Habitual sleeplessness, repeated night after night, is called insomnia.
It may be a result of muscle aches, indigestion, asthma, pain, drugs, hypoglycemia or stress. Lack of calcium and magnesium might cause waking after a few hours and not getting back to sleep. Systemic disorders involving the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, digestive system, endocrine system, brain, as well as poor nutritional habits, may affect sleep. Caffeine products make sleeping difficult.
Some specific disorders interfere with sleep: sleep apnea is an absence of breathing several times a night (usually adults, but can affect children), physical abnormalities of the chest, neck, back, or the base of the brain, obesity, endocrinological problems, hypothyroidism, acromegaly (a rare growth disorder), and the use of alcohol.
Narcolepsy sufferers are drowsy and overcome with sleep during the day.
Brain infection, head trauma, and even brain tumor can trigger this disorder (usually doesn't occur until after fifteen years of age).
The most common causes are overeating, indigestion, eating late at night, stress, tension, worry, fear. Also, cold feet, poor circulation, overtiredness, nervousness, and poor ventilation in the bedroom. Constant loss of sleep, whatever the cause is always injurious to health.
Herbal Medicine Formulas and Recipes
Calcium lactate, 1,000 mg, taken after meals and at bedtime.
Calcium chelate, 1,500-2,000 mg daily in divided doses.
Magnesium, 1,000 mg.
Vitamin B complex, taken as directed on the label.
- Balm, lemon
- Chamomile, Roman
- Cohosh, black
- Ginseng, Siberian
- Hawthorn berries
- Hops, cone
- Jasmine, yellow
- Lady's slipper
- Lavender, flower
- Lemon balm, leaves
- Lettuce, wild
- Nerve root
- Orange, flower
- Poppy, California, seed
- St. John's wort
- Skunk cabbage root
- Valerian root
Use 1 tsp. of any one of the above, steep in a cup of boiling water and drink hot. They induce sleep, but they also tone up the stomach and nerves, with no bad after effects.
Foods high in tryptophan promote sleep. At bedtime eat turkey, bananas, grapefruit, figs, dates, yogurt, tuna, and whole grain cracker or nut butter.
Avoid close to bedtime: caffeine, alcohol, sugar, tobacco, cheese, chocolate, sauerkraut, wine, bacon, ham, sausage, eggplant, potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes. These foods contain tryamine, which increases the release of norepinephrine, a brain chemical stimulant.
Try a warm bath, a hot cup of tea, using the herbs mentioned.
One recommended tea for sleeplessness or a state of anxiety:
St. John's wort, aerial parts (30 parts)
Lemon balm leaves (20 parts)
Hop cones (10 parts)
Lavender flowers (5 parts)
Orange flowers (5 parts)
Pour 8 oz. of boiling water over 2 heaping tbsp. of the blend, let steep, covered, for ten minutes, then strain.
Three times a day, slowly sip one cup of very warm tea. This course of action should last 4 weeks
Try this formula for sleep:
Equal parts of Skullcap, Nerve root, Hops, Catnip, and Black Cohosh.