Coffin Remedies, also known as sleep aids for those of us whose dreams venture far and beyond the underworld, can take many forms. From Melatonin to Diphenhydramine, the natural to the over the counter, it all sounds good doesn’t it? The very thought of all of your sleeping troubles being chased away by a drug is appealing to many of us. But when you have a sleeping disorder such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome, exploding head syndrome, or night terrors, the temptation is an itch that is just too deep not to scratch. So what do we do?- we buy up this market and make ourselves sick off of a promise of better sleep. Our bodies pay the toll for side effects and long term illness. For some of us these medications do not lesson the suffering, but instead worsen it over time.
I have never been fond of sleeping pills. If I take them for more than 4 consecutive nights my sleep suddenly jumps into full terror mode at 500%. This is not doing anyone good. Over the years the most promising natural method has been Melatonin. It has come recommended by doctors, pharmacists, friends and relatives. It is natural and ancient. It beats the heat, the cold, the menstrual pain, the common cold, massive migraines, almost anything keeping you from getting a good nights sleep. Melatonin must be taken right before bed in a dark room. Taking Melatonin and staying in a well lit room will confuse your body’s sleep mode and cause other long term effects. One of these effects rumoured and suspect is cancer. But you would have to be taking plenty of Melatonin for several years during light hours for it to work. The scoop is Melatonin is naturally produced by your body and enables you to wander off to dream land. The wonderful think about Melatonin is that is puts you off to sleep but does not keep you asleep which is key for those of us who have to wake up at 5am and get ready for work and NOT be groggy and miserable. It works best when sleeping in a dark room because your body interprets the dark as a cue to start producing chemicals for sleeping. I have found that 1-2 Melatonin can be quite calming, and produce the right amount of sleepiness without irritating me into exploding head syndrome.
At the moment however I find take Melatonin for long periods of time (2weeks plus) can irritate my sleep causing worse terrors. So I am forced to take a break from it for about a week or so and practice 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off. The problem is I can not continue to live my life like this. If I knew night terrors would end soon I could manage, however they do not seem to be going anywhere. I am now experimenting with Valerian.
Valerian is an old world drug like Melatonin taken by the ancients. However Valerian is also known as the “sleeping beauty drug”. Valerian was discovered by mistake by people who enjoyed the presence of this flowering plant. In the UK if someone rested among the flowering Valerian plants in the forest they often became very relaxed and soothed by it’s presence. What they did not understand was the flower was acting as a muscle relaxant and triggering a heightened stage of calm for both the physical sensations and the mind. Some people fell asleep in patches of Valerian and would sleep for hours, and some for days. There were rare cases of people going to sleep in the forest and dieing over the course of several days as their organs became so relaxed and slow functioning they began to shut down one by one until death overcame them. The good news is, Valerian being a natural herbal remedy also has a natural poison cautionary effect of vomiting accompanied by the most terrible fungal smell you will ever experience in your life. Granted, Valerian is a viscous smelling drug and if it does not work to soothe your body, then the smell will chase the terrors away!
So far I have found it wonderful for relieving anxiety in the morning and before bed. As of currently my anxiety has shot up tremendously causing severe chest pains and worsening my sleep. So far Valerian seems to be taking a surprising amount of this anxiety away. I understand however that it works differently for everyone. Some people must take it for 3 or more weeks to notice the effects, others such as myself can take it over the course of a few days and feel the effects. I will update more as the results steady or change.
I have found drug store brand sleeping pills adequate, and when needing a quick fix it does the trick. But I am sure that many of you, like myself are wondering, “There must be another way?” Well this path is long and overgrown and may take a while to discover more of. I’ll just be sure not to fall asleep in the middle of it.