I tossed and turned.
I had trouble falling asleep after 10pm.
Sometimes I’d fall asleep only to wake up with a racing heart. And stayed up hours.
I woke up just as tired or worse than when I went to bed.
It was frustrating to be totally exhausted but unable to sleep.
Note 2021: I wrote this post a long time ago.
If you want to learn more about fatigue and how to support your health and create a recovery plan, check out Jess at Study In Fitness. She has lots of current info and an amazing recovery story.
This article is not intended to be medical or any other kind of advice. It’s a part of my recovery story.
Consult your healthcare provider before starting any treatments.
My Struggles With Insomnia
I struggled with chronic insomnia for two decades. Mine was caused by burnout and everything that goes with that condition. I had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.
It took me a long time to get to the point of sleeping well and waking up refreshed.
I tried various natural remedies for insomnia and found some that worked for me.
The best way to fix adrenal fatigue insomnia: heal the adrenals.
I used these Essential Adrenal Supporting Supplements.
But I couldn’t wait till my adrenals were better. I needed to get some sleep.
As I mentioned, I suffered from insomnia for a couple of decades. It was horrible. I was so tired but couldn’t sleep.
My sleep was never restful. I used to get heart palpitations when I lay down. Kind of hard to fall asleep when your heart is pounding.
And often after I managed to fall asleep, I woke up with a racing heart.
I found myself in the frustrating position of being exhausted but unable to sleep. But realizing that I needed to sleep to heal, I looked into natural ways to help with the problem.
These are some of the things I learned about the importance of sleep:
- It gives the heart a resting period.
- During deep sleep, the muscles relax, and tissue grows and is repaired.
- White blood production can go up so the body can better fight viruses and bacteria.
- The lymphatic system is activated. This system removes waste from the brain, just like the lymphatic system gets rid of other organs.
Why Can’t I Sleep Between 1 and 4 AM
I learned that both high and low cortisol cause insomnia.
I often woke up between 1 and 4 am. I found out that it could be caused by a dip in cortisol level. (Obviously, this is not the only cause out there, but it’s the one that affected me.)
During that time, the cortisol levels are naturally the lowest. But if the level goes too low, the blood sugar level could drop too. Cortisol aids in blood sugar regulation.
The dip in glucose level can cause the body to produce adrenaline, and it can tell the body that it needs to bring up the blood sugar level. So, it’s like a protection mechanism.
I used to keep nuts or other snacks on my nightstand for the glucose level drops in the middle of the night.
Severe adrenal fatigue is fatigue that won’t go away with a good night’s sleep or two… or several.
These Natural Sleep Remedies Helped Me
I read on many sites that “go to bed before 10″. Or “go to bed when you feel sleepy”. That one can be tricky if you are a mom of small children.
Usually, I was at the point of collapsing out of exhaustion at bed time.
It can be frustrating finding natural sleep remedies that work. Here are some sleep inducing methods I tried.
- Peaceful bedtime routine
- Avoid watching TV or being on screen right before bedtime.
- Take a nice, warm bath. Some like the relaxing effects of Epsom Salt baths. Those were too much for me. I took one and was completely wiped out after it. I thought that my heart would stop beating.
- Have your spouse stroke your back.
- Listen to soothing music.
- Observe the breathing
- Press acupressure points.
- Eat some honey and a tiny bit of salt at bedtime.
- Set the temperature to a comfortable level. (This varies for me based on the season.)
- Open the window for a few minutes to let in some fresh air.
- Spend time outdoors during the day to keep your circadian rhythm functioning.
- Count back from 1,000.
I used these natural remedies for insomnia.
- Tranquinol by Premier Research Labs
- Deep Sleep by Protogenx
- Bio-Identical Melatonin by Protogenx
- Native Rest by Primal Force
- Valerian Root
- Sleep Ease essential oil by Eden’s Garden
- Good Night essential oil by Eden’s Garden
The ones that worked best for me were Deep Sleep and Native Rest. The latter is my favorite of the two. I used Native Rest successfully when traveling to Finland and dealing with the 7-hour time difference.
Too much melatonin can cause the opposite reaction. So I started with a small amount. I used 1-3 sprays of Native Rest.
Occasionally, I still use Native Rest or Essential Oils: Good Night or Sleep Ease. But most nights, I can sleep well without sleep aids. It is an awesome feeling to wake up feeling refreshed!
I noticed that it was better to switch between the sleep aids.
Don’t Give Up
Don’t get discouraged if healing takes a long time. The damage usually doesn’t happen overnight, neither does the recovery.
Even though I began sleeping better with the help of the supplements, I was exhausted for a very long time.
Wishing you peaceful, healing sleep and sweet dreams.