Having trouble sleeping?
There’s a whole lovely selection of naturally relaxing herbs that are great for helping you catch those Z’s. Many of them are simply calming without causing drowsiness, making them appropriate for stress or anxiety in the daytime as well (but save valerian for night time only). See chart below for a description of some common “bedtime” herbs.
You can select your own individual herbs, be they in bulk or in tea bags, to combine or use solo as you choose, OR you can buy boxes of tea that are herbal combinations specifically for sleep. For this I suggest going to a health food store and selecting an organic herbal blend that appeals to you – generic non-organic teas can be heavily contaminated with various chemicals from pesticides, herbicides, etc.
Some possible bedtime tea herbs
|Oat Straw (avena sativa)||Mildly relaxing. A tonic to strengthen and nourish the nervous system.||Mild and pleasant|
|Licorice root||Restorative for the adrenals – helps with stress. This herb can raise blood pressure, although a tea is probably not strong enough to cause this. Nonetheless, you if you have high BP, be careful.||Sweet and tasty|
|Chamomile||Calming, relaxing for both the mind and the intestines, improving digestion and mood||Slightly sweet; generally liked|
|Lavender||Calming, improves digestion, great for stress and headaches||Flowery and pleasant|
|Valerian||A sedative herb. Especially good for a worried, racing mind. Powerful! Not for everyone.||“Musty” (i.e. like dirty socks)|
|Passion flower||Great for anxiety and those who wake up frequently throughout the night.||Pleasant, very mild, but unusual/unique|
|Lemon balm/Melissa||Improves mood and mental calmness||Mild and pleasant|
|Hops||Good for anxiety, stress, and digestion. Calms the nervous system.||Bitter, pungent|
|Skullcap||Calms the nervous system. Often used for stress.||Bitter|
|Lime Blossom/ Linden||A nervine relaxant. Often used to sooth stress and anxiety.||Mild and pleasant.|
|Californian Poppy||A gentle sedative. Especially good for anxiety. Also helps with pain. Does not contain opium, in case you’re wondering.||Somewhat bitter.|
|Catnip||A mild sedative, and also great for digestion. Makes cats crazy, but makes humans calm.||Rather strong tasting, but not bad. “Herby”|
There are many other herbs that can be helpful for sleeping, for various reasons, but these are some good general suggestions to start with. Where to find a good bedtime tea? For quality purposes, I recommend getting out of the grocery store and looking in a health food store, or an herbal shop if there happens to be one near you (you lucky duck). There are some great sleepy tea combos available.
How to properly make tea:
Boil a full kettle of water. Place a tea bag or your choice of dried herbs in your teapot and pour the hot water on top of the tea (bag) to fill the pot. Be sure to put the lid back on your teapot to keep in the goodness – many of the helpful properties of the herbs can be lost in the steam if you let it sit uncovered. To properly steep to a medicinal level, let sit covered for 15 minutes.
Try making your own mix! For a mild, simple blend, I like to combine roughly equal parts of:
- lemon balm
This mix can be consumed in the day for digestion and/or stress, and at night for sleep.
For stronger, bedtime-only sleepy tea, consider herbs like valerian, skullcap, and passionflower.
When I buy herbal combinations for sleep I favour a blend of oat straw flower, licorice root, chamomile, lavender, lime flower, valerian, and tulsi (a beautiful herb for mood), and it tastes GREAT. Valerian kinda smells like dirty socks, but every other herb in this mix is a delicious one, so six yummy herbs versus one gross one was a ratio that works beautifully in this instance.
A little more on valerian:
Valerian on its own is unpleasant, but in combination it can be great, and is a powerful sleep aid. A small percentage of people become energized by valerian, so this herb is not for everyone. Some people experience nightmares after drinking valerian tea as well. Take enough, and you can even feel rather hung-over the next day. These precautions are worth noting, but if you haven’t tried, this herb can be amazing and extremely helpful, so do give it a go if you have trouble sleeping. Just note how you feel the next day and decide whether it’s a good one for you or not. Turn to it when needed, even if it’s often, so long as it’s not every night.
The earth has SO much beautiful medicine to offer us. Try some of these herbs, as they appeal to you, for a better night’s sleep.
Do you ever find yourself hungry at bed time? Click here to learn why you shouldn’t eat before bed, and what to eat if you absolutely must (hint: it uses herbs from this post!).
Stay well rested, friends! Sweet dreams. 🙂
P.S. – did you notice the text at the bottom of the main image for this post? I painted a picture of my teapot (my beautiful teapot from my lovely Grandma!) and then added in the words: “from holisticasheck.ca” – what the heck, right? Well the cat’s out of the bag now, I guess… I have a new website coming in the new year! And from here on in, the images I create for my online work will be reflecting that change. If you go to the new web address now, there’s nothing. But soon there’ll be a great big something! Stay tuned to this channel, and come along with me, friends! 🙂