How To Cure Insomnia Sleep Better At Night Naturally

M.D. Creekmore

I've been interested in self-reliance topics for over 25 years. I’m the author of four books that you can find here. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about prepping, homesteading, and self-reliance topics through first-hand experience and now I want to share what I’ve learned with you.

29 Responses

  1. suzan best says:

    Be careful using Benadryl (diphenhydramine) products. These products are anticholinergics which can cross the blood brain barrier and create problems with thought processes, etc such as “having to choose your words” because you must pause to think what to say next.

    • Suzan,

      Be careful using Benadryl (diphenhydramine) products. These products are anticholinergics which can cross the blood brain barrier and create problems with thought processes, etc such as “having to choose your words” because you must pause to think what to say next.

      In part that’s why they help make you groggy and can promote sleep; but, from my perspective, working (or exercise) until you are physically tired and having a quiet comfortable place to relax always makes the most sense. Using drugs like Benadryl or Alcohol may make you drowsy; but, that’s generally IMHO a crutch that doesn’t promote overall sleep quality. I know people who take Ambien and while this may help, all too often we want to use crutches to avoid the lifestyle required to make lives better on their own.
      I see the same thing with all of the advertising for diet supplements and programs; but, a little less exercise can do wonders here, in this case less of the arm movement and elbow bending to shovel food into your face.
      We keep Benadryl and other medication on hand for such things as contact with allergens or in some cases to help swelling from an insect bite.

  2. JP in MT says:

    And don’t watch/listen to the news right before bed!

  3. Fred says:

    Good Suggestions. I have found logs as a useful tool to make some interesting discoveries about my sleep. For example, I sleep better if I eat the largest meal at night – this is not true for other people who I know. I also noticed that magnesium supplements work well at night as long as I do not take them two days in a row. So, if you test the excellent sleep suggestions listed in the article with a good log, you will find the best methods to maintain a good natural sleep. .

    • Tootie says:

      Iog or logs can help ! Only if they hit you in the head hard enough to knock you out. Then you go right into a deep sleep. Yea , logs can help.

      • Tootie,

        Iog or logs can help ! Only if they hit you in the head hard enough to knock you out. Then you go right into a deep sleep. Yea , logs can help.

        You could of course also use farm animals. You count sheep until you’re sawing logs, LOL.
        I can luckily sleep when I need it and being retired that can happen nearly any time.. My mission statement in retirement seems to be, “I eat when I’m hungry and sleep when I’m tired”, although I understand most don’t have that luxury.
        I’m doing cardiac rehab which is just exercise with a remote ECG attached for monitoring and the DW does pretty much the same without the ECG. On top of that we both do minor weight lifting @ home and then just general chores.
        My office is upstairs (14 steps) and I make that trip dozens of times per day, plus I’ll often get up from the chair to adjust the sound on the TV instead of using the remote.
        I find that all of these little things promote a real sense of being tired and allow me to sleep rather well.

  4. Prepared Grammy says:

    Acupuncture is, in my opinion, wonderful!

    • Anonamo Also says:

      There is not one i know of within 60 miles of us, and I am not searching for one… I am glad you have one and can recommend it to others..

  5. TL says:

    Sleep has always been very easy for me if I take an evening dose of soy lecithin powder or granules. The lecithin powder dissolves much faster and easier than the granules. I just put it in my mouth and swallow it down with water like many of my other supplement powders.

    For decades I have always taken 1/2 level flatware tablespoon or 1/2 level measuring tablespoon of soy lecithin powder before bed to get to sleep easily and to remain asleep or get back to sleep in the night.
    Lecithin is a nervous system relaxant containing phosphatidylcholine.
    I try not to eat much if any chocolate during the day and not much caffeine although for health reasons I do take a level 1/4 measuring teaspoon of green coffee bean powder mornings as well as a level iced teaspoon of green tea powder mornings.
    I actually take the lecithin powder at lunch now with a level 1/8 cup of Red Star nutritional yeast from BulkFoods.com.
    The lecithin powder and green tea powder (not an extract) I get at Nuts.com for reasonable prices. The green coffee bean powder (not an extract) I get at BulkSupplements.com.
    After a 27 year break, I recently restarted taking 200 mcg of SwansonVitamins chromium picolinate mornings with a resultinSleep has always been very easy for me if I take an evening dose of soy lecithin powder or granules. The lecithin powder dissolves much faster and easier than the granules. I just put it in my mouth and swallow it down with water like many of my other supplement powders.

