Natural cures for insomnia

Tossing and turning all night, sleeping so light that every creek and cricket chirp wakes you up, your brain won’t stop no matter how exhausted you become…..Sound familiar?  If so this post is for you!

“Insomnia is defined as difficulty initiating, or maintaining sleep at least 3 nights per week, in addition to complaints of sleep-related daytime impairment.”-University of Maryland Medical Center

We need sleep to function properly, in fact most adults need at least 8 hours of sleep per night but hardly any of us are actually achieving this goal consistently.  There are many adverse side effects to not sleeping well including; memory loss, irritability, impaired abilities, physical ailments and more.  Causes for insomnia vary and may include; hormonal imbalances, health issues, stress, medication side effects and/or external circumstances such as noise1.  Getting to the bottom of the cause of your insomnia is an important first step in addressing the issue.  Take a hard look at your days, are there things that you could change that are causing you to lose sleep at night?  Your health is more important than anything and you may have to make major changes to create an environment that promotes optimal health.   Just remember that you will thank yourself later:)  You may also want to consult with your health care providers to make sure your medications, herbs, hormones and any underlying issues are thoroughly investigate as a source for your sleepless nights.

In addition to lifestyle and medication adjustments you might try some or all of the following natural cures for insomnia:

  • Massage-The National Institute of Health has stated that Massage Therapy can improve sleep2.  Massage decreases the stress hormone cortisol and norepinephrine, which causes vasoconstriction and increased heart rate by safely relaxing the autonomic nervous system3.  Massage is a great way to relax and find freedom from pain so if stress or injuries are keeping you up at night this is an excellent option!  Feel free to book your appointment online today with us at or give us a call if you have questions:  503.473.8515 also check out these great self massage techniques to find relief now:

  • Acupuncture-“Some reports suggest that certain acupuncture procedures have a nearly 90% success rate for the treatment of insomnia. Through a complex series of signals to the brain, acupuncture increases the amount of certain substances in the brain, such as serotonin, which promote relaxation and sleep” University of Maryland Medical Center.  Acupuncture addresses each person as a whole which means it is working toward balance of the entire system.  This can be extremely important when working to cure something as complex as insomnia.  Acupuncturists also have many tools at their disposal such as herbs, lineaments, nutritional guidelines, traditional Chinese Massage techniques and more.  Feel free to book your appointment online today with us at or give us a call if you have questions:  503.473.8515

natural cures for insomnia

  • Melatonin-Melatonin supplements help induce sleep, particularly in people who have disrupted circadian rhythms (such as from jet lag or shift work), or those with low levels of melatonin (such as some people with schizophrenia). In fact, a review of scientific studies found that melatonin supplements help prevent jet lag, particularly in people who cross five or more time zones.  Speak to your health care provider to find out if melatonin is the right choice for you.

  • Diet and exercise-It is no secret that we are greatly effected by what we put into and how we use our bodies.  Our motto is everything in moderation unless it really doesn’t make you feel good and then maybe it is time to cut it out.  A foundation of healthy food is key to this idea, food is our fuel and it is so important that each meal has a good serving of a healthy protein and vegetables.  We are not saying that you should never eat potato chips again, just do your best to make the majority of your choices healthy ones so that when your body is processing the not so good stuff it doesn’t have to work as hard.  This goes for exercise too!  Our bodies were made to move in a variety of ways, make sure you are getting exercise most days and switch it up.  Walk one day, bike the next or find classes that you love such as yoga and weight lifting or boot camp and swimming.  Your body and mind will thank you and we guarantee you will sleep better at night!

The moral of the story is you have to put YOU first and choose a lifestyle that promotes optimal health.  This may require a good spring cleaning of you routines, especially when it comes to food, exercise, medications and stress factors.  We are here to help and can offer an objective insight on what might be contributing to your brand of insomnia!  If you have questions about this article or have found other natural remedies for those long sleepless nights please share, we are always open to ideas!  Thanks for reading and feel free to share.


1.University of Maryland Medical Center; Insomnia; January 2012;

2. AMTA; Massage Therapy Can Help Improve Sleep; October 2012;

3.  Massage Magazine;  Research shows massage therapy relaxes the autonomic nervous system; November 2011;

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have”-Eckhart Tolle

I normally steer clear of sharing too much of my personal life online but today I feel compelled and perhaps it is just the only thing one can do when they are facing the grief of losing a loved one.  This post is to honor my ancestors who have passed and to remind us all that this life is short and is meant to be lived in love and gratitude.  The catalyst for this post is the passing of a wonderful woman, my aunt, Rest In Peace Aunt Kathy-thank you for your love, even from afar.

We all know that death is a part of this life and at some point we will each most likely experience the devastation that comes with the loss of a loved one no matter how unexpected, expected or planned for.  Today my family grieves the loss of yet another of our matriarchs, another rock that holds our walls in place.  It is so strange and amazing what times like this do to our lives: we begin to remember that this life is not forever, how important our friends and family really are, the things we have and have not said, the places that we have given forgiveness and the others that we have not, our priorities shift suddenly and every moment seems more drawn out.

I remember the first time I experienced this phenomenon, though I had known death long before this incident, it was in high school that I first understood it’s impact.  An acquaintance of mine, but close friend of my close friends committed suicide and although I did not know her well I was impacted by the way the world felt different with her absence.  I recall thinking to myself how the grass, air, sun, morning dew and just everything seemed different somehow.  The revelation that the world keeps moving despite this great loss was almost too much for my young brain to comprehend.  I have since lost many incredible people in my life and every time I am in awe of learning the same lessons again.  Each time I do my best to remind myself  to continue to give each moment that same weight but somehow that knowing slowly fades.   I see now that this is one of life’s big challenges:  to learn how to be truly present in each moment.

