For many people struggling with autoimmune diseases and chronic pain, insomnia is the evil stepsister that comes along for the ride.
Take it from someone who knows – and who often lays in bed and JUST. WANTS. TO. GO. TO. SLEEEEEEEEEEP.
But you can’t sleep, so you just lay there thinking about how you can’t sleep, and then the next day you’re exhausted but definitely can’t sleep. This goes on long enough until you finally hit a wall and just…
I feel you, friend.
That’s why I am sharing some of my hard-won, but tried-and-true natural remedies for getting some much needed rest.
And, rather than load you up with a bunch of mumbo jumbo – I am just going to serve you straight and give you the real remedies that I actually use. Every. Day.
Or, at least every day that I want to get some sleep.
Here we go:
1. Bedtime Tea
Full disclosure: I’m really more of a coffee drinker. Okay, okay, I am a serious coffee drinker.
But, at night, when it’s time to start peparing to get some ZZZs…. I switch to tea.
This is not just any tea – no, no, no – this is a special little concoction that I’ve perfected over time. And now, I do not mess with the system.
Even my husband knows that if he’s doing the grocery shopping – he is not, under any condition, to switch tea brands.
I’m serious about this, can you tell? This tea is LYFE.
It’s not just tea. After you steep the tea and toss the tea bag – you’re going to throw in a little scoop of this miracle concoction:
Yup. You’re going to drink collagen. I’m not even going to lie to you, at first – you may notice that there is a slight aftertaste.
So, that’s why you are going to top it off with a little dollop of raw, unfiltered honey like this, or you can find find a local shop that sources from a bee farm in your area:
Why Raw, Unfiltered (Hopefully Organic) Honey?
Let’s take a moment and talk about the honey, honey. A lot of honey has been filtered and over-processed to give it that gorgeous, shiny, smooth texture most of us grew up on in those honey bears. I’m not knockin’ it – I love it, too.
But, raw, unfiltered honey has way more nutrient and antioxidants. If you’re struggling to sleep – there are probably biological reasons, such as a potential nutrient or chemical imbalance. Sleep is a basic human function – so when that starts shutting down, you gotta know that there’s a hiccup in the machinery. The body is, after all, a complicated machine.
So, when you’re trying to fix something like sleep, or a health issue, you want to make sure that whatever supplements you are taking to bolster your health are in the best form possible.
So, back to the tea.
It’s a simple system:
- You steep the tea.
- Toss the tea bag
- Stir in a scoop of the collagen (keep stirring until it dissolves).
- Stir in a small dollop of raw honey.
BAM! Get ready to sleep like a baby….
2. Prepare Your Mind For Sleep
Yeah, I know, it sounds a bit silly, but it really helps. You need to consider what’s keeping you up at night. For many insomniacs, your brain is on a runaway train.
For those of us with autoimmune diseases, it can be anxiety from the chronic pain, or the chronic pain itself, that is keeping us awake.
Slow the train down. Heck, you gotta dock that train at a station. This means, taking some steps the last few hours of the night to prepare.
I had a friend once tell me that she told her significant other that he could not bring up any conflicts or serious conversations after 8pm. He had to table it for the morning. Otherwise, it would cause her so much anxiety, she couldn’t sleep. #genius
Here are some other ways you can prepare for sleep:
- Switch to TV shows that are light and funny. This is not the time to start up, “Blackfish.”
- Avoid serious conversations, whenever possible, and let calls go to voicemail after 8pm
- Avoid any social media sites that cause you anxiety (i.e., Facebook during elections…)
- Turn down the lights and use nighttime screens on all devices. Some people take it a step further and wear blue light blocker glasses. These not only help with eye damage from staring at screens, but also help your brain send signals that it’s time to go to sleep. They also have those for kids, so if your children are struggling with sleep issues and they tend to stare at screens in the evenings – you may see improvement by asking them to wear these.
- Consider journaling thoughts or making lists of what you need to do the next day, so it won’t keep you up all night. There are some funny insomniac themed journals like this one.
I find that keeping a journal and pen by my bed helps, too. If I wake up with a runaway thought – I can write it down and go to sleep. Done.
3. Magnesium Lotion or Drinks
Truth is, up to 68% or more of us are magnesium deficient or not getting the recommended amount (source). Magnesium is richest in wild fish – and since most of us are not trudging into nearby salt water and catching our fish for dinner – we end up magnesium deficient. Here’s a quick read on signs that you could be magnesium deficient.
Turns out, this is a rather big deal, since magnesium is necessary for over 600 super important cellular reactions, including regulating blood sugar levels, helping muscles contract, improving sleep, combatting migraines, reducing symptoms of depression, and so many more.
Now, there are lots of foods that are rich in magnesium, that you can definitely add to your diet.
But, there are other ways to motherload magnesium, so you can get it faster. I have tried both the extremely highly rated magnesium drink, with over 3,000 almost perfect reviews! It really does calm you down, help you sleep, and assist with anxiety.
But, I struggled with drinking it regularly when I already have my bedtime tea.
So, I switched to using a magnesium lotion right before bed, since we absorb at least 60% of what is put on our skin directly into our bloodstream. I put two pumps on my upper arms and two pumps on my lower legs.
This also helps a great deal with restless leg syndrome and even muscle spasms during pregnancy! (You can’t put a price tag on that!)
I’ve even recommended this to friends who struggle with anxiety in general – and they have also seen great results.
Note: When you first start using magnesium, it may tingle for a few minutes. Once your body has balanced it’s magnesium levels, this will stop.
4. Bedtime Yoga
I don’t do this on the day I go to pilates or yoga classes, but if I’m feeling like I need a little extra somethin-somethin to help me sleep, I’ll try some yoga poses designed to help with sleep.
There are lots of great articles out there with tips on this, but here are a couple to get you started:
5. Use a Humidifier
Not just for sick kids, folks! I run one of these almost every night. It really helps refresh the air in the room and the cold air relieves pressure in my sinuses and chest.
If I can breathe easier, I can sleep better.
This one has an extra large water tank so you refill it less often and it looks kinda cute, too.
Just make sure to occasionally check the inside for any mold growth and descale as recommended by the manufacturer.
While there are lots of other recommendations for how you can help fight insomnia and get a good night’s sleep – these are the 5 that have worked best for me and that I use every day.
I sincerely hope these will help you or someone you love. And, if you have more tips that work for you – please share in the comments below!
To our health,