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Nutrition

Top 5 herbs to help you sleep

Insomnia can affect anyone and there are a number of different causes, from stress and anxiety to physical ailments like joint problems and respiratory disease.

Many sufferers head to their nearest pharmacy for sleeping pills, but the problem with these is that regular use can cause you to develop a tolerance to them, which means you'll need to take more of them in order for them to have the desired effect.

What's more, there can be side effects, from daytime drowsiness and an inability to concentrate, to sleep walking and even sleep eating! Not great if you're counting the calories. Besides, why would you load your body with chemicals when you can get more sleep naturally with herbal supplements? Here are a few you can try.

Chamomile

This herb has been used as an effective sleep aid throughout the ages, and is often ingested in the form of a soothing tea before bedtime. You can also pop a sachet beneath your pillow or use an oil diffuser to surround yourself with the calming scent of chamomile essential oil.

Lavender

There's a reason why lavender is used so often in bath oils and body lotions, and that's because it's thought to calm the nervous system and ease stress. Research has suggested that its sweet scent boosts the production of alpha waves in your brain to lull you into a deeper sleep.

Valerian

Several scientific studies have shown that this herb can both improve sleep quality and reduce the time it takes to drift off thanks to its sedative properties. It can be taken in capsule form, in tea or as a herbal tincture. Valerian is also effective in relieving menstrual cramps if these are keeping you awake at night.

St John's Wort

If it's stress and anxiety that's causing your insomnia then this herb may be beneficial as it is often used to treat mood disorders. However, you should consult your doctor if you are taking any prescription medicines, as it has been known to interfere with certain drugs, including the contraceptive pill.

Lemon balm

Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and has been used as a mild sedative for centuries. It can be used alone or combined with a number of other calming herbs, including chamomile and valerian, to promote relaxation.

Posted by Matilda Jones

 
 
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