Sleep Without Drugs

Don't Believe the Hype!

There are so many sleep aids on the market today, that many people just buy the notion that it is impossible to sleep without them! This simply isn't true! A healthy, well-cared for body can sleep just fine without the aid of drugs!

If you do need a little help in falling asleep, there are lots of natural ways to help you relax and drift off. Without exception, they are healthier and more affordable than prescription drugs without the dangerous side-effects that inevitably accompany those drugs.

Here are a few of my favorites to help you sleep...

...like a baby...

Photographer: T. Keller: everystockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/
Photographer: T. Keller: everystockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

Take a Hot Bath...

There is nothing more relaxing than a long, hot bath with candles and quiet music.  Even if you are a guy, give it a try!  Taking that time to breathe in the steam, relax your muscles, and think through the cares of the day can do wonders to help you get a good night's sleep.

For extra relaxation, add a few drops of oil of lavender to your bath.  It is a natural, and inexpensive way to get all the benefits of aromatherapy.  The pleasant scent of lavender is soothing and relaxing.

Dim the lights in your home and your room...

Bright lights make your body think it is daytime.  It's just as simple as that!  You can't expect to have lights blazing one moment and then be totally relaxed and asleep the next. When the time for sleep is approaching, begin dimming the lights.  Turn them off gradually throughout your home until you only have the one next to your bed on. Once you have relaxed and are ready for sleep, turn that one off too.

Shhhh...

If you normally have your TV blaring and loud music playing, stop it!

Even if you feel that you can't sleep without that noise, try changing it to something quiet when sleep time approaches.  Turn off the TV altogether.  The flashing picture and commercial noise will keep you alert and awake, even if you are not fully aware of it.

Create a collection of quiet CDs to listen to before bed or get a "white noise" machine to play ocean sounds, nature sounds and so on if you like that sort of thing.  I have one that plays crickets!  It is very relaxing, and it baffles street sounds and other disturbing sounds while I sleep.

Natural alternatives to medication...

Sometimes, you may actually need a little extra push into sleep.  Here are a few natural alternatives to sleep medication that have worked quite well for me.

Valerian root - This is the herb that valium is derived from.  It comes in capsule or tea form. It costs a lot less than valium, and it is much safer.  You can find Valerian root at your local health food store.  Just follow the instructions on the bottle.  It is good to take it about an hour before bedtime with a warm drink.

Kava Kava is a natural muscle relaxer that can also help you sleep. If you have been doing a lot of physical exercise, a hot bath and some Kava Kava will give you a good nights sleep. You can get Kava Kava at your local health food store in capsule form. Follow the directions on the bottle.

Tension Tamer Tea is fabulous stuff.  It knocks some people right out!  I enjoy it almost every night with a couple of drops of peppermint oil added.  Peppermint is also very relaxing, and the aromatherapy effect is very nice.

Warm Milk - The calcium in milk can have a very relaxing effect, and of course, this is a tried and true comfort food! Here is my simple recipe for a relaxing bedtime treat.

Put a tablespoon of honey and a dash of cinnamon in a large mug. Add milk. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring every 30 seconds for a total of 2 minutes. (If you do 2 minutes all at once, the milk will boil over.) If this is too hot for you, of course, reduce the time.

Meditation & Prayer

Saying your prayers before bed is more than just a quaint, old-fashioned practice. We gain closure by ending our day with a review and a wish for those things that went wrong to be set right. When we hand over the cares of the day to God or the Universe or our subconscious mind, we free ourselves to sleep.

If you are uncomfortable with the idea of prayer, then try a few moments of meditation or silence to quiet the cares of the day before you pull up your covers and close your eyes.

Sleep Tight! :)

Copyright:SuzanneBennett:February 15, 2009

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Comments 34 comments

imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO

It's kind of ironic that you published this hub at 1:30am.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

LOL! I wondered if anyone would notice that, and of course, it had to be you! 

I actually have always enjoyed a backwards sleep schedule.  My biological clock likes to work overnight and sleep in the daytime.  I usually sleep from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and I sleep just great without any problem!  I work online overnight and tutor my Chinese students from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

So, I have a regular sleep schedule.  It's just the opposite of everyone else's! ;D


imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO

Same here. I've always been a nocturnal beast.


imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO

Do you speak Chinese?


