View Full Version : Falling BACK to Sleep Tips ~ For Merrilee and Anyone Else Who May be Interested

01-08-2011, 04:17 AM
including yours truly :eek: ;). Like Merrilee, I have absolutely no trouble falling asleep. It's waking up in the middle of the night or wee hours of the morning, usually going to the bathroom (in my case), and not being able to fall asleep again ...

In this thread, I'm obviously not going to list tips on how to fall asleep, since that's not what you have. I'll try to focus on falling asleep again after you've woken up.

So here are some tips that may help.
Merrilee, you're right to not want to take sleeping pills all the time. They're really not good for you :no:.

I always believe in diet first, followed by supplements.

Walnuts contain melatonin which promotes restful sleep.

When I'm really good and want to sleep well, I try to stop drinking water by 6 or even 5 PM.

It’s best to not be overly dependent on any on supplement, that is, to try to avoid taking any supplement every single day, to rotate them; or, to rotate them on a monthly basis, taking a break every month from each particular supplement. Otherwise, your body will become desensitized and the supplement will be less effective. Trust me on this. I have a list and I try to take a different supplement each night, take a break from one of them each month, AND try to NOT take anything 1 or 2 nights a week, particularly if the following day is not a very important day.

For supplements - I love vitacost.com and amazon - both have very good prices and helpful reviews.

Magnesium – Think of magnesium as the relaxation mineral.
Helps maintain healthy melatonin levels
Marvelous for just about everything including periodic nocturnal awakenings when it can coax you gently back to sleep
Take equal amounts of calcium and magnesium. For most people on a healthy diet, 500 mg of each supplement should be enough.
If you have symptoms of magnesium deficiency – if you’re feeling edgy, have muscle cramps, suffer insomnia, crave chocolate, or notice increased urination, adjust your calcium-magnesium ratio, so that you’re taking at least as much magnesium or—ideally—twice as much magnesium as calcium.
400-1200 mg daily of Magnesium is helpful but use according to bowel tolerance. Your body knows how much magnesium you can tolerate from bowel tolerance – take as much magnesium as your bowels can tolerate
If you can, add 100 mg of magnesium to your nutritional supplements, and increase it by 100 mg every few days until your stools are soft, but not uncomfortably loose.
Take in divided doses and with meals to ensure optimal absorption – preferably more at night
Calcium, magnesium, and many other minerals are best absorbed when they are bound to an acidic carrier such as citrate, aspartate, picolinate, or amino acid chelate. Minerals need an acidic base to break down and get used.
The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate, or aspartate, although magnesium bound to Kreb cycle chelates (malate, succinate, fumarate) are also good.
Avoid magnesium carbonate, oxide, sulfate, and gluconate. They are poorly absorbed (and the cheapest and most common forms found in supplements).
Side effects from too much magnesium include diarrhea, which can be avoided if you switch to magnesium glycinate.
People with kidney disease or severe heart disease should take magnesium only under a doctor's supervision.

Hops reduces hot flashes, anxiety, and helps muscles relax
30-120 mg at bedtime
Has to be dried to have any medicinal effect
Often used in combination w/valerian and lemon balm.
Passionflower – calming agent
90-360 mg at bedtime
Hyland's Calms Forte, that CJ recommended has Passionflower in it.
Passionflower tea (two to three cups) or Passionflower powder in capsules (2,000-5,000 mg): Passionflower is usually used for calming an excited nervous system.
Valerian – reduces time it takes you to fall asleep and improves the quality of sleep you get, without next-day sedation
Take 400 to 800 mg in divided doses throughout the day, or try a time-release version, because if you wake up in the middle of the night, you can fall back to sleep easily and you don’t feel groggy in the morning
In some people, valerian causes wakefulness. If that’s the case, take it during the day to reduce overall anxiety.
Valerian really stinks, but boy, is it effective, at least for me, anyway.
Better yet, try a combination of Hops, Passionflower, and Valerian

