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When I talk to people about their health, insomnia comes up frequently. Defined as sleeplessness, insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.
In the US, three million people a year experience sleeplessness. Causes include poor sleep habits, depression, anxiety, lack of exercise, certain medications or chronic pain and illness.
Most sufferers rely on over the counter or prescription drugs to help them fall asleep and stay asleep. For years that was true for me. I took allergy meds every night for the drowsiness they induced. When I realized how dull they made my brain, I switched to melatonin.
Since embracing a plant based lifestyle, my ability to sleep has improved greatly. I no longer take anything at night, to help me sleep.
I’ll be sharing several posts around this difficult to heal condition. Today I start with herbal remedies…six bedtime teas.
6 Bedtime Teas
Easing insomnia is a complex matter of changing habits, eliminating foods and situations that impede sleep and consuming the right foods to help calm and relax the mind and the body.
Instead of reaching for meds, try drinking one of these herbal bedtime teas about an hour before turning in.
Long used as a healing herb for inflammation, chamomile also reduces anxiety and soothes the body into sleep. The antioxidant apigenin binds to receptors in the brain, lowering anxiety and initiating drowsiness.
Regularly drinking chamomile tea helps people to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, improving the overall quality of their rest.
Steep two teaspoons of fresh or dried chamomile in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw organic honey, if desired.
Passionflower tea is made from the dried leaves, stems and flowers of the plant. Traditionally, passionflower decreases anxiety and improves the quality of sleep.
In a recent study, those who drank passionflower daily for a week reported better sleep quality, compared to those who did not drink the tea. Another study showed that passionflower, when combined with valerian root and hops, is as effective as the prescription drug Ambien in improving insomnia.
Steep two teaspoons of dried passionflower in one cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw organic honey, if desired.
This aromatic herb helps calm the body and mind through its healing properties and its scent. For centuries lavender has helped people to sleep better, especially those with anxiety disorders or chronic insomnia.
Drinking the tea and inhaling the soothing fragrance from the hot drink lowers heart rate and calms nerves. Those who drink lavender tea frequently find that their quality of sleep improves. Plus, they awaken with more energy and less fatigue.
Steep two to three teaspoons of fresh or dried lavender blooms in one cup of very hot water for 15 minutes.
One of my go to herbs, lemon balm is a member of the mint family. It has many healing properties. As one of the bedtime teas, lemon balm calms inflammation, relaxes tense muscles, reduces stress and improves sleep by initiating a sedative effect.
With its citrusy scent, lemon balm offers aromatherapy benefits as well. And it is extremely easy to grow your own plants.
Steep this mildly flavored tea by combining two teaspoons of fresh or dried leaves with one cup of very hot water. Sweeten with raw organic honey, if desired.
Another member of the mint family, peppermint contains anti-inflammatory properties that relax tense muscles and reduce stress. In fact, peppermint’s ability to work as a muscle relaxant induces feelings of calm and peace, making it an ideal tea to drink before bedtime.
Peppermint also relieves nausea, an upset stomach, and gas and bloating, soothing the digestive system so that sleep can occur.
Steep two to three teaspoons of fresh or dried peppermint leaves in a cup of very hot water for 15 minutes. As a bonus, peppermint is very easy to grow in the garden or in containers.
For a few people, ginger acts as a stimulant. However, if digestive problems such as an upset stomach or nausea are keeping you awake, ginger is an effective sleep aid. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties calm achy muscles and joints, soothing pain so that the body can relax into sleep.
Ginger also relieves tension and lowers stress.
Steep a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Or combine a teaspoon of dried ginger with a teaspoon of dried turmeric and add a 12 to 16 ounces of warm almond/coconut milk to create this wonderfully healing nighttime drink.
Bedtime Teas for a Better Night’s Sleep
Consistently drinking one of these bedtime teas signals the body that it is time to prepare for sleep. The healing properties of the herbal teas soothe the body in myriad ways while lowering anxiety and stress.
Choose one tea and try it for a week or enjoy a different tea every evening. Herbs can be combined too, to create fresh, delicious blends that are just as effective.
In the coming weeks, watch for posts with more tips for eliminating insomnia from your life.
Click links below, to order dried herbs for bedtime teas.
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