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Since I left the corporate world, my hours are different. I go to bed after 2 a.m. and get up at noon and run our business from 1 to the early evening. I do have trouble falling asleep and have for years. A hubber sent me Reiki, which was very kind of him. Didn't think of taking valerian with a warm drink, good idea!

Iamdork: Suzanne is interesting, she knows sign language which I don't, and I am hearing impaired. :)


imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO

I didn't know that you were hearing impaired. From birth? I guess you read lips since you don't sign.

Have you ever seen the documentary Hear and Now? It's so good! It is one of my picks on my hub "Must See Documentaries".


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Well, you all just chat amongst yourselves! :D

Hi! Yes life is much easier for us nocturnal beasts when we are able to live it as nature intended, isn't it? I have no trouble sleeping now. When I had to work days and sleep nights, I did use all of the methods I mention here. They do work. I did sleep well and reliably, but I never felt as rested on 8 hours of night sleep as I do on 5 hours of day sleep. And I am not as productive working during the day as I am at night!

Imadork, I don't speak Chinese. I tutor conversational English. The students learn lots of written English and can read well in English, but they have no one to practice with in China. So they call via VOIP through a website called Idapted.com to get tutoring in conversational English. It's great fun! I do it for 2 hours every morning and 1 hour M-Th evenings. There are more details on my HUB, Living On A Wish And A Prayer.

I will check out your Must See Documentaries. I have not seen Hear and Now.

:)


imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO

Sounds like a cool job. I'll check out that hub later. Right now, the sun is rising and I must retreat to my coffin.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

I manage to lurch around until a couple of hours after sunup - as long as I don't venture outside!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Hi justmesuzanne - thanks for spreading some non-hype sleep info.

Americans have been conditioned to think of drugs for every normal function. We have to stop.

And that salt rock lamp, I am a big fan. I leave mine on at night and that glow is so soothing. As you know I posted an article about this.

Thanks for sharing more good health info!


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 7 years ago from Massachusetts

Suzanne, good Hub. It always amazes me that anyone would ever resort to sleep medication. (Especially in view of the fact that one famous one in particular makes people have amnesia or do other strange things the next morning.)


perfectweight profile image

perfectweight 7 years ago

All great tips. Years ago I had big problems attempting to sleep. I sure could have used these tips then. I am happy to say that I generally have a restful nights sleep now.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks All!

BK - I did not know about your article! I will surely have a look!

Lisa - Yes, I don't know how people can resort to prescription medications for anything other than treatment of infection or something like that. They all have terrifying side effects lists, and in my opinion, most of them are completely unecessary.

Perfect - Thanks! Glad you are sleeping well these days!

:D


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Hi, Iamadork: No, I am not hearing impaired from birth. I wrote a hub "Hearing Iimpaired in a Noisy world" where I share my experience with partial deafness. Will check Hear Now.

Suzanne: I love my new sleeping schedule. Get a lot done at my own hours. :)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Hi Suzanne,

You have some great suggestions here, and it's good to avoid drugs wherever possible. Hypnosis can also be helpful for sleep problems, but I always find that a good dose of fresh air and exercise, at some point in the day, usually works for me!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks Amanda! Yes, it's important to take care of yourself during the day if you are going to get a good nights sleep. I used to listen to some self-hypnosis tapes from Effective Learning Systems. They were really helpful in a very lasting way. I don't listen to them at all anymore! Their work is done! :)

Violet - Yes, it makes a big difference being able to sleep the hours that my body likes to sleep!


mulder profile image

mulder 7 years ago from Warnbro Western Australia

I use Rooibos tea to help me sleep its fantastic caffine free and its really good for you .


StephanieP profile image

StephanieP 7 years ago from Los Angeles, California

Hi Suzanne,

Unfortunately, most people who are sleep deprived, panic and turn to Big Pharma for help. Before you know it, they develop a physical and mental dependency on these meds. Every time I see an ad for Ambien, Lunesta or the other sleep aids that are touted to be non-addictive I have to laugh. It's such bullsh**t since the are just formulated differently from the older generation of sleep aids so they get away with labeling them at "non-habit forming". But these new sleep meds work exactly the same way on the brain. I just love they way Big Pharma has a whole new generation of insomniacs hooked to this stuff.