    For decades I have always taken 1/2 level flatware tablespoon or 1/2 level measuring tablespoon of soy lecithin powder before bed to get to sleep easily and to remain asleep or get back to sleep in the night.
    Lecithin is a nervous system relaxant containing phosphatidylcholine.
    I try not to eat much if any chocolate during the day and not much caffeine although for health reasons I do take a level 1/4 measuring teaspoon of green coffee bean powder mornings as well as a level iced teaspoon of green tea powder mornings.
    I actually take the lecithin powder at lunch now with a level 1/8 cup of Red Star nutritional yeast from BulkFoods.com.
    The lecithin powder and green tea powder (not an extract) I get at Nuts.com for reasonable prices. The green coffee bean powder (not an extract) I get at BulkSupplements.com.
    I recently started taking 200 mcg of SwansonVitamins chromium picolinate mornings with resulting increased energy, breath and well-being.
    g increase in energy, breath and well-being. It is supposed to decrease any insulin resistance and make insulin more usable.
    I do also take a tablespoon of unrefined walnut oil before bed which is supposed to contain natural melatonin. I think the walnut oil does help with my sleep. I buy a gallon of it on eBay from “suluisbeauty,” the only unrefined walnut oil vendor I could find.

    • TL says:

      Sorry about the duplicate post or repeating the same words within the post. Thanks.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      TL, ( and others)
      I am so glad you have found things that work for your sleep issues. Thanks to each of you on the comments made, and the things that help each person.
      TL The soy product you mention are something off the table for me. No soy.tolerated.- legume issue… Soy ALSO can manipulate the male hormone to femenize men..by changing the hormone uptake/utilization. ….So Gentlemen who do not want increased progesterone, and it’s side effects of increased breast cancer risk(?)lack of libido etc…should abstain from soy..
      This is why I advocate those who are having issues with sleep do a sleep log in some manner. ..Each person is SO individual and a large number of factors influence our ability to sleep , the depth and types of sleep we experience.
      It has been several years since I wrote this article and there are times, I can not wind down- most of the time it is an exteral factor, but isolating the things that give each individual problems and individual response to it is crucial for each person.. If a “fix” does not work the first time, one has record of exactly what/how you did, tweaking that may work the next time… One should also consider moving and or cutting off all wi fi devices. and doing a containment cage for your smart meter, if it is mandated in your area.

      For those who wih to make fun of logs….. they are very important, hefting them to your shoulder will help with sleep patterns.. and the physical exertion can help with sleep patterns. as noted above…… Looking at every aspect of ones life , as it relates to sleep issues.can if the data collected is not thrown in the trash, but observed for ositive and negative impacts. Like one posted above noting the time of meals, lighting, and noise issues can all improve or interfere with sleep.

      I used Benadryl as an example..of..a single OTC, available, Knowing the benefits of any medicine commonly used for specific needs , can have a positive effect when properly applied.to an additional issue. This is why the FDA allows off label use of certain drugs.
      If someone is using magnesium for sleep, citrate form is easiest utilized…K2 helps us.

      Examples of variances in sleep are… I sleep well to the sound of someone talking, on low volume.. My DH responds well to .classical music. and music for healing-available on you tube…via ear peice.. The same music he uses, keeps me awake…go figure.!

    • TL (Tom) says:

      Walnut oil used to be used as a paint brush cleaner or paint thinner. Maybe it would clean the brain as well.
      The walnut looks like a brain so that agrees with the law of signatures or the law of similarities.
      I guess I am not surprised then that walnut oil contains natural melatonin.
      Dr. Frank Shallenberger of SecondOpinionNewsletter.com takes 120 mg of melatonin each evening. He says melatonin is an anti-inflammatory and not a hormone, so he says it’s basically impossible to overdose on melatonin. He writes a great, free Health Alert email each week.
      If I were to try melatonin other than unrefined walnut oil, BulkSupplements has melatonin in powder.

