Sleep Starved: A site by insomniacs and for insomniacs who are looking for something new…

Things to help you sleep, II


Here are some things readers have written me about or that I’ve heard about:

 A megadose dose of Vitamin D – a couple thousand mgs. 

 CRANKY BABY:  an aromatherapy spritzer that promises to transform babies from cranky to sweet-tempered. It combines chamomile, tangerine, and sweet orange. This woman swore it did wonders for her.

A few teaspoons of lemon juice in warm water.  This reader added that even if it doesn’t help your sleep, it’s good for digestion. 

 Cherry juice, tart, concentrated. I came across this at an exhibit at a sleep conference.   It’s a natural source of melatonin, which makes some people sleep.  I did seem to sleep better for a few nights,but then, I bounced back to my usual 2-3-4 hours.  But I love the taste, and it’s helped my arthritis, so I’m a convert.   It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory— if you’ve got joint pain, it’s definitely worth a try. And since we lose melatonin as we age, and melatonin supplements can be a bit tricky, I like having a natural source, even though it doesn’t do a thing for my sleep.   The form I drink is CHERRYPHARM, but there are lots of sources on the web.   And no, I’m not on the take.

 Nor am I on the take from BIOZZZ.    This is something else I came across at a sleep conference exhibit, picked up some samples and took them home and tried them.  It gave me an unusually good night’s sleep.  It delivers hefty dose of tryptophan.   I can’t say it worked the next night, but I haven’t ruled it out.

 Homeopathy, for which there seems to be no scientific evidence, still seems to coming up as helpful. In Europe, it’s taken more seriously than it is here.  A physician wrote me from Paris that he’d been looking into  “gemmotherapy remedies.”   (This sounds more like herbal medicine than homeopathy:  it uses remedies made from the buds and shoots   of trees and shrubs.)      His mother and daughter were both having sleep problems, and with a remedy called NOCTIGEM, they’re now sleeping much better.

 He referred me to an online shop in Belgium:

I tried it, and it did help me get to sleep, but it didn’t  help me stay asleep, which is my main problem.

The active ingredients are listed as fig and linden tree:  “Linden tree, which possesses the calming properties of the flower, as well as the cleansing function of the underside of the bark (sapwood); together with that of the fig which has profound effect on the nervous system as a whole.” 

Might be worth a try, though it’s pricey.  

A friend who’s had longtime issues with insomnia told me he’s discovered the magic pill for him, Safeway brand over the counter, a blue pill.  I looked at the label and it’s a simple antihistamine, same stuff that’s in Benedryl.   I take Benedryl every time I get a cold.  I do love the sleep I get for  2-3 nights (though I don’t like the morning grogginess), but then I bounce back to my same old broken sleep.  But my friend  doesn’t seem to be getting used to it.   Since we’re all so different in the way we respond to drugs, this might be a simple, inexpensive and fairly harmless thing to try. (I think it’s probably the same as the Costco brand, and probably a dozen other brands…) 

 More  next week….


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One Response to “Things to help you sleep, II”

  1. Jane

    I just finished the first week of “boot camp for insomnia”, and let me explain, this is after trying everything herbal for about 5 years and then being a patient for about 15 years at a Sleep Disorders Clinic. Don’t go there unless you have sleep apnea. They told me I had restless legs and I have been on most every sleep medication with allergies and reactions, drove with Ambien, and hit a car. Then one day the doctor said you need to do CBT-I, we can’t help you anymore. They never did, except when I was on a medication for the first little bit, it was heaven, then I started needing more and more to get the same effect. I have a bad schedule-have to drive some days 1-2 hours to and from clinics, every day a different time to leave, to come home. So, I was waking 2-3 times a night and taking medication again and the doctor said I’m worried you will quit breathing.

    so, first week was great, very restricted sleep, and I started right away having symptoms of withdrawal from clonipin-my only option after Ambien accident driving (never found out where I went that day-it was dark and I said “I will just go to work and do some paper work-it was 3or 4 oclock, and I knew if I took one, I would not wake for work. Did I go in and do paperwork and don’t remember what I did? Who knows?

