5 Holistic Insomnia Remedies (that fix the root problems)

insomnia remedies

 Beyond “Band-Aid” Insomnia Remedies

The conventional medicine community looks at insomnia with the same view of so many other dysfunctions: they treat it as a symptom, without addressing the root causes. Sometimes, the “Band-Aid” approach with sleep drugs – either pharmaceutical or over-the-counter – can do more harm than good.

I approach all health problems with the question, “what are the underlying causes, and how do we treat the root causes so the symptoms disappear?” When it comes to insomnia, there are often these three factors (one, two or all three) at play:

The following five steps primarily focus on the hormonal aspect of insomnia. After struggling with insomnia for most of my life, these were the most important changes I made to improve my sleep.

1. Ditch the melatonin supplements

Many people reach for melatonin supplements as a “natural” sleep aid. I’m here to tell you: there is nothing natural about taking a hormone into your body! Melatonin is supposed to be produced by your body according to the circadian rhythm, and supplementing with this hormone – especially without the guidance of a medical practitioner – can throw of the delicate balance of other hormones.

For more information, please read my post Melatonin Isn’t a Sleeping Pill: 3 Reasons to Avoid Melatonin Supplements.

2. Balance your melatonin naturally

Don’t think I’m hating on melatonin! It is a crucial hormone for healthy sleep and wellbeing. I just don’t believe it should be carelessly supplemented.

Here are the 7  steps I take to balance melatonin naturally.

3. Use a wakeup light

I’ve only been using this wake up light for a few weeks, but I am hooked. A wake up light produces an artificial dawn, also called dawn simulation, to wake you up in the morning. The gradual light – a type of artificial daylight – gently pulls you out of slumber and can support healthier hormone balance throughout the day.

A wake up light can help balance two hormones that regulate our sleep cycles: melatonin and cortisol. Studies show that exposure to daylight in the morning helps spike cortisol (a good thing – cortisol should peak in the morning and diminish during the day). Research also shows that dawn simulation supports better melatonin balance throughout the day (read more in my wake up light article).

The most significant change I noticed after switching to my wakeup light? I feel much more rested in the morning, plus I no longer experience heart attacks from my blaring alarm clock. With my wakeup light, it is drastically easier for me to get out of bed.

Are you intrigued by a wake up light? You can get one for free! Read the bottom of this post for the deets :)

4. Get into parasympathetic mode

The Autonomic Nervous System has two major divisions: Sympathetic Mode (fight or flight) and Parasympathetic Mode (rest and digest). When we are chronically stressed, we get stuck in sympathetic mode. Unfortunately, this is another stressor on the body and leads to health complications, including insomnia.

In order to fall asleep and stay asleep, we need to trigger the parasympathetic mode for deep relaxation. Here are three simple steps to get into parasympathetic:

  1. Tapping the back of your neck – This is one trick I learned from a Qi Gong master who gave a demonstration in one of my classes. Flatten your hands, with your fingers together, and use the palm of your hands and fingers to firmly but briskly pat the back of your neck. Go up and down the back of your head and neck a few times.
  2. Stimulate the vagus nerve – The vagus nerve connects the digestive tract to the brain, and is responsible for shifting the body into parasypathetic. You can get into parasympathetic mode by activating the vagus nerve through a few simple exercises, such as deep breathing and chanting “OM.” One of my favorite ways to stimulate the vagus nerve is doing a few deep breaths and then allowing my mouth to fill up with saliva. Saliva production increases when you get into parasympathetic.

5. Change your sleeping surface

Holistic insomnia remedies that address the root causesI never thought I would get passionate about mattresses. But life is so weird… and here I am, researching and writing about how one’s mattress ties into one’s health.

It started when I learned the huge amount of toxins, including carcinogenic fire retardants, used to produce conventional mattresses. These chemicals offgass and are correlated with health concerns including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The point hit home when I realized the worst flareup ever of my autoimmune disease coincided with the week that I began sleeping on a new mattress, when offgassing is the worst.

Long story short, I got connected with IntelliBED because they create the best, safest mattress I’ve found. After struggling with insomnia my whole life, my quality of sleep drastically improved overnight when I switched to IntelliBED, because the mattress supports proper alignment and restorative sleep. Most importantly, I know that I am not inhaling off-gassing chemicals because I am sleeping on a non-toxic surface.

If you struggle with insomnia or are concerned about the toxins in your – and your children’s – sleeping environment, click here to watch my Holistic Sleep Webinar. Then, read more about my experience with IntelliBED here

Why I love IntelliBED for non-toxic sleep

There are just a handful of companies that I like enough to work with, and even fewer that I want to work with regularly. I love everyone at IntelliBED and deeply admire the integrity of the company. We both want to educate about sleep, because we believe it is so crucial to wellness.

