- Charity Lawson, Nutritionist
7 Herbs to Help You Sleep
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, about 50% of Americans suffer from some kind of sleep disorder. People’s ability to get a good night’s rest is being threatened by an array of factors including: stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia. It is very common for people who are over-stressed and tense to have problems sleeping. The body’s natural reaction when you are stressed or anxious is to produce the hormone cortisol, which results in insomnia because it inhibits melatonin production by your pineal gland. More people than ever before are turning to natural remedies to get better sleep. Today we'll be sharing 5 helpful herbal remedies to get better sleep.
Lemon balm is sometimes referred to as “nature’s valium.” The herb has been used for centuries to treat anxiety, stress and depression. In fact, it was a popular herb among the ancient Romans who used it for culinary purposes in addition to its medicinal uses. There is much research being conducted today on lemon balm and its effectiveness in treating insomnia. Many people find that the herb helps them to relax, feel less anxious and become more relaxed as they drift off to sleep. Some of the medical benefits of lemon balm include:
Eases tension and anxiety
Helps you fall asleep faster & stay asleep longer
Enhances mental clarity & alertness
Boosts your immune system
Relieves physical pain, including migraines and muscle aches due to overworking out or exercising
Try adding lemon balm to a bath as it can enhance the effects of any other herbs you may be putting in it, such as lavender. You can also make a tea by steeping one teaspoon of the dried herb in hot water for 5-10 minutes. Some people like to add honey to their lemon balm tea, as this will further enhance its sedative effect on your nerves and muscles. Drink it two hours before you plan on going to bed or take some in capsule form, which can be purchased at most health food stores.
Lavender has been used for centuries to treat stress, depression and insomnia. It is very calming and soothing, which makes it perfect for anyone who has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. One of the reasons why lavender is so effective when dealing with sleep issues is because it affects your brain waves. Using a variety of sensors to measure brain activity, studies have shown that the scent of lavender actually changes your brain waves and makes it easier for you to relax.
Other Benefits of Lavender Oil:
Eases pain and promotes healing
Relieves muscle tension by relaxing muscles which can relieve headaches, toothaches, cramps, PMS pains & stomach aches
Purifies the blood to treat colds and other infections
Helps relieve the symptoms of depression, anxiety & insomnia
You can take lavender oil in capsule form. This is very convenient for traveling or taking on the go. Lavender is also available as a tincture, essential oil, balm / cream and dry organic herb. You can add lavender oil to your bath water or diffuse it into the air, which will help you to relax as you fall asleep or keep you calm if you wake up in the middle of the night.
Passion flower is a very popular herb used for relaxation and sleep. One of the best ways to use passion flower is by making an infusion with it, which you can do by steeping 1 teaspoon of the dried herb in hot water for 10 minutes and then drinking right before bedtime. Another option is to steep two teaspoons of the dried herb in a cup of hot water for 2 hours. Those who have trouble falling asleep tend to wake up more often at night, so you can always drink the tea an hour or two before bedtime and then again when you wake up during the middle of the night. You'll notice that your sleep cycle will improve with regular use as well as a better overall mood the next day.
Other Benefits of Passion Flower:
Reduces pain and swelling due to arthritis or injuries
Helps you relax, feel calm & have a positive outlook on life
Reduces stress & anxiety while also improving moods
Relieves insomnia & helps improve sleep patterns
The tincture is very convenient when traveling. You can purchase passion flower in capsule form as well. It is also available as an essential oil and tea, but it doesn't have to be made with the dried herb in order for it to work. The essential oil just has a much stronger effect.
Carefully read the label before you buy passion flower, as some of them contain additives such as artificial colors and preservatives. You can also use passion flower by taking it in capsule form. The recommended dose is 250-500mg 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime.
Kava Kava has been used for years by the people of Fiji when they have trouble relaxing or winding down . This herb is very effective at treating stress, anxiety and restlessness. It is even used in some cultures to treat chronic insomnia. You can take kava kava as a capsule, tincture or tea. Kaval actones are the main active ingredients, which will make you feel very relaxed and sleep deeper.
Other Benefits of Kava Kava:
Helps treat headaches and other pains
Relieves PMS symptoms such as cramps and moodiness
Can be used to relieve body aches & arthritis pain
Kava Kava is also available as an essential oil which you can use topically or ingest to relieve pain and swelling.
Chamomile is one of the most popular herbs for treating stress, sleep problems and headaches. It has a calming effect on the body and mind when used regularly. You can use chamomile tea as an afternoon or anytime you feel stressed or tired. A warm cup of chamomile tea will help you unwind at the end of the day and prepare your body for sleep.
Chamomile can also help you fall asleep easier if you have had trouble falling asleep in the past due to stress or anxiety. It will help calm both mind and body before bedtime. If you wake up during the night, then drink some chamomile tea as this herb will help put you back to sleep. You can also make a tea with chamomile and lemon balm, which is another relaxing herb which helps people fall asleep faster due to it's calming effect on the mind and body.
Other Benefits of Chamomile:
Prevents menstrual cramps and morning sickness in pregnant women
Eases symptoms of teething in babies such as irritability, fever and restlessness
Helps relieve stomach pain, bloating and other digestive problems
Relaxes the nerves which can help with PMS symptoms
Chamomile is one of the safest herbs to be used while pregnant or breast feeding. It's important that you read the label before purchasing chamomile, as some are made with artificial colors or preservatives. You can purchase chamomile in tincture, capsule form and as a teabag. The recommended dose is 2-4g and you can take this herb with meals.
Catnip tea has a strong sedative effect on the body and will help you fall asleep faster. It makes you feel calm and relaxed, which is the perfect combination for sleep time. You can also use catnip tea to treat migraines or headaches that are brought on by stress or anxiety.
Other Benefits of Catnip:
Helps soothe indigestion & gas due to upset stomach and also provides relief from stomach cramps, bloating and gas
Helps relieve menstrual cramp pain due to it's relaxing effect on the uterus
Relieves muscle spasms & body aches caused by stress or anxiety
Catnip is available as a tea or in capsule form. Make sure that you read the label carefully as some brands are made with artificial colors and preservatives. It's recommended that you drink 3-4 cups of catnip tea daily to help you achieve a better nights sleep.
Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used for centuries to treat many different ailments. One of the most important medicinal uses of this herb is to support healthy levels of melatonin in our body, which is a hormone that helps us sleep better and improves the quality of our sleep. It also acts as an anxiolytic (anxiety reliever), helping to keep stress under control. Ashwagandha can be taken regularly to help reduce anxiety, stress and tension so you can get a better nights sleep.
Other Benefits of Ashwagandha:
Improves the quality and quantity of your sleep by increasing levels of melatonin in the body along with improving the REM phase of sleep
Helps lower LDL cholesterol levels, which is the bad cholesterol that can cause dangerous plaque buildup in arteries
Improves digestion and eliminates gas, bloating and stomach cramps
Promotes lean muscle mass while reducing body fat levels
Ashwagandha is available as a tea or tincture. Make sure that you read the label carefully to ensure the brand you purchase does not have any artificial colors or preservatives in it. The recommended dose is 1-2g daily, which can be taken either before bed or during the day if you suffer from anxiety.
If you're ready to start sleeping better and regain your energy levels during the day, then try adding one of these herbs into your nightly routine. If you aren't getting enough sleep, then it may be time to talk with a doctor. You might have insomnia, which is a sleep disorder that can be caused by many different things. Ready to take control of your health? Give us a call at (830) 992-3042 to book your appointment.