How I Overcame Insomnia
Since I was a child, I have suffered from bouts of insomnia. I can remember being in Elementary school and staying up all night long and watching the sun rise in the morning. At first it was cool. As a kid, there is something cool and bad about staying up past your bedtime and I wasn’t just staying up past it, but annihilating bedtime. It no longer existed, but after a few times of watching sunrises from my bedroom window, it stopped being cool. It was rather boring to stay up all night long because you can’t play with toys or you will make too much noise and get caught.
I was staying up, because I couldn’t fall asleep. I would lay in bed for what felt like an eternity waiting for sleep to come, but it never did or would take so long to come that it was almost time to wake up for school when it did. I tried counting sheep, but my mind would wander and I would lose count. I started banging my head against the pillow and while it made a bit of racket, it actually worked. After a while, I would fall asleep. Success! Success that was embarrassing at sleep overs and made adults annoyed when sharing a room with me. I would stay up all night at sleep overs because I didn’t want anyone to know I banged my head. Once my grandmother was visiting and shared my bed with me. I cried silently next to her because I couldn’t sleep after she chastised me for the banging.
I banged my head to sleep all the way through high school and switched to rocking my body or one leg just before going off to boarding school. I continued doing that into adulthood and until doctors began prescribing sleep medication. I’ve taken them all; Ambien, Ambien CR, Lunestra; if it’s prescribed for sleep, I’ve been on it. They all worked well for 6-12 months, and then they would stop working. Throughout my healthy living journey, I have become crunchier and crunchier, so almost every natural option you can think of, I have tried as well.
Last summer, I was so desperate, I turned my home into an apothecary and started making tinctures with the hopes that one of these potions would be the magic bullet sleep aid. My insomnia was two fold. I have trouble falling asleep and I also have trouble staying asleep. While researching natural remedies for insomnia, I stumbled upon information about magnesium deficiencies.
Magnesium deficiencies are difficult to diagnose because they are signified by the existence of a myriad of symptoms. When I reviewed the symptom list, I could tick off the majority of the symptoms as ones I had. I started to think that a magnesium deficiency might be to blame with my insomnia and a few other symptoms on the list.
Here is an abbreviated list of symptoms/ailments caused by a magnesium deficiency:
- Muscle Cramps/Charlie Horses
- Balance Issues
- Chronic Fatigue
- Poor Memory
- Type II Diabetes
While the tinctures were brewing in a dark closet, I set out to increase my magnesium intake. I decided to try a combination of taking magnesium orally in the form of Natural Calm and transdermally with Magnesium Oil. Natural Calm is a magnesium supplement in powder form that you can mix into water or any drink. I just happened to have some in my pantry that my mom had left behind during one of her visits. For some reason, I thought it was some sort of natural laxative like the Smooth Moves’ tea and never paid it any attention. It does have a laxative effect if too much is taken, though.
Magnesium oil is really more of a concentrated salt solution than an actual oil. It feels slick like oil and I suppose that is how it gets it’s name. Buying magnesium oil can be very expensive, so I chose to make it instead. I buy a bag of magnesium chloride flakes from Amazon and I dissolve 1 cup of the flakes in 1 cup of water that has been brought to a boil. Once cool, I pour the solution into a spray bottle.
Every morning I take about half a teaspoon of the Natural Calm with my coffee and I spray the magnesium oil on my body after a shower. At night before bed, I brush my teeth with a bit of magnesium oil. I have been sleeping very well. I first noticed a difference after about two weeks and found that I was getting sleepy in the evenings, falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night. When I woke up in the morning, I felt rested; I used to always feel tired, sleepy and groggy before.
Another benefit I have gotten from supplementing with magnesium is that my teeth have gotten “better.” They seem stronger and are no longer sensitive. I can drink and eat very cold foods and drinks without feeling any sensitivity. I’ve also started using the magnesium oil as a deodorant. Apparently, it has odor blocking properties, but I am very curious to see how well it works once it gets warmer outside.
It makes me wonder if I have been suffering from a magnesium deficiency since childhood. If that has been the case, I am glad to have found out now. I’m am beyond ecstatic to be able to fall asleep, for the most part on my own. The biggest test will be to see if this lasts for more than a year. So far, so good.