Using natural remedies for insomnia is a popular choice for many sleepless souls trying to catch a good night’s rest. In this article I’m going to share 7 of the best herbal remedies you can use to help you get some quality sleep.
Roughly 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from insomnia and up to 30% of people across the world battle sleeplessness. Women are 40% more likely to get insomnia than men with 78% of them experiencing the condition during pregnancy.
Insomnia affects the human body in a number of undesirable ways;
- contributes to lower levels of energy and performance (at your job/school).
- slower reaction time while driving (can cause accidents)
- mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse
- increases your risk and severity of high blood pressure and heart disease
While there are many pharmaceutical solutions, the vast majority of insomniacs are turning to herbal alternatives. These solutions may be steeped in time-tested tradition and promise a safer, less expensive solution to their sleep problems.
If you can grow or quickly source the remedies mentioned on this page, you probably would have less problems dealing with insomnia.
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Common Treatments for Insomnia
There are different approaches to treating both short-term and long-term insomnia. Common approaches can involve over-the-counter sleep aids and different prescription medications for short and long-term insomnia.
Over-the-counter sleep aids can vary in effectiveness and you must follow the dosing instructions carefully.
Prescription medications for short-term insomnia may include sedative-hypnotic drugs like benzodiazepines (eg. Temazepam) or non-benzodiazepines (eg. Zolpidem). These are normally only prescribed when all other approaches have failed and may come with possible side-effects and risk of addiction.
The same thing applies to medications prescribed for long-term insomnia, with drugs like eszopiclone (sold under the brand name Lunesta) and suvorexant (sold as Belsomra).
The risk factors and side effects of these prescription drugs alone are enough for sufferers of insomnia to seek out alternative methods of dealing with the condition. Some alternatives include making lifestyle changes and using herbal remedies as sleep aids.
Over 800 herbs for different uses? The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies contains everything from amaranth to yarrow for asthma, insomnia and immunity and more.
Herbal Remedies for Insomnia
Herbs are a healthier and safer alternative to prescription and OTC medications used for treating insomnia.
These herbs may have additional health benefits and are commonly used in sleep supplements. Getting them from the natural source can normally be more beneficial.
Here, we’ll look at 7 common herbal remedies that are effective in combating sleeplessness. These herbs can help you get a restful night with improvement in sleep quality.
From valerian root to lavender and lemon balm, let’s take a look at the power of these helpful herbs.
1. Valerian Root
One of the most effective herbs you can use to help get better sleep is Valerian root, scientifically known as Valeriana officinalis.
The herb which is native to Europe and Asia, has a long history of use as a natural remedy for sleep-related issues even dating back to ancient Greek and Roman times.
Although used most commonly for insomnia, the plant can also be used for other issues such as anxiety, stress and depression. There aren’t many scientific studies though, to support it’s effectiveness in these areas.
As a natural remedy for insomnia, Valerian root has been proclaimed to be a godsend by those who use it to treat the condition.
The herb has sedative properties and works by increasing levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate nerve impulses and calm anxiety. These actions induces a sense of relaxation, reduces anxiety and calms the mind, all of which can contribute to better sleep.
Valerian root is normally available as a supplement in capsule form, but can also be consumed as a tincture or tea. It is considered safe for most people and users rarely experience any adverse side effects. Care should be taken to follow proper dosing instructions. It should not be taken with alcohol or other sedative medications as that could enhance the effects.
It is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. Although it is possibly safe for children, it should be avoided by children under the age of three and taken no longer than 4-8 weeks. People with liver disease should avoid taking Valerian root without consulting a physician.
More scientific studies need to be done to properly understand the effectiveness and safety of using Valerian root. However, many people who have used the herb have responded positively to it’s effectiveness in helping them fall asleep and improving sleep quality. It is certainly a helpful alternative for people who want to avoid risky prescription medications or prefer a holistic approach in treating the problem.
2. California Poppy
The California poppy has anxiolytic and sedative properties and has been used in alternative medicine to improve sleep quality and to help users cope with stress and anxiety.
Other benefits can be derived from this valuable flower, including giving relief for menstrual cramps, toothaches, arthritis and mild headaches. It is also used as a solution for stopping bed-wetting in children.
California poppy is available as a liquid extract or supplement but is traditionally consumed as a tea. Drinking a cup of tea at bedtime will usually give you the desired effects for getting deep, restorative sleep. Sometimes, it is used in combination with other relaxing herbs such as passionflower, valerian root and corydalis to enhance the effects.
You can make California poppy tea at home if you have the herb, which is very easy to grow by seed, in your garden.
There haven’t been a lot of studies done on humans to prove the effectiveness of the California poppy as a solution for sleep-related issues. The herb is generally safe for use and there are rarely any side effects. However, women who are breastfeeding should avoid using California poppy as it interferes with lactation.
Chamomile is more than just a relaxing herbal tea that you drink at the end of the day. This versatile flower is a member of the daisy family (Asteraceae) and has lots of great health benefits.
It’s mostly known for its relaxing effects and is promoted for reducing stress. Chamomile’s sedative effects are all thanks to a chemical called apigenin. When apigenin binds to GABA receptors in the brain, it results in a slowing down of the nervous system which in turn causes us to get tired.
Drinking chamomile tea has other health benefits including easing digestion, bloating and other stomach discomforts.
Chamomile is most widely available as a tea but can also come as an essential oil or supplement in capsule form. It is also very easy to grow at home from seed, so you can have chamomile whenever you want if you have it in your backyard garden.
To get the sleep benefits of chamomile, prepare a cup of tea about 45 minutes before bed. Studies have shown that you will fall asleep faster and easier using this schedule.
