4 Herbs That'll Help You Sleep Better And Doze Off Faster
After a long day of living, well, life, there is nothing worse than not being able to wind down and relax - especially when you end up tossing and turning throughout the night, hoping you'll finally get to sleep.
Good sleep is essential! Poor sleep has negative effects on your muscle function, hormones, brain, mood, and many important biological functions. A good night's sleep is near just as important as regular physical activity and a healthy diet.
Nutrition, physical activity, and sleep are the three crucial pillars for creating a healthy lifestyle.
People who regularly miss out on the recommended 7 or more hours of sleep have a higher chance of having serious health problems like depression, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
And yet, unfortunately, while most adults need at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep, almost one-third of Americans are getting less than 6 hours of shut-eye per night. With the modern-day lifestyle being what it is, you're probably not even shocked to read that.
We live in a society where being busy is coveted. We literally pride ourselves on how much we have “going on”, even though we're left feeling exhausted.
Sadly, I think most of you know the feeling.
Unfortunately, when we can't take any more tossing and turning all night long on a day-to-day basis, many of us who are desperate for sleep start to turn to pharmaceutical prescription sleep aids for help.
However, sleep-promoting pharmaceuticals often come with unpleasant side effects - including constipation, diarrhea, headaches, sore muscles, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and sadly, so many more.
Plus, even if you’re lucky enough to be one of the few people who don’t experience side effects from taking pharmaceutical sleeping aids, the effects from the meds likely won't work for long. Many people who regularly use sleeping meds build up a tolerance to the sedative effects, meaning that either you have to up the dosage or they completely stop working.
That doesn't sound like a very healthy or sustainable solution, does it?!
Good news: We have a more natural route of getting and staying asleep, called herbs!
The Best Herbs for Better Sleep
Not only have herbal teas been used for natural sleep support for hundreds of years, but there is literally scientific evidence to support the fact that herbal teas could be the secret to helping you finally get a good nights sleep, helping you feel refreshed, calm, happy, and ready to take on whatever the day brings you. Herbal teas are the amazing holistic way to reduce your fatigue and improve sleep, that you've been looking for.
Herbal tea can be made from any edible herb, but there are four herbs in particular that target improving sleep and promoting calmness. Let’s take a look at these fantastic herbs that promote sleep and support relaxation in your body.
Valerian Root For Sleep
Valerian is a herb that is native to parts of Asia, and Europe, and the medicine is made from the root. In the United States, valerian root is available as a dietary supplement usually in the forms of powder in capsules, as a liquid extract, and as a tea, which is our favorite way to get our dosage.
This root has been used by people for thousands of years as a sleep aid, is commonly used for sleep disorders, especially insomnia, and also is also often proclaimed for its anti-anxiety properties.
Valerian root has an astonishing calming effect that can provide relief to people who suffer from insomnia and nervous anxiousness.
Some of the reported possible benefits of valerian from users include:
Helping enhance a peaceful mood
Helping the user fall asleep faster
Improving the quality of sleep
Helping relieve the user from relief from restlessness and anxiety symptoms
A review conducted in 2003 found that valerian root may ease mild insomnia with minimal side effects. The researchers found that the effects of the supplement were most effective when taken over a longer period of time.
More evidence is shown in a clinical trial which indicated that valerian root may support sleep quantity and quality. In the trial: over a 28-day course, the 121 people with insomnia took 600 mg of dried valerian root each day, had decreased symptoms of insomnia compared to the participants who took the placebo over the 28-day course.
Another study was done later on, finding that adults suffering from insomnia who took one dose of valerian allowed them to realize deep sleep 36% faster, and therefore the time they spent in deep sleep increased during 14 days of taking valerian.
However, notably, although both of these trials were carefully controlled, the number of study participants was very small. So, it's worth mentioning that some more research may be needed to be certain of some of these benefits.
Fun fact: interestingly, while valerian root has a calming effect on the human nervous system, it has the opposite effect on cats, often causing hyper-excitability similar to the effects seen in cats when exposed to catnip.
Chamomile For Sleep
Chamomile is a member of the daisy family and is an old traditional medicine. Chamomile herbal tea has been used to treat insomnia and improve sleep quality for many years.
The main reason why chamomile is so effective at making you sleepy is because of its chemical structure.
Chamomile contains a chemical compound called apigenin. When apigenin from the chamomile binds to GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors in the brain, it has a sedative effect. GABA receptors are the very same receptors that anti-anxiety drugs are formulated to target, so, you can see how chamomile would be so effective.
A study published in 2015 examining 80 new mothers, found that the women who drank chamomile tea regularly experienced better sleep.
