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Sleep On It

Get your zzz’s with a little help from homeopathy.

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You’ve probably experienced it at least once in your life—a sleepless night spent tossing and turning in bed, your mind wide-awake and racing with thoughts as the hours slowly tick by. Or maybe you’ve woken up from a deep sleep at 4 in the morning and can’t fall back to sleep. Sound familiar?

Insomnia, which is Latin for “no sleep,” is medically defined as the inability to fall and/or stay asleep. In a given year, roughly 30–40% of American adults say they occasionally have trouble sleeping, according to the National Center for Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health. A smaller percentage of adults, 10–15%, report having chronic insomnia (anything lasting longer than a month) over the course of a year.

There are numerous causes of insomnia, ranging from stress, marital problems, and grief to pain, depression, and medication use. It’s important to first rule out any underlying physical conditions that may be causing your insomnia. Beyond that, what can you do to get a good night’s sleep, which is vital to your health, mood, and energy?

Consider homeopathic remedies. They are 100% safe, have no side effects, and do not interact with prescription or over-the-counter drugs. “Homeopathy treats the individual,” says Avghi Constantinides, D. Hom., co-founder and director of the Los Angeles School of Homeopathy and founder and director of LA-based Centre for Life, an alternative healing center. “Homeopathy enhances your natural defenses and vital force, and helps restore your body to harmony and balance.”

3 Homeopathic Nightcaps

In terms of insomnia, Constantinides has had the most success with three specific remedies. People come to her because they don’t like the way they feel on prescription sleeping pills—they report waking up feeling “groggy” and “hung-over.” “They want to stop relying on a drug to fall asleep,” says Constantinides. “And with homeopathy, they can achieve that.” Here, Constantinides shares specific indications for her favorite sleep remedies. Choose the one that most closely matches your symptoms and personality.

1. Coffea cruda: This remedy, which comes from actual unroasted coffee beans, is ideal for people who are easily agitated. They get irritated and angry very quickly, says Constantinides, who describes the Coffea cruda personality, “as someone who goes from 0 to 60 very fast.” People who respond well to this remedy will typically also have a “clarity of mind,” characterized by alertness and racing thoughts. They may wake up all of a sudden and not be able to get back to sleep. Other symptoms that point to Coffea cruda include: sleeplessness caused by excessive coffee intake; disturbed sleep from dreams; difficulty sleeping due to either negative or positive events happening in their lives; and sensitivity to noises.

2. Nux vomica: This remedy from the strychnine family is suggested for those who tend to overindulge—on alcohol, food, nicotine, coffee, drugs, etc. They are awake because of over stimulating themselves, says Constantinides. The sleeplessness comes from abusing these things. Nux vomica is also indicated for people who are under a lot of stress (climbing the corporate latter, for example). They may wake up from stress, worry, or the least little noise at 3 a.m. with a rush of thoughts, unable to fall back asleep.

3. Ignatia amara: Also from the strychnine family and closely related to Nux vomica, Ignatia amara is ideal for insomnia caused by grief (e.g., the death of a parent or pet, the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, etc.). In general, people who suffer from anxious thoughts and feel depressed respond well to this remedy, says Constantinides. Other symptoms that typify Ignatia use include: jerking of the limbs when falling asleep; tossing and turning throughout the night; whimpering in sleep; sleepwalking; and nightmares (usually over a recent loss).

Nicole Brechka, who has been writing about natural health and nutrition for more than 15 years, is the editorial director of Amazing Wellness.

How to Use Homeopathic Remedies

Single remedies: Use pellets that have a potency of 30c; follow directions on the tube for dosage and take 10 minutes before bedtime for seven days in a row. Do not eat anything 15 minutes before taking the remedy, and do not touch the actual pellet, as the medicine is on the outside of the pellet, explains Constantinides. Simply tip the cap of the bottle straight under your tongue. “If you have the right remedy, your insomnia should clear up or at least reduce significantly within this time,” says Constantinides. You can then use the remedy on an “as needed” basis, such as once per week or month.

Combination formulas: These have a mix of popular homeopathic remedies and are designed to treat a specific health concern. “Blends are especially great for people new to homeopathy,” says Constantinides. “If one of the remedies in the formula relates to the person, it will work for them.” One of Constantinides favorites is Hyland’s Calms Forté. While this product does not contain any of the remedies mentioned above, Constantinides has many patients who find the product very helpful for occasional insomnia, especially when caused by anxiety and stress.

To learn more about homeopathy and read articles on how it can help treat a variety of health complaints, visit Constantinides’ website at

Good Buys:

Boiron Nux Vomica 30c

King Bio Sleep Aid (which contains Coffea cruda and Ignatia amara)

Hyland’s Calms Forté