Wednesday, January 4, 2017

7 Herbs To Help You Sleep Better

Not getting enough sleep is really tough on your body; sleep is when you heal, get stronger, and solidify memories, among other things. People who are particularly stressful in school or work tend to get insufficient sleep each night.
Anxiety and stress are probably the two biggest causes of inability to sleep, and there are many other triggers that stem from these two things.
Thinking too much, being tense, and worrying are among them. Emotions are a huge part of how well you sleep, but there are plenty of physical barriers, too.
You may not be able to get to sleep or stay asleep for long enough if you: are in pain, feel too warm, feel too cold, have too many lights on, drank caffeine within the last 5 hours, drank alcohol too recently, or just had a meal.
The inability to get enough sleep can be either temporary or chronic. If you simply didn’t get enough sleep for a night or two, possible effects on your body include: slowed cognitive function, impaired memory formation, increased clumsiness, increased moodiness, and weakened immune system.
More severe effects come along with chronic lack of sleep and can become worse over time. For example, micro sleep is when your body suddenly stops to take a nap without your “consent.”
It usually only lasts a few seconds or a few minutes, but because your brain is so tired, it can happen anytime, including when you’re driving or performing dangerous activities that require constant focus.
Besides micro sleep and the aforementioned consequences of temporary sleep loss, possible effects of chronic sleep loss include: depression, weight gain, increased blood pressure, heartbeat issues, and hallucinations.
Obviously, getting enough sleep is crucial to your health. Getting quality sleep each night does things like strengthen your immune system to make it so that you don’t get sick as easily, but it’s also responsible for more basic functions like memory formation.
It’s difficult to process information when you’re running on a few hours of sleep. For example, if you go to class on three hours of sleep, you won’t understand or retain nearly as much as if you had gotten at least 7-8 hours. Unfortunately, tons of people have issues with bad sleep, be it not being able to get to sleep or not being able to stay asleep.
Of course it would be convenient if we could rely on caffeine to get things done without enough sleep, but it’s simply impossible to do that for very long. Fortunately, herbal botanicals are great at helping people calm down, reduce anxiety and helps you to sleep better.
Today we are going to explore 7 herbs that calm your nerves and help you sleep well.

1. Chamomile

Chamomile is a popular variety of tea around the world. It is most often used for inflammatory problems and as a sleep aid.
An article in the Journal of Molecular Medicine Reports stated that chamomile tea depresses muscle activity the central nervous system. They found that the tea contains a flavonoid that binds to the brain’s benzodiazepine receptors, which may be the reason why it has these calming effects.
An article in the European Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology found that chamomile helps specifically with insomnia. Further support for chamomile’s potential to help induce sleep is that it can be rather effective against both anxiety disorders and seizures.
The inability to sleep can be physical, mental, or both, so an herb that relieves both muscle tension and mental anxiety has great potential for use as a sleep aid.
Other benefits of chamomile include:
  • Has anti-bacterial properties
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Can treat ulcers
  • Eases upset stomach
  • Can stop nausea
  • Can reduce anxiety
  • Eases heartburn
  • Reduces allergy symptoms
  • Can help prevent osteoporosis
  • May reduce the risk of cancer

2. Tulsi

Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, may not be as well known as chamomile, but it is extremely popular in India for use in teas. This tea is frequently marketed as a “sleep tea” because it is so powerful. It relieves stress, reduces tension, and promotes relaxation.
It is caffeine free, so there is no caffeine interference with its relaxing qualities. In India, Tulsi is valued for its ability to help clean out toxins and to help restore balance to the body. Tulsi is unique in that it is an adaptogen, meaning that it is able to regulate the balance of chemicals in the body.
This also means that the herb naturally resists stressors and therefore helps to limit stressors, such as toxins, in the body. Tulsi can literally regulate the level of cortisone, a major stress hormone, in the blood.
A study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine evaluated how effective Tulsi supplements are at combating general stress factors. Out of 71 subjects taking the Tulsi supplements, there were major improvements in sleeplessness, fatigue, forgetfulness, and anxiety, among other things. The researchers attribute this to Tulsi’s anti-stress, neuroprotective, and antioxidant qualities.
Other Benefits of Tulsi include:
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Contains many antioxidants
  • Improves immune function
  • Calms the nerves
  • Helps prevent seizures
  • Promotes eye health
  • Promotes joint health

