Thursday, October 11, 2018

Ordinary Days And Sleep Advice Please

Cutest book ever-a nice old-fashioned story with a SUBTLE message which you can only find in vintage books.


I came home one morning from errands and opened the door to the basement to do laundry, and this is what I saw.  My scrapbook shelf collapsed!!!  Six neat piles, exploded.  I almost cried.  I haven't even touched it yet, I keep stepping over it.

I send my older kids pictures of my cookies all the time so they get homesick and want to come visit.


Eating lunch with this high schooler is a highlight of my week.  He's hilarious and so smart and eats a ton.

This is how we know it's officially fall.  Dead squirrels every where.  Falling off lines, and out of trees and being murdered by cars.  I'm always afraid I'm going to step on one when walking. 

And here's my help request:

For years I've woken up at 3 am every single night no matter what time I go to bed and I am so tired all the time.  I hate it.  I thought it was peri-menopause, but after chemo, that's not possible.  I HAVE TO SLEEP.  I don't want to take prescription medication.  Melatonin doesn't seem to work for me.  I don't have trouble falling asleep usually, I have trouble staying asleep for more than 4 hours.  And usually after I wake up at 3 am I can't go back to sleep.
(I don't drink soda or coffee, and I do exercise every day.  I don't eat before bed, and I hardly eat any sugar either.)

Does anyone else have this problem and if so, what has worked???
Help, I'm desperate.  

62 comments :

  1. Try a weighted blanket. It made a huge difference for a friend who had major sleep issues.

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  2. Have you ever tried Natural Calm? Was recommended to me by my MD.
    I was sick and needed surgery last spring, after 10 days in the hospital, my sleep schedule was definitely disrupted. It took me a while to try the calm, but I do think it helps.

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    1. Yes I tried it-didn’t help. But thank you!

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  3. I've had the same problem and my GYN suggested Adrenal fatigue. I started taking a supplement called Cortisol Manager by Integrative Therapeutics
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0031TRUOG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1
    I was skeptical but surprised. I started with 1 right before bed and it worked, sometimes I needed 2 but if I started waking up groggy with 2, I'd go back down to 1. Now I don't need it at all anymore but I know it works if I need it. I've also started some mental health self-help :) I'm reading Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey and it's been amazing for my stress and anxiety levels. A Divine Mercy chaplet never hurts either - 3 AM/PM is the hour to offer that chaplet. Good luck! So happy to have you back on your blog- it's done wonders for me over the years and grateful you are healthy. Peace be with you!

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    1. Tried it. Made me wake up more. Divine Chaplet is something I will try now! I say rosary and that does help me sometimes get back to sleep.

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  4. I forget the podcast I heard it on, but for sleep issues in women they suggested eating a healthy but high-carb, high-fat snack before bed. Something like berries and cream. They said it was because of a hormone dip in the middle on the middle of the night, and being full of such a snack would prevent that. Worth a try?

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  5. My husband is a sleep medicine physician and he recommends that you go get a sleep study. If you're waking up after four hours, that is right as you enter REM sleep, which means there is likely a physical reason you cannot sleep, such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, etc.... a sleep study could likely give you some answers since they analyze your brain waves as you're sleeping. Good luck-- sleep deprivation is so awful :(

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  6. Have you tried 2 Benadryl before bed? When I get that type of insomnia, I can often take 2 Benadryl before bed for a few days to a week and it often breaks the insomnia cycle for awhile.

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    1. Can’t do Benadryl-makes me feel awful.

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  8. Ear plugs. Since it is the same time something may be waking you up like a car, A neighbor going or coming from work, your water heater, etc. and you don't even realize what woke you up.

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  9. I don't have any magical sleep cure for you. I wish I did... But I did want to say that I just love how real you are and I find great wisdom from what you share on your blog! You make me laugh (dead squirrel picture!), you make me want to read more (to my kids and for myself) and you make me ponder how I can be a better mom. I will definitely need to remember that cookie picture trick!

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  10. I do the same thing about 2 times a week. It used to be more. A few suggestions- DO NOT look at the clock. Try to empty your mind of thoughts. Last night I said a whole rosary sans rosary and then said amen over and over. If all else fails, change your venue. I sometimes go to a different bed or the family room couch. I just read an article yesterday that says not to take over the counter meds such as Benadryl or Tylenol PM every night because a study linked the practice to a higher incidence of dementia.

