Herbal remedies can help to ease your worries as well as simply send you of to sleep.
There are many causes of insomnia, and not everyone’s sleepless nights are caused by the same thing. An overactive mind brought on through too much excitement late in the evening, over-exhaustion from a grueling day at work, poor digestion from eating the wrong foods, negative thinking and worry can all prevent us from getting a good night’s sleep.
Rather than simply taking a sleeping pill, even a herbal one, it’s important to identify why you think you’re not getting enough sleep.
If you feel irritable, tired and drained it may have more to do with stress than lack of sleep, in which case a stress-relieving herb will serve you better than a sedative one.
Learn how to relax and unwind as well as be active. Balance is the key, and a calming and balancing herb such as lavender may be what you need.
It’s best not to try to sleep on a full stomach. Digestion speeds up your metabolism and is likely to keep you awake. Avoid sugar, caffeine and rich foods in the evenings if you want to sleep soundly. If you do need a late evening snack however, try milk and honey, carbohydrates or lettuce tea.
Drinking milk with honey promotes the body’s production of serotonin, which can have a soothing sedative effect.
Carbohydrates such as jacket potatoes, whole-wheat pastas, oats, rice and wholegrain bread all contain ingredients that help to relieve stress.
Steep a fresh organic lettuce in 3 cups of boiled water and leave to stand off the heat for 10 minutes, strain and then sip for one hour before going to bed.
The following herbs will help ease you to sleep. Try taking them in herbal teas, adding them to your diet or sewing them into a sleep pillow to take to bed with you.
Chamomile-soothes digestive problems that might interfere with restful sleep, and also eases tension, period pain and irritability. Its gentle nature makes it ideal for treating children. This mild sedative herb is helpful for anyone suffering from nervous tension. Before bed, sip a herbal infusion of 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile per cup.
Jasmine-a calming and sedative herb that eases tension. Jasmine tea is often used in Buddhist ceremonies to promote peace and tranquility.
Lavender-soothing and sedative lavender calms the mind and emotions. It is an ideal scented candle to burn in the bedroom, or take a long soak in a lavender bath just before bedtime.
Lemon Verbena-shares calming and sedative properties with lemon balm. It is good for lifting the spirits and easing the depression that may be keeping you awake during the night.
Hops-contain the natural sedative valerianic acid, which is ideal for calming an over-active mind. Hops should not be used if depression is a cause of insomnia and also is not an excuse to drink yourself to sleep.
White Chestnut-the Bach flower remedy White Chestnut, which is available from most health-food shops, can help to soothe a mind troubled with repetitive thoughts. It is used primarily to ease mental agitation and worry, thus aiding restful sleep.
An hour before going to bed put a relaxing aromatherapy blend into an oil vaporizer with fresh spring water and leave alight to infuse your bedroom with the fragrances. When you retire, remember to blow out the night light.
A good sedative aromatherapy blend is: 5 drops lavender, 3 drops jasmine and 2 drops of bergamot.
Making simple changes to the way you use your bedroom will help you into the habit of drifting off to sleep easily. You may be associating your bed with other activities other than sleep. Get into bed only when you are really tired and on the verge of falling asleep. If you like to read or watch television, relax in a comfy chair or even on cushion on the floor rather than sitting in bed.
We associate light with daytime and being active. If you find that light is disturbing you sleep, use heavy curtains to deep your room dark or perhaps try an eye-mask.
An uncomfortable mattress or pillow can lead to back pain and a bad night’s sleep. Mattresses and pillows should be replaced once the support in them has gone.
Light is not the only form of distraction from the outside world. Traffic noise can be a great disturbance but you can dampen the sound with heavy blinds or curtains.
Even in winter, fresh air is essential for a sound night’s sleep. Stuffiness or smells can remind you of your day or unsettle you, preventing your mind from clearing itself and switching off.
Your body cools down during sleep. Opening your window or using a fan can help to drop the temperature of a room. This then helps to get your body ready for slumber.
To block out distracting background noises, try wearing ear plugs or playing low-volume relaxing music.
A dream pillow is a small sachet filled with aromatic herbs. When squeezed, the dream pillow emits the fragrances of the herbs within to help you drift into a restful sleep.