Side effects to chamomile are rare but people with allergies to related plants such as ragweed, daisies, marigolds and chrysanthemums should avoid this herb.
Commonly used for its distinct fragrance in soaps and shampoos, lavender is a versatile aromatic herb that as many different medicinal uses.
It is also known for it’s mild sedative properties which makes it a perfect natural sleep aid. There are studies that suggest lavender oil has powerful sleep-inducing properties. It can improve the quality of your sleep, make you fall asleep faster and help you sleep longer. You will also feel more rested and alert during the day.
Lavender is also very good at treating anxiety and depression, two conditions which could possibly contribute to someone having insomnia.
The herb is normally available as an essential oil. Lavender tea is also an option. You can also grow this herb easily at home in your garden, making it readily available for you as a sleep aid.
There are no known side effects to lavender which makes it perfect for use by everyone.
Ashwagandha, scientifically known as Withania somnifera, is an evergreen shrub native to India, the Middle East and some parts of Africa. The root powder of the plant has long been used in traditional Indian medicine and as a herbal remedy for various conditions.
In Latin, ‘somnifera’ means ‘sleep-inducing’ so it’s no wonder that Ashwagandha makes a very good sleep aid fit for treating insomnia.
Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen. Adaptogens help the body fight stress, and fatigue. Treating these conditions may have a positive impact on sleep-related issues. The herb is also directly used to treat insomnia.
You can find Ashwagandha in capsule form where it is readily available to take as a supplement. There aren’t many scientific studies to back up the safety and effectiveness of this herb but users have reported that it works for sleep.
If you’re going to use Ashwagandha, you should always get in tough with a medical practitioner and note that there can be some adverse side effects. These side effects may include, diarrhea, headaches, nausea and sedation. Pregnant or breast-feeding women should avoid taking Ashwagandha altogether.
Passionflower, or Passiflora, is a fruit bearing vine with over 550 identified species that grows mainly in South America, Central America and the United States. It is mainly used to treat anxiety symptoms and anxiety before surgery.
The chemicals in passionflower, which includes flavanoids like apigenin, can help to promote sleep. Because of this, the plant is used in supplements, tinctures and teas to treat insomnia.
It is also typically combined with other herbs like valerian, California poppy and lemon balm to enhance its effects as a sleep aid.
Passionflower is generally safe but should not be used as a tea for more than 7 nights or as a medicine for up to 8 weeks. Adverse effects from overuse may include drowsiness, nausea, dizziness and confusion.
Pregnant women should avoid using passionflower or products containing the herb as it can induce contractions.
7. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm, scientific known as Melissa officinalis, is a common garden herb in the mint family. The leaves have a mild lemon aroma and is used in medicine and also to flavor foods.
It is also commonly used to make herbal tea which promotes relaxation and sleep. To harness the sleep-inducing effects of lemon balm, you can the dried leaves in hot water and drink as a tea about an hour before bed. You can also boil the fresh leaves and drink up to 4 times daily for a positive effect.
Lemon balm works by reducing anxiety and helping the body to relax which in turns causes you to fall asleep and have better quality sleep.
There are also many other benefits to be derived from consuming lemon balm. It is traditionally used to treat cold sores, demenetia, stress, indigestion and more.
Although generally considered safe to use, the herb should not be taken with other medication that has sedative effects and for no longer than 6 months at a time.
Lemon balm is another great option for persons looking to beat insomnia without using risky pharmaceuticals. It is available as an essential oil or tea and if you can grow it in your garden at home, you’ll have an unlimited supply whenever you need.
Other Natural Ways to Get More Sleep
t is When it comes to beating insomnia, every little bit helps. In addition to using natural remedies for insomnia like those mentioned above, you can also incorporate some lifestyle changes.
Here are some other natural ways to get more sleep by changing some things that you’re probably not already doing.
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule should be at the top of the list. Try to go to bed at the same time every night. Create a routine that you can stick to, like taking a shower and having a cup of chamomile at least 45 minutes before your chosen bed-time.
Create a comfortable sleeping environment, one that is dark and devoid of noise and distractions.
Finally, avoid stimulating activities before bed. You should avoid screen such as your smartphone or tablet, and even television. A good book is a great alternative to help you relax before falling asleep.
Avoid heavy meals close to bedtime. Eating heavy meals or spicy foods can cause digestive problems and raise the risk of heartburn which can in turn ruin your quality of sleep.
Secondly, avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol in the evening as these can also affect your ability to fall asleep or maintain quality sleep.
Exercise can help to improve your sleep quality. Physical activity has been shown to reduce stress and sleep-related problems.
You should try to avoid any strenuous exercise in the evening close to bedtime. In the evening, you can do light resistance training or light aerobic exercises. Aerobic or resistance exercise in the morning is best as it could cause earlier melatonin release in the evening causing you to fall asleep faster.
Mindfulness meditation can help you fall asleep faster and maintain deep sleep. You can try progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing exercises to help you relax and reduce stress and anxiety.
Use these tips, along with natural herbal remedies above, to help you change your lifestyle so that you can beat insomnia.
Herbal Alternatives To Live By
Do you want to know how to identify common herbs that probably grow in your backyard?
Herbs that treat everything from insomnia, cuts and scrapes, heart disease, fatigue and more? Boost your immunity and prevent cancer by using herbs that have been traditionally used in natural medicine for centuries.
The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies by Nicole Apelian contains over 800 herbs along with pictures for easy identification and instructions and recipes on how to make teas, tinctures, oils, salves and more to improve your health.
You’ll find more than just natural remedies for insomnia in this very useful book. Download it now and unlock the power of herbal remedies.