If you ask us, there’s just about nothing better than getting a good night’s rest. Not only does sleep help us to feel refreshed, calm, and ready to take on the day, but it’s the body’s natural way of healing itself.
To feel rejuvenated, bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed, most adults need seven to nine hours of shut-eye each night — this, however, is often much easier said than done. In fact, according to a recent study, more than a third of Americans don’t meet this recommendation and suffer from poor sleep quality and trouble sleeping as a whole.
Whether it’s due to late-night nerves, an overly active bun in the oven, or a case of insomnia, if you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep and want to steer clear of hormones like melatonin and over-the-counter medicines (rightfully so), natural herbal supplements can be an excellent option for you.
Interested in learning more? 8 Sheep Organics is here to help! Read on to get the scoop on the best herbs to help with insomnia.
What Do I Need To Know About Natural Herbs for Sleep?
Believe it or not, herbs have been used as a holistic approach to healing for centuries. From nausea and constipation to headaches and even the common cold, whatever the issue may be, there’s likely an herbal remedy that can help (even for sleeplessness).
How Can Herbs Promote Sleep?
In short, natural herbs can promote better sleep by resolving some of the primary culprits behind chronic insomnia — a common sleep disorder that can make it especially difficult to drift off to dreamland.
Those with sleep problems typically can’t fall asleep, stay asleep, or get enough restful shut-eye, causing them to experience sleepiness and difficulty functioning throughout the day.
Although there are a number of potential causes of insomnia, some of the most common include:
- Physical pain or illness
- Certain medications and other substances
- Jet lag
- Sleep disturbances like sleep apnea
- Health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Hormone fluctuations due to menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, thyroid disease, or other issues
- Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease
Of all the causes listed above, life stressors — including your job, relationships, and financial difficulties — are often found at the root of sleep deprivation for most folks.
You see, when stress strikes, cortisol (your fight-or-flight hormone) spikes and causes a chemical imbalance that ultimately affects the production of serotonin — which regulates the sleep-wake cycle and your drowsiness. In short, stress affects your well-being as a whole.
Fortunately, some natural herbs can induce sleep by supporting short-term physiological changes — such as relaxing tense muscles, and reducing anxiety levels.
How Can I Use Herbs for Sleep?
Natural herbs are generally safe and don’t usually have any serious side effects; however, we recommend checking with your primary healthcare provider before using them as sleep remedies.
With that said, here are a few ways you can use herbs to get some vitamin ZZZ:
- Put a few drops of your favorite snoozy herbal oil on your hand and rub your palms together before smelling them.
- Breathe in the dreamy fragrance of natural herbs through aromatherapy candles or our Organic “Unwind” Pillow Mist.
- Add some herbal essential oils and therapeutic salts to your warm bath at bedtime.
- Place a few drops of herb-infused essential oils like lavender oil in a pot of boiling water and inhale the steam.
- Enjoy a sleep-inducing cup of chamomile tea infused with herbs — like our Organic Bedtime Tea — before bed.
What Are the Best Snoozy Herbs To Combat Sleep Deprivation?
There are many great reasons why you might be interested in using herbs for good sleep support, including a particularly stressful time of your life, the hormonal struggles of pregnancy, and for older adults going through menopause. Unlike many OTC sleep aids, herbs can help in a gentle, natural way.
Ready to normalize your body’s internal clock and sleep-wake schedule? Here are seven natural sleeping herbs to consider:
Ah, lavender — the holy grail of sleep herbs. The antidepressant, sedative, and calming properties of this popular herb might be what you need to get the rest you’re after.
Lavender’s powerful relaxing effects are thought to be largely due to the essential oils present, whether inhaled, ingested, or applied topically. In addition, the oil of this strengthening nervous system tonic can be added to a warm bath as a part of your nightly bedtime routine.
2. Valerian Root
The roots of the valerian herb have been used for thousands of years. Even today, its incredible calming effect is a great comfort for people struggling with everything from sleep and insomnia to tension and nerves.
Although some conflicting research exists, valerian root may help quiet your racing thoughts at night to calm your mind and promote deep sleep. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before using this herb, as it may not be safe for pregnant moms.
Another popular herb commonly used to combat insomnia, the chamomile flower doesn’t affect the chemicals in your brain to induce sleep, but it can help you to find calm while relaxing your mind, body, and spirit — that’s why we use it in our Organic Bedtime Tea.
To brew, simply steep one teaspoon of loose tea per eight ounces of hot water for three to four minutes and enjoy!
An adaptogenic herb that has traditionally been used for everything from brain and cognitive as natural sleep aids and stress support, ashwagandha (aka Withania somnifera) is an amazing holistic remedy for those hoping to get a peaceful night’s sleep.
Simply put, adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha can support the adrenal glands, helping you and your body better cope with stress while promoting balance in the body. This, in turn, just might help you to rest more easily.
5. Passion Flower
Known as passiflora incarnata, passionflower is a tropical flower with nerve-relaxing flavonoids that may help you de-stress and sleep better. Though you can take passionflower on its own, many studies have shown that this snoozy herb is most effective when used with other herbs, such as mint, chamomile, and Holy Basil.
Did you know that peppermint is a natural muscle relaxant? It’s true — mint can ease the built-up tension in the body to help better prepare you for sleep. In addition, this versatile herb is known to aid digestion, so if belly bloat or an upset stomach is keeping you from slumbering, try sipping on a soothing cup of mint tea.
7. California Poppy
The bright orange and red flowers native to the Golden State aren’t just beautiful to look at, but they can help you sleep better too. The California poppy has analgesic properties, meaning it can soothe pain — and seeing as most folks can sleep better when they are pain-free, it’s easy to see why this herb is commonly used as sleep medicine.
A Final Word
You may have noticed that we didn’t include melatonin on our list. Though it’s a naturally occurring hormone in the brain that’s used to help regulate the circadian rhythm, supplemental melatonin isn’t backed by enough scientific research to support its use long-term.
In addition, melatonin may interact with some medications, including blood thinners, contraceptive drugs, and immunosuppressants. It’s not recommended for pregnant women or breastfeeding moms, and it’s not deemed safe for kids as it may delay the onset of puberty.
Supplemental melatonin can be helpful to promote restful sleep for some folks, but if you’re like us and prefer taking the holistic approach over sleeping pills when it comes to health and wellness, natural herbs for insomnia and our herbal tea is a great way to go — just be sure to talk with your doctor first!