13 Natural Herbal Remedies

Cant, sleep? Let one of these following natural remedies help you doze off…

Have you ever spent your night tossing and turning, when everyone else in the house is sleeping soundly as a baby? Well, you are not alone. In fact, many of us end up working ourselves into an anxious frenzy, trying to get to sleep each night, just at the time when we should be the most relaxed. 

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Of course, once the dangerous cycle of trying too hard to nod off begins, it’s challenging to break. The good news is that natural sleep remedies can help you win the battle and drift off into a restful and refreshing sleep. Read on to find out what they are. 

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Melatonin

Made in the pineal gland Melatonin is the first all-natural remedy that could have you nodding off in no time. This is because it’s a hormone that is a vital part of the process that lets your body know when it’s time to go to sleep and when it’s time to wake up again. 

In fact, Melatonin doesn’t actually put your body to sleep. Still, it promotes relaxed wakefulness that makes getting to sleep a lot easier. It can also easily be taken by mouth and is often used as a for those suffering from short term sleep impairment like shift work or jet lag. Finally, Melatonin is widely regarded to be safe for short term use and not associated with habituation or dependence. 

Other advantages: Melatonin may help treat GERD and improve eye health.

Possible side effects: Some people experience things like dizziness, nausea and headaches when using this supplement.

Valerian Root

Another natural remedy you may wish to try if sleep is not coming as easily as you like is valerian Root. This is a plant that grows in many places, including North America. However, its natural home is in some areas of Asia and Europe. 

Valerian Root has long been used to treat issues such as insomnia. The reason being that it can help to reduce the time it takes to drop off to sleep. Something that anyone with a sleep problem knows can make all the difference. 

When taking Valerian Root its best to use a dose of 400-900mg, usually around two hours before you plan on going to sleep. Many users also report that they sleep better, as well as getting to sleep more easily when using Valerian Root. It is worth noting, however, that using Valerian Root is not a ‘one and done’ process. In fact, it may require a build-up in your system of around a month before you start to see the benefits. 

Other advantages: Minimised hot flashes associated with menopause. 

Possible side effects: Brain fog, heart palpitations, dry mouth and stomach problems.

lavender-natural-sleep-aid

Lavender

Lavender is a flower that has long been held to aid sleep. In fact, it has been used for around 2500 years across the world for many purposes. Lavender was even considered to be holy at one time because of its delicately scented and cleansing properties. 

However, don’t let all that tradition fool you into thinking that using Lavender to aid sleep is just an old wives tale. After all, there are scientific studies that have shown it to be an incredibly useful sleep aid as well.

In fact, a journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015 study, states that participants using Lavender before bed had reported better sleep than those practising only a sleep hygiene routine. Additionally, this study found that the use of Lavender in the evening before bed meant higher levels of energy in the day as well. 

Other advantages: Smells great, lowers blood pressure, helps relieve asthma. 

Possible side effects: Increased appetite, constipation, headaches.

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Passion flower

Passiflora Incarnata, Passion Flower, or Maypop as it is often known locally is sometimes treated as an invasive weed. However, those choosing to exterminate it are missing out on its vast medical uses. 

In particular, Passion Flower is known to be a useful sleep aid. In fact, in the United States, and Central and South America, it has been used this way since the 16th century. 

Fortunately, science can now explain why this flower helps promote a night of restful sleep. The first reason is that it binds to the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the body, which promotes relaxation. Secondly, this process can help to quiet the mind, allowing the taker to much more easily get to sleep. 

Other advantages: reduces anxiety, can soothe drug withdrawal symptoms.  

Possible side effects: nausea, dizziness, drowsiness.

cbd-oil-natural-sleep-aid

CBD Oil

Before we discuss the sleep-related benefits of CBD oil, let’s first clear up some confusion. Yes, Cannabidiol is farmed from the Marijuana plant. However, the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the stuff that produces a high is removed in the production process. What that means is CBD oil without THC will not get you high and therefore is safe to use as a natural remedy. 

What is in CBD oil is 100s of cannabinoids. These are chemical compounds that have beneficial properties for conditions such as pain, anxiety, and insomnia but are not psychoactive.  

In support of this are several studies. One of which showed that participants took less time to fall asleep than usual when using CBD oil. Even when sleep isn’t one of their main problems. Additionally, a second study showed that 160mg a day of CBD oil helped reduce the number of times patients woke in the night, as well as boosted their total sleep time. 

Other advantages: Heart health, reduces anxiety, reduces pain. 

Possible side effects: Nausea, diarrhea, mood changes

gaba-natural-sleep-remedie

Gaba (Gamma-Aminobutyric acid)

It’s easy to see why many people turn to γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) when sleep is a problem. The reason being that it was found to be at least 30% lower in those with insomnia than those without.

Of course, the body does naturally produce GABA because it helps both body and mind to calm down and relax, something that can help promote restful sleep. An effective dosage of the neurotransmitter GABA is around 100-200 mg for sleep issues. Although those that are taking it in a fat-soluble form (lipids) may require less for maximum effect. 

Anyone wishing to try GABA to improve their sleep will be happy to discover it is available in the UK and US as a food supplement. 

Other advantages: Lowers blood pressure, relieves anxiety.

