Something that we all need to have every day is sleep. It heals our complete organism and gives us energy for the whole day. Still, there are people who have problems with their sleep. One of the most common medical issues connected to lack of sleep is insomnia. Almost 20% to 30% American adults suffer from it. Other similar disorder is chronic insomnia.
Nowadays, insomnia is considered to be a disease that can be caused by numerous factors like physical imbalances, emotional disorders and upset, a genetic component, environmental factors, age, some kind of trauma, night shifts at work, coffee, stimulating drugs etc.
Neurotransmitter imbalance can make insomnia worse. These are chemicals which help the nerve impulses to go from one nerve cell to another. They include: acetylcholine, serotonin, GABA, as well as the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone. It has been scientifically proved that sleep disorders and can be connected to an imbalance in the neurotransmitter serotonin. This neurotransmitter is created in our body with the help of the amino acid tryptophan. Foods as well as herbs which contain plenty of tryptophan are: quinoa, St. John’s wort, soy products and spirulina.
The holistic treatment for insomnia includes herbal medicine along with combining vitamin and mineral supplements, improved sleep hygiene, behavioral therapy, lifestyle changes, massage therapy, hypnosis, meditation, diet, relaxation, exercise, acupuncture, homeopathy and guided imagery.
- You have to sleep regularly and have a schedule. Wake up at a precise time every morning. That will help you set your own biological clock. If you exercise regularly, it will deepen your sleep. Make sure the exercise is done at least 3 or 4 hours before you go to bed. The bedroom should be comfortable. Make sure it is well-insulated against light and sound. Use carpets and curtains, as well as eye masks and ear plugs.
- Your room should be cool or with a moderate temperature. Excessive heat isn’t good for your sleep.
- Don’t drink liquids before you go to bed as it may make you visit the bathroom a couple of times. You may fall asleep faster if you have a small hot beverage like for example soy, dairy or rice milk.
- Caffeinated beverages, alcohol and tobacco should also be avoided.
- Try to solve any problem in the family or at work before you go to bed.
- The bedroom should only be used for sexual activities and sleeping. If you’ve noticed that you can’t fall asleep, don’t be upset. Go into another room and stretch or read something. You’re your clock. Make sure you don’t nap for more than 1 hour after 4 p.m. Keep your phone on Silent or turn it off. Do something relaxing: yoga, meditation, massage, biofeedback, muscle relaxation etc.
Herbs for Insomnia
Here, we’ve prepared you some herbs that can help you if you use them at least half an hour before you go to bed.
CHAMOMILE (ANTHEMIS NOBILIS):
Chamomile is considered to be a sedative herb that can even be used by children. People use it against irritability, restlessness and insomnia. You can also use chamomile oil in your bath! Dissolve 5 or 6 drops of this oil and relax. It will calm your nerves, but you can also use it as an inhalant or for massages.
Dose: Take 1 cup of teas 2 or 3 times a day or use chamomile tincture. Dissolve 30 drops of it 3 times a day.
HOPS: (HUMULUS LUPULUS):
Hops was used as a sedative agent in the past. Doctors also use it to calm people’s nerves. It is the major component of beer, but you can use it against nervousness, sleeplessness and restlessness. Some experts also recommend hops pillows to treat for mild insomnia.
Dose: Take 1 cup of tea 2 or 3 times a day or dissolve 30 to 40 drops of hops’ tincture 2 or 3 times a day.
LAVENDER (LAVANDULA OFFICINALIS):
Lavender is also known as a soothing agent for our nervous system. You can also add lavender oil in your bath and relax before you go to bed. You can also use lavender oil for massages and as a compress.
Dose: Take 1 cup of team 2 or 3 times a day. Use lavender essential oil for inhalation or massage. Put 3 to 10 drops in your bath to help you relax. For every ounce of vegetable oil, you should use 10 drops of essential oil.
PASSION FLOWER (PASSIFLORA INCARNATA):
Passion flower is considered to be very important for insomnia which is caused by nervous exhaustion, mental worry or overwork. It doesn’t cause any side-effects and it can also be used in children.
Dose: Take 1 cup of tea 3 times a day. Use 30 to 60 drops of tincture 3 or 4 times a day.
VALERIAN (VALERIANA OFFICINALIS):
Valerian is mostly used to treat restlessness, insomnia and nervousness. It can also reduce the waking up at night. It doesn’t cause any side-effects. You can combine it with other herbs which have sedative powers like: hops, California poppy, passion flower and skullcap.
Dose: Take 1 cup of tea preferably before bedtime. Use 2 or 5 drops of tincture 2 to 3 times a day.
WILD LETTUCE (LACTUCA VIROSA):
Wild lettuce is considered to be a mild sedative. You can find it in numerous formulas which treat chronic or acute insomnia. It is also good to use on children.
Dose: Use 2 or 3 drops of wild lettuce tincture 3 or 4 times a day.
CALIFORNIA POPPY (ESCHSCHOLZIA CALIFORNICA):
California poppy helps you sleep better and improves insomnia. It can also help you treat mild anxiety and relax more. Children can also use it since it doesn’t cause any side-effect.
Dose: Drink 1 cup of tea 2 or 3 times a day. Use 30 to 40 drops of tincture 2 or 3 times a day.
Note: The tea is very mild, so if you need a stronger dose, you’d better use the tincture.
KAVA KAVA (PIPER METHYSTICUM):
Kava is considered as a national drink of Fiji. It helps your body relax, but also improves your sleep. It can also be used against fatigue.
Dose: Take 1 cup of tea 2 or 3 times a day. Use 3 or 4 drops of tincture 2 to 3 times a day.
ST.JOHN’S WORT (HYPERICUM PERFORATUM):
It is a very common herb around Europe. It has even been used by the ancient Greeks. It can help you relieve mild depression or insomnia. Still, it can sensitize your skin to sunlight, so make sure you avoid going out on sunlight after you use it!
Dose: Take half or 1 teaspoon of tincture 2 to 3 times a day. If you use it in the form or capsules or tablets, take 1 or 2 of them 2 to 3 times a day. It would probably take 2 or 3 weeks to notice the first signs of improvement. If you start noticing some light sensitivity, stop using this herb.
Melatonin is a well-known human hormone. It is used to promote and improve sound sleep in people who work odd hours or travel between time zones.
Herbal Formulas for Insomnia
A CALMING TEA BLEND:
- 1/8 part of stevia herb
- 2 parts of chamomile
- 1 part of linden flowers
- 1 part of lemon balm
- 1 part of wintergreen
- 1 part of hawthorn flowers & leaves
- 1 part of catnip
- 10% of catnip
- 20% of kava kava
- 20% of chamomile
- 30% of valerian
- 20% of linden
Keep them out of direct sunlight! Always use 1 teaspoon for a cup of tea. Don’t prepare more tea. Make sure it’s always fresh. Always add the herbs to boiled water that you’ll leave to steep for 20 minutes while it’s covered. You can keep it in the fridge.
The essential oils can be used for relaxing baths. Another helpful tool is sleep pillows.