Can’t recall when you last slept all night through? Read on, friend; you are not alone. One of the biggest issues facing our fast-paced, technology-driven culture is quality sleep. Did you know that lack of restful sleep could lead to…
- Heart disease
- Decrease in mental clarity
- Weight gain
And these are just a few things attributed to lack of sleep.
Many of us reach for the over-the-counter sleep medications, and if sleep deprived enough, prescription drugs. But both OTC or prescription sleep aids can lead to even more unwanted effects, such as addiction, uncontrollable shaking, and mental impairment. And all of this comes on top of the foggy brain and distress from sleep deprivation.
So let’s explore some plant-derived sleep aids that can soothe and lull the body as you slip off into restful, peaceful sleep without all those side effects.
Better yet, there are many different ways you can administer your plant-based sleep aids. Teas, tinctures, and infusions are ideal when working with herbs for healthy sleep. Adding a blend of soothing essential oils to the bath, into a diffuser, or in an aromatic inhaler is also very effective. Relaxing essential oils can also be used in DIY lotions, creams, or sprays that can be applied before bed.
Here is a list of 24 essential oils and herbs that have been shown to support healthy, normal sleep patterns.
Of course, if you are suffering from insomnia or are currently taking prescription medication, you should consult with a trusted healthcare provider, Registered Aromatherapist, or herbal practitioner before beginning a natural medicine routine.
Essential Oils for Natural Sleep Support
- Anise Pimpinella anisum(L.)
- Basil Ocimum basilicum(L.)
- Bay Laurus nobilis(L.)
- Bergamot Citrus aurantium var. bergamia (Risso)
- Chamomile (German) Matricaria recutita(L.)
- Chamomile (Roman) Chamaemelum nobile (L.) All.
- Coriander Coriandrum sativum (L.)
- Lavender Lavandula angustifolia (Mill.)
- Neroli Citrus aurantium (L.) var.amara
- Rose Rosa damascena (Mill.)
- Sandalwood Santalum album(L.)
- Thyme Thymus vulgaris (L.)
- Vetiver Vetiveria zizanioides(Nash)
- Yarrow Achillea millefolium(L.)
- Ylang ylang Cananga odorata(Lam.) var. genuina
Herbs for Natural Sleep Support
- Valerian Valeriana officinalis(L.)
- Hops Humulus lupulus (L.)
- California poppy Eschscholzia californica (Cham.)
- Mullein Verbascum thapsus (L.)
- Kava Piper methysticum (G. Forst.)
- Linden Tilia cordata (Mill.)
- Passionflower Passiflora incarnata (L.)
- Catnip Nepeta cataria (L.)
- Skullcap Scutellaria lateriflora (L.)
How Do Natural Sleep Aids Work?
When it comes to the therapeutic action of natural sleep aids, it is the unique constituent combination within the botanicals that make them effective, but usually one stands out.
With lavender L. angustifolia and bergamot C. aurantium var. bergamia essential oils, the ester linalyl acetate is the standout constituent that provides the soothing and sedating effect.
In the herb valerian V. officinalis, the bornyl acetate is the main actor providing the soothing, sedative qualities with support from lesser-known players.
Another unique constituent combination of numerous bitter principles and essential oil is found in hops H. lupulus, lupulin—the tiny, yellow pollen-like granules you can see all over the hop flowers (also known as strobiles)—is thought to be responsible for the soothing effects.
Other herbs such as California poppy E. californica pack a more powerful valium-like punch with alkaloid combinations such as californine and protopine. Preliminary research in California poppy suggests the ability to support and extend natural, healthy sleep.
Ready to get started with these wonderful natural sleep aids? Stay tuned for my next blog post on natural sleep support, which will include three recipes for restful, calmed, and rejuvenating sleep.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the President and Founder of American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.
 Sleep loss: 10 surprising effects. (2005). Retrieved March 21, 2016, from WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss
and Milanmarkovic, & Fotolia. (2016, March 21). Losing 30 minutes of sleep per day may promote weight gain and adversely affect blood sugar control. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150306082541.htm
 Understanding the side effects of sleeping pills. (2005). Retrieved March 21, 2016, from WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/understanding-the-side-effects-of-sleeping-pills
 Paul LD, Springer D, Staack RF, et al. Cytochrome P450 isoenzymes involved in rat liver microsomal metabolism of californine and protopine. Eur J Pharmacol 2004;485:69-79.
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