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10 Herbs to Help Put You to Sleep

Millions of people are affected by insomnia or restless sleep. Being unable to sleep for a long period of time, or waking up constantly throughout the night, can have adverse effects on your health. Insomnia may be caused by a myriad of reasons, including an over-active mind, too much caffeine, not enough food, or even too much food. It may also be a result of spiking cortisol levels, changes in blood sugar levels, or side-effects of certain drugs or supplements. It is, therefore, important to consider these factors as a potential cause for your insomnia, as this will enable you to address your sleeplessness better.

 

Other factors you need to take into consideration are the time at which your insomnia occurs and if your mind is active at night. Does your insomnia occur in the early hours of the morning (between 2am-4am)? Do you feel anxious, or experience stomach churning? Does your mind suddenly wake up, despite being exhausted, keeping you from getting back to sleep?

When dealing with insomnia on a regular basis (not occasional - which we all experience as a result of excitement or nerves before a big event or an over-indulgence of food, alcohol or caffeine), the two most common forms of chronic insomnia occur either in the morning or in the evening. So, while prescription drugs may seem like a solution to your sleeping problems, adopting new habits prior to bed time can help you sleep better at night. In addition, the following natural remedies will enable your body to fall asleep naturally.  

 

Evening Insomnia

Evening insomnia mostly occurs due to an over-active mind. Predominantly, it happens because we do not give ourselves enough time to wind down after daily activities, or because we have spent our evening in front of a computer or television screen.

Adapting your lifestyle is an important part of natural healing. So, to boost your chances of getting a better sleep, eat your last meal at least 3 hours before you go to bed. An hour before bed, turn off all screens and dedicate some time to silence and reflection. This is a good time to catch up on some reading, have a conversation with your partner, or sip on some herbal tea.

If your mind is anxious and occupied with worries, get them out of your head and down on paper - jotting down your worries will do wonders for your peace of mind. The following herbs will help support a healthy body and body rhythms.

 

Valerian

Use for a racing, worried mind.

Herbs for insomnia

Valerian is a strong sedative, without the side effects of a regular sedative. To reap its benefits, take four capsules about an hour or so before bed, which should give you about four hours of uninterrupted sleep. Should you wake up half way through the night, you may take another four capsules.

A downside to valerian is that the body can get used to this herb. So after three weeks, switch to one of the other herbs on this list for a couple of weeks, then switch back to valerian. Tea may also be an alternative to capsules (though the latter is stronger), but its particular flavor and aroma may put you off if taken on its own.

 

California Poppy

Use for restlessness and anxiety.

Herbs for insomnia

It is also safe and gentle enough for children to use. One of its benefits (aside from helping you fall asleep) is that it improves the quality of your sleep as well. Should you need a stronger sedative, take California poppy alongside valerian. It can be purchased in the form of tea, essential oils or capsules. Tincture is the most powerful way to reap the benefits, whereby anywhere between 30 to 40 drops twice a day can be used.

 

Passion Flower

Use if you tend to wake frequently throughout the night.

Herbs for insomnia

Passion flower is also safe to use on children, or people with compromised health, however, it should be taken with caution among pregnant women. It is safe to use in large doses and can be taken for long periods of time. Passion flower promotes full body relaxation and is available in tea, capsule or tincture form. To help alleviate your insomniac symptoms, try 30 to 60 drops of tincture before bed, up to four times a day.

 

Hops

Use as a fast-acting sedative to soothe anxiety, hysteria, digestion and stress-related illness.

Herbs for insomnia

This herb works well as a sedative when used in tea, essential oil format or is ingested. It may also be purchased as a tincture (to take, follow the package instructions). While it is safe to use for most individuals, hops should be avoided among pregnant women and children under two years of age.

 

Morning Insomnia

While any of the above herbs can be taken for morning insomnia, they may only be a temporary fix. One of the main causes of morning insomnia is a spike in cortisol levels (a hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to stess). High cortisol levels can lead to a suppressed immune system, blood sugar irregularities, and it is also a contributor to weight gain in the belly area.

Another cause for morning insomnia may be a low-carbohydrate diet (fewer than 14 grams a day), as the drop in blood sugar that low-carb eaters experience can spike cortisol levels. So, besides taking the following herbs, try eating a small snack that combines protein, fat and carbohydrates (such as almond butter on sprouted toast) before bed. You may also want to try these 5 foods to help put you to sleep.

 

Magnolia

Use it to relax the mind and body by lowering cortisol levels.

Herbs for insomnia

Consequently, magnolia can help prevent obesity and type II diabetes. It can be taken before bed or when you wake up at night. Unlike other herbs on the list, magnolia promotes rapid drowsiness. On this note, it should not be taken during the day or before driving or operating heavy machinery. To start with, take one capsule when needed (about 200 mgs). Pregnant and nursing women should avoid magnolia.

 

Ashwagandha

Use it to treat stress without sapping energy.

Herbs for insomnia

Source

Ashwagandha is not a sedative as such, but it helps get you back to sleep if you experience high cortisol levels or an anxiety spike in the morning. It also delays the release of cortisol, healing the effects of stress on the body. This herb can safely be used by anybody. To reap its benefits try taking 500mg as a daily tonic.

 

 

Seriphos

Use for over-active cortisol levels.

Herbs for insomnia

Seriphos can be taken before bed, and upon waking up during the night. This herb is not recommended for use during pregnancy, or for people with reduced kidney function or failure. Furthermore, if you suffer from a sensitive stomach, take this herb with food.

While the list above may also be used for occasional bouts of insomnia, you may try the following:

Chamomile

This sedative herb can be taken in the form of a tea, capsules or it may be used in the form of an essential oil. Due to the possibility of uterine contractions in pregnant women, chamomile should not be used in the case of pregnancy.

Kava Kava

This Polynesian herb promotes relaxation and soothes anxiety. You can take it in tea form or as a supplement.

Lavender

A well-known herb used to promote sleep and relaxation. Try drinking a cup of tea before bed to calm your mind.

Source 1, Source 2

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