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  11. A bowl of ice cream before bed. Seriously - the combo of fat and protein and sugars keeps the body asleep. Just half a cup! It's worth trying :)

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  12. I'll second the sleep study or at least a sleep specialist visit. I went to a consultation for my kids at St. Luke's Hospital Sleep Medicine Center for my kids, and it was SO helpful!! I put it off for so long both times (once for my 6yo and once for my 2yo triplets), and both times I kicked myself for waiting. I learned a lot, and realized that sleep is a medical need just like an injury, allergies, etc, so why did I hesitate to seek medical advice? We didn't have to do any drugs or supplements or anything, but I realize kids are different. Good luck! It is SO frustrating to be that tired all the time!!

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  13. I was going to suggest a sleep study if melatonin doesn’t work.

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  14. I started having insomnia as well, and it's because my recent chemo treatments put me into menopause. The symptoms of menopause can last up to 4 years after period stop, so it could be that. I try not to worry about insomnia - worrying about not sleeping seems to make it worse. - it happens, I get some water, I play solitaire on my tablet until I get sleepy again. I can be awake for a few hours. However, I usually up with one of my daughters a few times a night so I'm used to night wakings anyways. My husband's insomnia responds well to Tylenol PM ( melatonin stopped working for him to keep him asleep at night just like you). I hope you find something to help you!

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  15. Glass of milk helps me fall back asleep. Doesn't have to be a huge glass. Also I notice on days I do yoga I sleep like a ROCK that night. Hope you find relief soon! I've had the same issue off and on since 45. It must be hormones.

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  16. Sarah your problem sounds similar to another blogger I follow. Here's a link to her post on curing a similar sleep problem. I hope it helps. xo http://a-life-from-scratch.com/my-struggle-with-insomnia/

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  17. I was going to suggest looking into adrenal fatigue/adrenal health as well. It's typically associated with a 3 am wake up call.

    But a sleep study sounds really like it might help!

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  18. Another supplement to give a go - magnesium glycinate, and/or magnesium spray (on your feet before bed)

    https://www.amazon.com/Pure-Encapsulations-Magnesium-Glycinate-Physiological/dp/B0058HWV9S/ref=sr_1_6_s_it?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1539272901&sr=1-6&keywords=magnesium+glycinate

    https://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Minerals-Magnesium-Zechstein-Chloride/dp/B001AD0HL8/ref=sr_1_8_s_it?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1539272932&sr=1-8&keywords=magnesium+spray

    I feel ya! I didn't sleep more than a couple hours a night for a good two years. Combination of thyroid antibodies, adrenal fatigue, and anxiety.

    Hope you find some relief!

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  19. I suffer from this since childhood. What usually (not always!) works for me is a combination of things: melatonin (but that’s only to help me fall asleep which is probably why it doesn’t keep you asleep), MAGNESIUM OIL SPRAY on my legs right before bed, a high fat snack 1hr before bed, and if I wake up, I grab my rosary. Someone once told me that a 3am “wake up call” is God’s way of inviting us to carry on the prayer vigil for those who cannot.

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  20. I have little to offer sleep-wise but just wanted to say I'm so happy you've been healthy enough to return to posting. Your posts have been such a gift for so many years. Bless you as you seek a solution to wakefulness. My instinct like others above is calcium (in the high fat form) before bed. I've also read that there was a time in history that people had "2 sleeps":Four hours, then wake up for a couple hours to stoke the fire etc., then return to bed for another 4 hours of sleep. But I can't see this working in our culture with electricity and schedules that don't permit setting aside 12 hrs to accomplish one night's sleep! But it's something to think about for those that can't sleep more than 4 hours at a time.

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  21. I was super tired all the time and having a hard time sleeping at night. Had blood work done and I was deficient in lots. I now take vitamin d3, b-12, magnesium and iron per my doctor and it helps so much. She said magnesium would help with sleep and the others with energy and mood.

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  22. I have this problem too. I read that just getting up when you wake at 3a.m and staying up all day-not napping until your bedtime could help. I just cant get up at 3a.m. -it seems wrong- but I will doze and pray until a suitable hour-I try for 5a.m. Sometimes its 4:00. Then I do tend to sleep more soundly at night. Make sure to get physical activity during the day though. Treadmill walking is my second thing to do after a cup of tea :) We started fostering a newborn seven months ago and boy did I go back to sleeping well!!

