Teas that help with sleep

There are many herbal teas on the market for sleep problems such as insomnia. Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by chronic problems falling asleep, staying asleep or only sleeping for several hours and being wake unable to fall back to sleep. It is typically followed by functional impairment while awake.

It can be caused by another disorder, by changes in the sleep environment, by the timing of sleep, or by stress. Researchers do not know exactly why people need sleep, but we do know that lack of sleep can kill. Humans deprived of sleep for long periods begin hallucinating and develop other mental problems.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is an herb that has been long used as a remedy for insomnia. Some studies suggest that like conventional sleeping pills, valerian may affect levels of the calming neurotransmitter GABA.

Unlike many other sleep medications, valerian is not believed to be addictive or cause grogginess in the morning. But valerian doesn’t work for everyone. Side effects of valerian may include mild indigestion, headache, palpitations, and dizziness.

Kava is an anti-anxiety herb that may be helpful for anxiety-related insomnia. However, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory to consumers about the potential risk of severe liver injury resulting from the use of dietary supplements containing kava. To date, there have been more than 25 reports of serious adverse effects from kava use in other countries, including four patients who required liver transplants.

Professional herbalists do not prescribe herbs simply to treat symptoms such as insomnia but aim to correct the imbalances within the body that cause those symptoms. For example, sedative herbs such as hops and valerian are used to relax the nervous system so that you enjoy natural, restorative sleep. Each herb contains a variety of active constituents and has a main action and several subsidiary actions which determine the conditions for which it is most appropriate.

Numerous plants have sedative action. Plants commonly prescribed as aids in promoting sleep include: passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), hops (Humulus lupulus), valerian (Valeriana officinalis), skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), and chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla).

Unless otherwise specified, for insomnia, take one or two cupfuls of an infusion or decoction in the evening about 30-60 minutes before bedtime. An additional cup can be taken in the night if you wake up. Where a remedy that will not make you drowsy is indicated for conditions associated with insomnia, you can take it three times a day.

There is also a tea made with favor mint, lemonbalm, chamomile, and some herbalist put in catnip.
Reduce the dosage of herbs taken by mouth by a quarter for children under five years old and by a half for children under twelve. Consult a professional herbalist and your doctor before administering any herbs to children.

This is an overview of available herbs for sleeping.