Natural Insomnia Treatment
The Best Herbal Remedies for a Better Night’s Sleep
There are several different approaches to insomnia treatment. The cause and severity of the insomnia, as well as the individual patient’s needs and preferences, generally determines the type of treatment. There are several drugs on the market that are designed for treating insomnia. The most well-known are Ambien and Lunesta, which fall into a class of chemicals called non-benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotics. Although these sleep medications can be effective, they are very strong and can produce unwanted side effects such as next-day drowsiness. They can also be habit-forming or they can cause rebound insomnia when the drug is discontinued.
Most cases of insomnia don’t require anything as hardcore as sleeping pills. Changes in sleep hygiene, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule and ridding the sleep environment of noises, lights, and other distractions, is often enough to curb mild insomnia. These tactics can be combined with some very useful herbal remedies that can help you sleep. Although these herbs have noticeable sedative and sleep-inducing effects, they are not as overpowering as pharmaceuticals like Ambien, and will not cause next-day drowsiness or other unwanted side effects.
Chamomile has long been used for insomnia treatment. A member of the daisy family, chamomile is native to Europe, though it has also been introduced into the Americas. Chamomile is widely available, either as a bulk herb that you can buy from a natural food store or as a prepackaged herbal tea. It is often used as a mild sedative, and can help reduce anxiety, which is a very common cause of insomnia. Its sedative effects may be due to the presence of a chemical apigenin, a type of flavonoid, which binds to some of the same receptors in the brain as benzodiazepines. Chamomile tea is easy to find, readily available, and can be very useful for mild to moderate cases of insomnia, especially when anxiety is a factor.
Lemon balm is often used as a component in herbal insomnia treatments. Studies indicate that it has mild sedative and anxiolytic effects.
California poppy can have mildly sedative and anxiolytic effects, especially in an aqueous extract. It contains a different class of chemicals than opium poppies, and the effects are far milder. This may be due to chemicals naturally produced by the plant that have affinities for benzodiazepine receptors.
Valerian root extract is one of the most potent and effective herbal insomnia treatments. Although clinical studies have yet to fully identify its mechanisms of action, it is believed that some of the chemicals produced in the plant, including valerenic acid and related chemicals, work on some of the same receptors as benzodiazepines. It can be bought as a supplement in capsule form or used as a component of herbal teas.
These herbs, which are easy to find and buy, are ideal for using in herbal teas. An herbal tea with some combination of chamomile, lemon balm, California poppy, and/or valerian root, can be highly effective in helping you get to sleep. Herbs for insomnia treatment are not known to produce any unwanted side effects, unlike prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills, and can help to calm anxiety as well as inducing sleep. Herbal insomnia treatment is a safe but effective alternative to medications for mild to moderate cases of insomnia.