For some people who experience insomnia, prescription medication may not be enough to help them sleep at night. This can be the result of an inherent aversion to the medication, interactions with other medications, or other existing medical conditions. Sleep meds might also come with troublesome side effects, such as constipation, fatigue, dizziness, sore muscles and difficulties in concentration. So if you are seeking more natural solutions to help you sleep better, you might want to try any of these herbal treatments.
Usage of this herb as a sleep medication can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome, and has remained a popular natural treatment for insomnia to this day. It is effective as a mild sedative due to its interaction with the neurotransmitter known asgamma-aminobutyric acid that inhibits neuronal excitability, thus helping to relax the brain. It is commonly available as tinctures, teas, tablets, and capsules. However, it may take a few weeks of regular intake before valerian root can take effect.
Also a popular sleep aid throughout history, chamomile is considered safe by the FDA, with no adverse effects known. Chamomile tea is especially packed with apigenin, which is an antioxidant that can bind to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain to help decrease anxiety and promote sleep. However, if you are sensitive to plants of the Asteraceae family, like ragweed, chrysanthemums, sunflowers, daisies and dahlias, you should steer clear of chamomile, or you might experience allergies.
Lavender can be taken as tea, tinctures, and oils, but ingestion may not be the most effective way for this herb to help you sleep. Aromatherapy is reportedly an efficient application for lavender when using it to combat insomnia. Smelling lavender could relax you and put you to sleep by decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure.
Before going to bed, you can apply a bit of lavender oil on your pillow or use it in an aromatherapy diffuser. You may also rub the oil on your wrists and temples or pour some in your bath before bedtime.
Some people may hesitate using cannabis products, thinking that they all have the same psychoactive and addictive properties associated with marijuana. However, cannabidiol (CBD) is merely the component of cannabis that provides its calming and relaxing effects, and is separate from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes psychoactivity. CBD products are sold as tinctures, teas, oils, and even edibles for easy ingestion. CBD is also a proven treatment for sleep disorders in patients with neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease.
Lack of magnesium could be detrimental to the brain’s relaxation at night. Fortunately, it is present in many different foods, including leafy greens, almonds, and pumpkin seeds. You can also take magnesium via supplements, but you might need to consult your doctor before taking it in this way. If you are on other medications, magnesium may not be safe since its interactions with other drugs can lead to serious health issues.
Similar to any medical condition, insomnia should be managed by a doctor and self-medication should not be your immediate go-to solution when resolving it. Consult your doctor about trying herbal treatment before getting any of them. Otherwise, your treatment of choice may worsen your problem or cause further ailments.