Grandma had it right. We all need a good night’s sleep. Sleep is important for immune function, memory, and general well-being. But one American out of five suffers from insomnia. Chronic insomnia is linked to weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, poor cognitive function, reduced daytime performance, and falls. Ruling out contributing factors, such as sleep apnea or another medical condition, requires consultation with a sleep specialist. Sleeping pills may help, but they can be habit forming and may have dangerous side effects. Some readers report instances of sleep driving that are associated with the prescription sleep aid Ambien. If a hot bath to reset your body temperature or a small high-carb snack before bedtime doesn’t help, there are some other home remedies that might make a difference for you.
You wrote about a person who had taped a bean to the inside of his wrist at bedtime as an aid against insomnia. Pushing on an acupressure point gave him a decent night’s sleep. Would you use the same bean over and over or a new bean every night?
That reader told us that he taped a dried kidney bean between the two tendons on the inside of his right wrist. He located a spot three finger widths from the crease of the wrist between the two tendons. According to our research, this is an acupressure point called the inner gate. Pushing on it is supposed to relieve anxiety and promote sleep. You should be able to use a dried kidney bean many times without replacing it. You may also want to look for acupressure wristbands, with a plastic button embedded in an elastic or Velcro strap. The wristbands are available online or in drugstores, at a wide range of prices.
Thanks for your tip on the acupressure sleep aid. I use a Sea-Band wrist strap that improves my sleep and also helps me fall back to sleep when I wake up. But the best thing is that it reduces my snoring. It’s so effective in reducing snoring that when I forget to wear it, my wife wakes me up so I can put it on. I even use it for a nap, so my snoring won’t wake me up. I think the reduced snoring effect is a sleep aid in itself.
Sea-Bands are intended to prevent motion sickness. They press on an acupressure point on the inner wrist. The few studies we found on sleep and acupressure were conducted in Korea and Taiwan. We’re glad to hear Sea-Bands helped your snoring as well as your insomnia.
I often read about people having trouble getting a good night’s sleep. Perhaps my story will help someone. My pharmacist recently told me to take my magnesium tablets at bedtime instead of with breakfast. What a difference in falling asleep!
Another reader shares your enthusiasm for this mineral: “Magnesium is like a tranquilizer for me. I enjoy deep sleep like when I was a teenager now that I take a hot magnesium citrate tea called Natural Calm before bed.” Although other readers have also reported benefits, we could find no scientific support for the claim that magnesium eases insomnia. Too much can cause diarrhea. People with kidney problems should avoid magnesium.
Your readers often ask about help with falling asleep easily. It’s a good thing I was safely seated on my own sofa when I first sipped a cup of Tazo Calm herbal infusion tea. I was soon napping comfortably. I now use this blend when I want to relax. It is difficult not to doze off. I’m not pushing the Tazo brand. The blend contains chamomile, hibiscus, spearmint, lemongrass, rose petals, blackberry, sarsaparilla, lemon balm, licorice, and natural flavors. Chamomile tea doesn’t put me to sleep. I leave it to you to figure out the magic.
Thanks for the tip. Other readers will surely want to try this tasty blend. Chamomile is traditionally considered a mild sleep aid. Perhaps the secret of this tea is in the combination of other mildly relaxing herbs, such as lemon balm. Hops, valerian, and passionflower are other herbs used for relaxation and sleep.
Joe Graedon & Terry Graedon, The People’s Pharmacy: Quick & Handy Home Remedies, published by National Geographic