A hand swinging a hammer down toward a bottle of snake oil.

Let’s Not Throw Around the Word “Cure” When It Comes to Insomnia

Last updated: January 2023

You know what frustrates me more than anything else? Scrolling through social media only to see post after post declaring that companies have found the answers to all that ails us. From wrinkles and age spots to the be-all-end-all cure for weight struggles, social media has it covered, doesn’t it? Have you noticed some of those cures that claim to help insomnia?

The ads addressing insomnia really strike a nerve, though. It’s not a good idea to throw around the word “cure.” If you suffer from the effects of insomnia, you know exactly how triggering it can be to see 1 of these articles and how fast and hard that false hope hits.

Strange "cures" for insomnia

  1. Garlic in milk – I haven’t tried this 1 and likely won’t. It’s difficult to see exactly how garlic could lull me to sleep, but it has gotten rave reviews. What’s really strange about this 1 is that is also said to alleviate jaundice, cardiac issues, and arthritis. Go figure.
  2. Bay leaves – I ran across an article just this week that claims the bay leaf cures a long list of ailments and insomnia was at the top of the list. This was the spammiest-looking website I have ever encountered. Seeing no explanation as to exactly how bay leaves are going to make me easily and swiftly catch my 40 winks, I didn’t linger too long. I am no fan of spam, canned or otherwise.
  3. Tart cherry juice – This 1 actually makes sense to me. Cherry juice is a natural source of melatonin. Melatonin has helped me in the past, so I’m not opposed to giving cherry juice a try.
  4. Lotion – Apparently, there are body lotions out there that cure insomnia. Can you even imagine? If that were true, wouldn’t Bath and Body Works be running the world by now? Wouldn’t cosmetics companies be touting these miracle products every chance they got? Not that I wouldn’t love to know my good night’s sleep was sitting in a pretty bottle within arm’s reach on my nightstand, but y’all…really?
  5. Onion juice – Yep. You read and probably reread that correctly. I don’t even know if I want to know how onion juice is supposed to cure my insomnia.

"Cure" is a strong word

I have been teaching for over 25 years, and most of those years have been spent teaching Reading and Language Arts. One skill my third graders always enjoy is shades of meaning. There are strong words and weak words. Cure, my friends, is a strong 1. Using the word cure implies a permanence and finality that I am not too sure any of the above-suggested solutions can deliver.

While I am willing to try almost anything in order to get a good night’s sleep, I can’t help but grow jaded when I see stupidly simple answers flaunted online. We know it’s not easy. We know every sleepless night makes for an even more challenging morning. When that is repeated on a daily basis, it is all too easy to become discouraged and more than a little bitter.

"Cures" that really help

For now, I will stick to my semi-helpful routines and sleep meditations. When someone discovers a real cure, I will be sure to let you know – if I can find it in between all the others, that is.

What strange suggestions have you tried when it comes to insomnia? Did they work for you? We would love to hear from you!
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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Insomnia.Sleep-Disorders.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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