Here are the instructions I give people in my practice when they cannot sleep:
First, the skill set:
Difficulty sleeping has to do with skill, as well as health. It is true, if your health is managed well, you will certainly be able to go right to sleep and stay asleep all night. That is what we will discuss next. On the other hand, in less than ideal circumstances, we can certainly still sleep, including falling asleep easily and falling back to sleep easily if they awaken. This is a skill!
The key to falling asleep is to give the mind direction which is pleasant and interesting. It also requires the skill of fully relaxing the body. Now, this last point also has to do with health. Toxicity and load on the body, inflammation and irritation from unhealthy microbiome, breakdown of microvilli after head injuries, etc...these are all disturbing to circulation and nervous system and sleep. If there is a history of brain injury from either trauma or stress, read the article "Keep Your Brain."
Like the first point of giving the mind a place to go, a path of stimulating imagination in interesting and delightful ways, so also relaxing the body is a skill. It is not a difficult one but it may require some tools in the beginning. The real problem is awareness. Many people are simply not aware of their bodies. They only register pain, not control and certainly not control of tension. Many physical exercises help with this, but for the sake of going to sleep, consider starting with this one: begin at the toes and contract them fully for 5-10 seconds, then release. Repeat this with the feet where you contract the arch. Then move to the ankles in both dorsiflexion and plantarflexion. Then the knee and the muscles of the upper leg, tightening all muscles at the same time as when you flex and show the bicep. Do the same at the hips, abdomen and back, pectorals and shoulders, arms and hands, neck and face. Each time as tighten, draw breath in and then as you relax let it out.
As your control increases, you will be able to simply relax each of these areas completely as you move up the body. Eventually, you will be able to suddenly relax when you want to and you will find that your brain will follow quickly behind.
If you have symptoms, such as heart pounding, bowel pain, aches or pains of any kind, etc, then the next skill to learn is to focus on that pain, not to push it away or wish it were not there, but rather to enter, embrace, feel completely the sensation such as it is.
Now, let us introduce the first supplement I recommend. This is Standard Process Chlorophyll. This supplement will remove pain remarkably well while calming the body. Simply chew up 3 Perles and then wash them down. This will usually relieve pain in about 5-10 minutes and is particularly effective at bedtime. Of course, it is harmless and can be used as much as seems needed.
All of the skills in the above discussion are SKILLS, meaning, they require practice to become proficient at them. As a child, I had many problems that would keep me from sleeping, including both pain and a disquieted mind. I practiced these very skills from a young age and managed to learn to fall asleep under almost any conditions and in any but the most intense pain.
Second, Helpful Supplements:
Min Tran from Standard Process: Going to sleep has everything to do with the brain being able to shut itself up and stop thinking so that the person may enter sleep. Min Tran is a simple blend, in the right proportions, of Kelp, alfalfa, calcium and magnesium. The amount of magnesium is quite small and taking large doses of magnesium to induce sleep is ill advised for several reasons. This formula, however, in fairly large doses (8-10 tablets) will help clear the electrochemistry of the brain, allowing it to quiet and let you sleep!
For stubborn cases, it is assumed that the Cerebral Spinal Fluid is also too alkaline. For these cases, we give 6 tablets of cal amo each day (taken at once with a meal).
Finally, Liver Transition Formula will help heal the brain overall. Some people need as much as 4 capsules 3 times daily to regulate mood and heal the brain over a few months.
Third, Healing the Body:
Healing the body overall, and eating only that which does not burden the body, is key once disease has found root in the body. One can begin with the low insulin diet called "Eating for Life" discussed here. Some may need to follow a more strict diet as found in the Low Inflammation Diet here.
For just a few minutes, let me discuss the principles briefly.
First, the idea is to lower the burden on the body which is created when processed and cooked foods are eaten. Food breaks down with processing and cooking and particles enter the blood which have not undergone normal digestive processes. These particles will stress the system in many ways and often contribute to the development of food sensitivies where the immune system attacks the gut and perhaps diverse tissues in the presence of certain foods.
