This is a vast topic. Insomnia affects a quarter of the Western world. The “open all hours” world we live in, means that our natural day/night patterns have become severely disrupted. Due to stress, noise, lights to name a few, our brains find it much harder to switch from the busy betawave activity we need to be alert to the quiet alphawave activity our brain needs to allow us to fall asleep.

No one functions well when they are short of sleep, often leading to compromised immune function and illness. Studies have shown that when driving, a lack of sleep can have a similar effect as alcohol. A lack of sleep also causes a generalised inflammatory response in the body leading to aches and pains as well as exhaustion.

It is worth noting that if you tend to wake up between 1 – 3 am, it is most probably due to your liver struggling to process the toxins in your body. If you wake up later at between 3 -5 am, this would indicate that you are suffering from stress induced adrenal exhaustion.


Caffeine: Surprise, Surprise ! Try not having any after 5:00 pm. Remember that this also includes tea, cola, chocolate and many over the counter cold and flu remedies.

Alcohol: This may put you to sleep initially, but you may well wake 2 -3 hours later with anxiety.

Food intolerance: The idea of warm milk before bed is a nice one, but an allergy to dairy will keep you up for hours. Don’t eat too much or too late.

Protein: We tend to favor this in the evening as it helps us keep our weight under control. Most protein (i.e. meats) increases the betawaves in our brain and wakes us up. So eat protein for lunch.

Cheese: This is the devil at night. The amino acids in it will keep you up and your mind active.


Carbohydrates: These will stimulate your alpha sleep waves and your serotonin happy hormones. So eat brown rice, sweet potatoes and grains in the evening.

Fruit and Vegetables: Avocados and bananas have high amounts of an amino acid called tryptophan that will really help you sleep. Lettuce has a power natural sedative called Lactucarium.

Turkey: If you want to eat meat at night, stick to turkey, this is also high in tryptophan and will help you sleep.

Valerian tea: This is a soothing tea and has similar properties to Valium. It will relax you and aid a restful night.


MyoComplex: Contains Valerian, calcium and magnesium. This is a great sedative complex. (1 tablet 3 times daily with food)

Somnolin: Contains 5HTP for increased serotonin and melatonin release as well as thiamine and B vitamins to sooth the nervous system. (2 tablets at bedtime).

Melatonin: This hormone balances our night/day pattern. (10mgs before bed).

(Available from NUTRI 0800 212 742)


  • Try and get up at the same time every day.
  • Turn off the TV and read a book for half an hour before sleeping.
  • Cranial Osteopathy, meditation and hypnosis will all help with insomnia.
  • Be intimate with you partner. Touching and kissing releases the happy hormone serotonin. Orgasms will cause a para – sympathetic release of the nervous system and aid sleep. If you don’t have a partner, be intimate with yourself..
  • Massage your chest with lavender, after relaxing in a hot bath, this will help slow your system down and aid sleep.
  • Don’t exercise late in the evening; it will keep you awake for hours.
  • Don’t work before bed, this will engage your betawaves and keep you awake.
  • Turn your clock away from you and don’t TRY and sleep, or you will just get frustrated and stay awake longer. This is the dilemma for all those that suffer from insomnia
  • Sleeping pills are great in the short term and will help you break the insomnia cycle. They are however very addictive and tolerance to them grows very quickly. So use them sparingly.

Sweet dreams.


  • Dr Marc Farah