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  23. I haven't read all the comments but in case Magnesium hasn't been suggested I will :) magnesium oil rubbed all over your feet or legs at night consistently before bed will help. Healthfood stores sell bags of it and it just is dissolved with water.

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  25. A friend recently told me that a supplement called 5-htp is very helpful in helping a person stay asleep. You take it before bed/during the day.

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  26. It is hard to recommend one thing as everyone is so different, and there are many helpful suggestions already listed. As at least a part-time insomniac myself, I have found many valuable and helpful suggestions here:

    http://www.nosleeplessnights.com/

    I can certainly empathize with the frustration, and can only say sleep problems seem to be both very common to have and very difficult to fully overcome. But it can get much better without the use of prescription meds! God bless.

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  27. I have the same problem - i usually wake up between 1 and 3 am to use the bathroom and can't fall back asleep. i started keeping a 5 mg melatonin by my beside and i just take it when i wake up to use the bathroom and i can usually fall back asleep within about 15 minutes, and i am rarely groggy the next morning.

    Good luck! (and I made your apple fritter bread yesterday and it's delicious!)

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  28. Magnesium and Kiwi before bed - I sleep fine but my husband does not and says this helps.

    I'm more concerned about dead squirrels? I've never heard of such a thing. We have lots of squirrels in our neighborhood - LIKE A LOT! - and none of them are dead!

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    1. We always get tons of dead squirrels too. I nicknamed our road “Where squirrels go to die” bc they’re everywhere!

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  29. I feel your struggle. I find the melatonin gummies seem to work for me. I don’t know why. I take 1.5 servings. In mine that is 3 gummies. I also recreate how I fall asleep. I know this sounds strange but if you read to fall asleep, get up, turn the lift on and read. Don’t just toss and turn. A sleep mask might help. A weighted blanket is a thought. A small fan on my bedside table helps. The sound as well as the breeze. The older I get a find I wake hot and this helps be stay cooler as I sleep.

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  30. I listen to Dateline or Law and Order. Something about the droning on of the voice helps me go back to sleep. I also say the Lord's Prayer again and again. It stinks with the not sleeping. My co-workers and I complain to each other about it all the time

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  31. Here’s what I learned from a Sleep Specialist I consulted: if you can’t get to sleep, get up after 10 minutes (estimate, don’t check the clock), leave your bedroom, sit comfortably elsewhere and read something interesting and not too stimulating. Do this for about 20 min and go back to bed. Repeat if you don’t get to sleep within 10-15 min (again, estimate). I’ve rarely had to do this three times, usually once or twice does the trick. No screens of any kind while you’re up. I also use the Calm meditation app and listen to one of the sleep stories while I’m in bed. Very soothing. But getting up and reading, as above, has never failed me. (Good thing, because the sleep specialist was very expensive—cognitive behavioral therapist). Good luck. PS—never read IN bed.

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  32. I have suffered from insomnia since my 20-year old was born and it has never gone away. I am now working with a health coach and she has me taking L-Theanine and Glycine 1 hour before bed. It calms the system down tremendously and helps my mind from racing once I get to bed. (I order it through amazon) Hope this helps!

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  33. A new vitamin has recently been discovered. Vitamin MePA— many benefits including improved sleep in many of the users. I highly recommend. Another benefit— early studies are showing that this long lost vitamin may be active against cancer.

    Go to this website to get more info (scroll down on the page for testimonials) http://www.biblicalchronologist.org/products/vitamin_MePA_testimonials.php

    Go here to read the story of the discovery. https://treasuringhome.com/2018/03/20/whats-all-this-about-a-new-vitamin-part-one/

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  34. All the magnesium! I highly recommend the magnesium oil spray on your feet and legs before bed. Also “jigsaw” brand magnesium supplement (can buy on amazon) take up to 4 every night before bed. Give this a few weeks and I’d be surprised if it doesn’t help. Magnesium levels take awhile to build up. Also a woman near your age that I know had the exact same problem and I had her try an essential oil blend in a balm that you rub on your feet at night before bed. Within a couple weeks it had “cured” her. I’d be happy to send you some if you would like to try it.

