Winter is well and truly here in New York City, and with that inevitably comes colds and bouts of the flu. After a long chilly day not feeling so well, I know personally, I look forward to sleep like it is the greatest thing of all time. To be warm, safe and snuggly under my blankets feels so comforting.
However, if you are not feeling so well, sleep may not be so easy to come by? Taking it one step further, even if you are in top tip shape, sleep concerns are experienced by many. One only needs to take a walk down the sleep aid aisle in any pharmacy, to see that there is obviously a need for this kind of medication. Sleep is one of the most deeply healing and revitalizing experiences known, and without it one cannot function properly. Symptoms of sleep deprivation can include, slurred speech, memory loss, blurred vision, slow reaction times, and memory lapses.
Sure, it is easy enough to pick up an over-the-counter medication to ensure you catch some zzzzzz’s however, it seems counteractive to be taking chemical synthetic medicine to cure a sleep concern. That just opens a whole new set of concerns; what kind of chemicals are in the tablet, are they dangerous etc.
A preferred alternative is plant medicine, from Mother Nature, and thankfully herbal remedies are readily available; herbal teas, eating the right foods, or even just a few drops of essential oil on your pillow at night can all do wonders!
The following herbs, as per guest writer Dr Christopher Hobbs, can be used during the day, or before bedtime, to ensure you get a deep night’s sleep to wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed:
01. Chamomile is a time-honored sedative herb which can be safely used by children and adults alike. Chamomile tea is commonly used in Europe, South America, and Mexico for insomnia and restlessness combined with irritability, particularly in children.
- Dose: Tea, 1 cup 2-3 x daily; Tincture, 30 drops 3 x daily. Can be added to baths (5-6 drops) to soothe overwrought nerves, diluted to 2% to make an excellent massage oil, or used as an inhalant.
02. Lavender is a gentle strengthening tonic for the nervous system. A few drops of lavender oil added to a bath before bedtime are recommended for persons with sleep disorders.
- Dose: Tea, 1 cup 2-3 x daily; Essential oil may be inhaled, massaged into the skin (use 10 drops essential oil per ounce of vegetable oil), added to baths (3-10 drops), and the oil may be used as a compress.
03. California Poppy is my favorite sedative and sleep-promoting herb which can currently be found in a variety of herbal remedies sold in the United States for promoting sleep, helping one to relax, and easing mild anxiety. Because of its mild sedative and analgesic properties, it can be given safely to children.
- Dose: Tea, 1 cup 2-3 x daily; Tincture, 30-40 drops 2-3 x daily.
**Since the tea is mild, a tincture is recommended when a stronger dose is desired.
04. Passion Flower is considered by herbalists to be an important herb for insomnia caused by mental worry, overwork, or nervous exhaustion. In England it is an ingredient in forty different commonly sold sedative preparations. Passion flower is used for minor sleep problems in both children and adults, and is safe even in large doses.
- Dose: Tea, 1 cup 3 x daily; Tincture, 30-60 drops 3-4 x daily.
05. St. John’s Wort is a common yellow-flowered weedy herb from Europe that is quickly becoming an important part of modern herbal therapeutics. Modern scientific studies show that it can help relieve chronic insomnia and mild depression when related to certain brain chemistry imbalances. Because this herb can sensitize the skin to sunlight, if you are taking a full dose, avoid direct skin exposure to bright sunlight.
- Dose: Tincture, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon 2-3 x daily; powdered extract, 1-2 tablets or capsules 2-3 x daily. Allow 2-3 weeks for the full therapeutic effect to develop.
**Note: If you experience light sensitivity or other unpleasant symptoms, reduce or discontinue the St. John’s Wort and consult a qualified herbalist for a total program.
Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum. Peace, Love and Plants Make the World Go Around.
Dr. Christopher Hobbs, Ph.D., L.Ac, Director of Herbal Science at Rainbow Light®. He is an internationally renowned herbalist, licensed acupuncturist and botanist, has been formulating market leading natural supplements exclusively for Rainbow Light® since 1985. With more than 35 years of clinical experience in herbal medicine, Hobbs has authored 25 books, including Herbal Remedies for Dummies and Women’s Herbs, Women’s Health.