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Suffering From Insomnia? Here are 9 Herbs to Naturally Treat it

Did you know that sleep is how we spend one-third of our life?  It replenishes, rejuvenates, and restores our energy, body, and mind.  Well, only if you are getting enough sleep!  

For those suffering from insomnia,  or chronic sleep deprivation, not getting enough sleep can cause many problems in your daily life.  

Fortunately, there are numerous plants with sedative actions and each of these plants can be used to promote more restful sleep.      

Let’s dive in and discover how implementing natural alternative medicine like these amazing herbs can work their magic in your life! 


The best way to ingest chamomile is to steep one teaspoon to one tablespoon in a hot cup of water. Many people are already making their own chamomile tea or are easily purchasing it in premade tea bags because it is one of the most popular herbal beverages in the world.  

Chamomile is also a good source to relieve anxiety and tension before going to bed. Steep a cup of Chamomile before hitting the sheets and see if it helps you fall asleep. 


Lavender can be used in many ways to help you relax before bed. Used as a strengthening tonic for the nervous system, lavender can calm your mind, relax your muscles, assist as a pain reliever, and as an inflammation reducer.  

Because of lavender’s sedative property, it works as an anxiety reliever which helps one relax and bring about sleep. Lavender can be taken orally, used topically in lotions and oils, brewed into a tea, or diffused in an essential oil diffuser.  

Working with a naturopathic doctor to find the best relief for your symptoms is a great idea to determine maximum effectiveness.         


As far back as the early 1900s, experimental physicians used hops for their sedative effects to treat insomnia.  

Hops, which we all know as a component in beer used for flavor, have also been used for a long time to aid sleeplessness and restlessness.  

Most likely, you will be prescribed hops in combination with valerian since the two have a history of working well in combination with one another.      


Of all the herbs in this article, valerian has been the most widely studied and has consistently created the most positive effects on improving sleep quality by relieving insomnia.  

Not only does valerian improve sleep quality, but valerian also reduces the amount of time needed to fall asleep. Differing from the unwanted side effects of prescription drugs that create groggy morning sleepiness, valerian has been found to reduce groggy feelings in the morning.  

A good rule of thumb is to take valerian 45 minutes before bedtime to promote a good night’s sleep.    


Passionflower tea can be consumed for fluctuations in sleep.  One of the main effects of passionflower is that it enhances gamma-aminobutyric acid, GABA.  

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and inadequate levels of GABA have been linked to insomnia. 

GABA receptors are active in certain regions of the brain during the sleeping process and when enhanced by passionflower waking is reduced and deeper, restorative sleep is produced.   

Similar to valerian, passionflower promotes restful sleep without the groggy side effects.  

Wild Lettuce

Not only does wild lettuce create restful sleep, but it is also great for children because of how safe and effective it is as a calming agent.  

Wild lettuce is a mild sedative and is used to calm nerves for acute and chronic insomnia.  

It can also be used for restlessness, which makes it another great herb for use in children who suffer from an overactive nature.   

California Poppy

Another herb that is safe and effective for use in children is the California Poppy.  

Because of its lack of harmful side effects and positive use in treating sleep disorders, the California Poppy is a popular and favorite herb recommended by herbalist and naturopathic doctors.  

First used by Native Americans for its sedative and hypnotic effects, the California Poppy is a reliable treatment for overexcitement and sleeplessness.  

Kava Root

An interesting and popular herb for sleep is kava.  Kava Kava is the national drink of Fiji and is popular throughout that area of the world.  

The reason Fijians are drinking kava is due to its calming effect.  Kava can also relax muscles and promote deep sleep.  

Talking to a naturopathic doctor about suggested recommendations is important when considering kava due to some side effects.  

It is known that kava should not be used in combination with drugs or alcohol, and can make one react slower than usual after it has been ingested.  

Speaking with a licensed professional when considering ingesting kava for your sleeplessness is a wonderful idea to make sure it is the right herb for you.  

St. John’s Wort

Many of the herbs used commonly by humans have a long history of use.  St. John’s Wort is another one of the most documented plants to aid human ailments.  

This common yellow-flowered herb is used to treat ailments such as anxiety, insomnia, and seasonal affective disorder.  

When using St. John’s Wort for insomnia it’s a good idea to understand the specific brain chemistry imbalance causing your sleep problems.  

Contact me today and let’s get started on the right path to more restful sleep.

Using Herbs and Natural Remedies  for Insomnia

Taking control of better sleeping habits by incorporating the use of herbs into your diet, means you are choosing to combat insomnia without the potentially harmful side effects of prescription drugs.  

Many prescription drugs are highly addictive and are poor choices for long-term use because of the increased risk of harmful side effects.  

You are taking good care of yourself when you combine herbal and natural remedies with exercise, meditation, relaxing sounds, and proper dietary choices.

So when you head off to bed tonight, rest well, and have a good night.   

About The Author:

Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Threlkel received her degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from The National College for Naturopathic Medicine (now called The National University of Natural Medicine) in Portland, Oregon. She also holds a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology from The University of Maryland. She is licensed in Naturopathic Medicine by the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health. Dr. Threlkel is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, past president & current member of the Washington DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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