Herbs For Sleep

Todays blog is dedicated to the fact that bed is never more comfortable than when you have to get up!

I have a number of friends that are experiencing the middle aged can’t sleep blues. Either the mind cannot shut off, or it wakes you up after four hours. Personally I rarely get to sleep more than four hours at a time. Here are some helpful herbs.

Lemon Balm
This is one of my all time favourite herbs. It is lemony and delicious. It also has a calming effect. It can be used in depression and anxiety. It is excellent for helping people get through times of grief. It is also an excellent sleep aid. Drinking a cup of lemon balm tea about thirty minutes before bed can help you drift into dreamland. Melissa oil for massage can also help to promote sleep. I know a number of people that use Melissa bath salts followed by Melissa oil to help them sleep. Melissa officinalis is the latin name for Lemon Balm. I use it here because that is the name you will have to look for when looking for the oil.


Hops and Valerian
No, I’m not suggesting having a couple of beers before bed. Hops have actually been used for centuries as a calming sleep aid. You can take some dried hops and place them in a small muslin bag. Place the bag inside your pillow case. This is referred to as a hop pillow.
Recently there is a lot of research being done into the efficacy of a hop-valerian sleep aid. Let’s look at Valerian by itself first.
Valerian has been used as a sedative for centuries. It has been used to treat anxiety and stress. It also has been used as an anti-spasmodic for treatment of stomach cramps. According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre here, valerian is being studied for treatment of insomnia. Studies show that valerian, in some cases, can reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. Other studies indicate that you must use valerian long term in order to enjoy it’s benefits. The German Commission E has approved valerian as a mild sedative.
Most times hops and valerian are combined in a sleep remedy. There are several available at drug and health food stores. Two of the most common in my area are Vogel and Natural Factors.

Ah lavender, conjuring up fields of purple as far as the eye can see. Lavender is a calming herb. If you are stressed at work and not in a scent free building, try mixing a small bowl of lavender and rose petals into a potpourri. Don’t use pre-made since it will generally have a man made version of the scents. Man made lavender can smell exactly like the natural scent but we have not been able to duplicate the healing effects. The University of Maryland Medical Centre states that aromatherapy with lavender oil may slow the activity of the nervous system and promote relaxation.
Lavender pillows may be made by placing a sachet inside your pillow slip. It is also excellent as a tea. If you are going to use lavender as tea, make sure that you buy food grade lavender or grow your own. There is a Tulsi (Holy Basil) Lavender tea on the market that is excellent for reducing stress. Tulsi is a stress reducer.

There are a number of herbal sleep treatments on the market. As with all things herbal you need to make sure that the one you use is right for you.