you begin to feel sleepy. I suspect that as you've landed on this page, this warning may have come too late!

It's important too that you sleep in a darkened room, as in sensitive individuals the pineal gland can be easily fooled and melatonin production interrupted.

From one of my Uncommon Knowledge newsletters, researchers Viola AU, James LM, Schlangen LJ and Dijk DJ in Surrey (from the Sleep Research Centre in Guildford, UK) found that even small amounts of night time light disrupt our sleep hormones.

If you're suffering from lack of sleep, melatonin is the natural choice if you're looking for the best sleep aids. It appears to be useful too for jet lag and when working shifts.


5-HTP is a naturally occurring amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein in your body, as well as having other functions too.

In European countries 5-HTP is also prescribed for depression. The reason it works as a sleep aid and antidepressant is that it's a pre-cursor of serotonin - a 'happy hormone' (produced by day) and melatonin - see above - (produced by night).

It may be that you're not at all interested in how this exactly works, but I mention it here so that you understand that you'd be taking a supplement - not a foreign chemical (see Wikipedia for more details).


Whilst it might not have a direct influence on sleep, numerous studies have more than proven the fact that Omega-3 fatty acids improve symptoms of depression, which so often include anxiety and lack of sleep.  

Omega-3 can be found in deep oceanic fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies (please note that any farmed fish may be fed with foods 'other than healthy' for both human and fish).

However, the safest way of ingesting adequate amounts of Omega-3 is by taking it as a good quality supplement. To find out which supplements are safe, and the kinds of dosages required, have a look at my pages on Fish-oil for Depression and Side-Effects of Omega-3.

Other sleep tips and insomnia remedies

Music - the best sleep aid

How about a 35% improvement in your sleep by simply listening to soft, soothing music of between 60 - 80 beats per minute (just like your heart rate at rest)?  

45 minutes of folk, jazz or orchestral music will do it. Can you think of a more enjoyable, harmless and cheap sleep aid?

Cooling your brain - one of the insomnia remedies proven by research

The very latest in sleep research describes how the inability to 'switch off', coupled with constantly whirring thoughts, keeps your brain active and therefore warmer than it should be.  

Melatonin helps to lower the body temperature and induce sleep, so it stands to reason that cooling the brain can help you to fall asleep.

More research is needed, however when you read the results in this particular study, I do think that the old-fashioned method of a cloth, dampened in ice-cold water, on the forehead might be worth a try.

Sorting out your relationship problems is one of the best insomnia remedies

No surprises here, but according to this study poor sleep leads to a more negative rating of the relationship the following day. Equally, conflict during the day leads to poor sleep that night. Who could have guessed?!

Interestingly, women in stable marriages have better sleep quality than those who are unmarried or who've lost a partner, according to the results of this 8-year study.

If you've lost your partner (depending of course on how and when) it's to be expected that sleep is negatively impacted for a period of time at least. Again, the pages on my site can help you to find the very best sleep aid for you.

Check what you eat and drink for Aspartame!

Aspartame is a vile product - a neurotoxin (it kills neurons - your nerve cells!). It accounts for 75% of reports to FDA about adverse reactions to a food additive. Aspartame is the generic name for Nutrasweet, Equal, Spoonful, Equal-Measure.  

If you are drinking soda or diet drinks and/or are eating specific products developed to 'help' with weight management, then you're ingesting Aspartame.

You can read more about the toxic effects on Dr Mercola's site. I'll just mention the side effects that can cause insomnia: depression, anxiety and sleep problems!

I'm sure that after reading Dr Mercola's page you'll have no problems motivating yourself to eliminate this chemical from your diet.

Sleep tips from the Human Givens forum

The following ideas and remedies for dealing with sleeplessness come from really savvy Human Givens Therapists.

To learn more about the Human Givens approach to psychotherapy click here.

From my colleague Ingrid:

I'’ve helped an insomniac client recently with the following suggestions:  Go to bed a bit later (then your brain doesn'’t connect the hour of the day with failure)

Activate the imaginative side of the brain by thinking of something impossible –- blue mice, an edible cloud, a fairy story - anything that isn'’t connected with the ordinary world.  My client was very doubtful, but she tried it and it worked for her.

Sleep tips from my colleague Piers:

A touch left-brained? I had a rather procedurally-inclined client with insomnia who sorted herself out using a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy workbook.

It's published as 'Say Good Night To Insomnia' and is a 6 week behavioural programme based on the Harvard medical school CBT regime for insomnia.

Insomnia remedies from my colleague Judith:

I find Avena Sativa extremely helpful when wound up and having difficulty dropping off to sleep or when a client gets into a pattern of waking in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep. It usually breaks the pattern after a couple of nights and they go back to sleeping without any aid. I have checked on the net for any contraindications for pregnant women and can find none.

Sleep tips and insomnia remedies for jet-lag

Jet-lag can be really exhausting. Whether you fly often, or you only experience jet-lag every now and then, the following remedies can be really helpful:

  • Melatonin (see above)
  • Valerian (one of the best natural sleep remedies) - see my page: Natural Sleep Remedies
  • Drink lots of water throughout the flight - the best sleep aid (only if taken well before going to sleep!)
  • Don't watch the movies at times you wouldn't watch them at home
  • Don't eat during the flight

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