A good night’s sleep literally provides the body and mind the opportunity to restore. After being pushed to the limit during the day, downtime is mandatory. During the deepest phase of sleep known as REM, the body literally recalibrates, rebalances, and rests so when a person awakens, the body is strong and energized while the mind is clear and focused.
Unfortunately, while we all know the importance of proper sleep, there are millions of people who do not get enough sleep but more importantly, enough REM sleep. This could due from stress, eating too late at night, having a newborn in the home, or any number of health issues to include insomnia. No matter the reason, most people feel uncomfortable in using sleeping pills, primarily because of waking to feel groggy and sluggish for hours, if not the entire day.
Problems with Traditional Sleeping Pills
A vast number of people are now choosing herbal sleep aids over more traditional sleeping pills and for good reasons. Before we get into some of the best herbs that promote restful and restorative sleep, we felt it important to offer information pertaining to reasons that conventional medicine should be avoided. While some of these reasons people have heard of, others will likely be surprising.
Grogginess – Traditional sleeping pills usually leave a person feeling groggy for hours the following morning and for some, all day. Sometimes, the level of grogginess is minor but it can also be bad to the point of making it impossible to work or handle daily responsibilities.
Tolerance – With many sleeping pills, a person builds a tolerance so in time, the drug is no longer effective. As a result, an individual would need to take a greater dose, which creates a new array of potential problems.
Underlying Health Risks – With herbal sleep aids, a person would still be able to distinguish symptoms that might indicate a health problem. The problem with traditional sleeping pills is that often, they mask symptoms so a person could be experiencing a life-threatening illness and have no idea until too late.
Negative Interaction – Drugs must be taken according to how they are prescribed to avoid possible negative interactions. It is common for drugs to interact with other drugs but also herbs, putting a person’s health or even life at risk whereas with herbal sleep aids, this is seldom an issue.
Withdrawals – Many medications used to help a person sleep are addictive so once the sleep problem is corrected, the individual would likely go through withdrawal symptoms. On the other hand, because herbal sleep aids are made with organic or natural ingredients, horrific side effects such as withdrawals are alleviated.
Benefits of Going Natural
Overall, herbal sleep aids are a much better option. For one thing, most of these have been used for hundreds, if not thousands of years in comparison to medications that may only have a history of a few years. Taking historical information, some herbal sleep aids are used today just as they were in ancient times while other sleep aids have been modified to some degree, making them more effective and safer.
As promised, the following herbal sleep aids have been shown to be highly beneficial for people who struggle with getting restorative sleep, no matter the cause.
Chamomile – This herb makes a wonderful, soothing tea that promotes good sleep but chamomile can also be used in the supplement form. Chamomile is another top choice for herbal sleep aids because it works but it is also readily available, convenient, and very affordable. Along with tea, chamomile oil is used to encourage sleep when used as aromatherapy.
Ginseng – In addition to being a delicious tea, ginseng is another one of the more popular herbal sleep aids. For hundreds of years, this herb has been used in Asia but today, it has become a top choice in helping a person sleep. However, there are several types of ginseng, each with a unique medicinal purpose so it is imperative that only Panax Ginseng be used for sleep.
Lemon Balm – Probably one of the more surprising herbal sleep aids, lemon balm works great for a variety of sleep disorders but primarily insomnia. Sometimes, this herb is used as a standalone treatment but other times, it is blended with Valerian to boost effectiveness. Interestingly, this herb was used to treat sleep problems going back to the Middle Ages.
Melatonin and Valerian – Of all herbal sleep aids, these two are by far the most popular. While both are excellent considerations, the one considered to be “most natural” is Valerian. Extracted from a plant root, this particular herb dates back to ancient Roman and Greek civilization. Both are natural sedatives that promote deep sleep but without making a person feel groggy the following morning.
Passion Flower – Historians show that the Aztec civilization depended on this herb to sleep. Because passion flower produces both physical and mental relaxation but also helps a person reach REM, the deepest stage of sleep, it is by many considered in the top three for herbal sleep aids.