Herbs to help you sleep
We all know the importance of a good sleep, so when persistent sleep troubles settle in and find yourself waking up throughout the night, it can quickly start to affect day-to-day life. In fact, sleep is as vital for our health and immunity as eating well and exercising. At Pukka, our team of herbalists have designed a range of organic teas and supplements specifically to help you unwind with nature. In this article, you’ll be able to learn about some of our favorite sleepy herbs & their traditional uses that can help improve modern day living.
Why can’t I sleep?
The long list of reasons for troubled sleep can seem daunting, and there is usually a combination of things at play. Things to consider may be a noisy or uncomfortable sleep environment, consuming too much caffeine during waking hours, exposure to blue light or too much screen time before bed, blood sugar dysregulation, and circadian rhythm imbalance from shift work or high stress. Commonly, it could come down to the stress hormone, cortisol. While cortisol is important for our daily function, an imbalance of it can lead to chronic circadian rhythm imbalance, and thus - poor sleep. Cortisol tends to be highest in the morning - giving us that get up and go energy - and should gradually decrease throughout the afternoon making way for the sleep hormone, melatonin, in the evening. The problem arises when cortisol is elevated in the evening, giving us unwanted energy.
6 Herbs Traditionally Used for Rest
Many of the herbs we use today to calm our nerves, clear our mind and relax our body are also used for a good night's sleep. When we can naturally support our body’s stress response throughout the day, this will help our sleep quality long term by supporting our cortisol levels and allowing our minds to calmly relax into our evening routines.
Whether you’re trying to adapt to a new sleep pattern, or just want a simple, safe and delicious way to relax, there are a vast range of herbs that can nourish our nervous system, and bring us into a restful, deep sleep.
This aromatic purple flower is high in essential oils that calm our nerves and encourage sleep. Lavender’s relaxing effects are considered to be largely due to the essential oils, whether inhaled, ingested or applied topically. Lavender is a wonderful herb to have in your daily tea infusions to give you an opportunity to deeply inhale and ingest the soothing qualities of this beautiful flower.
It’s not just lavender that provides relaxing essential oils; chamomile flowers do too!. These oils help calm our ‘fight or flight’ sympathetic nervous system response, improving overall sleep quality. Chamomile also has an antispasmodic effect on the peripheral nervous system and muscles, helping to relax the whole body and create a sense of calm and relaxation.
3. Oat flowering tops (aka milky oats)
Oat flowering tops are one of the most nutritive herbs we can enjoy for replenishing our nervous system. When we are under long term stress, we can feel frazzled, on edge, and unable to really sink into a state of deep relaxation. Enjoying milky oats consistently can have an incredibly nourishing effect on our central nervous system, encouraging healthy sleep patterns long term.
4. Valerian Root
5. Linden (Limeflower)
Traditionally used to promote a restful sleep for those who suffer from excessive worry or an over-active mind before bed time, passionflower is a gentle sedative to calm the nerves and quiet a racing mind. Passionflower allows your body to fall asleep on your own terms. It’s not a powerful sedative that’s going to knock you out, but rather works collaboratively with other herbal nervines and adaptogens to ease you into a peaceful and relaxing state. This is an ideal herb for the person whose body feels ready for sleep, but their mind is still racing from the day.
Advice from our Herbal Educator, Lindsay
If you are experiencing difficulty sleeping, take some time to assess why this might be happening, and how you can best support yourself. Are you highly stressed from the day and not giving yourself time to wind down? Is your sleep environment loud, stressful or uncomfortable? Do you have a racing mind before bed? Have you eaten a heavy dinner shortly before trying to sleep? There are many factors that can influence your sleep quality, and making small changes to your lifestyle, while incorporating sleep supporting herbs, may be a helpful approach in supporting you into some of your best night's sleep.
Author: Lindsay Kluge
Herbal Educator, Pukka Herbs US
Lindsay is a clinical herbalist and nutritionist with a passion for bringing plants and people together. Through her work as a teacher and practitioner, she is passionate about helping people feel empowered in their health through community organic gardening, health education, and connection with nature. She has worked in clinical practiced with naturopathic doctors and MD’s alike, bridging the gap between alternative and conventional medicine to bring comprehensive, research based botanical medicine to her local communities. With an undergraduate degree in horticulture and a Masters in herbal medicine, plants are Lindsay's love language. She currently serves as the herbal educator for Pukka Herbs in the US, and teaches clinical nutrition at her alma mater, the Maryland University of Integrative Health. She is a guest lecturer at herbal medicine schools and conferences throughout the US.
MS Herbal Medicine
Years of Experience:
10+ years as a clinical herbalist and nutritionist practitioner