Many people have trouble falling asleep at night and want safe, effective relief from their problem. Most commercial sleeping pills make them feel sluggish the next day, and offer other unpleasant side effects.
A hot drink before bedtime can often calm and soothe (though it can also sometimes make you get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom). Certain herbal teas are noted for their calming effects that aid in getting a restful night’s sleep. Here are a few of the best herbs to try.
Chamomile tea will always leave you feeling calm and restful, making it one of the most useful herbs you can use throughout the day to deal with stress, and use at night in order to make you relaxed enough to sleep. Chamomile is also good as a skin wash and wound cleanser, leaving you healthier inside and out. There are many commercial brands of chamomile tea bags available, or you can use a small quantity of dried flowers and strain them.
It is generally safe, but those with a ragweed allergy might wish to avoid it.
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family, so it soothes in general and calms digestion in particular. It reduces stress and anxiety, leaving you in a state of mind that is more receptive to sleep. You can add it to chamomile to enhance its sleep-giving properties and vary the taste.
It has also been used to treat people with Alzheimer’s, anxiety and ADHD.
It is generally safe, but start slowly and watch out for nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and dizziness.
Valerian Root Tea
This is one of the most effective herbal teas you can use. Valerian is commonly prescribed as a sedative and sleep aid that can relieve anxiety and help with insomnia.
It is also used for pain relief and chronic fatigue. Some people also use it to relieve the hyperactivity in Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Because it slows down responses and has a calming effect, do not operate heavy machinery after taking it, and be aware that it can affect anesthesia levels if you have surgery.
Vervain is used in for mood disorders ranging from depression to irritability. It can be drunk as a tea several times a day, and used at night as a sleep aid. It also offers pain relief, which can help people fall asleep more easily. It is generally considered safe for all except pregnant women—some cases of miscarriage have been reported.
Lavender is prescribed by many natural health professionals for mood disorders and feeling “on edge.” It calms nervousness and restlessness and can help with migraine and insomnia.
Lavender can be used as an essential oil in aromatherapy. Many people like to sleep with a pillow stuffed with dried lavender flowers as a relaxation and sleep aid.
It is generally safe, but anyone planning to have surgery should stop using lavender about 2 weeks before their procedure.