Insomnia is marked by difficulty in going to sleep or remaining asleep for over three times a week. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), only 35% American adults are able to get eight hours of sleep per night.
Although the precise cause of insomnia is unknown, it is believed that a variety of factors such as depression, stress, and caffeine can trigger the condition. The patient suffering from insomnia experiences daytime sleepiness, tension headaches, and anxiety.
In order to treat insomnia, it is necessary to improve ‘sleep hygiene’ by developing a regular sleep pattern and avoiding stimulants before sleeping at night. Luckily, there are many herbal remedies that help improve the quality as well as amount of sleep. Although they may aid you in relaxing and sleeping well, you need to first talk to your doctor and then use them. This is because they can trigger some side effects or drug interactions if you are taking prescription medications along with these herbs. Here are a few effective herbal remedies for insomnia.
Herbal Remedies To Get Rid Of Insomnia
Valerian (Valeriana Officinales)
This herb is widely known for its ability to act as a nervous system depressant. According to Marcello Spinella who is a Ph.D., valerian can soothe the nerve cells as well as muscles. It is this hypnotic effect that makes Valerian very effective in treating insomnia.
Experts recommend having a cup of valerian tea one hour before going to bed to decrease the amount of time taken to fall asleep and increase the amount of time to sleep. Above all, this herb does not trigger any hangover effect.
Caution: Never ever drive after consuming this herb. Further, do not consume this herb if you are taking other sedative drugs.
This herb has been in use since centuries for treating anxiety. Therefore, it may also be effective in treating insomnia. According to the Psychopharmacology publication of 2005, 300 milligrams of kava extract given to sleep-disturbed rats helped shortening the sleep latency cycle. This trial concluded that kava kava has sleep-quality improvement effects. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, 100 to 250 milligrams of standardized extract of this herb may bring relief when taken thrice a day. For ideal outcome, it is vital to have the herb before an hour of going to bed.
Caution: After taking kava kava, never drive or work with machinery. Further, this herb is not recommended for those suffering from liver problems or having too much alcohol, as doing so can trigger serious side effects.
This one is used as a common herbal remedy for soothing the nerves and calming the body. It has been found that chamomile may be effective in treating mild insomnia because its hypnotic effects. According to the Reader’s Digest Association, having a cup of chamomile tea before half an hour of going to bed can help bring good sleep.
In order to prepare chamomile tea, you need to immerse one tablespoon of dried chamomile in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes, filter it, and add honey to it. You can even use chamomile tea bags that are available at natural health stores for making this tea.
Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia)
This herb is found to be effective in treating anxiety and depression that can be the causes of insomnia. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Aromatherapy says that herbal essential oils such as lavender can help one fall asleep quickly. You can either add two drops of lavender oil to a spray so that your room is filled with soothing fragrance or use a lavender spritz on the sheets of your bed for experiencing a relaxing effect. Alternatively, having lavender tea containing chamomile in the evening can even help trigger a restful sleep.
Caution: Never ever use this essential oil internally or on your skin.
Motherwort (Lion’s Tail)
Interestingly, this herb was first utilized by ancient Romans to treat depression and atypical heart rhythms. According to Castleman, the herb is used as a tranquilizer and is effective in removing fatigue and other symptoms that may be linked to insomnia.
However, the herb is believed to have blood-thinning properties due to which it is not recommended for patients suffering from clotting disorders or having prescription blood thinners.
Experts believe that nutmeg has the power of triggering a mild sedative action due to which it can bring relief to the patients of insomnia. In Indonesia where nutmeg grows in plenty, healers regularly use the herb for treating the condition. According to ‘Healing with the Herbs of Life’, having a capsule of freshly ground herb before five hours of going to bed helps promote a peaceful sleep. The book also recommends raising the dosage per day by one capsule until sleep is regulated. It has been found that grinding the herb rather than using it in the dried form offer best results. You can even have 1/4 tablespoon of freshly ground nutmeg dissolved in juice or lukewarm water.
Sweet Woodruff (Galium Odoratum)
This herb has the power of working as a natural tranquilizer. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, sweet woodruff has proved its effectiveness in treating insomnia.
Most patients brew the herb to form its tea for treating the condition. However, you can have a more potent extract that may be available in a pill or capsule form.
Hops (Humulus Lupulus)
This herb is known for its fast nervine and sedative actions due to which it is useful in treating anxiety, stress, insomnia, and hysteria. You can try this herb by taking it in the form of a tea or tincture. Although hops is safe for a majority of people, pregnant women and toddlers below two years should not consume it.
California Poppy (Eschscholzia Californica)
This is another highly effective herb that you can consider for treating insomnia that can be due to anxiety or restlessness. Even children can consume this herb if they are suffering from insomnia. The herb is believed to improve the quality of sleep and make you fall asleep.
For having a stronger sedative, you can use this herb along with valerian. Experts say that Californian poppy tincture is more potent for treating the condition.