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Natural Remedies for Insomnia and Restless Sleep

Updated on October 11, 2012

Insomnia and restless sleep affect millions of people every night. Unable to sleep for a long period of time or just simply waking up constantly throughout the night is a condition that can cause long term health effects for just about anyone. Many people turn to prescription medication to help with aiding their sleep however, there are natural ways to combat insomnia that are simple affordable and work with your body naturally instead of creating a drug induced sleep. Such natural remedies do not present the same harmful side effects or dependencies that prescription drugs often create.

Calm Your Environment

Electronics and Lights

The first step in dealing with insomnia or difficulty sleeping is to change your environment to promote relaxation and calmness. Turn off your electronics. Televisions, computers, cellphones are all a distraction to keep your mind occupied and not relaxed. Turn the lights down. Bright lights, especially fluorescent lights will keep you assuming unconsciously it is an appropriate hour to be awake. If you tone down your lighting your body will naturally react and relax. Its not necessary to put your self in complete darkness, but through changing your lighting profile, and electronic use patterns you can create an calm relaxed environment for yourself.


Smells and Sounds

Aromatherapy as a sleep aid is not a new concept. We know certain aromas promote relaxation and calmness in a person. Lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, and jasmine essential oils and aromas are options for creating an atmosphere that encourages relaxation. Candles incense, and wicking diffusers are all options to create a great home filling aroma.

Sounds are more of a personal preference, putting a stereo on low with relaxing background noise, or using a sound machine seems a bit childish to many people as we consider them many times for baby room additions, but the truth is they work for anyone. You should have an idea of the sounds that relax you and can accommodate yourself accordingly.

Herbal Helpers

Many people want a healthy natural aid for sleeplessness and to avoid the side effects of prescription drugs or over the counter sleep aids. Even though they are natural, herbal supplements should be taken in moderation and cautiously. Start with low usage and increase only if it is necessary, you may not require as much help as you think.

Chamomile is a great herb to help with sleep problems
Chamomile is a great herb to help with sleep problems | Source


Tea is a great way to help your body relax and there are many types of tea available.Obviously make sure to avoid any tea with caffeine, and avoid adding sugar or honey if possible. Peppermint, chamomile, kava kava, linden leaf and flowers, passion flower herb, licorice root, hops, and Valerian root are all herbs that you should consider for a nighttime tea. Often you can buy premixed teas or you could choose to mix your own.

Herbs To Promote Relaxation

The following herbs can be used during the daytime, or just before bedtime.

  • California poppy (Eschscholzia californica): A great addition to any tea California poppy not only promote sleep, but sleep quality. They can be used in teas, essential oils and are available in capsule form.
  • Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile): Chamomile is sedative herb which can be used in teas, taken in capsule or dried for, or through essential oils. Chamomile plants can be grown at home easily, and the plant looks very much like a dasiy. This herb is widely available in capsules as well. However, it should not be used if you are pregnant as it can cause uterine contractions in pregnant women.
  • Kava kava (Piper methysticum): Kava is a Polynesian herb that promotes relaxation and soothes anxiety. It can be taken in tea, or pills and kava kava supplements are widely available.
  • Hops (Humulus lupulus): Hops are best known for flavoring beer but they also work as a sedative when used in tea, essential oils or ingested. Hops can usually be found in capsule or tea form at specialty stores, or can be purchased fresh or dried from a home brewing supplier.
  • Lavender (Lavandula officinalis): Lavender is often used as an essential oil, although extracts are also avaialble. It is often incorporated into tea to add a calming aroma.
  • Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata): Passionflower is an ingredient in many produced sleep aids. It promotes full body relaxation and is one of the key ingredients for any herbal tea. Passionflower can be taken as a tea, an extract or ingested (widely available in capsules).
  • Valerian (Valeriana officinalis): Possibly the most widely used herb for sleeplessness Valerian is a strong sedative that should be taken in moderation. I can be used in tea, taken as a powder, through capsules (probably the prefer ed way) or by chewing a whole root. Its strong and ...ahem...interesting flavor and aroma make it a difficult choice for stand alone teas.

Remember to take any supplements in moderation and be wary of side effects they might have on your body. If you have serious problems with waking up at night consider a sleep study to evaluate your self for sleep apnea a very serious condition. Also consider that supplements are just that, supplemental. If you are having difficulty sleeping you need to evaluate the root causes of the situation and address those appropriately.

Other things that help are the obvious requirements to living a healthy life, diet and exercise. Getting proper nutrition and daily exercise can go a long way to improve your sleep habits and quality.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


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