Sleep is a key component to good health. They say humans need at least 8 hours of sleep a night to rejuvenate and restore their bodies. Some studies suggest that number might be closer to 10 hours a night for some adults. Unfortunately in the days of stress, chaos, constant electronic bombardment, adrenal fatigue, and hormonal craziness we are seeing people generally getting less sleep, and the sleep they do get tends to be interrupted in some way. This means the sleep quality and quantity have a lot to be desired.
Thankfully we have natural herbal allies to help us relax, rejuvenate, and come to a quiet place of rest and relaxation.
Here are some of my favorite herbs for a restful nights sleep:
Some of the links on the herbs are links to Mountain Rose Herbs, my affiliate, and where I buy my high quality, organic herbs.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Ashwagandha is not a sedative. It is an adaptogen with strong affinities toward the nervous system. It helps the body deal with stress and hormone fluctuations caused by stress, especially helping regulate cortisol levels at night time. Cortisol is what wakes you up at two am thinking about a million things at once and not being able to fall back asleep. Taking 500mg of Ashwangandha daily can help your body even out stress hormone levels which can help you get a good night sleep. It has also been shown to ease anxiety and depression. Read more about this wonderful herb here.
Balance Oil Blend* (from doTERRA) Balance oil is a blend I use daily morning and night. I love it because it helps center and calm me. The fragrance is peaceful without being sedative. It is wonderful to help with anxiety, nervousness, attention deficit, and hyperactivity. It helps calm my mind and my body. The ingredients are fractionated coconut oil (base), blue tansy (anxiety and nervousness), frankincense (anxiety), rosewood (frigidity and stress) and spruce (anxiety and depression).
California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) California poppy is a wonderful herb to ease stress and anxiety. It not only helps a person fall asleep, but improves quality of sleep as well. It is also a general anesthetic and muscle relaxant. Did I mention it is safe for children? 20-30 drops of tincture right before bed should help ease most people into a good night rest.
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) Chamomile is a wonderful calming herb. It relaxes both the body (muscles) and the mind. It is also a wonderful gentle sedative. It is safe and effective for children. Chamomile tea sipped by a breastfeeding mother can soothe the baby after breastfeeding. Toddlers can sip chamomile tea with a little bit of honey before bed time to calm them before bed. Adults can drink 2-4 cups of chamomile tea at the end of the day to help calm down before bed time. Steep chamomile in hot water for 10 minutes in a tightly capped jar, strain and enjoy.
Hops (Humulus lupulus) Hops is a potent nervine and sedative. It is great for nervousness, irritation, twitching, irritability and sleeplessness. You can make an herbal infusion of 2 tbsp hops steeped in a quart of hot water with a covered lid. Let that infuse for 4-8 hours and drink before bed time. The herbal tincture dosage is between 10 – 30 drops in water before bed. The essential oil can be diffused in the evening to help bring the body to a restful state.
Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) Lavender is the herb everyone knows that is great for relaxing and calming the mind and body. The essential oil can be diffused in the evenings alone or combined with other relaxing essential oils to bring on a state of peace and relaxation. The leaves can be drunk as a tea, or added to food. It is great for insomnia, agitation and restlessness.
Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) Passion flower is a great herb for people who wake frequently throughout the night. It is a safe herb for most (excluding excessive use in pregnancy, especially in the first trimester), including children and can be taken in large doses frequently. It is used to promote a deep restful sleep and ease anxiety. Take 30-60 drops of passion flower tincture an hour before bed, and again at bed time if you are not yet tired. The herb can be combined with others to make a wonderful night time tea as well.
Serenity Oil Blend* (from doTERRA) Serenity is a blend composed of individual oils with known calming properties which create a sense of well-being and relaxation. Lavender, sweet marjoram, roman chamomile, ylang ylang, sandalwood and vanilla bean create a subtle aroma ideal for aromatic diffusion or topical application at bed time.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) Valerian is a wonderful nervine and anti-spasmodic. It is often used to ease nervous tension or overstrain. It promotes sleep in most, but can act like a stimulant in some. It can help people fall asleep without the sedative hang over some get from over the counter sleep aids. This is an herb you don’t want to take daily for a long period of time. The body can get used to valerian so it is recommended to take it for two to three weeks, then take a break for 3 weeks, and repeat. Valerian is a nasty smelling herb and is easiest to take in capsules or in a tincture combined with better tasting herbs.
These herbs can be combined to make a lovely relaxing night time tea that works with your specific needs. That is the great thing about herbs, some speak to you more than others. Those are typically the herbs that you should do some more work with to see if they fit with you.
Mama Rosemary has a few great recipes for sleep promotion. This sleepy time foot balm is so simple and great to make with kids of all ages. She also shares a wonderful article about night terrors and children with several ideas and recipes to try.
This is my favorite bed time tea for kids. It helps calm and soothe children and can help ease pains from gas, upset tummy , teething, and more.
You can make a linen spray with Balance or Serenity essential oil to bring peace and calm into your bedroom through the power of aromatherapy.
This sleep and dream tea from Mountain Rose Herbs sounds lovely, especially for woman transitioning through menopause.
As always, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or on any medications consult with a practitioner familiar with botanical medicine before adding any herbal remedies to your regime.
What herbs do you love for a restful nights sleep?
Do you love herbs? Do you want to learn more? Would you like to build a long, lasting relationship with the plants and see how to make common herbal recipes like this?
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