A good night’s sleep is a blessing. There is nothing better than falling asleep with ease and waking up fully rejuvenated. Proper rest is vital for our health and wellness, but it is easier said than done for many of us. With anxiety rates skyrocketing due to COVID-19 and homes acting as a hybrid space for work and rest, it is no surprise that many have struggled with sleepless nights.
Sleep is not an entirely voluntary action. If it were as easy as a decision, no one would suffer from sleep difficulties. We can prepare ourselves for bed, brush our teeth, and turn out the lights, but then we must wait to be graced by sleep and fall into a deep slumber.
Creating the optimal environment for sleep is essential. Although the external environment plays a significant role in our ability to sleep well, our internal environment is just as important. There are many ways we can support healthy sleep patterns that do not include medications. Many remedies for sleep disturbances are entirely natural. Herbs and spices may help induce hormones and chemicals within the body, allowing us to fall asleep naturally. A great way to consume such ingredients is through herbal tea. Making caffeine-free herbal tea is one of the simplest ways we can calm the body and mind.
Alternatives to Melatonin:
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates our sleep/wake cycle. When functioning optimally, the release of this hormone follows the rising and setting of the sun. Melatonin decreases with light and increases with darkness. As we age, the body produces less of this hormone, and as a result, we may find falling asleep more difficult as we get older. There are supplements available; however, many melatonin capsules are not vegetarian. Melatonin is often derived from the pineal glands of animals. For this reason, many people prefer to substitute herbal remedies that have similar effects. That is where herbal tea comes in. Look for specific ingredients proven to improve sleep patterns.
Valerian root acts as a mild sedative. Referred to as “Nature’s Valium,” Valerian root can provoke feelings of tranquility and reduce anxiety. It can help increase serotonin levels, which, with the help of tryptophan, produces melatonin in the body. It helps to enhance sleep, as well as reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. It interacts with GABA receptors in the brain, helping to regulate nerve impulses in the nervous system. Components of this plant inhibit over-activity in the amygdala part of the brain. This is the area of the brain that processes fear and emotions related to stress.
Avoid alcohol consumption when taking Valerian root as well as other herbal or medicinal medication that induces drowsiness. For more information on side effects, visit: Valerian Root Uses, Side Effects & Warnings – Drugs.com
Herbal Teas for Sleep:
Chamomile promotes deeper sleep. It has a mild sedative effect due to the content of apigenin. Apigenin is a flavonoid that has a similar effect as anti-anxiety medications. It has mild muscle relaxant-like qualities but does not impair cognitive function. Since anxiety is frequently related to sleep disturbances, calming the body and mind helps rebuild a healthy foundation for quality sleep.
Passionflower has analgesic properties that can help manage pain. It may be used as a mild muscle relaxant, allowing all the body’s major muscles to release tension. Drinking this tea can help calm overactive minds and improve sleep.
Teas with Magnesium:
Magnesium supports the production of melatonin and regulates it. It can have relaxing effects on the body and mind and help to ease tension in muscles. Magnesium helps quiet the nervous system. This mineral can be obtained naturally. Consuming tea rather than supplements may be easier on digestion.
Peppermint tea contains traces of magnesium, tryptophan (an amino acid essential for a good night’s sleep), and glycine (produces serotonin which then produces melatonin). The content of menthol relieves stress and anxiety and acts as a mild muscle relaxant. It helps you unwind even when experiencing mental stress.
Horsetail is another magnesium-rich herb that is also full of other vital minerals. It has mild sedative effects due to the flavonoid isoquercetin. The calcium content of horsetail soothes and calms the nerves. It can restore health and balance to the nervous system, making us less irritable and hyperactive, which helps improve sleep. As a bonus, horsetail also contains silica which helps strengthen hair and nails.
More Herbal Tea Options:
- Ginger and cloves: both contain tryptophan and glycine, which help to promote better sleep
- Turmeric: protects against sleep deprivation
- Cinnamon: helps people stay asleep due to its ability to regulate blood sugar levels
- Lavender: calms the nervous system and increases deep slumber, allowing muscles to get proper relaxation during sleeping hours
- Jasmine: decreases anxiety and uplifts the mood
- Ashwagandha: stress-reducing herb that improves sleep quality
- Reishi mushrooms: support melatonin production and calm the nervous system
Adenosine Food-Based Alternatives:
Adenosine is the chemical that makes us feel tired. The drowsy feeling helps us fall asleep quickly. Adenosine naturally occurs in foods like nuts, seeds, and spirulina. It may also be found in cordyceps mushrooms.
Creating a nut brew tea with almonds and walnuts is a delicious and natural way to boost melatonin production. Plus, both nuts are incredibly high in magnesium, a mineral known to promote sleep and feelings of calmness.
The practice of preparing and enjoying a warm caffeine-free tea has positive effects on the body and mind. The warmth and aroma provide a sense of tranquility. It is a small act of self-care, inviting a moment of relaxation and freedom. The hot water, forcing small sips, is very hydrating and has a calming effect on the nervous system. Introduce this easy ritual into your nightly routine for improved sleep quality and a serene mind.
Information provided by Arootah is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should consult your physician or other licensed health care professional before starting any diet, exercise plan or regimen, or any other fitness or wellness program. This is particularly true if you or your family have a history of high blood pressure or heart disease, or if you have ever experienced discomfort while exercising. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information made available through our Programs and Services.