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I can’t sleep! What to do, besides drugs?

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | May 17, 2013

taking drugs to sleepDear GreenSmoothieGirl:

I’ve been searching your site for information about sleep. I have a friend who has struggled his entire life to sleep and it is affecting his health dramatically.  There are very few places on the web where I feel that I can find truth when searching about information on health, but your website is always where I go first for answers. As of now, he’s stuck on either Ambien or Tylenol PM just to make it through each night.  There have got to be alternatives that are more effective and healing.  So, what have you learned over the years and what would you do? Thanks, Valerie

asleep at work2Answer:  Valerie, that’s great you’re helping your friend. I have an ex-boyfriend who takes Trazadone at night (way more hardcore than Tylenol PM or even Ambien!) and still gets only an hour or two of sleep many nights. He occasionally falls asleep at work (in surgery!) and is perpetually sleep deprived. To be sure, the drug approach is a cycle that can ultimately lead to more problems. Watching his struggles, and as a former 20-year insomniac myself (I resolved my sleep issues a number of years ago), I have a lot of sympathy.

My mother can pull over on the side of the road and take a 10-minute power nap. I’ve seen her lie down on a bench in the BYU football stadium or at the Marriott Center, during football and basketball games in huge crowds. She actually FALLS ASLEEP and wakes up rested. When my son was in the state playoffs last year for a week straight, I saw her lie down on concrete and take a nap between games. I don’t know why I didn’t get the Sleep Anywhere Anytime gene from her.

sweet dreamsHERE and HERE are my past writings on natural ways to solve sleep problems.

I also recorded a webinar with sleep specialist and Intellibed founder Bob Rasmussen, HERE, where he and I talk about sleep research. I also explain how I recovered from insomnia and am no longer ever sleep deprived despite spending at least 10 nights every month in hotels.

Valerie, I hope this is helpful to your friend and also to anyone looking for answers to insomnia problems.


Posted in: Nutrition

4 thoughts on “I can’t sleep! What to do, besides drugs?”

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  1. Venita says:

    Valerie, please please PLEASE have your friend start using a good magnesium supplement. Natural Calm is a powder you mix with water and drink . . . this stuff can turn your life around. I didn’t sleep for over 20 years, but once I started getting some magnesium in my cells I started sleeping like a baby. You can find NC at any health store. But be warned – “looseness” in the bathroom can result if you don’t start slowly – your body needs to get used to it. Also, it needs to be in the form that your body can absorb . . . the cheap supermarket pills won’t do you much good.

    I know the agony of not being able to sleep . . . I tried Ambien and it was awful – it caused such depression for me I couldn’t stop crying. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how this stuff is legal.

    Most of us are very, very magnesium depleted and it does so much good for our bodies in so many ways. Dr. Carolyn Dean is an authority on it . . . she’s got a great website.

    Not being able to sleep is so awful – I sincerely hope this helps.

  2. Brandi Ginn says:

    For a very long time I had problems sleeping at night. I could fall asleep pretty well, but I would wake up and not be able to go back to sleep (often for hours) I would toss and turn until finally sometimes I would just get up and go do something. My husband works in an Urgent care office and came home one day and said “We had a drug rep come into the office today with a sleep aid that sounds like it’s just what you need…it’s for people who can go to sleep but wake up later.” I laughed. And laughed again. And then I told him he was NUTS. Of ALL the medications with a potential for addictions (in my mind) it was sleeping pills.

    Then I went to Robyn’s class and the follow up Medicine Cabinet Makeover Class where they talked about the possibility of doTERRA’s Lavender oil helping you sleep…I was sold. I was willing to try it because it was better than a prescription and easy to do. It has helped SIGNIFICANTLY and I would highly recommend it as an option.

    Venita’s comment also talks about magnesium…I think she’s right too! During the Kickin’ Candida Cleanse I did in April I started needing something and magnesium was suggested. I happened to eat something else that was FILLED with magnesium (figured that out later) and I felt so much better. Since then, I’ve also used GSG’s Ultimate Minerals which has magnesium.

    I would recommend both these ideas as options.

    1. Amanda Olsen says:

      For my daughter we eliminated corn and everything derived from corn, added the GSG’s Ultimate Minerals to her water, started putting doTERRA Serenity oil on her pillow, and wham she is sleeping like she never has before.
      Funny, I think I was the one who suggested the magnesium and minerals to Brandi during the cleanse. I am so glad to hear they are working for her. 🙂

  3. Ole Carlson says:

    We have had excellent results with a combination of celery and apple juice. The key is the celery and the apple makes it more palatable. No chemicals or anything else to harm the body. I think you will like it.

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