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5 Natural Herbs That Will Help You Sleep

Discover the best ways to use herbs as part of your bedtime routine.

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Sleep is your body’s natural way of healing itself. Good quality sleep prepares you for a productive day ahead. You need seven to nine hours of sleep to feel relaxed and rejuvenated, but sometimes getting quality sleep can be difficult.  

Sleep experts at Eachnight.com have revealed how natural herbs can help those who may struggle to drift off at night. This research has been medically reviewed by Nayantara Santhi, Ph.D.  

How can herbs promote sleep? 

Natural herbs contain powerful sleep-enhancing properties for a night of restful sleep. They can calm your nerves and soothe your senses. 

Sleep deprivation is often due to a hectic lifestyle, anxiety, and stress. Stress affects the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, but taking some herbal supplements can compensate for this loss.  

Some natural herbs are high in tryptophan, an amino acid improving the synthesis of serotonin. Increasing serotonin levels offsets the chemical imbalance causing the most common sleep disorder, insomnia.  

Lavender  

The anti-depressive, sedative, and calming properties of lavender help you sleep better. Studies show lavender herbs can relax your nerves, reduce anxiety levels, and stabilize mood disorders. Reduced stress, anxiety, and a positive mood promote daytime wakefulness and more sustained sleep at night. Typically, lavender is used via sprays or inhaled. 

Chamomile 

Chamomile is an ancient medicinal herb known for its relaxing effects. Modern-day scientific studies prove the efficacy of chamomile. It reduces anxiety, soothes your nerves, and eases insomnia. One study, for example, found that women who had given birth and struggled to sleep experienced less sleep inefficiency and depression when drinking chamomile tea at night for two weeks. The presence of nerve-relaxing flavonoids in chamomile tea makes it a popular tranquillizing drink. You can feel chamomile’s soothing effect even by inhaling its aroma. 

Valerian  

The roots of the valerian herb are often used to treat insomnia, restlessness, and anxiety in patients. Valerenic acid in the valerian roots inhibits the breakdown of the neurotransmitter GABA. This induces better quality sleep. Valerian works on the principles of anti-anxiety medicines, promoting deep sleep. Valerian is available in many stores and usually comes in the form of tablets.  

Passionflower 

Passionflower contains nerve-relaxing flavonoids, which help you to de-stress and sleep better. This tropical flower tastes good and is commonly used in many over-the-counter herbal sedatives. 

Ashwagandha  

Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb commonly used to combat insomnia, as studies have shown it’s effective at improving sleep onset latency and quality of rest. The real sleep-promoting compounds of ashwagandha are found in the leaves of this plant—triethylene glycol works to eliminate feelings of stress or anxiety, induce calmness, and help you fall asleep easily. Ashwagandha ultimately acts like a sedative, so it’s a great alternative to anxiety medications or over-the-counter sleep aids because it works with your body to naturally bolster sleeping habits. Ashwagandha can be bought as capsules that are ingested. 

There are many ways to incorporate herbs for sleep, including: 

  • Herbal tea: Make some herbal tea by adding 1 tsp of herbs to a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 20 mins, then strain and drink it. You can drink two to three cups of herbal tea a day. 
  • Essential oils: Add herb-flavored essential oils to your warm water bath at bedtime to feel a calming effect. 
  • Massage: Massage herb-infused oil mixed with olive, grapeseed, or coconut oil on certain parts of your body such as your forehead, neck, chest, wrist, chest, hands, or feet. Your skin may be sensitive to an undiluted essential oil, so diluting it reduces the chance of a reaction. 
  • Aromatherapy: Inhale the fragrance of natural herbs through aromatherapy candles.  
  • Supplements: Consume herbal extract supplements, available over the counter in pharmacy stores. Read the dosage instructions on the label to know how much to take per day. 

Sleep disturbances occur when the normal processes of waking and/or initiating sleep do not happen. This can occur because of a combination of genetic, environmental, sleep habits, and other psychobiological factors. If the pattern of sleep disturbances continues over time, these factors can create a vicious cycle of ongoing sleep problems with consequences in our waking lives. Sleep health is as important as diet and exercise for our wellbeing.  

Most of these natural herbs have a long history of use for the treatment of insomnia. These herbal medicines were being prescribed by physicians since ancient times as natural sleep aids. Modern-day studies and research have supported the efficacy of taking these herbs for a great night’s sleep, so any of these options can be a good fit. Although many herbs are harmless and have no side effects, it is worth talking to your doctor before making any drastic changes.

About The Author
julieKeller_author-1

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures, ForbesTraveler.com, E! Online, Gayot.com, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.