06.03.2015
If you’re having trouble sleeping but don’t want to turn to prescription sleep aids, one of the best ways to get more shut-eye is with herbal remedies that promote healthy sleep.
If you suffer from severe insomnia, herbs probably won’t be enough for you — you’ll need to see a doctor to come up with the healthiest plan of action for your body and lifestyle. Lemon balm is another mild herbal sedative that has been used to treat sleeplessness, depression, and anxious feelings. Lavender has been used by herbalists for centuries, but recent scientific studies have also shown it’s value as a sleep aid. We have all heard that saying “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Let me tell you that whoever is responsible for popularizing that statement actually did the whole human race a pretty serious disservice. If heart health and weight gain don’t scare you into putting “getting a good night’s rest” at the top of your to-do list, maybe this will: beauty sleep. Not getting enough rest can allow opportunistic diseases to take hold in the body that we would otherwise be able to fend off. For pain from inflammation (especially after a long day on the feet), a tea and maybe a foot bath will get you ready for bed.
Using lavender as a tincture along with vervain or mugwort can help calm anxiety, nerves, and muscles, and generally relaxes your body enough to allow to trust enough to drift off. At this point you’re probably not surprised to see my good friend mugwort on this list because she somehow turns up on almost all of them. Sleeplessness is where my infatuation with this herb started because the folklore around our good friend is all about sleeping and dreaming. Mugwort gets the reputation of being a dream herb because she actually functions to help your body stay in REM sleep for longer, which allows you to dream more, remember your dreams, and feel more rested.
Vervain is my personal ally for those really tough nights… You know those ones where you’re awake because you can’t stop thinking about sleep and “everything else” is keeping you awake — your blanket isn’t right, it’s not dark enough outside, the cat is in the room, the dishes need to get done tomorrow — all those things.
I like vervain mixed with mugwort and lavender for a triple whammy to help me drift pleasantly off to sleep, and stay there.
I personally like to take my sleeping herbs in tincture form because the way that I have a hard time sleeping has more to do racing thoughts and taking a tincture works better for me in that case.
But if you find yourself needing a little help relaxing at the end of a busy day, or staying asleep through the night, herbs are a healthy and natural way to help you get to sleep.


If your difficulty sleeping is related to depression or anxiety, lemon balm may help improve both conditions.
The smell of lavender has been shown to reduce anxiety and restlessness, create a sense of drowsiness, and improve the quality of sleep. This subject hits pretty close to home for me, as anyone on the ASC team can vouch for because I often come in rubbing my eyes — I have trouble sleeping and trouble staying asleep. This means that those late night cram sessions actually aren’t helpful—get a good night’s sleep the night before your exam and maybe add some herbs for your brain clarity to your study routine. Poor sleep is directly correlated to sugar metabolism issues, high blood pressure, stroke, cardiac arrest, and other cardiovascular issues. Our bodies rest and restore while we sleep and if your sleep cycle is consistently interrupted, your metabolism can be out of whack and you could start to put on some extra pounds.
Studies have shown that resting at night may be especially good for women because melatonin, which is released by our bodies when the sun goes down, slows ovarian production of estrogen, which can spur cancer.
If you just had a rough day, you have a knot in your stomach or you’re dealing with some mild but chronic pain, chamomile is going to be your best friend.
Hops is a wonderful sedative tea that will help you just sort of drift away without a care.
Her professor had four shots of espresso on a red eye and by the time he had made it to class he was exhausted, jazzed on coffee, and anxious as all get out. It’s that herb you turn to when going to sleep isn’t really a problem but your dreams are keeping you awake, or when you can’t stay asleep throughout the night. It is most often used as a form of aromatherapy, so try dabbing your wrists and temples with lavender essential oil or placing a small lavender sachet near your pillow when you go to bed.
I went around asking this question to the ASC team and came away with a pretty good list: the fear of sleep paralysis (and aliens), cyclic worry, being too excited, reflecting, list making, and chronic pain. Often, I can to read myself into sweet, sweet slumber and other times I get a thought and can’t let it go so I have to act (last time that happened I rearranged my entire house, literally). If you’re not getting enough sleep, your brain doesn’t get a chance to catch up with itself. Considering that heart disease is a main cause of death in this country, this is kind of a big deal.


Everything from not releasing the appetite suppressing hormone to not properly storing or using carbohydrates in the body can be caused by lack of sleep. Bags under your eyes, wrinkles, redness and puffiness in your face, and early aging are all signs of sleep deprivation.
It’s also great for the kiddos — my grandma always had “sleepy-time tea” and would give it to us kids that would. For those that have a bit of worry or feel the need to make to-do lists before bed, smelling lavender essential oil can take your mind to a completely different place. It’s also really great to help you get to sleep if you’re having a headache that you’re working on curing. Skullcap is a good one to take if you wake up from a nightmare that really gave you the shivers or if you’re too tense or afraid to go to sleep at all. It is wonderful at calming down those cyclic thoughts that just won’t go away, as well as easing physical tension, making it helpful for people with chronic pain.
Hops, skullcap, and vervain would make a really nice tea for before you go to bed if you’re wanting to wind down. I have been living with sleepless nights since I was a kid and along the way I have discovered some really wonderful herbal helpers. Mugwort can lead to less sleep in people that are deprived of sleep in general because it can make you dream more and some people report that the intensity of their dreams is keeping them awake. I have a sleep deprivation issue and I need kick butt stuff and have not found anything as of yet. You should always consult with a competent, fully-informed medical professional or health practitioner when making decisions having to do with your health.
You are advised to investigate and educate yourself about any health related actions and choices you make.



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