Sleep enables our bodies to function. We need sleep (and plenty of it) to be able to have a healthy body, both physically and mentally. The Sleep Foundation recommends adults to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. If you aren’t managing this, you could be suffering from various issues such as lacking in energy, feeling confused, muscle pains, headaches and a general feeling of being run down.
There are many different herbal remedies that have been thought to improve sleep. If you have ever been tempted to try taking sleeping pills, why not try alternative and natural medicine first?
Here’s 10 of our favourite herbs that can be used to improve your overall sleep quality:
Valerian is a herb native to Asia and Europe which has been used since ancient times to promote tranquility and improve sleep quality. The valerian root is what is used in herbal medicine and is commonly available as a supplement in capsule or liquid form. You can also drink it in tea.
Lavender is one of the most common herbs to help people relax and destress. It is a key ingredient in so many health and beauty items such as bath salts and soaps. A great way to introduce lavender into your bedtime routine is to add a diffuser with some essential lavender oil in it, which will slowly release the herb into your room.
Chamomile being used as an alternative medicine dates back all the way to Ancient Egypt. You may be familiar with chamomile tea, but it has been proven to promote a relaxed state, allowing you to get to sleep easier. It is also a natural mood elevator, meaning you are more likely to wake up with a spring in your step.
Hops mainly originate in Northern Europe and are commonly used in the beer making process. However, hops also has a long history of being used in herbal medicine. Research has shown that hops contain sleep inducing compounds that work best if taken one hour before bed.
Cowslip is commonly found in the British countryside. You may not have paid much attention to it before, but it has sedative and sleep enhancing properties that can help you slip into a deep sleep. You can combine cowslip with chamomile tea and enjoy just before bedtime.
Orange blossom oil, also known as neroli essential oil, has a natural calming effect that can help with insomnia and anxiety. You can add a few drops of orange blossom oil to your bed sheets, or similarly to lavender, create a diffuser which can sit in your bedroom and slowly release the aromas.
Rose petals have traditionally been used for peace and relaxation, so they lend themselves perfectly to helping aid your sleep. They contain ethanolic, aqueous and chloroform extracts which have a hypnotic effect. Try adding some rose petals to a warm bath just before bed.
Stress can be a huge factor in having disrupted sleep, and ashwagandha works really well to relieve stress and tension. The ashwagandha root is available as a supplement in powder and extract form and also has a huge range of benefits in addition to improving your sleep.
Passiflora is more commonly referred to as the passionfruit flower which grows throughout South America. It has been used in herbal medicine since the 16th century to treat anxiety and insomnia. Passiflora is available in a supplement form, as well as being present in some teas.
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and is commonly used within the kitchen. Research has been carried out into lemon balm and it’s stress reducing and calming properties. You can introduce lemon balm into your diet directly by adding it to salads and other dishes, drink it in tea, or take a supplement.
If you are struggling to get a sufficient amount of sleep, or would like to learn more about these herbs and how you can use them in everyday life, please book a consultation with our expert herbalist, Louise Idoux, by calling us on 01691 656934.