There are a lot of herbs for sleep that can help fight insomnia and sleep deprivation. This post from Corpina brings you the 9 best natural sleep remedies that are worth trying!
We’ve all been there. Lying awake, staring at the digital display on our alarm clocks.
Prescription sleep aids might help you fall asleep, but they often have disturbing side effects. Since I didn’t particularly want to eat an entire meal in my sleep or sleepwalk over to the neighbor’s house, I’ve been looking into the best herbs for sleep.
The good news is that there are a lot of herbs that can help you sleep. The even better news is that they are clinically shown to help people fall and stay asleep.
Much more recent studies have been done to test valerian’s effectiveness as a sleep aid. One study involved 100 postmenopausal women who had insomnia. Half of the women took 530 mg of valerian twice daily for four weeks. The others were given a placebo.
Just 4% of the placebo group reported an improvement in their sleep after four weeks, compared to 30% of the valerian group.
How long you take valerian for influences its effectiveness. In some cases, people noticed no improvement after taking the herb for 14 days. But, the same group saw a considerable improvement in their sleep quality by the 28th day.
Valerian comes in several forms. You might get the best effects if you enjoy a tea made by steeping a teaspoon of the ground root in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Don’t worry, valerian tea doesn’t taste as bad as it smells.
If you just can’t get past the smell, an easier way to take it is in capsule form. Take the pill or drink the about an hour or so before bedtime. You should see an improvement in your sleep after several weeks.
L-Theanine is an amino acid often found in black or green tea. If you’ve ever had a friend who was really into tea, they might have mentioned L-theanine.
The amino acid has a number of benefits for people, mainly increasing relaxation and minimizing anxiety. It can also help people get a better night’s sleep.
It’s important to note that L-theanine isn’t a sedative. It won’t knock you out. Instead, it helps to improve the quality of your sleep by making you less anxious.
For that reason, L-theanine has been studied in people who have conditions that affect their sleep quality. One study involved a group of 8 to 12-year-old boys who were diagnosed with ADHD.
Sleep problems are often associated with ADHD. Some of the boys in the study were given two 100 mg tablets of L-theanine twice a day for six weeks. The rest were given a placebo.
The boys who chewed the L-theanine tablets had a higher sleep percentage and sleep efficiency. They were also less active during sleep.
3. Wild Lettuce
OK, I’m not suggesting you head out into a field to pick leaves of lettuce to get a better night’s sleep. For one thing, wild lettuce isn’t the same as the lettuce you commonly eat in a salad. It’s easy to confuse the plant with a variety of other plants that you don’t want to consume.
4. St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is most commonly used as an herbal treatment for depression. But it can provide some benefit to people facing sleepless nights too, especially because sleeplessness often accompanies depression.
For the most part, studies suggest that the herb is effective in helping people with moderate or mild depression. The herb contains a number of chemicals and compounds thought to improve mood.
St. John’s Wort might not directly help with sleep problems, but it might help with issues related to sleep deprivation. A study in mice examined the effect the herb had on improving the overall well-being of mice who were sleep deprived for 72 hours.
The mice who took the St. John’s Wort showed an improvement in their weight and activity. The herb also had an anti-anxiety effect on those mice.
One very important thing to note before you try St. John’s Wort. It can interact with or mess up a variety of medications. If you’re taking any medicine regularly, it’s best to check with your doctor first before you try St. John’s Wort. For example, it can mess up your birth control pills.
5. California Poppy
A clinical trial is underway in Quebec, examining the effectiveness of California poppy in improving sleep in patients with chronic pain. Since the trial is still ongoing, there is no conclusive data or results yet.
Perhaps best known as the amino acid in turkey that makes everyone sleepy on Thanksgiving, L-tryptophan has long been studied by researchers. According to one review of a lot of studies, the amino acid best helped people who suffered from insomnia but didn’t do much to help people who weren’t reporting any sleep issues.
Most interestingly, l-tryptophan can help people who have specific sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea have difficulty breathing in their sleep and might even stop breathing from time to time. One small study found that l-tryptophan improved the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea considerably.
The amino acid helps with sleep by increasing the production of melatonin in the body and the production of serotonin. Melatonin is the hormone that helps you fall asleep. Serotonin helps you feel calm.
An effective way to get the benefits of L-tryptophan for sleep is to take one gram of it before bed. Since taking such a high dose of the amino acid can interfere with other medications, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor first if you are taking anything else.
7. Tart Cherry Juice
The same pigments that give tart cherry juice its bright red color can help you tack 90 minutes onto your sleep schedule each night.
The pigments, known as proanthocyanidins help slow down the breakdown of L-tryptophan. The amino acid then has more time to work to produce melatonin in your body.
One study involving tart cherry. The juice was given to a group of older adults for two weeks. The adults didn’t drink the juice for an additional two weeks.
The adults who drank the cherry juice reported an improvement in total sleep time, sleep onset and sleep efficiency. The juice had a particularly big effect on insomnia, reducing the number of minutes people lay awake at night.
Tart cherry juice is pretty easy to find. It’s usually sold at supermarkets for about $10 per quart. To get the benefits, try drinking 16 ounces per day.
8. Magnolia Bark
If you want to fall asleep fast, try magnolia bark.
A study published in Italy in 2011 compared the effectiveness of magnolia bark to soy isoflavones when it came to helping menopausal women with insomnia and anxiety. The study found that magnolia bark helped reduce anxiety levels in the women.
An early study showed that combining magnolia bark with magnesium helped people fall asleep faster.
It’s not exactly an herb, but many people see an improvement in their ability to sleep after taking magnesium. There have been many studies that have looked at the benefits of increasing magnesium levels to improve sleep.
One study found that taking 500 mg of magnesium twice a day for eight weeks improved sleep time and efficiency in older adults.
Magnesium helps improve sleep by improving the function of the GABA receptors in your brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps your body calm down. When those receptors don’t work right, you end up remaining alert and “wired,” even long past bedtime.
Lots of people don’t have enough magnesium is their systems, and don’t know it. If you’ve had lots of sleepless nights lately, adding a magnesium supplement to your routine might be all you need to do.
If you have been having trouble sleeping, I hope at least one of these herbs will help you. I know how much of a pain it can be to struggle to fall asleep night after night.
Have you tried any of these herbs to help you fall asleep? Let us know how they worked, in the comments. Of course, please share this article if you know anyone in your family or group of friends who regularly has trouble getting a good night’s sleep.