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Our 3 Favorite Ways to Fix Insomnia

Date: October 18, 2016      Publication: Bottom Line's Household Magic      Source:  Joan Wilen & Lydia Wilen      Print:

Sleep! We love it. But it can be elusive. If you experience occasional bouts of insomnia,* sleeping pills can be the quick fix you need…but hold your horses! Don’t spend your money on drugs that can harm your body. Try these simple, safe sleep tricks instead….

Can’t sleep? Look to your nose! The left nostril is connected to the right hemisphere of the brain. Breathing through the left nostril can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which counteracts stress and helps calm you and put you into a sleep mode. Here’s how to put that nostril to work to bring on the sleep you need…

Lie on your right side, which will help open your left nostril, then use the thumb or index finger of your right hand to close the right nostril. Take long, deep breaths through your left nostril for a few minutes…and you will feel much more relaxed and closer to sleep.

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Here’s a funky food mix to relieve insomnia: Cut a yellow onion in chunks, and place it in a glass jar. Cover the jar, and keep it on your night table. When you can’t fall asleep—or when you wake up and can’t fall back to sleep—open the jar, and take a deep whiff of the onion. Close the jar, lie back, think lovely thoughts, and within 15 minutes you should be fast asleep. No, you won’t cry yourself to sleep. There’s something in onions that relaxes muscles (so far science hasn’t figured it out). You also can slice a large onion and place the slices under your pillow…but that’s only if you don’t mind your sheets smelling like a salad.

And here’s an acupressure trick to help you snooze: Just before you go to bed, press the center of the bottoms of your heels with your thumbs. The easiest way to do this is to lie on your back (on a carpeted floor is best) and bend your knees, using your right hand on your left foot and left hand on your right. Press as hard as you can without cramping your hands. Keep pressing for at least two minutes—up to four minutes is even better. You should feel yourself starting to really relax, with tension leaving your body. Ease into bed for blissful ZZZzzzs.

*Chronic insomnia could be a sign of a serious condition. Be sure to discuss erratic sleep patterns with your doctor. Do not quit sleeping pills (or any prescription medication) without a doctor’s guidance.

Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen are health investigators based in New York City who have spent decades collecting "cures from the cupboard." They are authors of Bottom Line's Treasury of Home Remedies & Natural Cures and Bottom Line's Household Magic .