Herbs that Will Help You Fall Asleep
Hello Monday night! We’ve all had those nights where, despite your best efforts to calm a frenzied mind, it races well into the morning hours. Research indicates that the key to a good night’s sleep could be the simple act of a calming pre-bedtime ritual. While we all wish we had the luxury of a nightly soak in the tub, we know it can be hard to find even five minutes to relax before bed.
Good news: We’ve done the legwork for you and found simple ways to wind down that take little to no time. One approach we love is aromatherapy and herbology. Here, we share five natural herbs that help you get a better night’s rest – and how they can be used most effectively.
Best for: Falling asleep
Lavender has been helping people nod off for thousands of years. This small, purple flower is one of the most commonly used herbs – it can be turned into essential oils, perfumes, candles and almost anything else. Make your own spray by mixing 15-20 drops of lavender essential oil with rubbing alcohol, which acts as an emulsifier.
Best for: Relaxing
For many, chamomile tea has been a nighttime staple for most of our lives. That’s because the flower has an incredibly gentle and effective sedative power. Experts call it “the world’s most soothing herb,” and many say it also prevents nightmares. Chamomile is best when drank as a tea. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before straining.
Best for: Calming a racing mind
Since the beginning of humankind, almost every civilization – including the Chinese, Indians, Greeks and Romans – have used valerian as a sedative. It’s an incredibly powerful herb (in the medieval times, valerian root sometimes was called “All Heal”), and it may be used to treat anxiety, reduce nerves, relieve muscle spasms and more. It's best when taken as a pill. The herb itself is rather stinky and doesn’t taste very good, so capsules are recommended.
Best for: Helping frequent wakers sleep through the night
Passionflower was backed by the FDA as an over-the-counter sleep aid until 1978, when it was decided that there wasn’t enough research to prove its effectiveness. But that hasn’t stopped the legion of supporters who sing passionflower’s praise as a natural way to still your mind and improve your sleep quality. Drink passionflower tea 30 minutes before heading to bed.
Best for: Relaxing
The aroma of ylang ylang is thought to affect the limbic system, which is the region in your brain that controls your mood and influences the nervous system. The scent of ylang ylang can promote relaxation and lower blood pressure. Try diluting ylang ylang essential oil with another oil, such as almond oil, and apply it directly to your skin, or add a few drops to a bath before bedtime. You can also sprinkle a few drops onto your Sheets or onto a cloth near your bed. A diffuser works nicely, too.