Insomnia- difficulty falling asleep, or staying asleep, is a condition that effects everyone at some time or another. If the condition becomes chronic, it can interfere with the quality of life, causing people to find it difficult to concentrate during the day, and jeopardizing overall health and wellness.
Counting sheep may not be such a bad idea, because any kind of stress reducing technique, where you take your mind off your worries, may help with relaxation and getting a good night’s sleep.
Other lifestyle choices can also be useful. Be sure you set up your bedroom so that you maximize darkness and comfort. It’s best NOT to watch TV, especially loud or upsetting news, right before bed, since it can stimulate adrenaline release which is a brain stimulant that can interfere with sleep. Wind down with quiet music, lavender aroma therapy oil, a blue light bulb in your room, and some deep breathing as you end the day, to set the stage for a restful night’s sleep.
Herbs have been scientifically proven to help as well. Both traditional use and research supports the use of several herbs that can enhance relaxation and sleep. These include valerian, hops, passionflower, lemon balm and chamomile.
Valerian helps to fall asleep faster, sleep more deeply and stay asleep for a longer period of time. A 2007 randomized, double blind, placebo controlled clinical study demonstrated the efficacy of a combination that contained valerian and hops for people who suffered from sleep disorders.
Hops (yes the very same plant that is used to brew beer), is considered an approved substance by the German government that can be useful as an aid for sleep disturbances.
Passionflower was named when Jesuit Priests first arrived on the shores of the new world, and found this beautiful flower that resembled a ‘crown of thorns’ with stamens that resembled nails. They named it for the Passion of Christ. Passionflower acts as a mild sedative and relaxant and helps to sooth agitation.
Lemon Balm and Chamomile
Lemon balm and chamomile are mild herbs that are good for the whole family to take the stress out of an overly busy day. They also help to sooth digestion, and enhance relaxation.
Here are are a few recipes from DIYhealth.com to help get you started on your road to curing your insomnia:
- 1 valerian root capsule
- 2 tsp honey
- 6 bags chamomile tea
- 10 cups of boiling water
- Take a pot and bring 10 cups water to boil in it. As the water boils, turn your stove off and lay it on a cold burner.
- Take one valerian capsule, open it and put it to the water to stir it completely until it dissolves completely.
- Add two spoons of honey and mix it well until dissolved.
- You can now add a chamomile tea bag to the water for around four minutes. If your tea is not sweet enough, you can add some more honey to it.
Lemon balm tea
- 2 teaspoons of dried or fresh lemon balm leaves
- 1 cup of water
- Boil one cup of water and then put 2 teaspoons of dried lemon balm leaves.
- Cover the pan and let them boil for about 15 minutes.
- Strain the mixture and drink.
- 1 cup water
- Lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of dried chamomile flowers
- Boil the water in a saucepan and then add the dried chamomile flowers to the hot water. You can put the flowers either directly or using a tea infuser.
- Bring both of to boil for about 30 to 45 second with the lid on.
- Take off the tea from the heat and allow the chamomile flowers to steep for another minute.
- Using a strainer, you can then remove the loose flowers.
- Chamomile tea can be served with a little lemon juice and honey to unwind after a hectic day. The calming properties of the tea customarily begin to take effect within 30 minutes of drinking it.