Natural solutions for getting to sleep and staying asleep

This week in the HSI Forum

You’re getting sleepy, verrrrry sleepy. But if you’re not, then an HSI Forum thread titled “Getting to Sleep, and Staying Asleep for 8 Hrs” might be just what you’ve been looking for.

An HSI member named Andy says, “I am having trouble getting to sleep. Have resorted to sleeping pills, too drowsy. The 2 things that do work a little is a slice fruit before bed and socks on feet. Not much success with Kava, Valerian or Melatonin or even pet tryptophan. But I’m not systematic with these so tell me how you do it.”

A member named Benelle offers this note about melatonin: “Try taking a melatonin capsule at night and eating things that contain melatonin: banana, cucumber, beets, rice, etc.” And to that I would add that the foods might be the best choice before trying the melatonin supplement, which is a hormone. Read up on melatonin and talk to your doctor before using it.

Three completely natural methods with zero side effects are suggested by a member named Gerry: “Music: Must be with largo beat (60 beats a minute or less) found in many baroque compositions (Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli, etc. — pick out the largo or adaggio movements only). Used for superlearning, but could be a good aid for sleep, too. Think: Using the brain induces sleep. Do mental arithmetic, such as two or three digit multiplication tables. Breathing: Consciously inhale and exhale, counting the breaths. It seems the partial alkalosis induced by semi-hyperventilation of this technique induces sleep.”

“Being the queen of toss and turn,” writes a member named Omie, “I discovered (by accident) that using the rebounder (mini trampoline) just before getting into bed lets me fall asleep faster, and have a more restful sleep.”

A member named Don suggests: “Eat your breakfast at bed time! Sounds crazy, but it works for me! If I toss & turn for more than an hour, I go get a bowl of cereal. Something on the stomach seems to help.” This method probably works because the carbohydrates in the cereal are making Don drowsy. And while it may not be a bad method to use every now and then, if you eat cereal before bedtime every night, over time you’ll be building up insulin resistance as well.

Several other members offer still more sleep inducing techniques in this thread, so if you’re having trouble dozing off, you’ll probably find something that works for you. And for more information about the tryptophan method mentioned by Andy, check the e-Alert “Nodding Off” (12/9/02) in which HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., discusses the FDA ban on l- tryptophan, and the plusses and minuses of using 5-hydroxy- tryptophan (5-HTP).

Other topics on the Forum this week include vitamin B complex, esophagus spasm, nerve damage, ADHD, colloidal silver, regulation of the immune system, and a thread titled “Trampoline Question (bone, lymph)” in which you can find out more about rebounding, as briefly described above by Omie. Log on to our web site at to join in with these and dozens of other discussions about alternative health care.

And nowif you’re ready for some football

It’s the tale of three Lewises

Can Marvin Lewis prevail against the defense he built? Will Ray Lewis show the man just what a force he created? And will Jamal Lewis run up more record-breaking numbers against the Bengals this Sunday? Jamal is currently on pace to break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record of more than 2,100 yards, set 19 years ago. And Ray, well, let’s just say he’ll want to prove to Marvin that the Ravens are still the best defense going. I don’t imagine a few tiger-striped helmets are going to slow either of them down – not even for Marv. So, as alwaysGo Ravens!