    So, clonipin dose gets cut 1/2 every 3 days, and can’t go to sleep till 1-up at 630. and by Jove, I did sleep for 7 nights, so wiped, because usually the more tired I get, the sooner I go to bed, and I was very tired when I went to bed, didn’t wake up till alarm went off. Started noticing dreams, and I was sure I would be the 80%. The doctor said on the week two appointment, this success was a great sign that I could do this! I went home that night and woke at 3 with a migraine, could not get back to sleep till the alarm went off so, 2 hours. Next night no sleep at all-after having migraines all day (weather changes AND no sleep cause migraines in me and it is raining on and off, temp changes…) And then last night I must have slept, though I only remember having what seems like over 20 dreams-jurking awake and then trying to focus on my breath (so I did not focus on ” this isn’t working! ) So, symptoms are crazy all day and I thought-I will write a book (I write, and would do it all the time but growing up poor, I am too afraid to do it for income). Please don’t judge me for that, you are a writer, several writers you mentioned, I know grew up poor and still were brave enough to write for a living. I have even thought that curbing what I really wanted to do gave this problem to me, and that when I can retire, I will write and sleep when I want, yea, yea, yea.

    Are you laughing yet? I am 2 years from early retirement and before this program, I did not think I could make it (to get social security). Oh yea, I quit a very stressful job after 14 years because I had to be there and working on the dot at 7 am, and work pressures in other ways were horrible. It is almost as bad now, but I am making less money, haven’t been there long enough to get some retirement, and they think I have invented this problem to be off for a while.

    The CBT -I doc said go to work, but I don’t think he would do any job requiring thinking, judgement and not breaking into crying, stomach pain and chest pain, from withdrawing medication and/or no sleep. But, I’m a soldier, right? I am going to get it to work, be a poster child for CBT-I. Till now. Oh, yes, this morning I am thinking that I will write a book and name it WHAT? The name of your book, so I thought I would google that name and see if it was already written, read a page of your book, went to the blog, and I am really worried. You sound just as smart as I feel like I am-then why are you not completely healed? You know how to investigate options and clearly tried them, but then haven’t we all? No, there is no sleep goddess who decided she loved me and was going to make this work out. I am in continual hell mode this week, and not so cocky. I still am going to try to write, but I might just write here on this blog; since you got the best title. It says it all, except what you have to read the book to hear (I imagine, I haven’t read it yet-BUT I WILL-the ugly truth is that some people do this wonder treatment and it does not work, some people, like me tried all the herbal, teas, homiopathy, accupunture, chripropractor, vitamins and supplements and the sleep hygiene-that term pisses me off, to be almost old enough to retire and still have people tell me that I should stop the 1 cup of coffee I have shaved down to-and question me, like I am dirty-need hygiene lessons. Like I haven’t read books, tried everything and done anything, and still-the #1 factor in my life is sleep problems-insomnia. I finally gave up on ever living with someone, can’t sleep with them, can’t get up and turn the lights on and know they are sleeping like a child. I have given up social life, coming home exausted and get ready for work, eat and bath (hygiene), brush my teeth and then do calm and wonderful, but not too exciting things till I go to bed, take my pill(s), then in 30 minutes, after reading a nice calming book-not a “page turner”, I go to sleep-if I stay that way 2 hours, I have a good night and then I take 1 more pill…

    CBT-I was my knight in shining armor-but not bright shining armor-because that would keep me awake…………..the beat goes on. Thanks for your book, that I will order and read, thanks for this blog, I will go back and forth and consume it. Oh, yes, I’m not a movie star, but when the sleep disorders doctor said I’m afraid you will stop breathing-I thought of the stars who have stopped breathing-and thought of my son looking for a suicide note-when he got the toxiocology report and found out I killed myself. Even though it is the biggest part of my life, you can’t share this secret very much. If you do, most people will tell you to drink warm milk, eat turkey, or if they know some herbs, will tell you the one to take. None of them will like hearing you are taking a benzo-and that you are afraid of trying to stop because you have googled that too, and know what happens to some people, and some people can’t quit. I don’t know if I can do this much longer, everything that was bad before is worse.
    Soldier Boy, oh, my little soldier boy…
    I’m in love with you.

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