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Top Three Herbs for Restful Sleep

Before using these relaxing herbs, it is best to assess lifestyle factors that can be in the way from getting enough sleep. First, limiting or eliminating caffeine and chocolate, as well as alcoholic beverages and nicotine, can be beneficial. Having a balanced, healthy diet of whole foods, with exercise, adequate exposure to sunshine, and the use of stress-management/relaxation techniques can be very supportive to good sleep. In addition, making sure to have enough time between your last meal and sleep, as well as going screen/electronic-free at least one hour before bed can also be very helpful.

1. Chamomile

The two types of chamomile, German and Roman, both have similar effects, however German chamomile is more commonly used in the US. Tea can be made from the steeped flowering tops, as well as liquid extracts, capsules, and tablets. It's possible that people can have allergic reactions, especially if they have allergies to related plants in the daisy family (ragweed, chrysanthamums, marigolds, and daisies). Although for many people, chamomile has a relaxing effect, the effects have not been adequately studied. Chamomile in tea form is commonly found in grocery stores everywhere. I put this one in the #1 spot based on the fact that there are no side effects, unless one does have an allergic reaction, it's common, and easy to find.

Personally, since chamomile is so common, I usually have acquired ready-made tea bags. I have noticed that when using dried chamomile as opposed to fresh, the dried chamomile gives a stronger flavor. My theory is that because the chamomile is dried, it has a more concentrated flavor. In addition, since dried chamomile includes flower tops that have shrunk, more flower tops can be used in the same amount of space that fresh chamomile flower tops can take up.

2. Valerian

"Valerian is a plant native to Europe and Asia; it is also found in North America. Valerian has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Its therapeutic uses were described by Hippocrates, and in the 2nd century, Galen prescribed valerian for insomnia. Today, valerian is used as a traditional remedy for sleep disorders and anxiety, as well as headaches, depression, irregular heartbeat, and trembling.