Disturbing events have plagued humans since the dawn of man, making for sleepless nights. Insomnia herbs have been a help for just as long. With the introduction of modern medicine, however, came an invasion of chemicals and sleep aids to help give today’s man his much-desired sleep–as well as other addictive side effects. This search takes us back to the insomnia herbs of old, and we have realized that herbal solutions are often still the healthier choice.
Caffeine is a habit-forming drug. While it helps you going on otherwise lethargic mornings, it will also keep you from getting some needed sleep at night. Because of a restless night in bed, you’ll be lethargic again the next day, and also anxious and volatile and you’ll desperately run to the instant coffee can the first shot you get.
It’s a vicious trap, and it must be stopped. If you can’t cut your dependency from caffeine completely, at least try to reduce your consumption. Doing this includes stopping drinking and eating colas, chocolate, and yes, the ubiquitous Starbucks. Have some insomnia herbs instead.
Valerian root is the best of them all. It is “the safest and most effective sleep aid with no side effects,” according to British scientist turned herbalist Dr. Malcolm Stuart, who says the best time for a drink would be around 8 PM. Thirty minutes before going to bed, use one to two teaspoons of the dried root to make a sleep-promoting tea. Unlike pharmaceuticals, valerian causes no heavy feeling the day after. And not like its equivalent drugs, which may induce an addiction, you will not develop a dependency on this herb.
Similar to valerian root in terms of its sedative effects is catnip. This herb is also used as a cure for insomnia, but it is also thought to relieve nervousness, anxiety, and even migraines. Taking catnip is again similar to valerian–one to two teaspoons of the dried herb for one cup of boiled water and set aside to percolate for approximately ten minutes. Do not boil the herb along with the water as this may render ineffectual some of its active ingredients.
Chamomile is milder and is recommended for children to use, most especially when they are restless. The usual dosage is two teaspoons of dried chamomile flower for a cup of tea.
Lavender also makes for a very soothing concoction at bedtime (three flower heads to one cup of boiling water, infused similar to catnip), and sniffing a few drops of its oil or pouring it in your bubble bath has a similar calming effect. It can also be rubbed onto your body during a massage and its flowers and seeds stuffed into your pillows.
In Traditional Chinese medicine, the longan fruit and sour jujube seed are likewise known to calm the soul. The former is used to treat insomnia, while the latter is used with more potent herbs.
While the insomnia herbs talked about above may be ingested on their own, you may also create an herbal cocktail if you wish. Try using valerian with chamomile, catnip, or some other mild herbs like hops and passionflower. Add a bit of the natural sweetener stevia to taste if you think the taste a bit too robust for your palate. Just don’t drink too much to spare yourself from sleep-interrupting trips to the potty.
While there is nothing basically bad with depending on insomnia herbs, homeopathy, and aromatherapy to go off to slumberland, it is still best to go without intervention and let your body drift off to sleep alone, the way it’s wired for. In order for your body to perform at its prime, a lifestyle overhaul should be undertaken.
To prevent sleep disorders, having exercise, proper stress management, and committing to a healthy diet consisting primarily of fruits and vegetables is the a better choice, aside from taking your favorite cocktail of insomnia herbs. While we’re at it, why don’t we have a cup of grape juice laced with Valerian? Cheers!