Natural sleep aids.

Posted by Eden @eden, Nov 28, 2019

I’m surprised that there is no discussion of uses of natural aids for sleep. There are case studies, and science backing, of people benefiting from taking a magnesium supplement before bedtime, and some short time benefit with zinc. The caution with supplements is always that you should consult your doctor first to ensure there is no reason for you not to take them. I’d like to mention that I have had a surprisingly good result with fennel tea. It extended my usual 3 hour sleep to 6 hours. I came across this quite unexpectedly so there was no placebo effect working. It was simply another herbal tea that I tried in place of standard tea which I can’t take. I took it about an hour before putting my head down. I am a sleeper who goes to sleep quickly but always wakes up about 3 or three and a half hours later. It may be that the fennel tea only works for people with my sleep pattern, but it seems worth trying by others. A serious caution though is that fennel oil can adversely affect some people with gastric and duodenum inflammation so again you should consult your doc if you fall into this category. It would be interesting to know of any benefits we insomniacs might get and what sleep patterns it overcomes.

GABA actually works

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@eden, I'm really glad you started this topic dedicated to natural sleep aids. Members have talked about different non-medicated sleep aids throughout various discussions. But like you, I was surprised to see few discussions dedicated to the topic. For the record, here are a some others:

– Getting to Sleep https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/sleep-2/
– Weighted blankets to improve sleep quality https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/weighted-blankets-to-improve-sleep-quality/
– Tired of waking up at 2am.. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/tired-of-waking-up-at-2am/
– Sleep Hygiene https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/sleep-hygine/
– Intermittent Sleep https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/intermittent-sleep/

Like you, Eden, I don't have trouble falling asleep, but I don't stay asleep. Even if woken from a deep sleep to use the toilet, I find it hard to fall back asleep. My mind simply thinks it's time to start working and my thought patterns are rarely sleep-inducing. I've started listening to podcasts when I wake up in the middle of the night. I use Google podcasts that allow me to set a timer. I usually set it for 30 minutes. Even if I'm still awake, the podcast has switched off my active thinking and I'm able to fall asleep again, much like if I were to have read. But this way I don't turn on a light. I set my phone to low light before going to bed and have the podcast queued up and ready to go. Oddly enough I found stories or information broadcasts to put me to sleep better than meditative music created to be sleep inducing. They drive me batty.

I look forward to gathering more tips from members in this discussion.

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@eden, I would also say that "natural" is a loaded word too. Some medications can be considered natural, depending on their derivative substance. Like you suggested, it is important to read the evidence of supplements and items marketed as natural remedies. I usually refer to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) https://nccih.nih.gov/ to research integrative medicine approaches.

It didn't list anything about fennel, but I found this from Healthline that substantiates your discovery.
Health benefits of fennel tea https://www.healthline.com/health/fennel-tea

@tinydr, tell me more about your use of GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric acid). From this article https://thesleepdoctor.com/2018/06/19/understanding-gaba/ I understand that it is an amino acid produced naturally in the brain. The information is confusing. There are medications and supplements that can affect GABA that one naturally produces, but it can also be taken as a supplement? Can you explain?

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@colleenyoung

@eden, I'm really glad you started this topic dedicated to natural sleep aids. Members have talked about different non-medicated sleep aids throughout various discussions. But like you, I was surprised to see few discussions dedicated to the topic. For the record, here are a some others:

– Getting to Sleep https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/sleep-2/
– Weighted blankets to improve sleep quality https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/weighted-blankets-to-improve-sleep-quality/
– Tired of waking up at 2am.. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/tired-of-waking-up-at-2am/
– Sleep Hygiene https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/sleep-hygine/
– Intermittent Sleep https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/intermittent-sleep/

Like you, Eden, I don't have trouble falling asleep, but I don't stay asleep. Even if woken from a deep sleep to use the toilet, I find it hard to fall back asleep. My mind simply thinks it's time to start working and my thought patterns are rarely sleep-inducing. I've started listening to podcasts when I wake up in the middle of the night. I use Google podcasts that allow me to set a timer. I usually set it for 30 minutes. Even if I'm still awake, the podcast has switched off my active thinking and I'm able to fall asleep again, much like if I were to have read. But this way I don't turn on a light. I set my phone to low light before going to bed and have the podcast queued up and ready to go. Oddly enough I found stories or information broadcasts to put me to sleep better than meditative music created to be sleep inducing. They drive me batty.

I look forward to gathering more tips from members in this discussion.

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Although this Healthline article mentions ancient use of fennel as a sleep aid I have not managed to find any such ancient references. Does anyone know of any? European herbal pharmacopeia that I have consulted do not link fennel and insomnia. But if it was something known in ancient times there must be some acknowledgement somewhere in later literature.

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@eden

Although this Healthline article mentions ancient use of fennel as a sleep aid I have not managed to find any such ancient references. Does anyone know of any? European herbal pharmacopeia that I have consulted do not link fennel and insomnia. But if it was something known in ancient times there must be some acknowledgement somewhere in later literature.

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@eden, I did find a page on a botanical site that acknowledges the use of fennel and provides a little background history including a few rhymes or poems, including one by Longfellow.
https://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/fennel01.html

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@johnbishop

@eden, I did find a page on a botanical site that acknowledges the use of fennel and provides a little background history including a few rhymes or poems, including one by Longfellow.
https://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/fennel01.html

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Thanks John. This is an fascinating article. No mention of tea though, but the use of the stripped stalks is interesting.

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