Sunday, April 28, 2013

Natural Remedies for Sweet Dreams: Vitamins, Flower Essences, Aromatherapy and more

Still can't sleep? Last week my focus was on herbs that can help you stop counting sheep. This week I'll be focusing on supplements, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, homepathic cures, flower essences and aromatherapy to ease insomnia. More than 1.6 million U.S. adults are estimated to use complementary and alternative therapies to treat insomnia or troubled sleeping, according to a national survey published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Why not join them? You'll have sweet dreams!  

Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathic remedies are gentle so they are a good place to start when you are trying to improve sleep patterns. One of my favorites is Hylands Calms Forte. You can also try these other remedies as needed and indicated:

Arsenicum  album :  For insomnia caused by fears, worry and anxiety. 

Chamomilla :  For young and old, especially when cause  of insomnia is physical,  such as pain.

Coffea cruda :  For sleeplessness due to excited mental energy and dreams. 

Nux vomica :  When you can't sleep due to overindulgence  in mental stain, work worries, food, coffee.  alcohol,  or drugs. Dreams are frantic and associated with hurry. After 3 a.m., get little sleep. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Both vitamins B3 (niacin) and B6 (pyridoxine) help induce the body's natural sleep chemicals, tryptophan and serotonin and helps support the central nervous system. Taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement that includes all the B vitamins can help. Don't take your B vitamins too close to bedtime, though, because they can overstimulate the body's deep sleep cycle (REM) and disrupt sleep. 

Calcium and magnesium have muscle-relaxing and nerve-calming effects that can help you sleep better. Both supplements affect the same part of the brain that sleeping pills do. Calcium has a slightly sedative effect, and magnesium helps leg cramps and insomnia. To reap the benefits of these sleep savers, take 500 mg of calcium and 400 mg of magnesium right before you go to bed. With calcium chews like Viactiv, you get the benefit of 500 mg of calcium carbonate and 100 IU of vitamin D. 


Melotonin naturally occurs in the body as a secretion produced by the pineal gland made from the neurotransmitter serotonin to help regulate circadian rhythms. It has  been studied since 1956 and seems to have many benefits, including slowing down the aging process. Take: Melatonin (0.03- 3 mg in the evening) Melatonin should not be used by children, pregnant or nursing moms as well as people with hormonal imbalances, depression, those on steroids or auto immune disorders. Use this for occasional insomnia under a health practitioner's care.

Try These Melatonin Stimulating Foods  

Eating foods that help stimulate natural melatonin  production such as  bananas,  barley, and rice can ease insomnia naturally.  Eating foods that contain tryptophan can also boost melatonin levels. This is because the pineal gland converts tryptophan into melatonin.

So, if you have a snack attack before you go to sleep, choose foods that contain tryptophan, such as turkey, tuna, whole-grain crackers or bread, nut butter, bananas, grapefruits, avocados, dates, and figs. If you eat things with tryptophan an hour before the targeted bedtime, it has a good chance to get into the brain to modulate and deepen sleep.

Getting out in the sun for a bit during the day and turning off the lights earlier at night can also help trigger your natural production of melatonin. 

Flower Remedies

Bach Flower Remedies work to balance negative emotions, freeing the body's energy to heal itself. You can take these insomnia remedies under the tongue, or add a few drops to a glass of water and sip it. I featured flower remedies in my first natural remedy mystery Death Drops. For more information visit 

Indication: Thoughts interrupt sleep and keep spinning in the mind, keeping you awake at night

Bach remedy:  White Chestnut to calm the mind and release repetitive thoughts

Indication: For high energy, driven people who are so wound up and high strung that it is difficult to fall asleep at night.

Bach remedy: Vervain to unwind and relax.


Fragrant lavender relieves tension, anxiety, and insomnia. A common naturopathic cure for insomnia is to take an Epsom salt bath with a little lavender oil two hours before bed. It helps because Epsom salt is basically magnesium, a muscle relaxant in the bath, and lavender is a calming herb. Because the oil helps to slow nerve impulses, it can reduce irritability and bring on sleep. 

You can even put a drop of lavender oil on the corner of your pillow before you go to sleep, put a lavender sachet under your pillow, or put lavender oil in an electronic diffuser near the bed. You can also apply a few drops of lavender oil to your temples or neck.

Holistic aromatherapist Jade Shutes, recommends this clever natural remedy for insomnia: 

Sleep well spritzer:

5 drops lavender
5 drops mandarin
3 drops Roman chamomile
2 oz. water

Combine essential oils and water in a 2-ounce bottle with a spray top. Shake before each use. Spritz pillows and the bedroom with the aromatic spritzer right before going to bed. You'll find more aromatherapy cures in my new book 

Scent to Kill: A Natural Remedies Mystery

“A well-crafted mystery…Devotees of natural medicine and aromatherapy will enjoy the tips that appear at the beginning of each chapter and scattered throughout the text.” Publisher’s Weekly  

Willow McQuade, naturopathic doctor, along with her hunky ex-cop boyfriend Jackson Spade, attend a party for a psychic TV show that is filming on Long Island’s idyllic East End. However, Willow is much more interested in visiting the estate’s lavender farm, seeking inspiration for the new aromatherapy workshops she'll be holding at her store, Nature’s Way Market & CafĂ©.   

Before the party is over, Roger Bixby one of the producers is dead and the police suspect murder. Roger was working on the show, MJ’s Mind, with Carly Bixby, his ex-wife and the new girlfriend of Willow's ex from L.A., TV writer/producer Simon Lewis.   

After Willow leaves the party, she gets a frantic text from Simon asking for her help. Since Simon had a fight with Roger earlier in the evening, and because of his death is now the primary shareholder in Galaxy films, Willow's ex becomes the prime suspect. Simon begs her to crack the case and clear him of the murder. MJ McClellan, the psychic and star of the show also asks Willow for help. She hires Willow to provide natural remedies, including aromatherapy, massage, acupuncture and yoga to soothe the agitated crew of her show. 

To find the killer, Willow has to deal with ghosts in a haunted mansion, a truly dysfunctional family, death threats and “accidents,” while trying to untangle a homicide identical to one committed during prohibition. Thankfully, Jackson has been hired to provide security and is there to watch her back and help Willow solve this spooky mystery. As a bonus, you’ll find dozens of natural aromatherapy cures throughout the book that can improve your health in mind, body and spirit!

I'm the author of SCENT TO KILL, (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster) the second in the NATURAL REMEDIES MYSTERY series, DEATH DROPS: A Natural Remedies Mystery, the non-fiction title THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO NATURAL REMEDIES (Alpha, 2009), co-author of BEAT SUGAR ADDICTION NOW! (Fairwinds Press, 2010), currently in its fourth printing, the BEAT SUGAR ADDICTION NOW!COOKBOOK (Fairwinds Press, 2012) and THE COUNTRY ALMANAC OF HOME REMEDIES (Fairwinds, 2011). My magazine articles featuring natural remedies have appeared in many national publications including Natural Health, Vegetarian Times, and Better Homes & Gardens. For five years I was the Good Nature columnist for Remedy magazine. Please visit

1 comment:

Linda O. Johnston said...

When I've traveled to the far side of the world (Australia, New Zealand), Chrystle, I assumed my sleep habits would turn upside down so I tried Melatonin, and it really helped!