We all know what happens when you don't get enough sleep: it's as if your brain is operating with half power. In fact, sleep deprivation can leave us vulnerable to depression and even heart disease! The good news is that there are natural solutions for overcoming insomnia and restoring normal sleep patterns, including herbs that have been used for centuries to treat everything from anxiety to stress and depression.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. It's defined as having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting enough quality sleep. Insomnia affects about 30% of people in the U.S., according to the National Sleep Foundation.
There are many reasons why you might experience insomnia: stress at work or home, worries about money, hectic schedules, drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages right before bedtime, not exercising or taking care of your body etc.
Here are our top 6 favourite herbs that could help you with common, occasional sleep issues:
Ashwagandha, an adaptogen with anti-inflammatory properties, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It may be just the thing you need to help your body adapt to stress. If you've been feeling stressed out at night, it's possible that ashwagandha could help improve your sleep quality.
Holy Basil: An herb that can help reduce stress and anxiety, Holy Basil has been used for centuries to improve sleep quality. The adaptogen is known to reduce inflammation and fight oxidative damage. Holy Basil has also been shown to increase slow-wave sleep (SWS), which makes it a good choice if you want an all-around better night's sleep (and who doesn't?).
Chamomile is a great (and delicious) herb for sleep. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and anti-anxiety properties. Chamomile has often been used to treat insomnia, stress, and anxiety. Chamomile tea can be made by steeping 1 teaspoon of dried flowers in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes before drinking.
Valerian root, also known as valerian, is a perennial flowering plant native to Europe and parts of Asia. Valerian has also been used for centuries to calm nerves and promote restful sleep. Some studies have demonstrated that Valerian may help alleviate insomnia while increasing the amount of time you spend in deep sleep.
Is an herb that may be helpful in treating insomnia, anxiety and restlessness. In one study, patients who took lemon balm slept better than those who were given a placebo. Lemon balm can also help lower stress by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Passionflower is a sedative herb that has been used as a medicinal herb since ancient times to treat anxiety and insomnia. In fact, it's often found in herbal teas designed to promote relaxation. Passionflower was shown in one trial to decrease blood pressure and relieve anxiety, even more effectively than a prescription drug! It acts as a sedative and works on the same pathways as barbiturates. It elieves insomnia without being addictive or causing withdrawal symptoms if stopped suddenly. It’s also been shown in studies to improve symptoms of ADHD and sleep issues in children when taken with other sedatives.
We hope that this article has been helpful for you in your search for a better night’s sleep. Remember, these herbs are not magic bullets and they are just one way to help improve your sleep hygiene! They won’t work overnight and they won't cure everything. Speak with your health care practitioner before taking natural supplements. If there are no underlying issue that's causing your insomnia, then these herbs may be able to help calm down your brain so it can relax into sleep mode more easily.