If you suffer from insomnia, you are certainly not yawning alone. But, before you visit your GP for a prescription, be sure to try natural sleep remedies, since they are much safer to use and in many cases are just as effective as medications that are prescribed for sleeping.
The benefits of having regular and sufficient sleep go above and beyond just banishing under-eye circles or lifting your mood. In fact, the foundations of health include a balanced diet, exercising regularley and also sleeping well. People who don’t sleep well or enough either because they have trouble staying asleep or falling asleep will inevitably become more susceptible to the development of both physical and emotional health problems. Therefore restoring your healthy sleeping patterns with the aid of using natural sleep remedies should be a top priority for people suffering from insomnia or other sleep disorders.
Herbs Used as Natural Sleep Remedies
Valerian root, which is available in herbal teas or in supplement form and is often combined with other plant extracts, which have sedative effects, such as passion flower or kava kava. Valerian has been extensively researched in Europe and it was found to be effective in improving sleep quality and in reducing the time it takes to fall asleep. Because valerenic acids and valepotriates present in the roots of this plant will increase GABA levels in the brain, producing a calming effect. This natural ingredient is also effective in the treatment of anxiety and depression.
Passion Flower is widely used for insomnia due to its sedative and calming properties. It is available in herbal teas and supplements developed for tension, anxiety, hysteria, epilepsy and palpitations. In herbal teas it is often combined with herbs, such as lavender, chamomile or linden.
The plant Hops contains methylbutenol, which is a chemical known for its sleep inducing, sedative and calming effects, acting similarly to melatonin. Hops extract is often combined with valerian and it is available in supplement or tea forms.
Lemon Balm or Melissa extract is not only an effective sleep inducer, but due to its chemical composition it is also used for the treatment of nausea during pregnancy, flatulence, headaches, high blood pressure or oral herpes. Lemon balm is available in essential oil, tincture, powder, tea or capsule forms, although its essential oil is not suitable for internal use. On the other hand it can be used in an essential oil vaporizer or in an aromatic, soothing bath.
The essential oil of Roman chamomile has a soothing effect on the nervous system and its dried flowers had been one of the most commonly used natural sleep remedies for centuries. The plant is also available in capsule form and in low doses it is used for relieving mild to moderate generalized anxiety disorder symptoms, while in high doses it is used to induce sleep.
Rhodiola, which apart from treating insomnia is also used to stimulate the nervous system, increase mental performance, to reduce stress induced fatigue and to improve concentration. Please note that this natural remedy is not suitable for pregnant or nursing women and for people suffering from bipolar disorder.
Kava kava is a drink prepared from the roots of Piper Methysticum, a plant native to the Pacific Islands. This drink contains kavalactones which have muscle relaxant, sedative and sleep inducing properties. Although effective, kava kava needs to be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, since misusing it can cause several serious side effects, such as liver toxicity, cirrhosis or an upset stomach.
St John’s Wort is a commonly used herb, usually recommended for insomnia, PMS, depression or hot flushes caused by the menopause.
Chinese Natural Sleep Remedies
Suan Zao Ren Tang contains the powerful mix of 5 Chinese herbs bunge root, zizyphi seed, ligustrum, licorice and poria. It has a sedative effect in higher doses and is especially helpful in cases of stress or depression induced insomnia. This remedy is also used for the treatment of palpitations.
Angelica Sinensis otherwise known as Radix has powerful sedative, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory as well as analgesic qualities. This herb is not only excellent for the treatment of insomnia, but it is also used for hypertension and to boost fertility in both men and women. Angelica Sinensis can increase sleep time and latency and it is non addictive.
He Huan Pi, the bark of Mimosa or Albizia Julibrissin is well known in Asia for its ability to induce sleep. It is also an excellent natural antidepressant and it is one of the most widely used natural sleep remedies.
Homeopathic Sleep Remedies Suitable for Children and Adults
Passiflora Incarnata is a homeopathic remedy produced from passion flower extract. It is ideal for treating insomnia in infants and the elderly.
Coffea, which is prepared from roasted coffee beans is a homeopathic remedy used for the treatment of extreme pain and insomnia induced by an overload of mental activity or agitation, where switching off thoughts and the mind becomes difficult.
Although effective, Argentum Nitricum or silver nitrate is only suitable for children over the age of 12.
Hyoscyamus is a natural sleep remedy which is recommended by homeopaths for people who suffer from insomnia due to nervous excitement.
In homeopathy Belladonna is used for insomnia in both adults and children or in cases where a child often wakes up from a frightening dream.
Nux Vomica is usually prescribed for people who find it difficult to fall asleep despite being tired; sleep only a few hours, wake up early in the morning, have low energy levels during the day and again find it difficult to go to sleep at night.
Chamomilla is a naturopathic medicine made from chamomile extract.
Gelsemium Sempervirens is ideal for the treatment of insomnia caused by emotional disturbances.