Herbs are the most commonly sought complementary practice for helping people get to sleep, stay asleep, and feel rested when they wake. Why? Because they work. But also because they help address underlying conditions or patterns that contribute to restlessness and occasional sleeplessness.

Why Sleep Matters

A lot happens when you sleep! So much happens, in fact, that not only is the next day impacted by how you sleep, but years from now are impacted by the quality and quantity of the sleep you’re getting tonight.

Every night your body accomplishes a series of tasks, some of which only happen while you’re sleeping: wounds heal, hormones regulate (growth hormone goes up, cortisol goes down), the immune system strengthens, the glymphatic system cleans the brain and the nervous system, information you don’t need gets cleared out, and your muscles grow! Plus a lot more.

Sleep is in fact, not a state of inactivity. It’s not a break from being a human, but rather the time your body and mind need to be a better functioning human.

All Sleep Struggles are not the Same

Many people have trouble sleeping, but not everyone has trouble for the same reason.There are lots of reasons people can’t sleep:

  • Body tension and tightness
  • Circling thoughts about the past or the present
  • Anticipation or nervousness about an approaching event
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Lack of consistent movement in your life
  • Fill in the blank

It’s a simple solution to head to the store and get something to knock yourself out. And, to be clear, an over-the-counter sleep aid is totally fine once and while. As herbalists, we are not against any other form of therapeutics, especially if it works for you. But! We do see over-the-counter sleep aids as a short term fix for an imbalance that’s probably been brewing for some time.

An over the counter sleep aid will maybe help you get to sleep but it can’t get at whatever’s going on underneath. Herbs work dynamically to uproot patterns that keep you from easeful, restorative sleep. They also help shift imbalances that contribute to irregular and disruptive sleep patterns.

Herbs can get you more than just good sleep.

Sleeplessness is common, with more than a third of adults in the United States reporting that they get under 7 hours of sleep per night. There are all kinds of reasons you experience and hold onto stress. And what’s more is there are all kinds of ways your body and mind respond to that stress. It just so happens that many herbs that help you sleep are also really good at helping you deal with the effects of stress.  

That’s why our sleep formula, Sweet Dreams, is not only made of herbs, but four different herbs. One herb is great, but four herbs mean a dynamic formula that can help with many different sleep issues. To give you an idea of how a combination of plants can help cover many bases, here’s a breakdown of every herb in Sweet Dreams:

Passionflower helps shut your mind off.

  • Alleviates constant worry
  • Quiets circular thinking
  • Calms irritability

Scullcap helps release pent up emotions.

  • Soothes muscle tightness and spasms
  • Calms anger
  • Quiets agitation

Valerian offers deep physical calm.

  • Soothes stress-induced GI symptoms
  • Releases tension
  • Calms nervousness

Lavender takes the pressure off of sleep.

  • Disperses stuck anxiety
  • Gently uplifts the mood
  • Relieves gas stuck in the intestinal tract

There is no sleep herb, but there are lots of sleep herbsss

If you have a favorite sleep herb, you can include it with the sweet dreams formula! Maybe you love a cup of Chamomile, Hops, Holy Basil, or Earth Ship Tea before bed. You don’t have to swap Sweet Dreams for tea. In fact, you can drop the tincture into your tea and add one more herb to your sleepytime routine.

The best chance any of us stand at getting good sleep is to figure out what works for us and then stick to it. Herbs are easy to stick to when they’re safe, effective, and at arms length from the comfort of your bed.

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