Studies have shown that the chamomile leaf can actually help with more than just insomnia, but also stomach ache, stress, menstrual cramps, and anxiety.
Chamomile tea primarily targets the parasympathetic nervous system. The main purpose of this system is to conserve energy for use later and to regulate bodily functions like stimulating digestion, activating metabolism, and helping the body relax.
When the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, it releases a sense of relaxation in your body. However, when you're constantly under a lot of stress sometimes this system stays active, and this is when anxiety can occur. In this case, you have to let your parasympathetic nervous system know that it’s time to stop working.
Chamomile works to let your parasympathetic nervous system know it’s time to stop and helps give you some relief from anxiety. Furthermore, because of chamomile's effects on this system, chamomile tea also acts as a great anti-inflammatory.
Passion Flower For Sleep
Passiflora incarnata more commonly known as passionflower or maypop is a gorgeous perennial flower native to the Americas. While these flowers are something of wonderful beauty and are known for their vibrant colors like purple, red, and blue, the flowers aren't just cultivated for their charms. Passionflowers are a calming herbal medicine traditionally used for anxiety, sleep disorders, and hysteria, and are still used today to treat anxiety and insomnia.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a chemical that is responsible for inhibiting excitation and lowers the activity of some brain cells, leading you to feel more relaxed. After a stress-induced neurotransmitter and your levels of GABA are too low, it's hard for your body to find a relaxed state.
It is believed that passionflowers increase levels of GABA in the brain. Therefore, passionflowers may rebalance your GABA levels, helping you find a relaxed state.
Passionflower's anti-anxiety and sedative effects also improve mood and calmness, making it a great choice to help you improve your sleep quality.
Skullcap For Sleep
Scutellaria laterifolia more commonly known as skullcap is a flowering perennial plant native to America, that is in the mint family, Lamiaceae. The dried leaves and stems have long been used as herbal medicine and in teas to treat anxiety, stress, and insomnia, often in combination with other herbs like valerian and chamomile.
Skullcap has a calming and relaxing effect on the body because it is a relaxing nervine that nourishes the nervous system.
What makes skullcap unique compared to the other lovely herbs listed above, is that it does not cause drowsiness for most people, but it helps you sleep!
While the calming effect that skullcap has on the body is great for being used during the day to restore balance to someone whose nerves are burnt out or overworked, it also has an amazing ability to ease and quiet the mind of someone unable to sleep after a stressful and overwhelming day, providing a sense of peace and helping you to fall asleep naturally.
Skullcap is also an antispasmodic herb, which means it can help decrease muscle tension, ease those suffering from nervous twitches, and reduce stress.
What Is The Best Way To Get To Sleep Using These Herbs?
It's clear to see that all four of these herbs are amazing for sleep inducement and quality rest. But what is the best way to use them and which one of these herbs should you choose regularly to help you with sleep-inducing relaxation?
Well, the best way to enjoy the magical benefits of these amazing herbs for better sleep is to sip on a well-balanced tea blend with all of them!
And luckily, we have just the thing for you!
Our very own Wise Ape Tea adaptogenic herbal tea blend Orange Dreamsicle is a relaxing elixir designed to calm the mind, reduce stress and help you sink into a restorative night's sleep.
Wise Ape Tea's Orange Dreamiscle is a dreamy blend of chamomile flowers with subtle hints of orange and cream, combined with adaptogenic super-herbs to support your nightly zen, and it includes all four of the incredible sleep-wise herbs from this article, not only organic Chamomile, but organic Valerian Root, organic Skullcap, and organic Passionflower.
All the ingredients are Non-GMO, organic, all-natural, whole leaf, vegan, kosher, paleo, and keto-friendly. This tea blend also has the feel-good factor of 10% of its profits being donated to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. Wow... by using this tea for your sleep, you're not just helping improve your wellness and sleep hygiene but also helping the world.
There is no magic time frame for sleep-inducing tea drinking, though we recommend consuming a cup of it an hour or so before bedtime if possible, to get the best effects. We also suggest creating an evening ritual of tea drinking, because drinking evening tea is as much about drinking those wonderful sleep-inducing compounds in tea as it is about also consciously signaling to your mind and body that bedtime is nearing.
Enjoy the process of steeping the tea, savor every sip, and slip into sleep mode.
(Please note: if you have a medical condition or take medications, it’s always best to consult with your doctor before adding anything new like herbs to your diet.)
This informative article is written, by Sophia Mckenzie. Sophia is head content creator and writer, for several premium websites, where her expertise lie in health, nutrition, and wellness. Her content is heavily focused on providing and sharing doable solutions to help people truly thrive, and live their happiest, healthiest, fulfilled life.