Beat Insomnia Naturally and Effectively

June 18th, 2021 by Loretta Lanphier, NP, BCTN, CN, CH, HHP

Beat Insomnia Naturally and Effectively

For various reasons, some people are consistently unable to get enough quality sleep to meet their body’s needs. More than just an annoying nuisance, the health consequences of sleep deprivation can be much more serious than many people suspect. Even aside from that, insomniacs can suffer from a drastically reduced quality of life. A friend who has had a lifelong concern with sleep issues once told me he couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to sleep a whole night through without waking up at least a half-dozen times. Sleeping restfully through the night is totally foreign to his experience. Unfortunately, he has a lot of company in that regard. Is there hope for these denizens of the night? Yes, indeed there is. The good news is that most people can beat insomnia naturally without relying on dangerous medications.

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that causes the inability to either get enough sleep, or enough of the right kind of sleep, or both. Insomnia is a recurring sleep concern that can be very frustrating for many people because they often have no idea what is causing it. Some insomniacs have trouble falling asleep, some may find it difficult to stay asleep, and many report they never feel rested upon awakening no matter how many hours of sleep they have had. The interesting thing about insomnia is that fretting about it can actually bring it on, making the concern worse. Come to think of it; this is likely true with most illnesses.

organic hemp extract

How Much Sleep Do People Need?

That is not an easy question to answer, as it varies for each individual, and factors such as age and lifestyles play a part. In general, the average adult statistically needs about 7 ½ hours of sleep per night, but that is only an average. Some people find they require up to ten hours nightly to feel refreshed. Then there are those fortunate individuals who can function well on 4 or 5 hours. It’s also proven that most people need less sleep as they age. The important thing is to know your personal target for the optimum amount of sleep and try to hit it consistently. As we will see, enough quality sleep is a critical factor in our overall health and the ability to beat insomnia naturally.

Millions of people suffer from insomnia to one degree or another. It is more common in certain segments of the population, such as women and older adults. Some interesting studies have shown that people with lower socioeconomic status have a higher incidence of insomnia, which also applies to divorced, separated, or widowed individuals. The reasons for these patterns are not well understood.

Much has been learned in recent decades about the mechanics of how and why we sleep. The basic breakdown goes like this: two major types of sleep (REM and non-REM) that repeat themselves in cycles throughout the night.

REM stands for “rapid eye movement,” which is the sleep stage where most dreaming occurs.

NREM is an acronym for “non-rapid eye movement.” Four distinct stages occur during NREM:

  • Stage 1: This is the earliest stage of sleep, often described as “relaxed wakefulness.”
  • Stage 2:  Considered “light sleep.”
  • Stage 3:  The first stage of “deep sleep.”
  • Stage 4:  The deepest level of sleep, also called “delta sleep.” Most stage 4 sleep is normally found in the first few hours of sleep.

The cycles typically consist of a period of NREM sleep followed by a period of REM sleep, repeating with certain variations.

What Are the Causes of Insomnia?

Insomnia is generally found in two forms.

Transient or temporary insomnia

This is usually caused by a stressful or emotionally challenging event in your life that is not a permanent situation. Examples might include a fight with your spouse, a disturbing phone call or letter, jet lag, a brief minor illness, or anxiety about an important event the next day, such as a job interview. Almost all cases of transient insomnia will dissipate naturally and are normal for everyone to experience from time to time.

Chronic insomnia

Chronic insomnia is a much more serious condition that can lead to cumulative health problems and complications if it is not dealt with. There are many possible causes for chronic insomnia:

Stress is probably the number one cause of insomnia. Worries about finances, relationships, jobs, your health—you fill in the blank. Just about any stressor can trigger insomnia.

Stimulants are found in many foods and medicines that we may consume every day. People who struggle with insomnia must be cautious about managing their exposure to stimulants, especially closer to bedtime. Watch out for prescription drugs (corticosteroids, hypertension medications, and some antidepressants), over-the-counter drugs such as pain or cold medicines, and weight-loss products. Also, watch your intake of caffeinated soft drinks, coffee, tea, and chocolate.

