Causes of Insomnia, Sleep Aids and Natural Anxiety Remedies

November 12, 2010 Kate White

We all need sleep, but for many of us, particularly those living with anxiety, it's difficult to find. What with the pressures of time, work, family, studies, constant stimulation and lots of towns and cities that never really shut down. Let alone take a siesta.

What's getting in the way of your getting a good night's sleep and beating anxiety? Take a look at these 4 important areas of a good sleep lifestyle.


Causes of Sleep Problems

  • Poor sleep habits. Going to bed at irregular hours each night, being too active late at night (in body and/or brain), poor quality sleep and not enough sleep that's simply a fact. A habit, and once it's a habit it's all chicken versus egg.
  • Physical illness. It's important to look at how your physical health is affecting your sleep. Pain, nausea, breathing difficulties can all disturb sleep patterns.
  • Diet and Exercise. How much caffeine do you drink? Give it a rest near bedtime (excuse the pun). Lots of food or heavy exercise right before bed tends to give your metabolism a boost, which can lead to lack of sleep, disturbed hormone levels and insomnia down the line.
  • Emotional Stress. This is the big one, obviously. People with depression, for example, tend to wake-up super early. And feelings of anxiety, our worries, all that stress, they tend to strike at bed time. Insomnia can also be triggered by major stress or trauma.

Talk to your doctor about your sleep problems, if you can; Together you can work out the best plan to get your sleep back on track.

Anxiety and insomnia: natural remedies or medication?

There are a number of psychiatric medications that can be used to treat severe, acute insomnia but they're generally only meant for short-term use and your doctor is going to want to have a look at all of those sleep lifestyle factors before handing out the Valium.

I've found natural sleep remedies useful from time to time. Like magnesium, which can help with overall muscle tension and chronic pain, or melatonin which is a boon for anyone dealing with jetlag, or for anybody who finds natural light a little difficult to come by. Valerian is another common one people usually look into before going with prescription medications. As with all supplements, check with your pharmacist to see if it's safe for you.

Milk before bed. A myth?

The old glass of milk before bed trick may work for your friend but it may not work for you. Scientists haven't made up their minds whether milk aids sleep yet but if it works for you it's probably because people develop sleep rituals over the years. Because they're done right before bed every single night, they prepare the brain for sleep, reduce anxiety and induce a pre-sleep state in which you can settle and unwind.

Milk does contain small amounts of tryptophan, which is one of the enzymes involved in the first phase of sleep, but the protein that goes along with dairy inhibits tryptophan's ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Try a high carbohydrate, low protein bedtime snack instead. It'll release insulin into your bloodstream, making it easier for tryptophan to make its way into the brain, and it may also give your brain a bit of a serotonin booster (the brain's own “mother's little helper”).

Here's hoping we can all get some rest!

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APA Reference
White, K. (2010, November 12). Causes of Insomnia, Sleep Aids and Natural Anxiety Remedies, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 17 from

Author: Kate White

Pradip Gharpure
November, 12 2010 at 6:59 am

sound sleep is a must for healthy life. You have mentioned some myth about milk before sleep. But if it works well why not accept it. I don'g believe scietists accepting, rejecting or recommending anything of that sort.
Scientists have also been proved wrong many times. What they know? how much they know? They are also ignorant of many things and so do research and call them scientist? They only find out some relationship and relate things with each other- they do not do anything else than that.

November, 18 2010 at 12:54 pm

Hi there ~
Have you heard of REST EZ. My son has Bi Polar illness and this
is what he takes for sleeping. It contains Valerian Root , Hops,
Spearmint, Passionflower. He takes 2 capsules each evening.
Really helps with anxiety and ADHD as well.
Rest EZ is part of the nutritionals from Melaleuca.Com

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kate White
November, 19 2010 at 11:06 am

Hi Eunice,
Yeah I've tried a couple of those herbal remedies. For some reason the passionflower tends to make me feel a bit odd but I have friends they work really well for. Cool it helps your son.

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