Duration and quality of sleep is one of the most influential metrics of health. If you have found your way to this blog article, chances are you know you are not getting enough sleep and you are looking for a natural solution.
Read on to learn some interesting facts about herbs and their impact on your zzzz’s.
When we sleep, our body goes through a variety of processes that help us restore, rejuvenate, and prepare us for the day ahead. A lack of quality sleep can lead to a wide range of negative consequence.
In the short-term, poor sleep quality can lead to fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. It can also impact our immune system and influence blood sugar regulation.
In the long-term, chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to a range of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease.
Good sleep quality is also important to mental health. When we sleep, our brain processes the events of the day and consolidates memories. Poor sleep quality can lead to a lack of mental clarity, increased stress, and even mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
For a deeper dive into just how important sleep is, read “Sleep - It's More Important Than You Think” (it’ll scare you right into a nap!)
Using herbs to improve sleep quality has been practiced for centuries and has gained popularity in recent years due to the growing interest in natural and alternative health remedies. Herbs can help promote better sleep in a variety of ways, including reducing stress and anxiety, calming the nervous system, and promoting relaxation.
Some of the benefits of using herbs to improve sleep quality include:
Overall, using herbs to improve sleep quality can be a safe and effective way to promote better sleep and support overall health and wellbeing.
Even medicines that are considered generally safe, whether natural, homeopathic, over the counter, or prescription, may not be the best option for everyone, especially if you have a condition, are taking other medications, or are pregnant or nursing. While the following herbs are a great option for a wide variety of people, please consult with your trusted medical professional to ensure it is the right choice for YOU!
It is also important to understand that more is not better with herbs. Please consume within recommended dosages to reduce your risk of side effects.
The recommended dosages set forth in this blog post are for informational purposes only.
Lemon balm, a perennial herb native to Europe, Central Asia, and the Mediterranean region, has been renowned for centuries for its calming and soothing properties. When it comes to improving sleep quality, lemon balm can offer several benefits.
In general, it is recommended to drink 1-2 cups of lemon balm tea before bedtime or to take 300-600 mg of lemon balm extract as a supplement. You can also diffuse lemon balm essential oil or place dried lemon balm leaves by your pillow.
Possible side effects of lemon balm are generally mild and uncommon, but may include nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain. May interact with other sleep aids or thyroid medications.
Improved mood and cognitive function, reduced menstrual cramps, supports gastrointestinal system, antioxidant.
Lavender is synonymous with relaxation, so it’s no wonder this herb made the list. Known scientifically as Lavandula angustifolia, lavender is a fragrant herb native to the Mediterranean region. It has been used for centuries for its therapeutic properties and delightful aroma.
In general, it is recommended to drink 1-2 cups of lavender tea before bedtime. If using lavender essential oil, you can use in a diffuser, apply topically to the skin (diluted with a carrier oil), or add a few drops to bathwater.
Possible side effects of lavender are generally mild and uncommon, but may include headaches, dizziness, and skin irritation. Do not ingest lavender essential oil or apply to skin undiluted.
Can reduce pain, including menstrual pain and headache, and inflammation. Has antimicrobial and anti-viral properties.
Valerian root, derived from the Valeriana officinalis plant, hails from various regions of Europe and Asia. It has a long history of traditional use as a natural sleep aid and relaxation aid.
Valerian root is typically taken in supplement form, either as a capsule or a tincture. In general, it is recommended to start with a low dose of valerian root and gradually increase the dosage as needed under the direction of your practitioner. Some sources recommend taking 300-600 mg of valerian root extract 30 minutes to 2 hours before bedtime.
Possible side effects of valerian root include dizziness, headaches, stomach upset, and dry mouth. Valerian root may interact with prescription sedatives or anti-depressants.
May improve menopausal hot flashes. Can have an effect on symptoms typically related to anxiety such as trembling, heart palpitations, or stomach spasms. May improve symptoms of ADHD.
Chamomile is a gentle herb known for its calming properties and pleasant floral scent. It has a rich history of use in traditional medicine and is widely recognized for its potential to improve sleep quality. Chamomile is derived from two primary species: German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).
In general, it is recommended to drink 1-2 cups of chamomile tea before bedtime. Chamomile supplements are usually taken in doses of 400-1600 mg per day. As with lavender essential oil, chamomile essential oil may be used in a diffuser, applied topically to the skin (diluted with a carrier oil), or added to bathwater.
Possible side effects of chamomile are generally mild and uncommon, but may include dizziness, drowsiness, and stomach upset. Chamomile can also cause allergic reactions in some people, particularly those allergic to plants in the same family, such as ragweed. Do not ingest chamomile essential oil or apply to skin undiluted.
Can reduce inflammation and pain, improve blood sugar regulation, and may help to prevent bone density loss.
Passionflower, scientifically known as Passiflora incarnata, is a plant with vibrant flowers that has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for various health conditions, including sleep disturbances. Passionflower is known for its calming and sedative effects, making it a potential aid in improving sleep quality.
In general, it is recommended to drink 1-2 cups of passionflower tea before bedtime. Passionflower supplements are usually taken in doses of 500-1000 mg per day.
Though generally mild and uncommon, side effects may include drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion. Passionflower may also interact with certain medications and pregnancy.
May soothe stomach ulcers, relax muscles, reduce pain and inflammation, and may have an effect on the experience of ADHD.
As a reminder, herbs can be powerful, that’s why we use them! But if used in improper quantities, in conjunction with contraindicated medicines, or if you have certain conditions, you increase your risk for adverse side effects. Please consult your health care professional to discuss how to safely incorporate herbs into a healthy lifestyle.
Overall, incorporating herbs into your bedtime routine can be a safe and effective way to promote better sleep and overall health. With the right herbs and a commitment to healthy sleep habits, you can finally get the restful and restorative sleep you need to feel your best!