It’s time to talk sleep! We all need it, our body restores itself thanks to it, and we could all likely benefit from getting a little more mindful + restful sleep, right? There’s only a few things we absolutely must have to thrive & sleep is certainly one of them. In today’s post we share our favorite natural herbs + essential oils to assist you in sleeping your best!
Natural Herbs to Help You Sleep
There’s a lot of research supporting the idea that the key to a good night’s sleep could be the simple act of a calming, pre-bedtime ritual. While we all wish we had the luxury of a nightly soak in the tub, we know it can be hard to find even five minutes to relax before bed.
Good news: We’ve done the legwork for you and found simple ways to wind down that take little to no time. We share seven natural herbs that help you get a better night’s rest, and how they can be used most effectively.
Best for: Falling Asleep
This small, purple flower is one of the most commonly used herbs in assisting with sleep. It can be turned into essential oils, perfumes, rubs, candles, almost anything! It has a variety of uses that includes easing aches and pains, disinfecting and deodorizing, calming the mind and, of course, preventing insomnia.
Best When: Spritzed on Your Bedding
Lavender is also an antibacterial, which helps keep your sheets fresh. Make your own spray by mixing 15-20 drops of lavender essential oil with witch hazel, which acts as an emulsifier.
Best for: Relaxing
Chamomile tea has been a nighttime staple for many. That’s because the flower has an incredibly gentle and effective sedative power. Experts call it “the world’s most soothing herb,” and many say it also helps to prevent nightmares.
Best When: Drank as a Tea
Be sure to cover the tea as it steeps to prevent evaporation, which can lessen the brew’s effectiveness. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before straining. You can also try placing a cotton ball soaked in chamomile oil near your pillow to get the same effect.
Best for: Calming a Racing Mind
Ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine have used valerian root as a sedative for thousands of years. It’s an incredibly powerful herb used to treat anxiety, reduce nerves, relieve muscle spasms and more.
Best When: Taken as a Pill
The herb itself is rather stinky and doesn’t taste very good so capsules are recommended. Aim for 440 to 900 mg roughly an hour before bedtime. Studies suggest that valerian root is most effective if taken daily over a period of a few weeks, though some may develop a tolerance after this kind of consistent use, so it’s best to alternate with other herbs.
Best for: Reducing Restlessness and Anxiety
Unlike the other types of poppies, California Poppies won’t get you high. They contain only a trace amount of opiates. What they may do is help you sleep through the night by acting as a gentle sedative and anxiety reducer.
Best When: Used as a Tincture
Tinctures are often the most powerful way to take any herb, and with poppy there’s no exception. Take 30-40 drops twice daily; the second dose should be around bedtime. If you’re unable to find a good tincture you can also take a capsule.
Best for: Helping Frequent Wakers Sleep Through the Night
Passionflower was backed by the FDA as an over-the-counter sleep aid until 1978, when it was decided that there wasn’t enough research to prove its effectiveness. But that hasn’t stopped the legion of supporters who sing passionflower’s praise as a natural way to still your mind and improve your sleep quality.
Best When: Drank as a Tea or Taken as a Tincture
As a tea, aim for 2-5 grams per cup a few times each day; as a tincture, try 30-60 drops (0.5 to 2 ml) three times per day. Either way, aim to have your final dose 30 minutes or so before going to bed.
Best for: Relaxing
The aroma of ylang ylang is thought to affect the limbic system, which is the region in your brain that controls your mood and influences the nervous system. The scent of ylang ylang can promote relaxation and lower blood pressure.
Best When: Used as an Essential Oil
Try diluting ylang ylang essential oil with another oil, such as almond oil, and apply it directly to your skin, or add a few drops to a bath before bedtime. You can also sprinkle a few drops onto your sheets or onto a cloth near your bed. A diffuser works nicely, too.
Best for: Promoting Calm and Relaxation as well as Lowering Anxiety
This mint-looking plant has been used as a light sedative to help people sleep for many years. Its key property is eugenol, a naturally occurring oily substance found in the leaves that can help induce sleep.
Best When: Used Alongside Another Sleep-aiding Herb, such as Chamomile or Valerian Root
Dried lemon balm can be used in almost any way possible. Brew a relaxing tea with 1.5-4.5 grams (we’d try a chamomile-lemon balm blend), or take 60 drops of a lemon balm tincture daily.
Essential Oils for More Restful Sleep
Part two of achieving more restful sleep: essential oils. Considered more powerful than the plants from which they are derive, essential oil extracts have been used for years to promote physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Diffusing them in your bedroom at night is an easy, all-natural way to enhance your sleep.
How To Use A Diffuser
Place a few essential oil drops into water and watch as the vapor drifts out of the small opening at the top of your diffuser. You’ll immediately begin to feel – and smell – the calming benefits. Oil diffusers emit aromatherapy vapors throughout any room so you can use it in guest rooms and kids’ rooms too. Plus, they’re long-lasting. So, whether you’re taking a short nap, or tucking in for the night, you’re setting yourself up for a more restful night’s sleep.
Each essential oil has its own composition, scent and benefits. We recommend testing a few different oils in your diffuser so you can determine which ones you like best. Here are our top picks…
One of the most popular essential oils worldwide, lavender is a timeless, tranquil scent promoting calm, peaceful serenity. Lavender has been proven to reduce anxiety, depression and sleep-related problems. Plus, it smells divine. You can add to your diffuser or rub on your pillow before going to bed.
Good Night Blend
Made of ylang ylang, lavender, sweet marjoram, chamomile, bergamot, sandalwood, lime + vanilla, this blend is made for assisting in more restful sleep.
Bergamot is a little-known gem that has sleep-inducing properties. It’s a citrus fruit, and the oil comes from its rind – making it both refreshing and calming at once. Bergamot is also reported to be great for balancing your emotions.
While peppermint and eucalyptus oils are considered stimulating, they’re also recommended for bedtime diffusion if you have congestion or feel a cold coming on. They’ll help to clear your nasal passage while you sleep, again, aiding in more restful sleep. Breathe blend.
It may sound old-school but Frankincense works like a charm. Its oil is rich in history (you’ve probably heard the story of the three wise men and their gifts), nutrients and sleep-aid properties. With an uplifting and earthy aroma, this essential oil is considered grounding – which we could all use before bed.
Sleep Well Friends
Self care is so incredibly important. Part of self care is making sure you’re getting the restful sleep your body needs to function on a daily basis. These natural herbs and essential oils will assist you in creating a more mindful routine.
We love hearing from you so any and all comments are welcome!
The Blendtopia Team xx