      I tried sunflower lecithin but at the time I got itching skin from nuts and seeds. That has resolved, but I still prefer soy lecthin for some reason.
      However, with lecithin before lunch, I think I like being relaxed after lunch and throughout the afternoon, too.

      I used to take a larger lecithin dose, a level measuring tablespoon or two of lecithin in the evening. The only side effect I can remember was some drowsiness the next day.
      It’s just that lecithin has always worked for me to relax my nervous system in the evening, although I take it at lunch now because I thought lecithin combined with RNA in nutritional yeast increased my breath and oxygen. RNA is known to increase lung volume, and lung volume correlates to lifespan, so that is a plus for nutritional yeast.
      Now I think it’s just the recently restarted 200 mcg of chromium picolinate mornings giving me increased breath, oxygen and energy.

    • TL (Tom) says:

      I was taking a level measuring teaspoon of cacao powder that Walmart has in a 1 lb bag in the flour aisle. I think cacao was too stimulating, so I stopped taking cacao.
      I take the 1/8 level cup of Red Star nutritional yeast before lunch because the yeast’s RNA creates extra oxygen which helps metabolize lunch without me falling asleep after lunch. That is why I decided to take nutritional yeast before lunch and I added the lecithin just on a whim. Taking lecithin any time during the day helps me sleep at night, although it might be better for sleep when taken in the evening.

  6. meager bumble says:

    None of this will help. You must get to the under lying problem of why you can’t sleep. Obviously, something is BOTHERING you.

    Until you conquer that bother, you’ll never get any sleep.

  7. Thor1 says:

    Zzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzz !!!!!! LOL

  8. Daddio7 says:

    My underlying medical condition can’t be treated so I sleep whenever I can. For three weeks out of the month that is 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. It is lonely being up all night by myself. One doctor told me the way to sleep only at night is to never sleep during the day, that didn’t work. If I miss my sleep window I have to wait until it comes around again, being awake for 36 hours at a time is not fun.

    I am writing this at 6:00 am after just three hours of sleep. My wife had to go to work early today so when she got up at 5 it woke me up so I got up to make her coffee and see her for a few minutes. She wont be back until 10:00 pm. As a nurse her odd schedule, a mix of over nights, late nights, and early mornings makes it even harder for me to keep a steady scheduled. I do believe with the Internet I could not go on, You can only watch a certain amount of television before you start wonder what 115 grains of 9mm tastes like.

    • Daddio7,

      My underlying medical condition can’t be treated so I sleep whenever I can.

      I have no medical condition; but, I have been a night owl all of my life, and actually enjoyed the few times I was working 3rd shift from 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM or something similar. After graduating college all of my employment was salaried, which normally meant somewhat flexible hours, so working from 10 or 11 AM to late evening was typical.

      For three weeks out of the month that is 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. It is lonely being up all night by myself. One doctor told me the way to sleep only at night is to never sleep during the day, that didn’t work.

      I’ve been told the “no sleeping during the day” myth also since many morning people simply don’t understand that it’s not that simple.

      If I miss my sleep window I have to wait until it comes around again, being awake for 36 hours at a time is not fun.

      When I get tired enough I can nap, which for me mostly means going comatose for a few hours, literally dead to the world; but, a few times sleep was illusive with wakefulness lasting more than 24 hours, so I sort of understand.

      I am writing this at 6:00 am after just three hours of sleep. My wife had to go to work early today so when she got up at 5 it woke me up so I got up to make her coffee and see her for a few minutes.

      I have many times penned comments here @ 5:00 AM after having been up all night, and sometime I’ll talk on the radio with local hams who ask me if “I’m up or still up” since many of them know my habits.

