Insomnia and Sleep Disturbance

Insomnia is a very common disorder that has significant long-term health consequences. Australian population surveys have shown that 13%–33% of the adult population have regular difficulty either getting to sleep or staying asleep.

Are You Waking Up Feeling Refreshed?

Waking up at 3.00 am, unable to sleep, can be a shocker, very distressing and once the habits sets in almost impossible to address. Affecting anyone at any age, insomnia (difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep) and/or waking unrefreshed can be some people’s reality.

Adults who get fewer than seven hours of sleep experience irritability, fatigue, and poor memory. Sleep deprivation not only has detrimental effects on your work life, relationships and wellbeing, but increases the risk of ongoing health problems. If you or someone you know is having trouble sleeping – it’s important to get some support.

Natural Solutions to aid sleep hygiene

  • Passion flower, Lavender, Oats (as a tea, extract or tablet) – traditionally used in Western herbal medicine for insomnia and nervous conditions.
  • Zizyphus – with a long history of use for insomnia in traditional Chinese medicine; this herb is said to “nourish the heart and calm the spirit”.

  • Lavender – helps improve both the quality and duration of sleep, without causing unwanted sedative effects. It is a particularly beneficial herb for those kept awake by worrying thoughts.


Magnesium is valuable for countless actions in the body, including supporting healthy nervous system function so you are less affected by stress; or relaxing sore, tense muscles that may be disturbing your sleep. Magnesium levels may be low in those suffering from insomnia, so addressing this insufficiency can help improve sleep.

Sleep Hygiene rules:

Sleep is a necessity, so reducing or avoiding the factors that can negatively impact sleep can be the key to getting the rest you need.

  • Choose a good book in hard copy; preferably a long book that you read a little of each night – favourites include: Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Harry Pooter, any book that is not to finish in one night!
  • Have an Epsom salt baths for 30 mins before bed and then wrap yourself up and jump into bed with a cup of Lavender, Oat tea.
  • If you like milk have a warm glass with cinnamon before bed – it contains natural levels of Tryptophan which increases melatonin levels.
  • Reduce or eliminate stimulants, i.e. caffeine and sugar; after 6.00pm
  • Go to bed at the same time each night;
  • Create a dark sleeping environment; before bed take 15 minutes to stargaze and look at the moon and dark sky – it tells the brain its time for bed.
  • Invest in a comfortable mattress and bedding;
  • Limit alcohol consumption;
  • Practice relaxation exercises
  • Reduce screen time an hour before bed, i.e. phones, computers or TV. In the evening, utilise an app that inverts the screen lighting to create black backgrounds with white text; Find a meditation app that helps you relax; Remove any blue or white light from the room this includes kindles, iphones, tablets, computers and other digital devices.
  • Get regular exercise.
Next articleCoping with change
Maxine Haigh-White
Maxine is a qualified Educator/Lecturer in eLearning methodology, Nutrition, Healthcare and business software. A Practitioner in Mental Health literacy, Clinical Nutrition & evidenced based natural health medicine, she is a volunteer with Street Mission; Birds of Passage, and event support (youth drug & alcohol). She is currently also Manager and Director of Healthy Heights Health Food Shop & Clinic in Balgowlah Heights. Having completed a a Masters in Health Science, Post Grad in Mental Health Care, Diploma in Nutritional Science, a Bachelor in Western Herbal Medicine, Post Grad in eLearning Methodology and a Cert IV in TAE. Maxine combines a biometric and nutritional approach with solid clinical based scientific knowledge, facilitating a fully integrated, personalized, holistic approach to health and wellness. With a combined love of tutoring in eLearning, IT and media applications for the purpose of enabling, empowering and up skilling in our digitally driven workplace/environment after several years of lecturing in the complementary healthcare sector, she continues to work as a trainer in business software at the Northern Beaches Community College. With over 15 years clinical experience, Maxine has over the years held positions including Faculty Head of Herbal Medicine at Nature Care College, Director and Owner of a Clinic and Health Food shop, Executive Assistant and consultancy work. Maxine has presented at numerous large scale seminars and events, with now a more current interest in Mental Health literacy. Maxine attracts everything from common family ailments to extremely complex cases, areas of special interest include nutritional deficiencies in mental health, hormonal/post-menopausal support, as well supporting clients undergoing orthodox cancer treatment, working in conjunction with their medical doctors. I have certification with functional and pathology testing. Our health food shop on Sydney’s Northern Beaches is based in Balgowlah Heights; it has a full herbal dispensary and clinic, and the opportunity for anyone to drop in and discuss in an ‘over the counter’ manner lumps, bumps and other health concerns.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here