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Natural Remedies for Insomnia - Hops, Lavender and Chamomile

Updated on November 19, 2012

Insomnia is difficulty in getting to sleep or staying asleep long enough to feel refreshed the next morning.

The most common cause of insomnia is stress and anxiety, other possible causes include:

  • Mental health problems such as depression or schizophrenia,
  • Physical conditions such as hormone problems, heart disease, joint or muscle problems or respiratory diseases,
  • Drug or alcohol misuse can lead to sleepless nights.
  • Some prescribed medication can cause insomnia as a side effect,
  • Sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy can also prevent a person from getting to sleep.

Its thought that over a third of people in Britain alone suffer from insomnia at some point in their lives, and an estimated 60 million people in the United States are thought to suffer with this condition, causing them to feel tired and irritable through the day and unable to concentrate or function properly which can affect their jobs and personal lives.

If you suffer from insomnia regularly and it is affecting your life then it is worth seeing your doctor to establish the underlying cause and treat that. Your doctor should also give you some self help tips such as having a hot bath, a comfy bed, regular exercise and taking less caffeine which can all help. Prescribed medication should only be taken as a last resort as these can be very addictive and cause side effects all of their own!

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A Natural Remedy

There are many plants that have medicinal properties and are completely safe to use with no side effects. I am going to give you a couple of remedies for insomnia using hops, lavender and chamomile.

Hops

Hop flowers (Humulus lupulus) are renowned as a sleep promoter. This is due to the bitter acids and volatile oils they contain that work together to soothe the nerves and relax giving a better nights sleep without the after effects of prescribed sleeping medication. It is better to dry your own fresh hops if possible (as described below) as this retains more of the volatile oils than are found in bought preparations.

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Lavender

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has essential oil in the flowers. This oil has a soothing, sedative effect, which calms nerves, relaxes muscles, eases anxiety and helps promote sleep. Its soothing effect acts on the nervous system to slow nerve reactions, slightly ease pain and irritability and clearing the mind of nervous tension. Lavender can be taken alone as a tea or as an essential oil in the bath to help promote sleep.

Hops and Lavender Pillow

This is a very simple idea and it actually works! The aroma of the hops and lavender together work brilliantly in relaxing the mind and body and helping to induce sleep.

For a pillow about 32 x 23cm:

4 Handfuls dried Hop Flowers

4 Handfuls dried Lavender Flowers

  1. To dry the hops and the lavender yourself, tie them in bunches and hang upside down in a well ventilated space out of direct sunlight for 2 weeks. Alternatively, place in a low oven (about 100 o C) for 30 minutes until crisp and dry. Strip the flowers off the larger harder stalks.
  2. Put the hops and lavender flowers in a cotton pillowcase (equal amounts of each) and seal the end.

To use place the pillow under or beside your head to induce sleep.

Source

Chamomile and Hops Bath

Chamomile

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is a mild sedative and relaxant. It can help ease anxiety and nervous stress that can interfere with normal sleep function. It can be drunk as a tea 1 hour before bed or added to a bath as described below.

  1. To make a muslin bag, place together 2 small squares of muslin and sew together 3 sides. Put 1 handful (approx 20g) chamomile flowers and 1 handful (approx 20g) hops into the bag and sew up the opening. Alternatively use a clean pop sock or cut the foot off a pair of tights, and tie the top!
  2. Put the bag into the bath while the water is running. Swish it around and occasionally give it a squeeze. The hot water allows the relaxing oils in these herbs to vaporize and be inhaled.
  3. Relax in the bath for at least 15 to 20 minutes before going to bed.

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    • Clayton Fernandes profile image

      Clayton 5 years ago from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

      truly wonderful read!! This happens to me quite a lot, my routine gets messed up if i'm out drinking with the guys or awake all night reading for days on end. thank you for the info!!!

