How herbs can help you sleep better

Published December 5, 2014

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Most of us have at some time spent a night wide awake and willing for sleep to come. Help is at hand. Herbal remedies can be beneficial for those times you’re having difficulty attaining proper sleep. Here are some of the most valuable herbs and how they work to help you sleep better:

  • Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) – Valerian is a herb well renowned for its sleep inducing properties. It has a natural sedative action and can help to relieve sleeplessness and insomnia. Valerian may also be helpful in alleviating stress and mild anxiety. When used for insomnia, valerian should be taken 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime. Valerian normally has no effect on reaction time, alertness and concentration the morning after intake.
  • Hops (Humulus lupus)Hops has calming effects on the body and may help to relieve insomnia and assist in a good night’s sleep. It also helps to relieve the effects of mild anxiety, which may be contributing to sleeping difficulties. In a large scale clinical trial, a valerian/hops combination was found to improve sleep efficiency after two weeks in patients having trouble sleeping.1
  • Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) – A cup of chamomile tea is one of the most popular traditional sleeping remedies. Chamomile has a soothing effect on the nervous system and can help to relieve nervous unrest, sleeplessness and insomnia in adults and children.
  • Zizyphus (Zizyphus spinosa)Zizyphus is a herb used in traditional Chinese medicine as a mild sedative to calm the nerves, relieve irritation, assist a healthy sleep, and relieve sleeplessness and insomnia.
  • Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) – Passionflower is traditionally used in western herbal medicine for its mild sedative action and to enable a quiet, natural slumber. It may also provide symptomatic relief of anxiety, which may be interfering with proper sleep.
  • Lactium – While not technically a herb, lactium is a hydrolysed milk protein which may help alleviate stress in adults. Stress might be what is keeping you awake and affecting the quality of your sleep.

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