Possible side effects: Can cause drowsiness, nausea and a burning throat

kava-natural-sleep-remedie

Kava Kava

Harvested from the roots of the Piper Methysticum, Kava Kava is another substance whose sleep-promoting properties have long been known. In fact, in the islands of the Pacific Ocean, the “intoxicating pepper“ has been traditionally used for medicine and in social events. 

The active ingredients in Kava Kava that are of use to those struggling with sleep are known as Kava Pyrones. They have a very similar effect on the body and brain as alcohol does, creating a happy and relaxed feeling. Of course, as being happy and relaxed is the ideal way to be before you sleep off into sleep, its use for this purpose is also widespread. 

In particular, look for Heavy Kava, as this the right strain to take in the evenings. With others promoting calmness but also having an uplifting quality that could interfere with sleep. 

Other advantages: Pain relief, prevents seizures, relax muscles. 

Possible side effects: Headaches, dizziness & fatigue

california-poppy-natural-sleep-remedie

California poppy

Eschscholzia Californica, or as its more commonly known the California Poppy is another natural remedy that is used to promote sleep. Much like many of the supplements mentioned above the California Poppy is known to have an overall calming effect. Something that makes it suitable for those struggling to sleep and those struggling to manage their pain. 

The good news is that while effective, the California Poppy does not produce a euphoric reaction in users, making it safe to use on a daily basis. 

Native to western North America and Mexico, the California Poppy is accessible in most countries and sold in both tincture and capsule form. 

Other advantages: California Poppy can be helpful in anxiety and for excessive urination (making it excellent for children that wet the bed). 

Possible side effects: Drowsiness. It is also vital to avoid California Poppy if pregnant or breastfeeding.

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Chamomile

Likely, you have already sampled a cup or two of Chamomile tea, perhaps finding it easier to drift off to sleep after. However, what you probably didn’t realise is that the active ingredient that makes Chamomile so helpful for those struggling with sleep issues is the antioxidant Apigenin. This is important because it is the Apigenin that binds to particular brain receptors and helps to encourage sleep.

You’ll find Chamomile available in plenty of teas, often in a blend with other sleep-inducing herbs. You can also get capsules, tinctures and room sprays that can help ease you off into the land of nod as well.

Other advantages: Chamomile can be particularly useful for digestion. It is also known to aid the immune system. 

Possible side effects: Chamomile can cause an allergic reaction.

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5-HTP

5-HTP may sound like a scary chemical manufactured in a pharmaceutical plant. However, it is actually something that our bodies make naturally. In fact, 5-HTP is one of the foundational blocks for making serotonin, one of the body’s happy hormones and an essential chemical messenger that allows nerve cells to communicate. 

Of course, as problems such as weight gain anxiety and sleep disorders are also associated with low serotonin levels in the body, things that help boost these such as 5-HTP can be incredibly helpful. This explains the popularity of 5-HTP as a neutral supplement. One that most people choose to take in capsules. 

Other advantages: As well as aiding in sleep, 5-HTP can help alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms, reduce migraines and aid in weight loss.

Possible side effects: However, those with anxiety need to be aware that 5-HTP can cause it to increase. Additionally, 5-HTP has been linked to severe heart problems.

Magnolia Bark

While there are hundreds of types of magnolia trees worldwide, Magnolia Officinalis is the one that is most relevant here. This is because the Magnolia Officinalis or Houpo Magnolia, a plant most commonly found in China, is the one with properties known to improve sleep. 

It is the substances known as polyphenols, (honokiol and magnolol) that are present in Magnolia Bark that can help those suffering from insomnia get to sleep and sleep better through the night. 

Other advantages: Magnolia Bark is good for inflammation and pain, stress, anxiety, and overall brain health

Possible side effects: Some people taking Magnolia Bark report headaches & nausea. Others suggest that too much can cause drowsiness through the day.

St. Johns Wort

Hypericum perforatum or St. John’s Wort may also help those of us that struggle to sleep, come bedtime. This isn’t too surprising as St. John’s Wort has historically been used as a natural remedy for depression. 

At the current time, scientists are still unsure why the active ingredient in St John’s wort, Hypericum is so useful for promoting better sleep. One theory is that it works on the GABA receptors in the brains, which you will remember from above can help create a calm mind and body, perfect for improved sleep. 

Another is that Hypericum may work on the serotonin in the brain. Either making more or preventing so much of it being reabsorbed by the brain. A mechanism that is similar to that of antidepressant SSRIs. It is this increased amount of serotonin that is believed to promote sleep. 

Other advantages: St John’s Wort is also thought to be helpful for anxiety and depression. It can also be useful in fighting a viral infection. 

Possible side effects: Diarrhea, headache & dry mouth. Also, because of its similarity to SSRI, those taking them or similar drugs should avoid St John’s wort. Of course, if you are ever in any doubt be sure to consult your doctor before adding a new supplement or remedy to your routine.

Final Thoughts

In summary, if you are struggling with sleep, there are several herbal remedies for insomnia that could help. Of course, you must do your research on dosage and safety, as well as any possible interaction with other medications you are taking. 

Additionally, combining natural insomnia remedies with good sleep hygiene is likely to be the most effective way to achieve a long term improvement.