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have”-Eckhart Tolle

I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank my ancestors that have passed, in particular my Dad, Grandmother, Grandfather, Uncle and Aunt for giving me so much:  My eyes, my smile, my laugh, my ability to recognize the importance of family, the great joy of being silly and taking things in stride, my ability to adapt, my sincerity, my generosity, my love of the outdoors, my strength, my vulnerability, my spirit, my love of life, my adventurousness and so much more.  I absolutely would not be who I am today without each of your contributions to my life.  Thank you also for your influence on all those that are still enjoying this lifetime-my family, cousins, mom, siblings, niece and nephews.  To all of you: no matter how often we see each other your presence on this planet makes my universe more rich.  I hold a sacred space for you right now as we see this lovely lady off to join the ranks of greatness that await her.

I share this because I know many of you can relate, in my personal list of clients alone there are many whom have shared with me their sadness of loss whether it be recent or long ago.  This type of weary grief sticks to you, often finding a place in your body, mind and spirit to lay it’s heavy head.  By loving ourselves and sharing our experiences we make space for healing and though we may always carry some of the pain of missing our loved ones we must do what we know would make them happiest-Live without limits and celebrate the goodness of their lives.

massage for grief

Here are some tips and resources for you if you are experiencing the massive grief of losing someone you love:

  • Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams-A book that I have read many times and never fails to make me laugh and cry, it deals with the issues of death and dying entwined with a beautiful story of the author’s life.

  • Hospice on bereavement-My dad was in hospice before he passed and I found their literature to be very comforting. It helped me to recognize the stages of my own grief as well as my families.

  • Some of my personal takes on the bereavement experience:  remember that you probably won’t be yourself for a while and that there are many stages of grief that can last for quite some time.  Cut yourself some slack, rest, remember to eat,  spend time alone but don’t isolate yourself from your support network.  Don’t sabotage yourself-ask for/allow for help when you need it.  Don’t make decisions too hastily, rely on someone that you trust who is less affected by the death to help you with important matters.

  • Take care of yourself in whatever ways work for you.  Stress and grief are hard on your mind and body which means you need to take extra good care of yourself during this time.  Eating healthy, drinking water, exercising and doing your best to get enough sleep are the first steps in keeping your energy up for what lies ahead.  Body work such as massage, acupuncture, energy work etc… can be very healing during times of loss because they allow you a safe space to be quiet but not alone.  Body work also helps with releasing endorphin’s, reducing the stress hormone cortisol, improving circulation and promoting restorative sleep.

People deal with death in many different ways and you have to find what works for you to make it through the process without self destructing, most importantly remember that it does get easier and you will find happiness again.  Above all love up the people close to you and live a full and joyful life!  Thank you for taking the time to read this post and feel free to share your tips for surviving the grief process as well as the stories of your loved ones who have passed with us.  I send each of you my sincere love and gratitude and hope you know that whatever role you play at WOTB is significant and wonderful. Have a beautiful sunny day!


Avoid daylight savings induced zombification

Saturday night I had the pleasure of hosting an incredibly fun 16 year old’s birthday party that included a super cool game called “essence” where one person internally chooses another person in the room and everyone else has to ask questions about the mystery persons essence to find out who it is ie. “If this person were a flower what type of flower would they be?”.  After several rounds of essence, snacks, two delicious types of cake and much fun and laughter we had a fabulous time beating the crap out of a homemade piñata!

piñataHow is it that teen parties can be so much more fun than many adult birthday parties?

This party would have normally ended at the reasonable hour of midnight but of course with daylight savings robbing us of our precious hour we were still cleaning up around 1am.  Needless to say I was shocked when I finally met the pillow a little after two and didn’t wake up until almost noon the next day!  I never sleep that late! I don’t know about you but the week after we spring forward is one of the most difficult weeks of the year for me.   I tend to spend the week in various stages of sleep deprived zombification, so if you interact with me this week please know that my brain is only half alive.

With that said my intention was to write a few tips and tricks on how to survive the insanity of regaining our evening sunlight, however, someone beat me to it.  Massage Book wrote an excellent blog post with great tips on a few ways you can avoid becoming one of The Walking Dead.  Instead of re-writing what has already been done very well I thought I would share:

Don’t let Daylight Savings take away your sleep!

-excerpt of blog post by Massage Book original post 3/5/14


Nap the right way

Taking a nap during the day can be great for productivity and fabulous for health, but you’ve got to do it right. Aim to nap for 20 to 25 minutes; any longer than that and you’ll feel groggy when you wake up and you risk not being able to fall asleep when it’s bedtime. (If you really want to get good at power naps, there’s a whole kit to help you get it right.)

Be mindful of the temperature.

Take a warm (not hot) shower or bath about an hour before bedtime, and keep your room cool at night. The drop in body temperature signals your body to calm so you’ll fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.

Turn off the electronics.

OK, so you’ve heard this one. But it’s the most important and the least followed piece of advice.

Get an old-fashioned alarm clock, so you don’t need to use your phone. Turn your phone, iPad, Kindle, or whatever you’ve got off, and put the devices in another room. Yes, a completely different room.

You may think a phone on silent, hanging out on your nightstand, won’t disturb your rest, but it will. Just knowing it’s there puts your body on alert. It’s far too tempting to reach over and “just check a few emails” if you do wake up in the middle of the night. Save yourself. Break this habit.

Get a massage

Yup. Massage can help with sleep issues. There have been several studies demonstrating the efficacy of massage in people with sleep problems, especially when treating secondary issues that may impair sleep, like back pain, pregnancy and migraines.

For more tips check out Massage Book’s full original article here:

Sleep like a baby

It’s time to get some sleep