Sleep is as essential to human life as breathing and eating. Without proper-sleep, the body just can’t function. During sleep, the body solidifies and consolidates memories. That is smaller chunks of information that we took in during the day transfer to long-term storage at night while our body is at rest. Also, during sleep our bodies grow muscle, synthesize-hormones, repair-tissue, restore and rejuvenate.
Most of us have suffered from some form of insomnia from time to time in our lives.
The good-news is there are some very effective herbs that can be used to help bring balance back to the body and promote relaxation, allowing the body to heal and self-regulate.
The root of this tall perennial flowering plant is dried and used as a calming agent and sleep-aid. According to numerous studies, valerian may help reduce the amount of time it takes a person to fall-asleep and also help increase the duration and quality of sleep. If you take in capsule-form it is recommended that you take about an hour or so before-bed. The impact should last at-least 6-hours.
Lavender is a woody shrub with a very pleasant aroma and lovely purple flowers. A cup of warm lavender-tea before bed is a great-way to promote relaxation which can help with anxiety, depression, stress and insomnia. In addition to drinking tea, try spraying your pillow with lavender pillow mist or soaking in a hot-bath with a few drops of lavender essential-oil and Epsom-salts.
Magnolia bark, used extensively in Chinese medicine, is known to reduce cortisol-levels and promote relaxation of both the body and the mind. Not only can this have a positive impact on improving duration and quality of sleep but it can also help reduce the risk of obesity and type-2 diabetes.
Italian studies found that magnolia-bark eased anxiety and when bark extract was combined with magnesium it improved sleep, mood, reduced anxiety and depression in menopausal women. It’s best to take this herb before-bed since it promotes rapid drowsiness.
Considered one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic practice, ashwagandha, native to India, has been used since ancient times for a number of conditions. The plant itself is in the same family as the tomato and has tiny, red, raisin-like fruit. Although the leaves and the fruit of this plant have therapeutic value, it is the root that is most potent.
Used commonly by people to strengthen their immune-system after an illness, research published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine shows that this herb also reduces chronic-stress, by reducing cortisol-levels, without taking away energy.
Study participants who took the herb also experienced feeling more relaxed, mentally-calm, had reduced-anxiety, less-depression, and reduced-insomnia.
The tops of these pretty daisy-like flowers have been used to make a calming and soothing tea for hundreds of years. Chamomile is widely regarded as a mild tranquilizer and sleep-inducer. Sedative effects may be due to the flavonoid, apigenin that binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain.
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