Herbal Sleep Remedies: Do Your Body (and Your Mind) Good

Herbal Sleep Remedies: Do Your Body (and Your Mind) Good

Prioritize sleep by using all-natural herbal sleep remedies (such as Polygala tenuifolia) and other creative life hacks.

Prioritize Sleep for Good Health

Try this experiment: get 8 hours of sleep several nights in a row, and then tell your friends, neighbors, or coworkers about your sleep windfall. This is what you’re likely to hear — “You’re so lucky,” “I don’t know the last time I got 8 hours of sleep,” and “I’m so busy that I barely get 5 hours in on a good night.”

Staying busy and getting too little sleep are badges of honor these days. It’s as if the person with the least sleep wins, though the contest in question has way more pitfalls than rewards.

Too Little Sleep Is Dangerous and Unhealthy

Too little sleep is dangerous. It’s that simple. Studies have shown that lack of sleep can cause many serious problems. For example, it can cause you to:

The list goes on, and yet many of us are still trying to earn the “super busy” badge of honor.

Are There Quick-Fix Herbal Sleep Remedies?

Let’s say that you want to prioritize sleep but that the trials and tribulations of the day race around a track in your head til the wee hours. You want to sleep more but you simply can’t. What to do?

One question we get repeatedly is this: Do you have a natural product that can help me sleep? The short answer is no. But what about melatonin or valerian, you might ask. How about chamomile tea?

These are good questions, which is why a deeper dive here is warranted.

One popular “natural” sleep aid is melatonin. (To be clear, melatonin is a hormone, not an herbal.) About 20% of melatonin users in a recent Consumer Reports survey reported next-day grogginess. This grogginess is common and severe enough that the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a supplement trade group, advises people who take melatonin to use caution before driving the next day. Melatonin can also undermine blood pressure and diabetes medications. What’s more, the melatonin you find on the store shelf is almost certainly a synthetic product.

Valerian, in turn, is an herbal that many people use for insomnia. But the studies of the effectiveness of valerian don’t always have glowing reviews. Valerian can cause side effects such as headaches, excitability, uneasiness, and — wait for it — insomnia.

Some people feel sluggish in the morning after taking valerian, especially at higher doses. With that thought in mind, it’s best not to drive or operate dangerous machinery after taking valerian. Furthermore, valerian works on the central nervous system, and long-term use may create a dependence. More to the point, the long-term safety of valerian is unknown.

And that leaves us with chamomile tea, another favorite of those who want to prioritize sleep. Unfortunately, its effectiveness simply isn’t backed by most scientific studies. Don’t get me wrong — drink all the chamomile tea you like. Just don’t count on it helping you sleep at night.

Herbal Sleep Remedies: Polygala tenuifolia

One herbal extract you could consider is Polygala tenuifolia. Polygala is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It’s thought that the root can empower the sleep process by discharging repressed emotions and relaxing the body. It’s often recommended for geriatric concerns because of its ability to improve memory and protect against cognitive ailments.

Good Sleep Is Hard to Find …

It can be. I get that.

That’s why we’re in the process of reviewing a few candidate herbs that might be able to (1) support sleep-related matters and (2) meet our stringent requirements for quality and efficacy without having potentially dangerous side effects.

To date, we haven’t been satisfied with the safety or effectiveness of most of the plants we’ve studied. In the instances where we’ve found a plant with potential, we have not found a reliable grower to certify the quality of the product. Because our goal it to optimize your health, we simply refuse to offer any product unless we have complete confidence in it.

Let’s say you want to prioritize sleep and there’s no safe and reliable herbal herbal to help you get to sleep. Let’s also say you don’t want to use a pharmaceutical product (good choice). What can you do? Read more about how life hacks can help you sleep better.


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