There are so many reasons why you might not be getting enough shut-eye or suffering from poor quality sleep, from a tad too much wine to full-blown insomnia. The underlying cause of sleeping trouble differs for everyone, but most of the time it boils down to anxiety and stress. If you struggle to unwind and switch off your mind in the evening, a little push in the right direction could be enough to make you sleepy and relaxed for bedtime.
Herbal Medicine for Sleep
Thankfully, there are plenty of natural sedatives for sleep. These gentle but potent herbs work in harmony to bring on a wave of relaxation and tiredness. Trying herbal medicine for sleep is ideal if you suffer from anxiety, if you find it hard to get to sleep and stay asleep, or even if you have insomnia.
There are a number of herbs for relaxation and they work symbiotically to bring calm to your mind and body. That’s one of the perks of herbal medicine. You can take a bunch of herbs that complement each other at once, creating a powerful medicinal blend.
Next, we’re going to cover the best herbs for sleep that our medical herbalists combined to create Zen Maitri’s Night-Time range.
The Best Herbs for Sleep
The herb we all know and love, chamomile is gentle and soothing on your body and mind. It’s a potent natural sedative for sleep that’ll get you yawning before you know it.
The undeniable sleep-inducer, even the scent of lavender is enough to produce calm. It’s a strong natural sedative with a beautiful, relaxing scent. In fact, a few drops of Lavender essential oil on your pillow or on the soles of your feet will help you unwind.
This Ayurvedic staple is an adaptogen for sleep and works to improve its duration and quality. Studies have also shown it has a positive effect on anxiety and depression.
This flower with a helmet-like shape is a natural sedative for sleep, working to ease anxiety, stress, tension headaches and insomnia. It also helps relax your muscles, making it easier to get to sleep.
This pretty flower can reduce stress and restlessness. According to early studies, that’s because it increases the level of GABA in your brain. GABA reduces brain activity which in turn can minimise anxiety and restore calm. A trial by Phytotherapy Research showed that it can also improve sleep quality. On top of all that, it minimises muscle spasms that can interfere with peaceful sleep. Passionflower is a natural sedative that may help adults manage mild sleep irregularities.
Lemon balm is a lemon-scented herb that belongs to the same family as mint. It works to decrease anxiety and stress and boost your mood. A 2004 study found that lemon balm eased the effects of lab-induced psychological stress, bringing a sense of calm to trial subjects.
Have you ever heard the phrase, the gut is the second brain? Your gut contains 80-90% of the serotonin in your body, so an unhappy gut often makes for an unhappy mind. Plus, if you’re uncomfortable it’s harder to sleep. Peppermint is a natural digestion aid that’s ideal for taking after dinner to reduce indigestion and bloating. It also works to ease muscle tension.
Famous for pain-reducing properties that won it the name ‘opium lettuce’, wild lettuce will work to give you the deep sleep you deserve.
All of these herbs work very well on their own. But, in combination, they work even better. Their effects are enhanced when they’re taken together. Lucky for you, we have blended the herbs mentioned above and more into a full Night-Time range. It includes a loose-leaf herbal tea blend, herbal supplements, a tincture and bath salts.
Natural Tips for Falling Asleep
Herbal medicine for sleep is powerful, but you should make sure there isn’t anything else that’s preventing you from sleeping, or sleeping well. Here are some of our tips:
- Be active: If you exercise regularly, you’ll sleep like a baby. And that’s any form of physical activity, because you’re burning energy that needs replenishing with some restorative rest! Get your 150 minutes a week of exercise and you might find that your stress and anxiety is reduced, also helping you nod off at night. BUT, avoid exercising right before bed because your brain will actually be too active to sleep well.
- Use Epsom salts before bed: Not only does soaking in the bath relax your muscles, but Epsom salts enhance that effect. Add 4 drops of Lavender essential oil and you’ll be asleep in no time (not in the bath, of course!) To save you hassle, our Night-Time bath salts contain Epsom Salts and some of the best herbs and essential oils for sleep.
- Eat dinner earlier: Eat dinner 2-3 hours before bed so your digestive system has time to get to work before you wind down.
- Avoid stimulants after 5pm: Drinking caffeine after 5pm will likely impact your ability to fall asleep. Ideally, avoid caffeine 5-6 hours before you go to bed.
- Optimise your sleep environment: Are you comfortable? Do you have a good mattress? Is the room too bright, or too hot? There are so many elements to a good night’s sleep, and you might find that an eye mask or a new mattress does the trick. Try to cool your room down if it’s too hot. 19 degrees Celsius or less is best for sleep.
- Create a night-time ritual: You could have a relaxing bath and then slip under the sheets to read a book until your eyes start closing. Or, you could journal before bed and drink a cup of herbal tea. Whatever you choose, allocate an hour or two that you go screen-free and unwind before bed.
- Make a regular sleep schedule and stick to it: Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time everyday. You’ll start to find that you naturally get sleepy at the time you’re scheduled to go to sleep. Voila! To ease yourself into your new sleep schedule, drink Deep Sleep herbal tea or take a Night-Time bath before bed.
- Try meditation: Meditating in the morning and evening works to lower your cortisol levels and improve your mood. If you don’t know where to start, apps like Headspace and Calm can be very helpful.
- Avoid alcohol before bed: Alcohol can leave you feeling drowsy and, in some cases, increase the speed at which you fall asleep. But ultimately it’s not a healthy solution. The drug interferes with sleep homeostasis, the body's sleep-regulating mechanism, and leads to poor quality sleep.
These changes, paired with herbal supplements for sleep, can be transformative.
Still Struggling With Sleep? Try a Health Consultation with a Medical Herbalist
If you’re suffering from insomnia or are concerned there might be an underlying health issue to your restlessness, it might be worth speaking to one of our medical herbalists. You can visit our herbal apothecary in Chiswick, London for a health consultation. We offer Express 30 minute health consultations and full 1-hour health consultations.
A 30-minute consultation is perfect if you want to find out more about herbal medicine and how a medical herbalist can help you. We can also support any issues with digestion, insomnia, stress, pms, aches and pains. A full consultation is ideal if you have systematic problems or long-term diseases as we’ll have time to get to the root of the problem.
Book your health consultation here.