If you’ve ever had trouble sleeping you may have turned to herbs to help you sleep. But do they really work?
Herbs have been used for centuries as a natural way to promote good sleep. Even today, people turn to natural sleep remedies, including herbs instead of resorting to sleeping pills.
Herbs for sleep
Some of the most common herbs that people use for improving their sleep include:
- Magnolia Bark
- St John’s wort
What does the evidence say?
The effectiveness of herbs to improve sleep needs to be studied further. While some studies have been done, there is still not enough compelling evidence to ‘prove’ that herbs can help you get a better night’s sleep. This is because either because more research is needed, or studies done to date haven’t been as thorough as they should have been.
So if the evidence is inconclusive, why do people think they help them sleep?
How do they help you sleep?
While there is limited evidence to suggest that certain herbs help you sleep better, it seems that the herbs people turn to actually help you relax before bed, which is an important part of preparing yourself for sleep. When you’re more relaxed when going to bed, you’re likely to drop off to sleep quicker, and not wake up tossing and turning all night.
Drinking herbal tea before bed means you avoid the stimulating effects of caffeine found in tea and coffee, which will also contribute to a good night’s sleep.
The bottom line is, if you’re drinking herbal tea, or using a lavender spray help you relax before bed, and they work for you, there’s usually no harm in continuing to use them. However, some herbs can be harmful in large doses or may interact with medications, so always check with your GP or pharmacist before using them to make sure they’re safe for you.
Other things you can do
If you’re looking to improve your sleep, you can also try the following:
- Avoid electronic devices before bedtime
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and other stimulants before bed
- Make sure you exercise regularly, but not too close to bedtime
- Avoid eating too much or too little at your evening meal
- Engage in relaxing activities before bed, such as reading, a bath, or meditation
- Make sure your room is quiet, dark and at the right temperature
- Ensure your bed is comfortable and supportive — we can help you find the right mattress.
Remember, if you’re turning to herbs for better sleep, chances are there are other things at play. Try the above steps and if things don’t improve, be sure to speak to your doctor.