Changes in schedules can also throw our sleep patterns off. This is especially true for many people who work changing shifts. Our internal biological clock, or “circadian rhythm, “ is normally regulated by the cycles of daylight and darkness in nature. So if we are “swimming upstream,” so to speak, by trying to sleep during the day and work at night, it can create real problems, especially for someone who already has bouts of insomnia.

Genetic tendencies for sleep disorders exist, but more research needs to be done in this area. Suffice it to say that if you have a family history of insomnia, be on the lookout for its effects in your own life.

Behavioral insomnia:  Remember a few paragraphs back when I said worrying about insomnia can lead to insomnia?  Well, it’s true, and it even has a name. That’s what behavioral insomnia is. There is such a thing as trying too hard to fall asleep.

Depression can cause disruptions in our natural sleep patterns. If you are troubled emotionally, it can make it hard to get to sleep or stay asleep. Depression also causes individuals to sleep too much, often at the wrong times, so that when it is time to go to bed at night, sleep eludes them.

Chronic pain from another medical condition can keep many people from experiencing enough quality sleep. Managing your pain is important, so find a way (preferably drug-free) to deal with the pain so that it won’t disturb your sleep.

Sleep medications. As unlikely as that sounds, sleep medications can cause insomnia, especially when taken over long periods of time. In addition, you can become both physically and psychologically dependent on them, and they begin to lose their effectiveness over time. So stay away from sleeping pills if at all possible. The goal is to teach our bodies how to get good sleep naturally, not to medicate. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.

Children and teens may suffer from insomnia as well as adults. Studies have shown that most kids do not get enough sleep. Some school buses pick up their first students shortly after 6 AM! That would be OK if they went to bed at 8 PM or so, but how realistic is that? Our children are learning to “survive” on less and less sleep these days, a habit that is often carried into adulthood. I think we have lost the vital importance of sleep in our 24-hour hustle-bustle society.

What Complications Can Arise from Insomnia?

So, what’s the big deal? Is a lack of sleep really all that important? On the contrary, the more we learn, the more evident it becomes that sleep is essential for our bodies to function in a healthful state.

A consistent lack of sleep puts our immune systems in a very compromised condition. This has been linked to concerns about many diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart conditions, and high blood pressure, to name a few. In addition, many psychiatric illnesses can be caused or aggravated by sleep deprivation, such as depression and anxiety disorders.

The risk of accidents alone due to insomnia and other sleep disorders is a major health concern. More than 100,000 automobile accidents per year are estimated to be attributable to drivers falling asleep behind the wheel. One study cited sleep deprivation for as many as 60% of all traffic accidents. Some states are even passing laws that can charge drivers with driving unsafely due to lack of sleep, similar to existing drunk driving statutes.

Organic Tulsi/Holy Basil

How Can I Beat Insomnia Naturally and Effectively?

This is the best news of all. You don’t need drugs to beat insomnia naturally. So read that last sentence again. Below is my personal favorite, “Top 6 Practical and Safe Suggestions to Beat Insomnia Naturally”.

#1: Get rid of your loud, obnoxious alarm clock.

Waking up to the dissonance of a screaming machine is a shock to your system and only harms your body’s ability to get its sleep cycles in order naturally. Unfortunately, it also causes most people to begin their day in a bad mood. There are many more gentle options, such as peaceful music or recordings of natural sounds like birds singing or flowing water. There is even an alarm that simulates the sunrise by using progressively brighter light to awaken you naturally. Think about putting one of these on your Christmas or birthday list this year.

#2: Keep the temperature in your bedroom as cool as you can comfortably stand it.

It has been shown that people generally sleep better in a cooler atmosphere. Use an extra blanket and a pair of warm socks if needed. Your heating bills will be pleasantly lower too, which will reduce stress and help you sleep even better! Add a loud fan for cooler temps and to drown out any noise.

#3: Try eating a high-protein snack a few hours before bedtime.

