BY: JANE COLLINS
Sleep is one of the things that every human being must have for survival. But, just because it is important does not mean that it always comes easy. With busy work and life schedules – and the stress and anxiety that accompany them – sleep can be very elusive. And although there are different kinds of pills out there that you can use to relax and catch the ZZZ’s that you need, they always come with some adverse side effects.
The good news is that there are some very useful and natural ways to get a good night’s sleep or induce relaxation, and some of them might already be in your cupboard. Here are 6 effective herbs to help you get some shut eye.
There are countless things that you can use chamomile for, and so it is one of those herbs that you should always have somewhere in the house. If you are having trouble falling asleep this herb is very helpful because it promotes mental calmness and can also help you deal with anxiety disorders. Also, there is some evidence to show that chamomile can alleviate nervous upset and it also has some pain-relieving properties, which makes it a perfect sleep aid. Although there are different ways of taking this herb, it works best as a bedtime tea.
Magnolia bark might not be the most famous herb in the western world, but it has been in use in Chinese medicine for many centuries. This herb promotes relaxation for both the body and mind while also reducing cortisol levels. Taking it before bed will improve the quality and duration of sleep that you get. Scientists also believe that it can lower the risk of type II diabetes and obesity. Since this herb tends to promote rapid drowsiness, the best idea is always to take it just before bed.
You can get lavender in almost any part of the world because it grows in different environments. Although most people know it because of its sweet scent, it is also a very helpful herb for sleep and relaxation. A cup of lavender tea before bed promotes relaxation, and it can help with everything from insomnia to anxiety and stress. Also, you can soak for a few minutes in a warm bath with lavender essential oils and spray some lavender mist on your pillow to enhance its calming effect.
Hops have been in use as a sedative since the early 20th century, and although it might not be as common as others, you can still find it in herbal stores in your locality. This herb is one of the primary flavorings for beers around the world, and it is one of the causes of the sleepy feeling you get after having a few beers. Although it is most effective if you use it to make herbal bedtime teas, you can still get some positive results by using a Hops pillow, and this is more so for those with mild insomnia.
Catnip gets its name from its euphoria-inducing effects on cats, but its leaves and flowers have been in use for making herbal bedtime teas for a couple of centuries. This herb is a member of the mint family, and it has a sedating effect, which is what makes it good for relaxation and sleep. Just like valerian root, it contains nepetalactone which is a compound with strong sedative properties.
The fact that most sleep aids across the world include passionflower as an active ingredient shows that it is a useful remedy for sleeplessness. Its leaves and flowers have a mild and pleasant flavor that makes them perfect for bedtime teas. And although there might not be enough research data on the usefulness of passionflower, those that use it know just how effective it is for reducing sleeplessness and anxiety.
Your body and mind cannot function well without sleep, and so if you find it hard to get enough good quality sleep, you need to do something about this. Taking the six herbs above is the perfect starting point, but it is also important to combine them with other things like exercising and making wise meal choices. Just like with any other natural remedy, the herbs might react differently from one person to the other, and so what works for your friends might not necessarily help you relax or sleep. The right idea is to try out several herbal teas and settle for the one that works well for you. Combining different types of herbs can also work well because it improves the tea’s potency.