      I do believe with the Internet I could not go on, You can only watch a certain amount of television before you start wonder what 115 grains of 9mm tastes like.

      I’m assuming you meant:

      I do believe without the Internet I could not go on,

      That certainly helps me; however, I also watch television; but, almost exclusively from prerecorded shows with my DVR system. This allows me to catch shows or documentaries I enjoy or in which I have an interest; but, do it on my own time.
      Another thing you might consider that I have been doing for more than 60 years is radio. As a ham you can often work stations around the world at all hours of the night and day; but, even before I earned my license I was an avid SWL (Short Wave Listener) which only takes a decent radio receiver and a piece of wire strung up for an antenna.
      This is just one option to while away the wee hours of the night and leave that 9mm properly holstered where it belongs.
      There are other options to keep yourself rested and sane.

  9. Doug says:

    I have used a spray of water and epsom salts to induce sleep and to go back to sleep. I would think that effect
    is due to the magnesium in the epsom

  10. Zulu 3-6 says:

    For me, feeling tired is an almost constant condition. Between sleep apnea, PTSD, and arthritis, I do not get a full night’s sleep like I used to. When I was a kid, I could sleep through a machine gun fight in my room. Now, after the life I’ve led, fuggitaboubtit.

    No doubt, it started with Marine Corps boot camp, then Vietnam (thus partially the PTSD), being on shift work as a paramedic and police officer (thus adding to the PTSD), being on-call during certain police assignments and ranks, then my body getting old and worn out from all the physical stuff I had to do in the military and police work. During many of those life’s periods, I just didn’t know if I was going to be interrupted in my sleep by someone trying to kill me, or calling me in to work because somebody else got killed. Alcohol helped – for a little while until it became too controlling in my life. No more of that stuff now.

    I can’t fall asleep easily. As I doze off, I have these half-dreams of sudden explosions that startle me awake and I end up staying awake. Prescribed medication helps me through that initial sleep period, but it is short acting and isn’t really a lot better, long term, than alcohol, except it isn’t nearly as controlling. Later in the night, the arthritis in my hips and back acts up and the pain wakes me. Not much to do about that but get up and walk around a little and then try to sleep again. Taking copious amounts of Motrin and Tylenol is not good for you either.

    Having a CPAP machine for the sleep apnea helps, but it isn’t a complete panacea.

    Since I had to get rid of my dog, I realized how much of a sleep disturber she was to me. She was a bed hog, wanted to snuggle close, and refused to move (and it amazed me how hard it is to get a 9-lb dog to move when she doesn’t want to). Getting a 120lb wife to move over was a lot easier. I guess I sleep a little better now because she’s gone (the dog, that is).

    I always have to take a nap. When granddaughter is here, I nap when she does, but she insists on sleeping with me. Most of the time, she corks off quickly and sleeps on her side of the bed OK. Oddly, I usually fall asleep for a nap without dream issues. Sometimes she rolls over and slams into me (right in the nads too) and startles the crap out of me. My startle reaction often wakes her up and we’re both screwed out of a nap. Cranky baby and grandpa by the end of the day. During naps with baby, I keep my pistol well out of reach of both of us.

    I’ve discussed my sleep issues with a couple of doctors and the sleep clinic at the VA. Other than the CPAP machine there isn’t really much they can do other than medicate me into oblivion and I don’t want that. I reluctantly take the bed time meds only because they are short acting and get me through a tough part of my night (getting to sleep while avoiding explosive dreams).

    I’ve tried melatonin and some other herbals, but they have no effect on me. Melatonin you have to take several hours prior to going to bed and, for me, nothing happens.

