Our expert says:
Firstly, most remedies advertised as "natural" are as natural as a tap-dancing budgie.
Much trouble is caused by us having been led to believe we absolutely HAVE to have nuch more sleep than our body actually needs. We vary widely in how much we genuinely require. Some people manage brilliantly on maybe 4 or 5 hours a night, and the expectation of 8 hours or more is a fairly recent invention, I suspect many people who would sleep fine for as long as they needed, develop sleep problems because they struffle to sleep for longer than they need. There is also evidence that in the old days, we went to sleep soon after dark, then woke after a few hours, and sat around by candle-light with conversation, reading, sex, mild activities, whatever, and then later went back to sleep for the rest of the night.
Above all, if you haven't fallen asleep in 30 minutes or so, don't worry about it, because it is that very worry that is then keeping you awake. That's just what your description sounds like, a brief anxiety attack about being awake. Get up, so your brain doesn't learn to associate your bed with sleeplessness, and sit somewhere comfortable, have a warm milky drink ( better than any herbs and more natural, supplying some handy natural chemicals ) and read a calm book or watch a pleasant but fairly dull movie. Enough to distract you from the temptation of silly thoughts, but not the sort of thing to arouse or alarm you.
The meds can help you to sleep, but won't force you to sleep when you have already allowed yourself to become highly aroused and alarmed --- if they did, you'd sleep very late the next morning, whereas the modern sleeping med is designed to wear off in a few hours to avoid a morning hangover.
But also, especially as you describe your despair at not sleeping as you expect to, as leading you to thoughts of suicide, DO please see a good local psychiatrist for a thorough assessment --- there could also be such problems as a Depression or Anxiety Disorder, which might not be showing themselves obviously, maybe covered to a degree by your understandable concerns about sleeping right, and if either or both are present, proper treatment of them could relieve these disorders and also the sleeping problems --- sleeping difficulties are a prime symptom of both.
You may also consider finding a good local psychologist who can offer proper CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) which can help you regain both genuine control and a sense of control of these problems.
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