Insomnia is a nightmare. The more exhausted you are - the harder it is to sleep. And taking prescription or over the counter medicine can cause addiction and disturbing side effects, which can make insomnia worse.

Insomnia can be due to many causes; such as, anxiety, caffeine, depression, low blood sugar, nutritional deficiencies, pain, reaction to prescribed medications, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, stress, tension and thyroid gland disturbances. There are also several types of insomnia.

Natural approaches for a good night sleep include avoiding certain foods, foods and beverages containing caffeine, getting enough exercise and proper nutrition, and practicing relaxation techniques.

Going to bed hungry can cause problems sleeping. Eating an ounce or two of a low fat, low protein, sweet, starchy food one hour before bedtime has been as effective as a sleeping pill for many people. Salty foods should be avoided at bedtime, they stimulate the adrenal glands.

Increasing your consumption of foods rich in iron and copper may improve your quality of sleep. When nervous tension causes sleep problems, drinking carrot juice combined with apple, grape, papaya, pear or pineapple juice may also be of help.

When a regular exercise program is part of your daytime schedule, an after dinner stroll or routine gentle bending and stretching exercise before bed can help relax tense muscles and help with the onset of sleep.

Supplements unlike pharmaceutical medicine, lead to a more natural sleep. In addition to a daily multivitamin-mineral supplement, separate supplements may be beneficial.

Vitamin B complex plus extra B5 (pantothenic acid) and B6 (pyridoxine) and inositol help promote a restful state.

A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours of sleep and then not be able to return to sleep.

Melatonin (a natural occurring hormone) used as a supplement may be a natural aid to better sleep. Additional health benefits include its role as an antioxidant, stimulation of the immune system and several parts of the endocrine system. It does not alter your sleep pattern like many prescription sleeping pills and it does not impair performance related skills.

Tryptophan (an essential amino acid) is found to be a safe and a reasonably effective sleep aid. Possibly due to its ability to increase levels of serotonin (a calming neurotransmitter). Foods with plentiful tryptophan include chocolate, oats, bananas, mangoes, milk, eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, red meat, fish, poultry, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame, chickpeas and peanuts.

Using herbs such as catnip, chamomile, hops, lady slipper, lavender, passion flower, skullcap and valerian root (capsules or extract) are all good and may help the insomniac.

Author's Bio: 

Edith Lingenfelter - webmaster of Age-old Herbs shows how "self defense" is natures oldest law and how to prevent your health concerns with natural healing herbs and herbal nutrition supplements. For better health and well being visit