Second, the idea is the lower the burden on the body by not overeating. There is an old adage which I think is at least as true today as it was 60 or 100 years ago. It goes like this: "About one third of what we eat keeps us alive. The other two thirds keeps the physicians alive."
I have found this literally to be true. In the Essene Gospel of Peace, which is alleged to be the words of Jesus as he visited the sick as a physician, the ideal diet is only one meal per day, though two meals is acceptable. The modern practice of three square meals and several snacks is kind of unreasonable. If a person wants to follow that plan, however, then lighter, simpler meals with a very high percentage raw is the only way to go.
Also in the Essene Gospel of Peace is the statement that we should never eat past 2/3 of satiation. In other words, if you have an idea how much food is needed to become satisfied, always stop a bit short of that, or, as Jesus is believed to have said, stop 1/3 of the volume short of that.
Third, eliminate confusion of the body by eating only foods which truly exist in nature as close to nature as possible. This does not require too much thought but it does require reading labels (or better yet, avoiding food which has a label) and learning enough to avoid genetically modified food and conventional produce which is totally dependent on pesticides and fertilizer to survive. Such foods are not giving us benefit to eat them unless the only other option is starvation. Indeed, eventually you will experience a type of nutritional starvation if you eat such things, even raw and whole. Included here is all manner of chemicals, dyes, preservatives, stabilizers, anti-caking agents, flavorings, etc. If it is not in the form in which it exists in nature or if it cannot be found in nature at all, our advice is to avoid it completely. Occasionally someone needs a drug for survival, but we would need a whole lot fewer drugs if we would take better care of ourselves besides.
Fourth, we need to eliminate obstructions in the body. You do not wake up from sleep abnormally unless there are bowel lesions. Healing these requires proper diet but it also requires herbs and supplements which repair the bowel. Dr. Christopher's Lower Bowel formula can be used by mouth as well as occasional (two days in a row each week, in the morning) enema. To heal the gut lesions, we recommend the Lower Bowel Formula (5 capsules) in 5 cups of warm water with 1/2 ounce of Echinacea Angustifolia tincture (alcohol extract). By mouth, the dosage varies greatly. Again, we recommend both by mouth and by enema concurrently to heal the lower bowel of lesions and toxic debris which can cause disease everywhere or anywhere in the body. The by mouth dosage is arrived at by taking 1 capsule with the evening meal. The next day if you don't go WOW! then take two with the evening meal. Continue increasing dosage until you are having 3 easy bowel movements per day. You may divide the dosage between lunch and supper if the number gets up above 6/day.
Fifth, keep the thyroid working. I have a blog on the thyroid, but the very most basic need is to get Thyroid Maintenance Formula, 6 first thing in the morning and again at bedtime. With the bedtime dose, take 5 Cataplex B12. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING to do for the thyroid is to massage it thoroughly at least daily, if not 2-3 times per day. The thyroid fills with fluid and drowns in slight hypoxia, unable to function. In this normally swollen condition, it also does not get good blood supply. It is quite simple to massage the thyroid until it starts working normally and has health again. The thyroid sits at the base of the throat. When massaging it, you should be bumping into the collar bones now and then because this insures you are in the right place. After about 20-60 seconds the fluid will leave and the area at the base of the throat will feel somewhat empty and hollow. If you keep massaging, in perhaps 20 more seconds the tissue will start to fill with blood. Once that occurs, the thyroid will begin working and, if the right nutrition is in the body, will start healing!
In the beginning, most people cannot feel the thyroid draining or awakening. In that case, simply massage with a slight lifting motion for 1 minute 1-3 times each day, the last time right at bed time.
These tools will insure that the person can learn to sleep and can also heal the body so that it sleeps naturally, as it did as a baby. Everyone knows how to fall and stay asleep. We all have done it from infancy.