Secrets to Sleeping: Natural Remedies Using Herbs and Essential Oils

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Secrets to Sleeping: Natural Remedies

Using Herbs and Essential Oils

Sleeplessness or Insomnia is a common problem for one out of five adults; it can be easily addressed with natural sleep aides.

“Lack of sleep increases risk of high blood pressure, depression and weight gain, usually due to adverse effects on hormones and your diet” says Dr. Andrew Weil, of the Arizona Center of Integrative Medicine.

Herbs to Help You Sleep

  1. Valerian is really good for the racing, can’t stop, worried mind, it helps you fall asleep and reduces nighttime wakening. I suggest taking valerian as a capsule, since this herb is very stinky, sort of like “dirty socks” smell.
  2. Chamomile is a time honored herb, for sleep and calm. It is safe for children and adults. Also used for irritability.
  3. Passion Flower is best for people who tend to wake up frequently in the night. It is very safe and can be taken for long periods of time if necessary.
  4. Hops, is well known for centuries, and was used since the early 1900’s for nervous conditions and sleep. It is a major component for brewing beer; that may be why we tend to relax after having a beer.
  5. Lavender is perhaps the first one people think of, it’s written about most often, about the calming and anxiety free feeling it brings to you. You can even use it as massage oil for restless leg symptoms.
  6. California poppy is good for restlessness it not only helps you sleep it improves the quality of your sleep. It is also safe for children. Using poppy as a tincture is the best way to take this herb.
  7. Magnolia Bark is helpful in lowering cortisol levels. Cortisol ‘spiking’ can affect you from sleeping thru the night. It makes you rapidly drowsy. Not recommended for pregnant or nursing women.

There are several other herbs worth mentioning, all of them help with sleep, anxiety and stress like Lemon balm, Ashawaganda, St Johns Wort, and even catnip.

These herbs can be taken as capsules, extracts or teas. You could even try them in pillows.

Essential Oils (EO)

Just like the herbs their essential oils can be used to help calm or decrease anxiety.

  1. Lavender one of the most studied EO, relaxes the nervous system and actually changes brain waves, blood pressure and heart rates to a calm state.

You can even use it as a massage oil for restless leg symptoms.

  1. Bergamot is a hybrid fruit of lemon, orange and lime, it has traditional use in Italian folk medicine. It has the ability to relieve stress, tension and anxiety.
  2. Frankincense is good for anxiety and depression. A calming tranquil energy, it creates a spiritual grounding and it calms the mind.
  3. Ylang ylang is a sweet floral aromatic from Southwest Asia. Studies show it relaxes you and decreases blood pressure.

Essential oils or scents can evoke emotions or memoriesinstantly, due to inhaling the scent which goes directly from the nose to the brain. The olfactory nerve in your nervous system triggers our memories and we respond with a physical  and emotional reaction.

Use of oils in a diffuser in your bedroom will help you sleep. Or you can put a few drops on a tissue under your pillow if not on a few acupressure points on your skin.

Natural Remedy Tips

Sleeping issues can also cause sleep apnea which is when you physically stop breathing for a few seconds. But you could do this many times in one night. This can be life threatening and reduces quality of life.

This start and stop breathing sounds like snoring or choking noises. This could come from inflammation of the throat muscles.

You should look at modifications in lifestyle, weight loss or lessening inflammation. Many of those with sleep apnea use breathing masks which is only a temporary fix.

Snoring, you may be one of the 45% of adults who snore occasionally. Usually commented on such as, “your snoring rattles the windows”; but it can become serious. About 75% of those who snore can have sleep apnea which can increase heart problems.

There are many products on the market for resolving snoring but not all of them are reliable or work very well. You might want to try a body pillow and sleep on your side versus sleeping on your back. Or sleep in a reclining position.

Herbal pillows stuffed with a variety of herbs like hops or lavender and used next to your pillow at night calms and relaxes.

Eye masks keeps the light out and is effective at calming down the mind.

Drinking 4 ounces of tart cherry juice 30 minutes before bed really works. Cherries contain tryptophan converting to melatonin to help you sleep naturally.

Warm milk with some turmeric or honey and cinnamon an hour before bed is very relaxing.

Even a warm bath with some essentials oil will be calming and relaxing before bedtime.

Melatonin supplements can be used if all else fails. Go with more natural ideas first.

Chinese Herbs for Insomnia

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the blood must nourish the heart to calm the mind. When the heart has insufficient blood then the brain is restless and distressed. As a result the liver becomes hyperactive resulting in insomnia. Some herbs involved include:

  1. Dan Shen, or Salvia, nourishes the heart and regulates circulation.
  2. Sheng Di or Rehmannia, expels excessive heat in the heart to calm for sleep.
  3. Schisandra fruit and Jujube seeds calms the heart and mind. It treats the anxiety and insomnia resulting from dream disturbed sleep.
  4. Mother of Pearl helps calm the liver and brings a deeper sleep. It also helps with irritability, palpitations and frenzied minds. http://www.merryherb.com/calmsleep-p/f-insomnia.htm

Insomnia Summary: Secrets to Sleep

We just discussed quite a few aids, herbs and oils to help resolve  insomnia and let you sleep.

You can try a few or many; just see what works best for each of you. As always some will work better than others. If you still cannot resolve this naturally, then we suggest you see a doctor for more help.

Do try to resolve your sleep issues before you develop serious consequences to your health.

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Cindy Burrows, B.S., M.T., Herbalist, is a Natural Health Consultant helping individuals start health programs to improve their life, wellness and happiness. Cindy is a speaker, writer and entrepreneur of several businesses.

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