    • Jennifer Stone profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Stone 5 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Thank you for your kind words Clayton, I hope the hops work for you, I get sleepy just making the pillow! :-)

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 5 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Another great hub! Love the pic at the top! Voted up

    • Jennifer Stone profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Stone 5 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Thank you cloverleaffarm, I appreciate your comments and vote. Thanks for reading :-)

    • chinemeremz profile image

      chinemeremz 5 years ago

      With a rare knowledge on alternative and therapeutic remedies I'll suggest you please write a book.

      I've been going through your hubs and I've been richly informed. On insomnia, I think this is the best resource I've read so far on managing this condition.

      Thanks again for sharing and one more vote up!

    • Jennifer Stone profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Stone 5 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Thankyou chinemeremz, high praise indeed :-)I'd love to write a book, I think I need to practice my writing skills some more first! I'm glad you've found my hubs useful, I think it's always worth trying natural remedies first before taking medication, especially when it can be so simple!

    • Earthy Mother profile image

      Earthy Mother 5 years ago from South East England

      I love Lavender and have plenty in my garden...I also buy Lavender essential oil regularly too - but have never tried it in combination with hops. Interesting! Do you think you could make a "bath bag" that could work with the Lavender plant rather than using oils? Or is it not that potent? Thanks for writing!

    • Jennifer Stone profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Stone 5 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Yes! You can make a bag out of muslin and use the lavender flowers to fill it. If you have dried them first they will be more potent, they can be dried in a very low oven with the door open for about 5 hours, or hung in a loose bunch upside down in a well ventilated, dry environment for about 2 weeks. Lavender essential oil is taken from the flowers so if they are dried correctly it should have the same effect as the oil in your bath! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Earthy Mother profile image

      Earthy Mother 5 years ago from South East England

      Brilliant! Thank you for your response...I shall definitely try that this summer!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      Thanks for sharing this informative hub. I always use lavender essential oil for sleeping. Thanks for the description in making the pillow as well. Have a great day!

    • Jennifer Stone profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Stone 5 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Thanks Thelma, you too! :-)

    • profile image

      stessily 5 years ago

      Jennifer, Your presentation is clear, interesting, informative. The photos complement your text. Your instructions for the sleepy time pillow and bath are so clear that I envisioned them as I was reading. I can attest that both are effective. And when I'm not suffering from infrequent bouts of insomnia, I enjoy them for sending me off cozily to dreamland.

    • Jennifer Stone profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Stone 5 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Thank you stessily for your kind words of praise. I appreciate the feedback and am glad you find these remedies useful.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 3 years ago

      I always love seeking out buried treasure and rescuing hubs that might just fade away but certainly this is not the case here as I will most definitely bookmark your enlightening hub presentation for future reference and as a night shift worker sometimes I have trouble sleeping but then again I just had a few beers, some Kraftwerk and Jesus and Mary Chain and some Canadian back bacon on a bun or two - no fookin' wonder I can't sleep , lol lol lol

      I will post your hubpage here to my FB wall so everyone can see and read what a wonderful person and writer you are.

      Both cats back outside on their deck and beyond and it's still a heatwave here but the stars are so gorgeous over the lake and I know of one star over the other side of the pond and that star is you.

      Well did 'she' have her baby yet? lol

      Sending to you warm sincere wishes from Colin, Tiffy and Gabriel at lake erie time 5:35am

    • Jennifer Stone profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Stone 3 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Hi Colin! You always say the nicest things, thank you for your kind words about a hub I'd actually forgotten about! lol... love waking up to your words, and now I'm in the mood for bacon... mmmm ;-)

      We are in a bit of a heatwave here too, the "British" thing to do is complain about the heat, but I think those people are mad!! lol lol Here's to 25 years of summer I say!!! lol It's the weekend now so nice and peaceful, at the moment the Environment Agency are building flood defences against the "200 year" flood which is a regular pain in the ass.. but I'm getting a nice new wall around my garden, which currently has wrens, blackbirds and wood pigeons nesting in it! :-)

      As for babies... they grow into teenagers so I'm avoiding them! lol

      So to my shining star across the pond, the warmest wishes and biggest hugs and lots of fuss for Tiffy and Gabriel. Now at 7.32am, time to get ready for a very busy day!

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