Experts agree that adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night for healthy well-being and optimum productivity, yet a large number of people are living with a condition that prevents them from getting the sleep they need.
Insomnia essentially means poor sleep, and this refers to being unable to get off to sleep, waking too early, staying awake for long periods during the night and not feeling alert and refreshed after a night’s sleep.
There are many reasons why people may develop insomnia, but there are also quite a few ways to tackle it. Natural remedies are commonly used to promote sleep and soothe any anxiety and stress that may be linked to cases of insomnia.
Herbalism is an ancient tradition which involves using herbs to heal the mind and body. They are considered particularly effective for helping to combat insomnia as they are a non-addictive sleep aid that will not cause grogginess in the morning. Some of the most commonly used herbs for insomnia are:
- Valerian – Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of Valerian for better quality, and deeper sleep. This flowering grassland plant also helps you to fall asleep faster and may even tackle anxiety.
- Passionflower – This herb is a traditional remedy for insomnia. Research has shown that drinking a passionflower tea an hour before bed can help to improve sleep quality.
- Chamomile – Considered highly effective for calming anxiety and encouraging sleep, chamomile is a lighter alternative to valerian, which some people might find too strong. This herb can be added to a bath as an essential oil to help you relax before bed.
Regular meditation practice is linked to improved quality sleep, as the deep breathing exercises help to promote relaxation and reduce stress hormone levels. By consciously directing your focus to your breathing, or a sound or word (mantra), meditation increases awareness of the present to restore calm to the mind and body. To try it for yourself, find out how to fit meditation into your day.
The scent of the aromatherapy oil, lavender is a favourite among many who struggle to fall asleep. It is one of the most soothing and calming essential oils and research suggests it may also help to increase the quality and length of sleep. To reap the benefits, add a few drops of lavender oil to you pillow or to your nighttime bath.
To find out more on the benefits of essential oils, please see our aromatherapy page.