Natural Herbs for Sleep: How to Safely Use Herbs to Promote Sleep

Natural Herbs for Sleep: How to Safely Use Herbs to Promote Sleep
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A Good Night’s Rest

A stressful day, troubling thoughts, or even an excited personality, can make it difficult to sleep at night. Some people have trouble on a regular basis, while others seem to lay in bed awake, always on the nights when rest is the most important. Taking herbs to promote sleep will encourage rest, without causing drowsiness the next morning. They can help the body relax and let go of tension, while also calming the mind.

Chronic sleeplessness is not only inconvenient, but dangerous. The body is more susceptible to disease and stress. Both physical and mental well-being can suffer. While over-the-counter and prescription drugs can effectively induce sleep, they generally come with negative side effects, and sometimes create a dependency. Using herbs for sleep is a safe, healthy way to attain a good night’s rest.

Useful Herbs

All of the following herbs are beneficial. They can be taken on their own, or blended together for a more potent effect.

  • Valerian is a relaxing nervine tonic. It is very useful when anxiety and tension are present. Valerian blends well with passion flower and hops.
  • Oatstraw tea is made from the nutrient-rich dried oat stalks. This herb will not only promote sleep, but it will also nourish the nervous system, helping the body deal with stress on a daily basis.
  • Passion flower is the ideal herb for insomnia. It is a mild sedative, as well as a nervine tonic.
  • Chamomile is a safe, gentle, relaxing herb. Its calming effect is excellent for restless children.
  • Lime blossom eases nervous tension and lowers blood pressure. Like chamomile, this herb has a more gentle effect. Lime blossom blends well with hops for treating sleeplessness.
  • Jamaican dogwood is one of the more powerful sedative herbs. It is excellent for insomnia, especially when tension, or even pain, is the cause of restlessness. This herb causes great relief for people who suffer from painful conditions, it however, should not be overused, because of its stronger effect.
  • Californian poppy is a safe, non-addicting herb. It has gentle sedative and hypnotic properties, inducing sleep and quelling over-excitement.
  • Hops is a great herb to be used in an herbal blend for sleeplessness. It relaxes the nervous system and relieves tension and anxiety. This herb should not be taken in cases of depression, which is sometimes present with insomnia and restless sleep. Hops can aggravate depression.

One cup in the evening should be enough for a relaxing effect. As it is difficult to overdose on herbs, drinking two or three cups is not dangerous. However, do not combine herbs to promote sleep with alcohol or drugs.

To make a cup of soothing tea, infuse two teaspoons of dried herbs with one cup of boiling water for ten to fifteen minutes. Most of the herbs for sleep are actually very pleasant to drink. Sweeten with honey, sip, and relax.


Hoffmann, David. “The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies.” (Element Books, 1996).

Balch, Phyllis, CNC. “Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition.” (The Penguin Group, 2006).

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photo by: Skittzitilby (CC/flickr)


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