The first and easiest is a pinch of salt. Keep a small jar of unrefined salt in your bedside table or in your travel kit, and take a generous pinch when you go to bed. I don’t have a scientific explanation for why this works for insomnia, but it does for many people, perhaps because salt helps us deal with stress. (Unrefined salt also contains magnesium, a known sleep aide, readily dissolved and absorbed from the tongue.)
Second is homeopathic coffee, called caffea cruda. While real coffee wakes us up and often leads to anxiety and insomnia, the homeopathic remedy based on coffee has the opposite effect; it relaxes the nerves and has a soporific effect. Take two pellets when you go to bed and let them dissolve under the tongue. A vial of pellets costs less than ten dollars and fits easily in your bedside table or a travel kit.
Third is a natural vitamin C—I like Amla-C, which is simply amla berries, rich in vitamin C, dehydrated and compressed into tablets. If you can’t go to sleep because you feel tense and anxious, a natural form of vitamin C will help you relax and doze off. Six to eight tablets is a good dose. Again, a small container of vitamin C tablets fits easily into a travel kit.
The final of my four simple solutions is a battery-operated LED reading light—a modern version of a bedtime candle with its soft, warm light. They cost about seven dollars on Amazon. As you are getting ready for bed, turn off all the lights in the bedroom and bathroom and use the warm amber reading light instead. Go through your bedtime routine of brushing your teeth, pulling back the bed and settling down to some reading by the warm amber light—a color that tells your pineal gland that daytime is over. Drowsiness soon follows. Likewise, if you wake up during the night to use the bathroom, use the amber reading light rather than turn on the regular bright lights, so you don’t wake up too thoroughly and can easily get back to sleep.
These are the easy and inexpensive remedies. Others take more planning and effort. Key to a peaceful night’s sleep is minimizing exposure to electro-magnetic radiation (EMR). About the only things you can do while traveling is to unplug the electric alarm clock beside your bed and put your cell phone in airplane mode. At home you’ll want to make sure that you can turn off your house wifi at night and keep all wireless devices out of your bedroom.
A cup of warm chicken broth (with an added pinch of salt) before bed can be very helpful. Broth is rich in glycine. The glycine in broth regulates dopamine—if your dopamine levels are too high, you’ll feel wired and getting to sleep could be difficult. Genuine bone broth will bring those dopamine levels down and help you relax. Be sure to use organic chickens and chicken bones in making your broth, to avoid exposure to glyphosate.
Warm raw whole milk is another great bedtime remedy. Set a mug of raw milk in a pan of simmering water to gently warm it. Since raw milk is so nourishing—and a great source of vitamin C—it is also relaxing. Don’t try this with commercial pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized milk—it might keep you awake all night!
Of course, a good diet throughout the day will nourish all those hormonal systems that help us get to sleep—that means plenty of nutrient-dense food and high-quality animal fats. Minimize stimulants—coffee, tea, chocolate, sugar–as best you can. If you do drink coffee or tea, try to limit your consumption to the morning hours.
It goes without saying that when you go to bed, you should already feel sleepy; regular exercise in the out of doors and a day full of meaningful work is the best preparation for a good night’s sleep. But if you need a little help—if you find your mind racing or are restless, then the above remedies should send you off to a deep and peaceful sleep.
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