Order online here and use my code EMPOWERED to save 10% off your purchase! (That’s really significant, especially if you get a King size mattress). If you prefer to call them to place your order, just tell them Lauren sent you.

I hope these insomnia remedies help you!


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  1. Lucianna Klamer says

    I have been experiencing extreme hair loss since taking prescribed medication and treatments following a severe workplace injury leaving me disabled and unable to work. Several other health issues have risen as well.Being on disability limits anything I purchase. I am looking forward to trying this method in the worst way especially if it can be purchased while I’m on disability!

  2. Laura Hernandez says

    Hi- Thank you for this information! I just ordered the pillow and can’t wait to use it! I’ve been waking up with neck problems lately because the pillow I’m using isn’t properly supporting my neck. Hopefully later down the line I will be able to get a mattress. I’m buying a wake up light too! Here’s to better sleep :)

    • Katie says

      Loved this article. Thanks for the great information! Happy to have found this helpful website. Does anyone know where I can get that free wake up light? It says in the article to look at the bottom of this article but I am not seeing it anywhere. Would love to get one. Thanks so much! :)

  3. says

    The Intellibed looks awesome, especially since it is used in hospitals to help heal bed sores.
    I decided I could afford the 3″ twin topper for $349 or could use the free financing and get a 6″ twin topper at $649 (plus a seat cushion).

    When I called to order the the 6″ topper, I was told it had been discontinued due to some quality issues and that the 3″ was now priced at $649. An 85% increase of $300!
    That was a shock, so I put the whole idea aside and looked at other options.
    I reconsidered because of the 10% discount, the money-back guarantee and the free light (didn’t want the pillow),
    I called again and was told that the mattress toppers did not include the free pillow and wake-up light — seems that extra $300 that was added in less than a week’s time should cover something.

    I hesitated again, but listened to a video that they emailed to me and it was pretty impressive, so I bit the bullet and ordered a 3″ topper since they pay the shipping back.
    Thanks, Lauren, for arranging the 10% off, which will cover the S&H for my order, so I won’t lose anything if I decide to return it.
    I hope it’s as good a product as they claim. But making that big of a price jump in the middle of a promotion, after I had already seen the original price, and there was no warning of an increase, and they acknowledged but refused to honor the price I had seen, seems a bit greedy, and most certainly poor customer service.

    A Happy and Healthy New Year to all of us., Kay

    • G says

      Wow….I am turned off by the $300 price increase during a promotion also. I agree that is greedy of them. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. DINA says


    • says

      The promotion was only a limited time and it is over now. But I’m working with IntelliBED right now to offer a new bonus with a mattress purchase!

  5. Ronnie says

    Dear Lauren,

    I’m never going to get to sleep now that I have to go to 20 different articles just to find out each step. This will keep me up till the morning.

    Sincerely, One Sleep deprived person!

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  9. Andrea says

    Hi, I’ve been reading your posts and am loving everything I’m finding on your website so THANK YOU!
    But I was looking on the websites for intellibed and found the all wool mattresses. I was wondering what you thought about those? I was actually more interested in the all wool ones than the intelliBED so if you can give me your input I would really appreciate it, thanks!

  10. Laura says

    I bought one of their pillows because it highly came recommended by you and it was such a waste of money. I tried to get used to it but it was so uncomfortable and gave me neck problems and I couldn’t sleep. I tried to adjust the pillow with no luck. I requested a refund by the company but they said NO, sorry we don’t take back pillows, you’re out of luck! Worst customer service ever! Not even a partial refund! SO glad I didn’t buy a mattress!!

  11. Judith34 says

    Hey there! I you’re suffering from insomnia let me tell you somenthing that worked really great for me :)

    Two months ago my life changed completly, I got fired from my job and two days later my boyfriend left me for another girl. By that time my head was full of thoughts and my nights started to be a nightmare, sleeping an average of two or three hours a night, leaving me tired and unable to concentrate the rest of the day.

    Two weeks ago I came across this website: http://sleepsync.co.nf, like you will see they promise you to “get 8 hours of unbroken deep sleep” using audio recordings. At that time I was really desperate and decided to give it a try… Thanks to god I’ve done that! I don’t really understand what this audio recordings contain (they’re so relaxing) but when I play them i fall asleep in minutes, they help me to keep my mind clear and without thoughts.

    I wanted share this because I know how fustrating can be having insomnia and if this worked for me probably will work for you too :)

    Hope this can be helpful for someone 😀

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