This can bolster your levels of L-tryptophan necessary for the production of melatonin and serotonin, which are both released by the body to aid sleep. Combine this with a small piece of fruit, which can help the tryptophan pass through the blood-brain barrier.

#4: Be faithful with a regular and consistent exercise routine.

This is probably one of the best long-term habits for battling insomnia and boosting your overall health. Studies indicate that it is best to do exercise first thing in the morning if possible.

#5: Use your bedroom exclusively for sleeping and sex.

The darker and quieter, the better. No TV blaring, no radio, no computers, no digital devices, no cell phones, no night lights, etc. This will help you to fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper, more refreshing sleep.

#6: Herbal remedies that help with insomnia.

The following herbs are what I use personally and recommend to clients who experience insomnia: Valerian, Organic Tulsi, Ashwagandha, Magnolia Extract, and Organic Hemp Extract. If pain is involved, I recommend Boswelia, Organic Hemp Extract, and Organic Turmeric.

In Conclusion

Your body does the most healing and repair work during sleep, making it imperative to address and correct insomnia issues to feel better and head off future disease and health concerns. Successfully addressing insomnia is necessary for good health–mentally and physically. And incorporating more good health habits into your life, such as a healthy plant-based diet, exercise, adequate sunshine, stress relief techniques, and quality supplements, will help repair your circadian rhythm to get your body on track to get the sleep it needs. Yes, you can beat insomnia naturally by using my insomnia tips along with a good dose of consistency and discipline.

Resources and Research

Buxton OM, Pavlova M, Reid EW, Wang W, Simonson DC, Adler GK. Sleep restriction for 1 week reduces insulin sensitivity in healthy men. Diabetes. 2010 Sep;59(9):2126-33. DOI: 10.2337/db09-0699. Epub 2010 Jun 28.

2015 Sleep In America™ Poll Finds Pain A Significant Challenge When It Comes To Americans’ Sleep [news release].” National Sleep Foundation. 2 Mar. 2015. Accessed 06 June 2021.

Girardeau, G. Nature Neuroscience, October 2009.

Ferrie, J. Sleep, December 2007.

Van Dongen, H. Sleep, 2003.

Buscemi D, et al. “Short Sleep Times Predict Obesity in Internal Medicine Clinic Patients.” J Clin Sleep Med. 2007;3(7),681–688.

PLOS One July 27, 2017.

Harvard Medical School: “Sleep, Performance, and Public Safety,” “Sleep, Learning, and Memory,” “Sleep and Mood.”
Leproult R, Copinschi G, Buxton O, Van Cauter E. Sleep loss results in an elevation of cortisol levels the next evening. Sleep. 1997 Oct;20(10):865-70.

National Sleep Foundation: “Teens and Sleep,” “ABCs of ZZZZs — When you Can’t Sleep,” “2005 Adult Sleep Habits and Styles.”

BBC News. How much can an extra hour’s sleep change you? October 9, 2013.

Lanphier, NP, BCTN, Loretta. Natural Health Blog. 12 Effective Tips for a Healthy Bedroom.

Loretta Lanphier is a Naturopathic Practitioner, Board Certified Traditional Naturopath, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Holistic Health Practitioner, and Certified Clinical Herbalist as well as the CEO / Founder of Oasis Advanced Wellness in The Woodlands TX. She keeps up with studies and performs extensive research in health science, natural hormone balancing, anti-aging techniques, nutrition, natural medicine, weight loss, herbal remedies, non-toxic cancer support, and actively researches new natural health protocols and products. A 20-year stage 3 colon cancer survivor, Loretta can relate to both sides-of-the-health-coin as patient and practitioner regarding health and wellness. “My passion is counseling others about what it takes to keep the whole body healthy using natural and non-toxic methods.” Read Loretta’s health testimony Cancer: The Path to Healing. Loretta is a Contributor and Editor of the worldwide E-newsletter Advanced Health & Wellness. Check out Oasis Advanced Wellness and our natural skincare products, Oasis Serene Botanicals.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and do not replace your doctor’s advice. Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice from Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth are not a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician of choice.

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