Melatonin is a natural hormone that promotes sound sleep.
Acts as an antioxidant - early in life, the body produces an abundant supply, but as we age, production steadily declines
Helpful for more difficult insomnia
Decreases anxiety by stimulating GABA (a brain chemical that calms you down)
When we stay up late at night or work night shifts, we keep our body from producing melatonin. This increases the risk of hypertension, heart disease, migraines, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. Studies show women night-shift workers have a 500% higher risk of breast cancer and male night shift workers have a 50% increased risk of colorectal and bone cancer. While not realizing it, many people increase this risk with inconsistent sleep/wake schedules - late night studying or partying or shift work schedules.
After the age of 45, melatonin levels decrease.
Melatonin is the only hormone supplement that’s safe to self-medicate.
• Start with 1 mg just before bedtime. Take 2 hours or less before bedtime. If this is not effective, gradually increase dosage. Melatonin dosages vary from individual to individual ~ and most do not need the highest dose. Ease into melatonin in increments. Some take up to 20 and even 40 mg :eek:. I've never taken more than 12 mg.
• Do not take melatonin every single night – a few nights a week
• Do not take melatonin during the day.
• When you awaken after melatonin-assisted sleep, you should feel refreshed – not tired or groggy. If you do experience grogginess, reduce the dosage.
• Do not give to children
• If you wake up in the middle of the night, you can take another 1-5 mg. Many do that with great success. Again, if doing this, start with the smallest dose. It has worked for me. :thumb: :thumb:

L-Tryptophan helps mitigate insomnia and depression by boosting serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain.
May help cure night-time waking
500-1000 mg before bed

GABA CALM – take sublingually before bedtime
Try to avoid eating or drinking anything for 20 minutes before and after taking this
For me, this works at times, and doesn't work at other times. Maybe I need to rotate it more often.

5-HTP – can take up to 6 weeks for it to start working
200-400 mg at bedtime – take sublingually
Be cautious about taking this if you’re on anti-depressants
Very helpful for insomnia and depression
This amino acid is used by the body to produce melatonin.
5-HTP is a great supplement that works really well for many people. But like most supplements, nothing works for everyone all the time because our bodies are all different. But I would definitely say that 5-HTP is a great supplement to look into. When taken in the evening before bed on an empty stomach, it can really help with the quality and duration of sleep. It works to increase the duration of REM sleep, which increases the overall quality of sleep. It also works really well to help relieve anxiety and depression, as it increases serotonin levels.
Again, for me, this works at times, and doesn't work at other times.

B Complex – 25-50 mg daily – helps to promote a restful state. Good for relieving stress.
This doesn't really help me when it comes to sleep. At least I don't think it does.

L-theanine improves deep sleep and helps maintain a calm alertness during the day. Take 50-200 mg at bedtime.
Can also be used for daytime anxiety
Never tried this one.

Chamomile tea (two to three cups): Chamomile is a time-proven, effective, calming herb that can be safely used by children and adults alike. Chamomile tea is used regularly worldwide for insomnia, irritability, and restlessness.
Doesn't do much for me at all.

St. John's Wort tea (two to three cups) or St. John's Wort extract powder in capsules (300-1000 mg): This common, yellow-flowered herb has become an important part of the new surge of interest in natural medicine. It has a long history of use dating back to the ancient Greeks. Scientific research has demonstrated that it can help relieve chronic insomnia and mild depression. Because this herb can sensitize the skin to sunlight, take it in the evening after the Sun has set.
I've never tried it for sleep problems, but it may well work.

Taking a hot bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is a good way to absorb and get much needed magnesium. Insomnia and sleep problems are one of the many symptoms of a magnesium deficiency.

Do not exercise within 2 hours before bedtime. Exercising 5-6 hours before bedtime may help you sleep more soundly. The only exception is gentle swimming. Swimming, like a hot bath, helps with sleep. You walk and you swim frequently, you should be fine with doing both before sleeping. :clap:

Falling asleep and staying asleep are two different aspects of sleep.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (which I love and wish I knew more about) has this to say about the nocturnal awakenings:
Wake up between:
• 1 - 3, look to the liver
• 3-5, the lungs need some attention
• 5-7, consider supporting the large intestines. You KNOW when you have too much of a good thing when your elimination is too "loose."
Personally, I find that very interesting.

HTH. If anyone else has additional tips, please do share. Merrilee, hope these tips bring some relief.

01-08-2011, 06:15 AM
Merrilee, one more thing I forgot to add - when choosing melatonin, they say that the time release (TR) version is best for people who don't just have trouble falling asleep but have trouble with waking up in the middle of the night, although if I still need to re-take melatonin in the middle of the night or early morning hours, as noted above, I would not take the TR version that time around, just a regular version probably for that time, anyway.