There are a variety of natural herbs for sleep that people take to get better rest. Discover the top herbal remedies that help with insomnia.
Join me in welcoming Amelia from Stay Healthy Ways who is sharing herbal remedies for insomnia in this guest post.
Contrary to what most people believe, sleep is more than just a biological function. It is the anchor of our lives and one of the most important factors that determine one’s performance in the wakeful state. People who achieve restful sleep (i.e., 8 hours a day) are more clear-headed and more efficient at everyday tasks, ranging from driving to solving problems.
In today’s fast-paced age, sleep doesn’t come naturally, which is why insomnia is prevalent in around 50% of the population. This article illustrates the top five herbs that help promote a higher quality of sleep by reducing sleep latency, anxiety, and midnight insomnia.
Top 5 Herbs for Sleep
You know that hops are found in beer, right? But did you know that is also a powerful and natural sleep aid? Yes! Since the 9th century onwards, hops has been favored for its ability to treat a wide spectrum of ailments, ranging from obesity to leprosy.
Today, these female flowers are more commonly used to produce a bitter tinge in beer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it for your insomnia! A recent study examined the effects of consuming non-alcoholic beer and hops at dinnertime.
Researchers found that women who drank this concoction on a regular basis experienced dramatic improvements in their sleep quality. These participants also observed a reduction in levels of anxiety. That’s why hops is top of the herbs for sleep list!
Another review article suggests that both Valerian and Passion Flower enhance the efficacy of hops by eliminating insomnia and restlessness. One important thing to keep in mind is that hops should always be avoided by depressed individuals as it can aggravate the symptoms.
The edible roots of Valerian plants contain potent healing properties, including relaxation and sedation effects. People usually consume it in combination with chamomile as a tea.
Basically, Valerian acts by enhancing the concentration of gamma aminobutyric acid, or GABA in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter, which brings about a calming effect whenever released by the nerve cells. Also, it blocks out anxiety-causing brain signals, as well as the consistent trickle effect that can occur as a result.
In addition to anxiety, people often use Valerian roots as an effective treatment for anxiety, insomnia, migraines, tensions, and stress, restless and even menstrual pain.
It is especially effective when mixed with other herbs such as Passion Flower, Hops, and Skullcap. If you are not a great fan of drinking Valerian tea, you can always opt for the capsule form that is locally available at any health food store.
3. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile is the common name for a genus of daisy plants belonging to the Asteraceae family. It is a gentle medicinal herb with proven benefits in curing occasional insomnia, irritability, and indigestion in both children and adults.
So powerful are this herb’s effects, that you can sniff it on the go to get instant relief from panic attacks. According to recent scientific evidence, chamomile contains certain phytochemicals such as chrysin, which bind to the GABA receptors in the brain and simulate the effect of GABA, thereby reducing brain activity and producing an overall calming feel in the central nervous system. As such, it reduces sleep latency (time taken to reach REM phase from full wakefulness) and improves the quality of sleep.
At small doses, chamomile can offer relief from anxiety without inducing sleep per se, but in considerably higher doses, chamomile can promote sedation as well. There are many ways to take chamomile; you can consume it as an herbal infusion, or in the tincture form. If you wake up in the middle of the night and experience difficulty falling asleep again, drink a cup of chamomile tea.
Some lesser-known teas like Chrysanthemum tea or Goji tea are also good herbs for sleep. You can see details in this article.
With a spicy flavor and a pungent odor, mugwort tea is an effective herbal sleeping aid, which should be used only with proper knowledge or supervision. Mugwort is a member of the daisy group along with herbs like yarrow, tansy, arnica, and ragweed. It is native to Asia and Europe where it grows like a weed.
For centuries, people have used this plant to assist with sleep and lucid dreaming. The plant may also provide relief for women suffering from pre-menstrual symptoms.
While toxic in large quantities, the leaves contain mildly hallucinogenic oils that are known to enhance the propensity of dreams. Other psychoactive compounds such as thujone and wormwood oil are present as well. These may stimulate menstruation, expel parasites and assist with digestion.
People typically smoke mugwort leaves for a relaxed effect. To induce lucid dreaming, some people smoke the herb or simply brew it like tea. Others swear by placing mugwort under pillowslips for vivid dreams and astral traveling at night. These are just some of the ways to use
Whatever is the case, if you are looking to catch up on your sleep at night and wake up the next day with clear memories of fanciful dreams, then you should try mugwort. However, since this herb can be used to activate a woman’s menstrual cycle, it can bring about delayed menstruation and even induce abortions. That is exactly why pregnant, and lactating women are advised to evade mugwort at all costs.
5. Lemon Balm
A traditional European remedy with numerous health benefits to its claim, lemon balm or Melissa officinalis is commonly used in aromatherapy. The documented uses of this herb are very broad and include PMS relief, sedative effects, antidepressant and protection from pathogenic microbes.
Lemon balm likely promotes relaxation by enhancing the concentration of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. It does so by inhibiting the activity of the enzyme that destroys GABA, thereby allowing it to stay longer in the brain and bring about a calming effect on the nerves.
Lemon balm, in conjunction with Valerian, may even assist in improving the quality of sleep during menopause. One study showed that an oral dose of lemon balm taken every day for four months helped to reduce agitation, as well as improve cognition. This, in turn, may provide relief from chronic mental health concerns, such as attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.
The key substance behind the sleeping aid effects of lemon balm is eugenol, which acts in providing relief from pain and sedation. Plants like clove oil, basil, and cinnamon contain eugenol. However, those are not the best herbs for sleep.
Experts recommend taking a tincture of lemon balm before sleep to experience feelings of relaxation. You can also consume it as a tea or apply few drops of lemon balm essential oil on your pillow for uninterrupted sleep all night.
Ending Note on Herbs for Sleep to Treat Insomnia
In conclusion, we would like to say that the purpose of this article is not to offer any medical guidance, but rather inform you of the many natural sleeping aids available today. As with any other treatment, it’s always advisable to consult with a licensed aromatherapy expert or health practitioner for more information on dosage, side effects, and individual compatibility.
Amelia is a writer/editor with an endless passion for bringing a lot of useful and trustworthy information to the community. She founded stayhealthyways.com, a blog dedicated to sharing quality articles related to health, nutrition, fitness, and beauty. As a typical introvert, Amelia is a perfectionist in work. At times of leisure, she reads, listens to music, chats with some close friends and walks with her pet.