6 Tips to Manage Your Insomnia Naturally

person laying in bed focusing on alarm clock

Published November 29, 2021

Did you know that insomnia is the most common sleep disorder?  33% of adults and 20-40% of children and teenagers experience symptoms of insomnia[1].

Insomnia includes difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, or waking up too early and being unable to return to sleep[2].  Over time these issues can result in inadequate sleep and begin to negatively affect aspects of your waking life such as performance at work and relationships.  According to the CDC, getting less than 7 hours of sleep can also increase your risk of health issues including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, COPD, asthma, and kidney disease, among others5.  Fortunately there are a number of ways to help you get a good night’s sleep naturally.

Establish a bedtime routine

  • Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning
  • Avoid screens or use blue blocker glasses for 1-2 hours before bed
  • Do something relaxing such as reading a book, taking an Epsom salt bath, gentle stretching, journaling, or meditation to help you unwind

Herbal support

Many of the same herbs that are useful to treat anxiety are also helpful with promoting sleep because they function to calm down the nervous system

Some helpful herbs include8:

  • Passion flower
  • Skullcap
  • Valerian
  • Kava kava
  • California poppy
  • Chamomile
  • Hops
  • Lemon balm
  • Catnip

Talk with your naturopathic doctor to find an herbal formula that is specific to you and your symptoms!


EFT is a method that combines tapping on a series of acupressure points with verbal statements to release negative emotions and promote calm.  You can use tapping in bed to help you fall asleep when you’re having a hard time. Check out www.thetappingsolution.com for more information!

Get your cortisol tested

Cortisol is a hormone that promotes a normal circadian rhythm, leading to healthy sleep-wake patterns.  Some people with insomnia may have abnormal levels of cortisol at night.[4, 9] A naturopathic doctor can order this test for you and provide treatment to normalize your cortisol levels.

Reduce stress

High levels of stress and prolonged stress can cause dysfunctions in your cortisol levels and may contribute to insomnia.  Stress can cause some people to stay up at night worrying or be unable to fall back asleep due to anxiety.  Things like meditating, spending time in nature, doing activities you enjoy, and eating a well-rounded diet can all help you manage your stress

Yoga nidra

Yoga nidra is also known as “yogic sleep.”  It brings you into a state of deep rest and healing while you are still conscious.[6]  Doing yoga nidra during the day can provide some of the rest that you are unable to get at night when experiencing insomnia.  It can also help decrease your levels of stress[3].  You can find yoga nidra classes at some yoga studios and free yoga nidra sessions on the app Insight Timer.


These are just a few of the many natural methods to treat insomnia.  A naturopathic doctor can provide you with an individualized treatment plan to help address your insomnia and get you a good night’s sleep.

Call Bastyr University Clinic at (858) 246-9730 or Bastyr Center for Natural Health at (206)834-4100 to schedule your appointment today!  Visit our website for more information https://www.bastyrclinic.org


Linna Goelz is a licensed naturopathic physician practicing at Bastyr University Clinic in San Diego, CA.  She believes the body has an innate ability to heal itself when given the proper tools and environment.  Her clinical interests include anxiety, depression, trauma recovery, insomnia, women’s health, hormonal imbalance, and gastrointestinal concerns.



  1.  American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (n.d.). AASM Provider Fact Sheet: Insomnia. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://aasm.org/clinical-resources/provider-fact-sheets/
  2.  American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostics and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Publishing.
  3. Anderson, R., Mammen, K., Paul, P., Pletch, A., & Pulia, K. (2017). Using Yoga Nidra to Improve Stress in Psychiatric Nurses in a Pilot Study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 23(6), 494–495. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2017.0046
  4. Bonnet, M. H., & Arand, D. L. (2021, January 25). Risk factors, comorbidities, and consequences of insomnia in adults . Retrieved October 15, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/risk-factors-comorbidities-and-consequences-of-insomnia-in-adults?search=insomnia&source=search_result&selectedTitle=5~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=5#H4.
  5. CDC. (2017, May 2). Short Sleep Duration Among US Adults. Sleep and Sleep Disorders. Retrieved October 15, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/data_statistics.html
  6. Kellner, L. (2017, June 8). Yoga Nidra: Here’s What You Need to Know. Mind Body Green. Retrieved October 12, 2021, from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/what-is-yoga-nidra
  7. The Tapping Solution. (n.d.). What is Tapping and How Can I Start Using it? Retrieved October 10, 2021, from https://www.thetappingsolution.com/what-is-eft-tapping/
  8. Tilgner, S. (2009). Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth (2nd ed.). Wise Acres LLC.
  9. Vargas, I., Vgontzas, A. N., Abelson, J. L., Faghih, R. T., Morales, K. H., & Perlis, M. L. (2018). Altered ultradian cortisol rhythmicity as a potential neurobiologic substrate for chronic insomnia. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 41, 234–243. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2018.03.003