    I’ve reconciled myself to always feeling tired. Some rare nights, I sleep decently for unknown reasons, and I feel OK during the day. Usually, after my nap, I feel halfway decent. I just muddle through the other days.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      Zulu and others ,
      ( who are using magnesium/epsom salts..)
      Proper Magnesium utilization in the body can make a difference.. Mag citrate comes in a capsule and is available in 200 mg and 300 mg should you require it..It is the most easily abosorbed form of Magnesium…it stops muscle cramps and K2 assists in the proper use of it.
      . Try adding a single pill of K2 daily. This is a form of Vitain K …IT is Not a potassium which is often written as the chemical symbol K+
      … New research is coming out,/been done on forms of Vitamin K.. last article I read mentioned 7 forms of it. labeled K1-7
      ….. K1 is the one that thickens blood, can cause clotting and interacts with warfarin.
      …..K2 is another form,, does not afffect blood clotting for those concerned with it.. Indicators are that it moves the magnesium, and calcium to proper places in the body..
      This can have multiple benefits- moving calcium and magnesium from arteries to bones and all minerals being utilized properly…..- effect would be expected,… to reduce plaque buildup and strengthen bones…..

      And for the gentlemen, consider adding zinc, selenium, sea kelp, and or pumpkin seed oil for your best hormonal health… Our commercially grown food no longer has the mineral richness of 40 years ago.. Commercial fertlizers often block uptake of these basic minerals by plants.. One imbalance of a mineral like magnesuim or Iodine can have multiplied effects, as they cascade.

  11. Bill says:

    One thing that helps me is to keep a pad and pen next to the bed so if I’m worried about something, especially worried I’ll forget something, I write it down. Then I can put it in the back of my mind and relax, knowing I’ll read my notes in the morning. : – )

  12. mom of three says:

    Its hard to get a good night sleep, I hit the sack at 10PM, up by 6:45 -7:00, hubby is up earlier due to pain sitting in the Hot Tub. I do drink one glass of water before bed, but that does not bother me and it’s usually my time to get up anyway. I’ve heard catnip tea, helps with calming down may have to try it since I’m growing it again.

  13. Red C says:

    For those of us who depend on a CPAP to sleep, buy or build a power system using solar, wind, or water. I tend to get little deep, restorative sleep without my CPAP. View it as the medical device it is.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      DH had sleep apnea pretty severe… was unablee to tolerate the c pap in any form…He had a surgical procedure to correct atrial fibrillation and his sleep apnea has “gone away”.. checking heart rhythm may be in order. …

  14. Grammyprepper says:

    Benadryl leaves me feeling ‘hung over’ the next day. My biggest issue if falling asleep. Once I am asleep, I am fine. I know part of my issue is that I am using the computer/phone almost up until bed time. That, and having been a night shifter most of my life. Much like Daddio mentioned his ‘sleep time’, I find my own sleep time to be between 3 am and 10 am or so.. As long as I get at least 7 hrs, I am good. 8-9 is better. Less than 7, nope…I am not a pleasant person to be around, no matter how much caffiene…Once in a very rare while, I will use a half of an rx to help me sleep, and boy do I sleep good then. But that is very rare, and only when good old Arthur gives me fits. Nice article with some great reminders of other methods to use.

  15. AXELSTEVE says:

    I have been working in hard work and that helps. I have been listening to classical music and that has been good to me. I need a small drink before bed cause my rx keeps me dry. I like the post JP said about not watching the news before bed.

    • AXELSTEVE ,

      I need a small drink before bed cause my rx keeps me dry.

      I’m assuming you mean hydration and not spirits, LOL
      I keep a Yeti cup full of ice water handy when I’m asleep, and just sip it as needed.

      like the post JP said about not watching the news before bed.

      I generally watch the news, primarily to plan for the next day’s weather. The key is to not really care what’s going on in the world that doesn’t have an immediate effect on you, and that is most of it. To be honest, a nuke dropped on my head in the middle of the night is nothing to worry about, since I can do nothing about it, so worrying only interrupts my sleep, plus the lifestyle I lead, that I think applies to most on this forum, insulates us from most aspects of life that worry people, like starving while you’re freezing in the dark.
      Prepping doesn’t solve all of life’s problems; but, it should give us each a sense of well being that many do not have. Look at your preps and how they can support you, and don’t worry about what you haven’t yet accomplished. In more than 40 years of prepping, we still have things we want to accomplish as we gain knowledge, skills, and resources; but, in a pinch, we could do quite well on what we already have and know.