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Year-Round Health

Better sleep, please! Natural ways to get more zzzz's

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by St. Francis

One bad night’s sleep is not such a big deal. But when those nights start to add up, the lack of sleep can really take a toll on your health and energy. Here’s what to do if you’re having trouble sleeping and really don’t want to pop a conventional sleeping pill. 

Get set for sleep
“It doesn’t matter what herbal medicine you take or what foods you eat if sleep hygiene is not in place,” says Dr. Jeremy Hayman, medical advisor at St. Francis Herb Farm and a naturopathic doctor in London, Ont. He’s referring to those sleep rules you’ve seen before: a cool, dark room, a relaxing nighttime routine and a ban on electronics like your phone or tablet. The number one sleep hygiene rule though, he says, is to go to bed at around the same time every night, no later than 10 or 11pm, and to wake up at the same time every day. 

Daytime support
Helping your body to regulate its adrenal and nervous systems during the day helps you go to sleep and stay asleep at night, says Dr. Jeremy. Adaptogen herbs, which are herbs that help the body cope with stressors and stay balanced, are a good choice. Choose a tincture that contains herbs like rhodiola, astragalus and licorice

Nighttime support
There are a number of sedative herbs, taken in a tincture, that can help you have a good night’s sleep. 

Lemon balm:

Lemon balm is used in traditional herbal medicine to relieve sleeplessness due to restlessness or mental stress.

Scullcap

Scullcap is very well indicated for helping sleep upsets due to emotional anxiety and a mind that won’t stop running, says Dr. Jeremy. 

Hops

A hops tincture is traditionally used as a sleep aid to soothe tension, nervousness and anxiety.

California poppy

For a mild sedative that also works as a painkiller, go with California poppy. It also treats anxiety.

Passion flower

Passion flower is a natural tranquilizer to help quell anxiety and facilitate sleep. 

Valerian

Made with valerian root, this herbal medicine is an anxiolytic (a medicine used to calm anxiety) and help with insomnia. Some people, however, find valerian to be a stimulant, says Dr. Jeremy, so try a half-dose to start .   

Craving a good night’s sleep? Try these natural herbal approaches to get some rest and face the world with energy and purpose the next morning. 

Have questions? Just visit our Great Questions Answered page to learn more or to submit a question.

You may respond to some sedative herbs better than others, says Dr. Jeremy. It’s best to try a few individually and see what works best for you. 
 

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Author: St. Francis

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