Good sleep equals good health. Unfortunately, many people struggle to enjoy good quality sleep. Some reports show that over 35% of adults sleep less than 7 hours a night and almost half of the US population suffer from some form of insomnia. Thankfully, there are ways to ensure you experience better sleep. Herbs are one of them.
The statistics on sleep are surprising. Labor workers report trouble sleeping more often than non-labor workers. Additionally, Black people are twice as likely to report having insomnia than White people, and Pacific Islanders/Native Hawaiians are more likely than both races to report the same. If you’re a woman, your chances of suffering with insomnia are 40% higher than men.
What is causing sleep issues? For many, sleep troubles are a result of an underlying health issue such as allergies, nocturia (frequent urination), or chronic stress and anxiety. Persistent pain experienced in disorders such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome can also keep you away at night. Restless legs and restless minds can add to this as well! The list is longer than you might think!
In these cases, treating the illness or disorder will increase the chances of getting a good night sleep. In other cases, where lifestyle is the cause, making a change in your activities, mindset, and schedule can also improve your chances. One overlooked cause can also be nutritional deficiencies or excess.
Being deficient in nutrients such as magnesium can create an imbalance in your body, resulting in restlessness. Such deficiencies indirectly affect your sleep by contributing to chronic conditions such as heart disease and obesity, two conditions that can negatively impact sleep. When you eat too much and your digestive system is compromised, you may experience nutritional excess. This doesn’t mean you have an excess of good nutrients, just that you’ve taken in more than your body can properly digest and absorb. The result is restlessness, which can become a chronic problem.
While there are innumerable ways to combat sleep troubles, we’ve found that herbs can support your journey to better slumber. Here are a few herbs to consider adding to your regimen. If you’re dealing with a chronic health issue, many of these herbs can be taken to help your transition into better sleep smoother.
Valeriana officinalis is the most common form of valerian root used for sleep (There are over 250 varieties!). Some have reported positive results with falling asleep faster and anxiety relief. Although it can have a sedative-like effect, it doesn’t leave you drowsy upon waking in the morning. If your sleep issues are related to having chronic fatigue, anxiety, or general restlessness, valerian is a good option. If you suffer from waking up frequently, it’s best to try one of the other herbs in this article since valerian works best for those who have trouble falling to sleep.
The most well known sleep aid deserves a spot on this list for good reason! Chamomile comes from the Asteraceae plant family. It has a chemical compound present called apigenin that binds to brain receptors to promote sleepiness. There are many promising studies on the effects chamomile has on sleep, ADHD, and even depression. Drinking this trusted herb as a tea is a wonderful way to introduce relaxation to your evening. The warmth encourages your body to relax while the herb itself works to increase sleepiness.
Some people are allergic to chamomile and should therefore choose another herb in this article. For most, chamomile is a gentle and soothing solution!
This adaptogenic herb is known for its ability to support the body and mind’s ability to cope with stress. While it’s positive properties are vast, it’s also an herb to consider if you have trouble falling to sleep due to mental stress. In fact, ashwagandha is known to improve your total sleep time and overall sleep quality. Because of its positive effect on mental focus, ashwagandha is the perfect herb choice for students. Couple this with rhodiola and you’ve got an herbal cocktail that’s sure to support a student through their studies!
Whether inhaled as a scent, used topically, or consumed as a tea, lavender is one of the top herbs for rest and relaxation. The essential oil is a popular one for use in soothing bath salts, pillows and body oils due to its relaxing effect. The smell of lavender can lower blood pressure, anxiety, and increase slow-wave sleep -- the kind of sleep necessary for deep rest. A warm bath with a few drops of lavender can bring relief to sore muscles while also preparing you for sleep. Scenting your pillow cases with lavender can help if you frequently wake in the middle of the night. You can find lavender teas as well.
Another adaptogen, holy basil is known to combat anxiety and stress like ashwagandha. It has the capacity to naturally lower cortisol, commonly known as the ‘stress hormone’. Additionally, it can lower blood sugar. If you’ve eaten a carbohydrate heavy meal soon before bed, it is likely your restlessness is caused by high amounts of blood sugar circulating in your body. Holy Basil is one herb that can help balance this (herbs like bittermelon may also be helpful in these cases.). And like most adaptogens, you won’t feel drowsy in the morning! In fact, holy basil may also improve your focus and attention span!
At House of Imhotep, with have several herbal combinations to help combat insomnia and sleeplessness:
Rest and Restore with Valerian and Melatonin: A blend of Valerian, Skullcap, California Poppy, Passionflower, Hops strobiles, and chamomile! This winning combination will have you feel rested in no time. A capsule variation is also available here.
Calm Down Chamomile for Kids. In today's hyper-stimulating world, kids have trouble sleeping too. This is formulated with Organic Chamomile Flower, Organic Catnip Leaf/Stem, Organic Passionflower Herb, Organic Spearmint Leaf, Organic Horsetail Herb, Organic Hops Flower, Organic French Rose Flower-- a potent combination for a good night’s sleep!
Lemongrass Tea. This is another soothing herb that is perfect to drink as an evening tea. Lemongrass is known to promote relaxation and sleep. It also smells amazing!
There are several other herbs to support you in your quest for rest. To get support specifically tailored to your sleep challenges, schedule a health consultation with us. We’ll help you choose what combination of herbs and lifestyle changes can help you reach this goal quicker and more efficiently.