Herbal sleep remedies are a great alternative to prescription and over-the-counter medications to help you sleep.
The wrong sleeping medication can disrupt your sleep cycle, causing you to miss out on the Deep Sleep that is needed by our bodies.
Unfortunately also, many sleep medications are addictive.
Do you cringe at the thought of prescription sleep medication? Do you wish you didn’t have to tax your body any more as you struggle to fall asleep?
What if there were safer options out there that didn’t have side effects associated with them?
What if these natural alternatives could deliver a better sleep than you imagined possible?
Some pharmaceutical drugs for sleep go to work quickly, but half the dosage is eliminated in 2-5 hours, which is why you may still wake up during the night.
Some may be longer lasting, up to 24 hours, but will leave you groggy in the morning.
Side effects of sleep medications can be dizziness, weakness, headaches, dry mouth, constipation, and daytime drowsiness.
Some can cause ‘rebound insomnia’ when you stop taking them, keeping you tossing and turning during the night.
Most prescription sleep aids have the potential for addiction!
For mild insomnia, sometimes an over the counter antihistamine containing diphenhydramine can help.
Here are a few safer herbal sleep remedies that are available. These remedies are designed to help promote a relaxing night sleep, without adding pharmaceuticals or side effects to your body.
Also known as melissa, lemon balm, of the mint family, is great as a sedative or stomach soother. A group of chemicals in the plant called terpenes give it its sedative effect.
Melissa is one of the Earliest Known medicinal herbs, widely used since the Middle Ages for nervous disorders.
Lemon balm can be used as a tea, 2-4 tsps of dried herb per cup, for it’s calming and stress-relieving effects.
The lemon balm, or melissa, essential oil is also successfully used as an antidepressant, a sedative and a tonic, for hypertension, nervous tension, as well as insomnia.
Rub a couple of drops in your hands and inhale it’s wonderful lemony scent deeply, to calm your emotions.
One drop can also be used in tea or beverage before bed to help relax the mind and body.
Before you open that beer, understand that that will likely have an opposite effect on you.
The female flowers of hops, though, can help a person to fall asleep.
They are shown to work effectively as a mild sedative for anxiety and insomnia.
Hops work best when used with a valerian extract. This combination has been shown to increase our alpha brain waves, which are our ‘sleep brainwaves’, allowing us to get the much needed deep sleep that contributes to a healthier body and self.
Look for a natural sleep aid that contains both valerian and hops.
Valerian tea, made with 1-2 tsps of the dried valerian root, has been endorsed as being safe enough to drink during the day, to relieve restlessness, nervousness and anxiety.
Used 30 minutes before sleep, it will help to promote deep sleep.
Valerian can also be found in capsule form or as a tincture (to easily add to drink or food). Used as above with hops, valerian can be a wonderful, safe herbal sleep remedy.
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by our pineal gland, situated behind our eyes in our brain. Melatonin is secreted when it becomes dark, and progresses during the night, to help our bodies rest when it is dark out.
As we age, our melatonin production slows down, making it harder for us to fall asleep, and sleep deeply.
The melatonin hormone has been researched extensively in the last half-century for its important role in our bodies and health.
It has been found in many plants and fruits, and is also a powerful antioxidant.
Melatonin taken in small amounts for up to 3 months at a time is generally safe, but may have some side effects such as headaches, nausea and dizziness.
As it is a hormone, you will want to be careful with high doses or long-term use.
Melatonin can be found in most stores now, in capsule, tablet, or liquid form.
Theanine, or L-theanine, is derived from tea leaves, specifically green tea.
It has been found to not only be good for its relaxing and tranquilizing effects, but also for its abilities to help you focus and concentrate.
L-theanine has been shown to calm mental and physical stress, anxiety, blood pressure, and boost immune system and moods.
For a successful night’s sleep, an herb supplement is best, in a range between 50 to 200 milligrams just before you go to bed at night.
Chamomile is another herb that has been used since ancient times for relaxation and sleep, as well as a wide range of health issues.
Chamomile is widely available these days in a variety of forms, including capsules, tinctures, and tea. It has been shown to be a safe and mild natural sleep aid.
While living in New England, we used to pick chamomile from the side of the road, and make big batches of tea with it!
It was Great!
Wild lettuce has been used homeopathically as one of the best herbal sleep remedies or as a mild sedative to calm nerves and promote sleep.
Wild Lettuce has been used for anxiety, headaches, and muscle or joint pain.
It can calm restlessness, including night time restless legs.
An extract taken from the stem of the wild lettuce plant is called lettuce opium, for its sedative and analgesic properties, and its ability to produce mild sensations of euphoria.
Wild Lettuce has been used since ancient Egyptian times for many maladies.
Wild lettuce is available in a variety of forms, but best to take as a supplement, 30 to 120 milligrams before bedtime.
Do Not use in large doses, or apply topically, and allergic reactions are possible!
Still need that little extra something to help you sleep? Then you might want to turn to aromatherapy to help.
Spray your pillow with essential oils like lavender and then close your eyes and inhale deeply.
The relaxing scent can help you to fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
A diffuser is another good way to use essential oils, and will help with a deeper sleep.
Be sure to read our section on Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils for more oils that will help you to fall asleep!
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