Speaking from experience, I had some major insomnia issues about a year ago and was caught in the sleep meds trap for awhile. I then realized that even the sleep I did get on them wasn't really that restful anyway. I had to stop cold turkey and learn how to fall asleep and stay asleep without them. It was tough but it's certainly not impossible.

Your suggestions are good but I might add that most people with insominac patterns develop of fear of not sleeping. This was the case for me and I tried hypnosis and it totally worked. Now, I sleep well and when I do have an occasional night of bad sleep, I don't give it power and I tell myself I'll sleep well the next night and I do.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you for your comments! :D

I had not heard of Rooibus for sleep, Mulder! It is very tasty stuff, though!

Stephanie - I completely avoid prescription drugs. As far as I'm concerned Big Pharma just wants to use us like a cash crop, and the more they can get us hooked, the better as far as they're concerned.

When I used to have to sleep against my biological clock, I had a lot of anxiety associated with sleep. As I have mentioned, the self hypnosis tapes I used worked quite well, and perhaps I will write another HUB about those. Establishing a set ritual at bed-time is a form of self-hypnosis. Formal hypnosis is certainly a good thing for those who can afford it.

I'm glad you are no longer hooked on drugs! ;D


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

I physically work a swing shift, but I have to get up early to deal with home life, screaming mom gettting the girl ready for school, screaming mom waking me up to drive the girl to school because I seem to never be embarrassed about the way I look, unlike the screaming mom, then I come back home to find they boy ready to play cars, and then its phone call, after phone call with all the powers that be about the work schedule and what has been done the previous night, then its scheduling and then getting ready to go back to work. At about midnight, I crack a beer, and shortly there after, I fall asleep.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Good method, GT! Sounds very restful! ;)

Here is a link to the Salt Crystal Lamp HUB BKCreative mentioned:

http://hubpages.com/living/Detoxing-Your-Home-with...


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

sounds like you're up late again! I've have had bad insomnia all my life and I've tried everything, and usually it comes down to peace of mind and for me, the beer doesn't do much physically, it's more of a comfort thing I think, like a cup of tea, a bedtime story, hubpages.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

I'm not up late! I'm fixin' to have lunch! Now, if I were up at ten o'clock in the morning, that would be late! :D


Susan M 7 years ago

Wonderful Hub! I have used prescription sleep aids in the past but they just make me feel like I've been in a coma all night (and what if there was a fire or something?) I love all of your suggestions esp the aromatherapy and the warm milk. In the winter if I have warm milk before bed I have the best night sleep ever! Thanks again for the hub.


mkhovu profile image

mkhovu 7 years ago

Very interesting hub. I like the sleeping tips. I can really do with this as we now work such long hours trying to change the future. Warm milk does really work. Thank you for the hub.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Susan and MK - Thank you for your kind words! Yes it is amazing how those old-fashioned remedies often work the best! :D


Iphigenia 7 years ago

Great Hub - and I agree totally. I usually sleep well but a flare up of my Fibromyalgia http://hubpages.com/health/Fybromyalgia can cause broken nights - a cycle of broken nights developes even after the fibro flare up has gone. I refuse the sleeping meds prescribed for me and use relaxation techniques and occasionally a herbal mix of valerian and hops.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks Iphigenia! Yes! Resist prescription drugs!


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

As one who sufferes from insomnia, I will try the kava kava, it might help my restless legs. I do well with massages, less stress, pleasant music, nice conversation, but seldom do all those things enter my life enough to promote sleep. LOL

thanks!!!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

My pleasure! Yes, the kava kava might help with that. Have a cup of Tension Tamer tea as well! :)


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia

Hi Suzanne. Great tips there. I think it is important to develop the habit of getting a good nights sleep. I personally work out a crossword puzzle before I hit the light switch.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Yes, that's true! Are you a night owl like me? I usually get a good mornings' sleep! :)


Arthritismyname 5 years ago

Speak of Ambien: I have been using this nightmare pill for ten years,because of my health problems, I have learn for me that using half a pill and two baby aspirin is help to sleep. I was told by my arthritis doctor years ago that is why I have sleeping problems. I would love to get rid of them but I have much problems with a lot of heath food products and alergic to a lot of things.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas Author

Well, that's a shame! It's good you were able to figure out the right dose of Ambien to help you. Thanks for commenting! :)

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