Herbs for Sound Sleep

by Sam Malone

Sleeplessness is a problem that can affect anyone - whether adult or child and at any time. Long periods of sleep deprivation in turn can lead to several other health problems and issues such as lack of concentration, low energy levels, and mood swings. While many people resort to sleeping aids such as sleeping pills and prescription medication to get a good night's rest, this is not always the best option.

Medicines as sleeping aids result in a number of side effects such as drug intolerance, drowsiness, and withdrawal symptoms in the body and some may even worsen the condition in the long run. It is better therefore to try out natural sleeping aids or herbal remedies for sleep. This is especially true if you are pregnant or in cases of children with sleeping problems.

The term called insomnia literally means a complete lack of sleep. It is used to show a relative inability on the part of a person to sleep which consists of a difficulty in falling asleep, or a difficulty in staying asleep, or an early final awakening, or any of the combinations among these complaints. This disease also has assumed huge proportions among present times. This is a condition present especially among the present day upper class people of the urban set-up. Some of the current symptoms of insomnia include emotional instability and lack of sleep. The main sign of this condition include difficulty in a person falling asleep. The problems that can happen include lapses in memory, changes in a person's quality of sleep and their sleeping patterns, and also lack of concentration in a person during the course of a day. Other signs of insomnia are confusion, loss of coordination and emotional instability. Some of the causes of insomnia are listed as anxiety, tension and stress.

Experts agree that the best herbal sleep remedies include:

  • Passionflower - This is one of the best herbs for sleep as it naturally reduces anxiety and helps fight insomnia. Passionflower can be had in the form of a tea, as an extract or in tincture form. Drinking a cup of passionflower tea before bed has been proven to help with mild cases of insomnia.
  • White Willow Bark - This herb is successfully used as a natural sleep aid and is a popular remedy for sleep deprivation.
  • Chamomile - Chamomile has been used to treat insomnia since ancient times. The herb has anti-spasmodic properties that help relax the muscles and induce sleep. Another advantage of chamomile is that the effects are more or less instantaneous.
  • Valerian Root - Valerian root is a medicinal herb that helps slow down and overactive mind and calms down a tense body. Used as a natural sedative, Valerian root can also reduce stress, muscle cramps, and hysteria.
  • Kava Kava - Taking a regular dose of Kava Kava supplements can help reduce anxiety and work as an herbal remedy for sleep. However, there are some widely known side effects such as liver damage associated with over dosage of this herb. It is therefore recommended that you consume this only with prior recommendation from your doctor.
  • Ginseng - Ginseng is widely considered as one of the best herbal sleep aids. Apart from being used as a stimulant and aphrodisiac, ginseng can also induce relaxation and sleep by working as a mild sedative. However, pregnant women and children with sleep problems should avoid using Ginseng as it can cause complications and serious side effects.
  • Lemon Balm - Lemon balm is a popular herbal remedy for sleeplessness in children. It is safe and has mild relaxing properties and can also reduce problems such as indigestion and bloating.

Causes of Insomnia

The commonest cause of insomnia is listed as mental tension. This is brought on by anxiety, over-excitement, worries and overwork. It is also caused by suppressed anger, resentment, and bitterness can also cause the condition. If a person suffers from constipation or overeating, then it can also result in insomnia. Similarly if a person consumes too much of tea, coffee it can also be factors in insomnia. Smoking is also a factor that causes insomnia. Some of the main remedies used in treating this condition include a treatment that uses thiamine. Thiamine or Vitamin B has a special significance in helping to deal with this condition of insomnia. It is important for strong and healthy nerves. A person's body which is starved of its Vitamin B dose or thiamine is unable to completely relax and thus fall asleep on its own, naturally. This Vitamin can be found in pulses, cereals, nuts and wholegrain cereals. This condition can also be treated using aniseed. Try making a tea using aniseed. This could be of much help when curing sleeplessness. Boil about 375 ml of regular water in a vessel and ad to this a teaspoon of aniseed. Then cover the vessel with a lid and allow the mixture to simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes. Strain the contents and drink this solution while it is warm. Try drinking warm milk before going to bed. This also has soothing properties. Honey is also useful in treating insomnia. It can even be given to babies.

Be warned that if you are planning to use any of these herbs to help you sleep, you should inform your physician or medical health practitioner before beginning. Many of these herbs can react adversely with your other regular medication and cause more medical problems. Over usage of herbal remedies is also not recommended and none of these herbs should be used as long-term solutions of insomnia and sleep deprivation. Combining alcohol with some of these herbs could also lead to long-term liver damage so care should be taken when resorting to herbal or natural remedies for sleeplessness.

Other alternative sleeping aids include meditation, deep breathing, and acupuncture. Light exercise can also help release endorphins in the body and cause relaxation and induce sleep. Natural sleeping aids include honey (mixed with a glass of warm milk), bananas, and turkey. These foods work as natural remedies for sleep deprivation due to the tryptophan and serotonin they contain that help put the body into a sleep like state.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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