Sleeping Beauty


Dear Dharma,

I have a parent who suffers from chronic pain and has great difficulty sleeping – falling asleep, staying asleep, you name it. Prescription drugs no longer help this situation as his system is immune to nearly everything after years of prescription use.

I would like to help by suggesting some natural remedies – do you have any advice on this? I realize you are not a doctor, but the information out there is slightly overwhelming and I would love some help narrowing it down.

Doting Daughter

Dear Daughter,

My heart goes out to those who can’t sleep.  I can’t even imagine.  Seriously, I can sleep standing in a corner.  I can sleep in the dead centre of a room with music and talking and people.  I can fall asleep on an airplane before it takes off and not wake up until it lands.  And I don’t even need to be all that tired.

My mom used to be the same, so I come by it naturally.  However, in the past few years her sleeping patterns have changed which pushed me to do some research, so here’s what I can share with you.

Melatonin is always the first go-to and I’ve known it to work very well – but not on everyone.  In fact, it had very little effect on my mom, so I found another possibility – Valerian Root – that worked quite well.

A white noise machine is very effective.  I’ve had one in my room for years and the ocean setting is my favorite.   They range in price, and you don’t necessarily need a high end one – this is what I have.

Scented things also help, and places like Essence and Sage sell “sleep” packages, which are very helpful.  And of course, tea is a popular remedy, particularly a high quality chamomile.

Behavioural changes are important as well, like no screen time 60 minutes prior to sleeping, and no caffeine in the afternoon.

These are all, in my opinion, easy to implement possibilities, so hopefully some or all of them work for your parent as they did for mine.

I’m afraid I don’t know as much about how to deal naturally with chronic pain, but I would think a naturopathic doctor would be of great help, as well as a good health/vitamin store, so I would look into that.



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  • vivienneh says:

    not sure if the chronic pain would restrict this, but stretching a few times throughout the day, and especially before going to bed, can be really helpful.

  • Greenie says:

    My Aunt suffers from nerve damage due to shingles so is on year three for chronic pain. A year or so ago someone introduced her to vaporized marijuana. The first time she used it she finally was able to sleep for four or so hours….in a row! She does say that it leaves her feeling a bit odd, but at least she can sleep.

  • […] while back I had a similar question, so I’ll start by sending you over to Sleeping Beauty.  You’ll find some great pointers to get you going in the right […]

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