Nighty night: Get a good night’s sleep with this expert advice

Kathy Gruver, PhD Host of The Alternative Medicine Cabinet and author of three books on health Alternative Medicine Cabinet

We’ve all had times where Mr. Sandman seems to be somewhere else. Times that we can’t fall asleep and when we do, we can’t stay asleep. Well, this article is for you. Nighty night!


Do stick to the routine

Try your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday. Allowing yourself to sleep for multiple extra hours on the weekends could mess with your sleep cycles. And it’s just a myth that we all need 8 hours, some need more, some need less. Figure out your perfect number and shoot for that.

Do try supplements

Before turning to hardcore sleep aids, try something more natural. Magnesium is great for sleep as are the B vitamins, but they must be taken early in the day. Melatonin and Tryptophan are also useful, but do not take Tryptophan if you are on SSRIs for depression.

Do try homeopathics or herbs

Another option are homeopathics. There is a great combo remedy called MoonDrops that has been found to be very useful.. If one thing doesn’t work, try something else. And herbs like lavender, chamomile, and valerian are fabulous to aid in the sleeping process.

Do use affirmations

If the reason you can’t sleep is repetitive thoughts, rather than just trying to stop them, which is nearly impossible, replace them. Change them to, “I fall asleep quickly and easily, I wake up feeling refreshed.” This does one of two things, either it actually programs you to fall asleep quickly and easily and wake up feeling refreshed, or at the very least it shuts out those other thoughts so you can go to sleep. It’s similar to counting sheep, it distracts your brain and it really works.

Do make sure your environment is right

There are certain things that make sleep come easier. Keep the room as dark and quiet as possible. Use a white noise machine or black out curtains if necessary. Earplugs can make all the difference. And I know we love our pets, but if we’re losing sleep because the dog has taken over the bed and the cat is making us sneeze, Fido and Fluffy might just have to go elsewhere.


Do not rely on caffeine during the day

Even though you think you’re used to drinking caffeine during the day, it can cause sleepless nights, especially the heavily caffeinated energy drinks that are so popular now. Don’t try to stay awake artificially, it will just cause problems later.

Do not overdo the booze

Alcohol starts off as a depressant, but later switches to a stimulant, which can keep you up. And it’s also dehydrating, which is why often times over indulgence leads to middle of the night dry mouth and hot flashes. Limit yourself and you’ll sleep better.

Do not do things in bed other than sleep

Watching TV, especially the news or scary movies, is not conducive to good sleep. Save bed for sleep and intimacy.

Do not nap

It’s ok if you’re sleepy to take a five or ten minute lay down, but extensive napping is just going to mess with your circadian rhythms and sleep cycle. Try to avoid napping if you can, or at least try to make them short.

Do not just lie in bed

If you find yourself up in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep for more than 20 minutes, get up. Don’t torture yourself by lying there. Get up, pet the cat, watch TV, read, don’t get involved in work though or you may unwittingly pull an all-nighter. And if something is bugging you that you can easily check, go do it. See if you paid the mortgage, put in an order to sell the stock, or do a brain dump and write it down on a tablet next to the bed. Do your affirmation and hit the hay.

Jumping cartoon

Hopefully you won’t find yourself longing for sleep, but if you do, this advice should help. Pleasant dreams!

More expert advice about Insomnia

Photo Credits: #56527082 - Man sleeping © Phase4Photography -; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas -

Kathy Gruver, PhDHost of The Alternative Medicine Cabinet and author of three books on health

Dr. Kathy Gruver is the host of the national TV show based on her first award winning book, The Alternative Medicine Cabinet and has earned her PhD in Natural Health. Kathy was featured on Lifetime Television’s The Balancing Act in 2011 speaking...

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