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  35. I’m a Breast Cancer survivor (I have lived with stage IV for five years now -had BC a total of 8 years-I’m only 44 years old ...long story. Anyway -I’m NED (No evidence of disease) and doing great. I was on hormone blockers for a long time in addition to my regular maintenance infusions. Had a fulll hysterectomy as well so no hormones caused horrible sleep issues...my Oncologist at Winship EMORY in Atlanta recommended ACUPUNTURE-she does nothing but treat patients with breast cancer. Us patients have been deprived or any hormones whatsoever and she said Acupunture was the thing she recommended over anything. She said her patients says it’s the advice that helped them the most! I tried it for myself and YES, it totally worked for me! Worth a try!! Chemo reeks havoc on your entire body and things are pretty messed up for awhile so I’m not surprised you’re having issues. I’m so sorry! Hope this helps!

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  36. Are you doing yoga? Through so many years of on-off practice, I find it's the BEST sleep remedy ever. Its remarkable how well I sleep the nights after doing yoga, whether it's hard core physical ashtanga or super slow and easy meditative breathing stuff. I don't really have sleep issues, so can't tell if this will help you, but it's taken me through some really rough parts of my life without me buying into all the soul-changing mumbo-jumbo of it. It does something physical that for me at least results in sleeping like a log even in times when sleep is challenging.

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  37. I had (and still occasionally have!) this exact same problem! I could set a clock by waking up at 3 am. If it's so regular like that, it's usually hormonal, and I can definitely tell when I take magnesium that it helps. Also B vitamins are good to be taking AND I eat a small handful of almonds right before bed; helps keep your blood sugar regulated while you sleep. (If I skip the magnesium and vitamins for a few nights I start waking up again at 3, and I have found it helps to take them at dinner or right before bed, not first thing in the morning.)

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  38. I do that too very often someone told me to take 2 tums before bed and I think it helps a little I also think my Doterra oil called serenity helps a little too. It’s so anoying to be tired and not be able to fall asleep. I love your blog and are so happy you are back!

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  39. Are you a really light sleeper? Ear plugs are a must for me, else I wake up at every sound. Even so, I go through spells where I wake up in the middle of the night and cannot shut my mind down. If I can just keep from thinking too much, I can usually fall back asleep, but once I start going down those middle-of-the-night rabbit trails in my mind, it's awful. If I start thinking about things I need to deal with the next day too much, I grab a pen and write them down so I can stop thinking about them and go to sleep. It only happens to me a few times a month. I cannot imagine dealing with it every night. Have you ever had your thyroid tested? Hypothyroidism can do weird things to a body. Hope you find something that helps!

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  40. I was having the same problem. I now take one benadryl before bed. Works like a charm. I hope this helps you, too. I recommend NOT buying generic.

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  41. I'm sure you've tried nearly everything, but here's what works for me... When I'm lying there awake I try to conjure up beautiful, detailed memories from our travels. If my mind starts wandering towards my worries, I try to bring it back to my lovely memories and I fall asleep trying to create those pleasant thoughts in my head. Sometimes I'll also try reading a boring, technical book that isn't interesting to me at all, but I'll try to keep reading through the words even if I don't absorb any of it. That usually puts me to sleep in a few minutes. I read it in bed (or on the couch with a blanket) because once I'm feeling drowsy and the book starts flopping onto my chest it's nice to just roll over and turn out the light and not have to get up and go somewhere to go back to bed - which would wake me up again. Good luck and I'm loving hearing from you on a regular basis!

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  42. I went through something similar earlier this year when my dad was in hospice and after he passed away. I could fall asleep but then I would have a horrible dream and my mind would be racing and I couldn't fall back asleep. I thought I was going to go crazy from grief and sleep-deprivation. An acquaintance had suggested trying lavender oil but I hated the smell of lavender so I resisted. I finally bought some and tried it and it worked so incredibly well. After I tried the lavender, I liked that it worked but the lavender was just too much so I tried a blend of oils that included lavender and some other oils and that worked even better and was much more tolerable. My son (10 at the time) was also anxious but his problem was calming down to go to sleep at all and I tried the blend with him and he had (has, he uses it daily) a much easier time falling asleep. I just swipe a little on his pillowcase and do the same for me. I hardly use any at all because I just put my finger on the bottle and get the smallest amount out so the bottle I have will probably last forever at that rate. The blend I use is called Serenity from doTERRA. It has made a world of difference for me. I suggest it to everyone and have some friends who I've given it to who swear by it now too.

