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Relaxed sleep is necessary for good health, but more than 25% of adults suffer from insomnia. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in which a person is unable to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. It is estimated that 18 million prescriptions are written each year for sleeping medications. Sufferers of insomnia may also turn to the many herbal sleep aids available.
Valerian was known to the Greeks as a nerve-calming substance. It was once prescribed in England to relieve stress brought on by the air raids of the Second World War. It has been used for centuries to quiet the nervous system and brain. The dried herb has an unappealing smell and most people choose to consume it in capsule form, either alone or combined with other sleep inducing herbs.
Peppermint, chamomile, and lime flowers, or linden, are popular herbal sleep aids that can be made into a tea and consumed before bed. Add one teaspoon of the dried herb of choice to one cup of boiling water, steep for 15 minutes, and strain. Sweeten with honey, if desired, and drink directly before bedtime.
Hot mulled wine can also be used as an herbal sleep aid, when the correct herbs are used. Warmed wine added to a stick of cinnamon, several cloves, and a teaspoon of woodruff will ease a racing mind and help induce sleep. English herbalist Gerard once infamously stated that pouring wine into woodruff would “make men merry.”
Herbal sleep aids used by early American settlers for a relaxed sleep include pennyroyal tea and red bergamot tea. They have the ability to remove tensions which prevent sleep while calming and quieting the mind. Lemon balm also shares these properties and can be made into an herbal bedtime tea, or added to other herbs for flavor and enhancement.
Jethro Kloss, an American herbalist, suggests a warm bath and hot tea as effective herbal sleep aids. He advises one teaspoon of valerian, catnip, skullcap, or hops, steeped for 20 minutes in one cup (240 ml) of boiling water. These herbs will induce sleep and tone the nerves. If none of these herbs are available, they can be substituted with hot lemonade or grapefruit juice sweetened with honey.
Herb pillows are also popular herbal sleep aids. They are flat pillows, placed inside the pillowcase, and filled with sleep-inducing herbs. The aroma that emanates from the pillows are believed to lull a person to sleep by calming the nerves and quieting racing thoughts. Herbs such as lavender, rosemary, peppermint, and woodruff are typically used, but any herbs with calming properties may be added.
Snooze Hrx by Herbal Destination worked well for me. What worked in that?
Apparently smelling lavender oil before sleep will promote better, deeper sleep.
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