Herbal Sleep Aids
Herbal sleep aids is one avenue that should be explored if you are experiencing sleepless nights. One person might try grandma’s homemade herbal remedies while others reach for commercial herbal remedy products. In many cases the natural, holistic approach drives the choice between chemical and herbal products. What's right for you?
OTC sleep aids
While over the counter sleep aids are easy to come by and relatively inexpensive, they may not be your best choice. For one thing, these products often have side effects including forgetfulness, headaches, lack of focus the following day, and dry mouth. It’s easy for your body to build up a tolerance to OTC products, meaning you end up taking more and can potentially become dependent on them. Some individuals suffering with insomnia report that stopping the medication causes worse sleeplessness than before trying the drug. Additionally, sleep disorders can be part of other physical issues that the OTC sleep aid masks.
Homemade herbal remedies
Perhaps the most common homemade sleep remedy is old fashioned warm milk. Science tells us this works to some extent because of amino acid tryptophan and melatonin in the milk, two substances known for promoting sleep. Beyond this the psychological element in warm milk shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s a comfort beverage, but provides the best results when combined with other relaxation methods and avoiding caffeine after 6 pm.
Herbal Sleep Aids the Natural Approach
Individuals struggling with periodic or regular sleep disorders often turn to herbal remedies, preferring non-synthetic substances as part of a healthy, organic lifestyle. Many herbal remedy products are relatively safe, while others may interact badly with prescribed medicines. Never begin taking any herbal product without first consulting an herbalist or your physician for safety reasons.
Some of the herbs suggested for sleep aids include passion flower to calm nerves and relieve pain, lavender for overall peace, chamomile – which has sedative qualities, valerian for lowering blood pressure and reducing cramps (anti hypertensive properties), hops for restlessness and anxiety, chamomile as an overall tonic, oats for exhaustion or depression, St. Johns Wort for hypersomnia, and basil to ease tension and encourage sleep.
Other Sleep Aids
Besides using herbs, there are alternatives available. Sometimes it’s just a matter of changing where you sleep or your daily patterns. In particular avoiding stressful or worrisome situations in the hours before bed is vital. Also don’t exercise before bed – while it might tire you out, it actually gets your blood pumping and makes getting to sleep (and staying asleep) more difficult. Instead, stretch your muscles before laying down to help relax them. Studies done at Harvard confirm that these types of changes can dramatically improve sleep patterns.
If you find that behavioral changes don’t help your sleeplessness, then herbal sleep aids might, indeed, be another avenue to getting a decent amount of rest. Again, however, please use wisdom. Individuals with chronic conditions, who are pregnant or nursing should check with a health care provider about any supplement they intend to use.
NOTE: The information provided above, as with everything on BasilBasics, is subject to the Disclaimer. This is not intended to be medical advice, and we suggest you consult with your physician prior to altering any course of action.
Sources for Herbal Sleep Aids
Below you will find several sources for herbal sleep aids. If you do not find exactly what you are looking for, click on the store name in one of the boxes to go directly to the store's website to search more easily. Here you can search on the specific herb/combination you are seeking.
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