    Re: post-chemo, my husband had cancer as well and there's something that changes afterward. It's a shift that even he can't explain. I saw it with my mom and also my dad too. If you haven't tried counseling I highly recommend that too. But if you want to try the lavender or Serenity I really do love it, more so the Serenity. If you have a friend who sells doTERRA, check with her or let me know. I never thought anything like this would work, but I was desperate and also don't like to take things at all if possible. Good luck to you!

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  43. I take the generic Unisom with the ingredient Doxylamine succinate 25 mg (not the generic Benadryl, they sell both). It is over the counter and helps with the waking up during the night. I have taken it for years without any side effects.

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  44. Magnesium usually helps me with sleeping, especially that 3am waking up stuff. I recently started putting Natural Calm magnesium cream on the bottom of my feet at bedtime... maybe it’s the placebo effect, but I swear I’m sleeping better!

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    1. My daughter used some kind of magnesium recently and said it was the best sleep she ever had.

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  45. Small glass of wine or port before bed.

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  46. Some really good ideas above!

    I find ear plugs, an eye mask, and magnesium spray help. Sometimes I listen to a guided meditation to help me fall asleep. Think that a sleep clinic visit might give good information as well. Hope you’re able to get some rest soon.

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  47. For sleep...find someone who sells Young Living Essential oils and get yourself a diffuser and some oils. Amazing oils for sleep are lavender + cedarwood + peace & calming. Knocks me out every time. I'd be happy to send you some of mine to try if you can get your hands on a diffuser. (Lavender promotes relaxation; animals in the wild sleep beneath the cedarwood tree for the protection, rechargining and rejuvenation the trees bring them; peace & calming can relieve insomnia and can help to reduce anxiety, stress and tension.)

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  48. Hi Sarah, I haven't checked to see if anyone has suggested this yet, but.... google '4-7-8 breathing trick (or hack)' for sleep. I don't usually count anymore, but just inhaling through the nose, holding it for several seconds, then slowly exhaling calms my mind down enough to fall asleep gently. If that doesn't work or if we are traveling I take 1/2 of a "GABA Calm" sublingual lozenge. They really are a peaceful way to drift off!

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  49. Hi Sarah, I second the recommendation to try essential oils. And they can do much more than help you sleep! I find certain scents help calm me even when I'm out and about during the day.

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  50. This was a funny post!! I'll remember to use the cookie pictures! So sorry about the sleeping issue. I am with you! Falling asleep fine, awake at 3 am!

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  51. i am a newer follower and love your blog. I too have the same sleeping issues! I have found essential oils to be helping a little. I rub lavender oil on the bottom of my feet every night. Young living has an oil...peace and calming that I will sometimes diffuse and they helps a little as well. Good luck!

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  52. According to the Chinese Organ Body Clock, the time of awakening might point to problems with liver (1-3 am) or lungs (3-5am), winter time, and also to related emotional problems (anger; grief respectively). For example, for awakening due to liver, late dinner/snacking, fried or greasy food (incl. chocolate, fatty cheese), alcohol might aggravate the problems. In general, restorative yoga, herbal teas, essential oils, warm bath, relaxing music, avoiding blue light from electronic devices prior to bedtime might help. I hope you will your solution. Your blog has been such a big source of advice and inspiration to me for years! Love.

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  53. I use melatonin some, but also do well w/ Celestial Seasonings' Sleepytime Extra which has Valerian Root extract, or I take 3-4 Valerian Root capsules.....

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  54. I have been having that problem for about 10 years, I am now 61. I have to think it is hormonal, but lately it has been getting a little better. So frustrating.

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  55. I find ear plugs, an eye mask, and magnesium spray help. Sometimes I listen to a guided meditation to help me fall asleep. Think that a sleep clinic visit might give good information as well. Hope you’re able to get some rest soon.

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  56. Give this a shot, I ordered it through amazon. Natural Vitality Natural Calm Magnesium Anti Stress, Original, 16 oz. My daughter's pediatrician prescribed her Magnesium for tummy troubles and after some research I found that it helps with so many other things.

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