3. Lemongrass

Lemongrass is most popular in Asia and India, both for cooking and for medicinal purposes. It is used to make soup, tea, curry, and other foods.
Lemongrass oil is popular in some places for its calming effects on the body and mind. Lemongrass helps relieve stress, and so is naturally relaxing. It also has a mild muscle relaxant effect on the body, which enhances its sleep-inducing qualities.
A scientific article in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that lemon grass might slightly reduce anxiety, too.
Other benefits of lemongrass include:
  • Has anti-microbial properties
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Eases constipation
  • Reduces gas
  • Can reduce pain
  • Reduces fever
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Helps eliminate bodily toxins

4. Spearmint

Spearmint has a known mild sedative effect, which is why drinking spearmint tea or just the scent of spearmint can really help you get to sleep.
According to articles from both the Journal of Chemistry and the Journal of Toxicology and Industrial Health, multiple researchers have shown that spearmint has a high antioxidant content, which means that it can also help prevent diseases like cancer.
One of these antioxidants is called carvone, and it is stated in the Physicians’ Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines that carvone has a depressant effect on the nervous system, meaning that it calms you down. It’s also possible that spearmint may enhance the effects of some insomnia medications.
Other benefits of spearmint include:
  • Has anti-fungal properties
  • Contains many antioxidants
  • Eases nausea
  • Eases indigestion
  • Reduces coughing
  • Helps treat cold symptoms
  • Eases muscle pain
  • Can help with headaches
  • Helps reduce stress
  • May improve memory

5. Fennel Seed

Fennel seed is another herb that is used both for cooking and herbal medicine. It’s high in minerals and vitamins and contains many antioxidants.
A study published in AYU, an international research journal, found that fennel seed significantly reduces pain associated with menstruation in as many as 80% of study subjects. It’s very possible that this could be due to muscle relaxant properties, which would be part of why it helps induce sleep.
Even stronger evidence for the use of fennel seed as a sleep aid is that fennel seeds are a great source of melatonin, a chemical in our bodies that is vital when it comes to getting to sleep.
A study in the Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that melatonin supplements significantly improved the ability to get to sleep for asthma patients, and these findings apply to the general population as well.
Other benefits of fennel seed include:
  • Relieves constipation
  • Relieves indigestion
  • May improve eyesight
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Has anti-bacterial properties
  • Eases joint pain
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Reduces risk of heart attack
  • Can reduce asthma symptoms
  • May help prevent colon cancer

6. Saffron

Mood stability can be an important factor in getting enough sleep. A review published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment states that multiple studies have found saffron effective against mood problems, including sleep-inhibiting anxiety, depression, and stress.
One example is a study published in the Journal of Natural Medicines, which found that saffron was effective against depression. Some of the physical benefits of saffron indicate that it may have pain reliving and muscle relaxing properties as well.
Other benefits of saffron include:
  • Effective against depression
  • Eases asthma symptoms
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Has anti-viral properties
  • Increases blood circulation
  • Relieves constipation
  • Improves digestion
  • Can relieve menstrual pain
  • Helps fight cancer
  • May help treat Alzheimer’s disease

7. Rosehip

Rosehip is another herb that isn’t particularly well known. It is used in soup, jelly, and tea, but is also taking in supplement form for its health benefits. An article in the Australian Family Physicians Journal stated that rosehip is a safe herb that is effective against a variety of physical ailments, including irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis, and general pain.
This is due to its strong anti-inflammatory properties, which can also enhance sleep quality. Subjects taking rosehip supplements were found to have major improvements in sleep quality and mood over three months.
Other benefits of rosehips include:
  • Helps prevent stomach ulcers
  • Improves stomach acid deficiency
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Relieves constipation
  • Relieves diarrhea
  • May prevent gallstones
  • Reduces sciatica pain
  • Improves immune function
Overall, herbs can be powerful tools when it comes to improving your ability to get to sleep and stay asleep. It turns out that the most common method for ingesting sleep-inducing herbs is by drinking tea. These herbs also come in the form of pill supplements and powders, among others.
You can easily find these teas consuming these herbs and drink them as tea before you sleep. For best effectiveness, after drinking the tea, try Dr Weil’s relaxation breathing technique as follows:
  • Lie flat on your bed and exhale through your mouth.
  • Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for a count of 4.
  • Hold your breath for 7 counts.
  • Exhale for 8 counts.
  • Repeat the sequence 3 times.
Try drinking the herbs, perform Dr Weil’s relaxation breathing technique and let us know if it helps you to sleep better!

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I’m a professional Esthetician specializing in treating Acne and I’m also a Beauty Advisor during the day. I’m passionate in helping others have beautiful skin. But at night I am whipping up decadent desserts, amazing pies, and delicious, healthy meals. Cooking for me is an expression of my creative side and I enjoy making meals for friends, family and co workers. 

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