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Why Herbs Not Sleeping Tablets Are Best For Sleep
March 1, 2019 donecountingsheep

Why Herbs Not Sleeping Tablets Are Best For Sleep

Posted in Sleep Problems
Picture of pestle and mortar crushing tablets

*Just Give Herbs Time

If you want to fix your broken sleep, you may think it’s easier and quicker to reach for the sleeping tablets, especially when you’re struggling to sleep night after night and finding it increasingly harder to get through the next day, but there’s a catch…..

Sleeping Pills: The Drugs Don’t Work Long Term

The problem is that they are simply not a long-term solution (as little as four weeks continuous use is considered long-term).  Comingoff sleeping tablets is often difficult as they can have a negative effect on the body’s sleep cycle which increases the likelihood of your insomnia worsening after you’ve stopped taking them.  This is call ‘rebound insomnia.  Prescribed sleeping medication may also have serious withdrawal effects if taken for a long time.  And there’s another reason not to rely on sleeping pills long-term. 

Sleeping Pills Don’t Give You Restorative Sleep

Medication-induced sleep doesn’t have the same restorative properties of natural sleep.  Technically classified as ‘sedative hypnotics,’ sleeping tablets are only effectively sedating you, not putting you to sleep. Simply put, sleeping tablets work by switching off the top of your brain (the cortex) putting you into one level of unconsciousness.  However, what that means is that the quality of sleep that you have when you’re on sleeping pills is not the same as normal, natural sleep.  This explains why sleeping tablet users (and I can personally testify to that) often feel groggy when they wake up.  That’s because you haven’t experienced enough REM or restorative sleep.

Herbs Are Part Of The Long-Term Solution For Sleep

Plants are powerful:  a substantial proportion of modern medicines come from plants.

  1. Lidocaine – the most commonly used anaesthetic in dentistry- is developed from cocaine which of course comes from the cocoa leaf.
  2. Atropine – eye drops that dilate the pupil for eye examinations is developed from atropa belladonnaor more commonly known as Deadly Nightshade.
  3. Metformin – the first line treatment of type 2 diabetes – is developed from the French Lilac or galega officianalis, a plant always used by herbalists to treat this condition.

I could go on (if you’re interested in learning more this blog, taken from Sophie and sister Naomi’s TedX Talk, is worth a read). In other words, we depend on plants for our most vital medicines.  In fact, 80% of the developing world still relies on plants and natural products for their medicine because they are safe and effective options.  You might be interested to know that most of the plant-derived drugs we use today are used in a similar way of the traditional medicinal use of the plant that they came from.

What Are The Best Herbs For Sleep?

Chamomile, Lavender, Passion Flower, Skullcap and Valerian are the most commonly used herbs ones you’ll find in sleep tonics and teas.  Here’s why:

  1. Chamomile has for a long time been regarded as a mild tranquilliser or sleep Its calming effects may be attributed to an antioxidant called apigenin, which is found in abundance in chamomile tea. Apigenin binds to specific receptors in the brain decreasing anxiety and initiating sleep.
  2. Valerian root is often referred to as “nature’s Valium.” In fact, this herb has been used since ancient times to promote tranquillity and improve sleep.
  3. Lavender oil contains Linalool which produces a sedative effect on the brain.
  4. Passion flower is another relaxing herb which has the effect of lowering brain activity to help you relax and sleep better.
  5. Skullcap is an herb that works on the nervous system and relaxes the body. It used to be very popular as the go-to herb for a restless mind before pharmaceutical tranquilisers became available.

Sleep Beautifully

When it came to our very own bedtime beverage, Sophie chose chamomile, hibiscus and nutmeg along with the l-theanine, a relaxing amino acid unique to the tea leaf and other nutrients.  The cinnamon was chosen for the sweet flavour to help make this a delicious bedtime drink but the added benefit is that cinnamon is neuroprotective. This synergistic blend is a culmination of Sophie’s 18 years as a practising medical herbalist and also her own recovery from years of debilitating insomnia.

Herbal Remedies Haven’t Worked In The Past?  Try This.

Unlike other sleep remedies which focus purely on the sedative effect on the brain, our nighttime ‘nappetiser’ was thoughtfully designed to cast a wide net over the body including  the adrenal glands, where the pesky fight or flight hormones (the hormones that make you alert at night) come from. Sophie achieved this effect by carefully combining herbs, amino acids and nutrients.   And unlike other natural sleep aids out there, the additional health benefits of the ingredients make this drink positively good for you.  It’s the sleep remedy you can – and should – have every night.

Lifestyle Tweaks Help You To Sleep Better

Since we’ve been drinking and selling our bedtime beverage, we’ve noticed (and customers/clients tell us) that this beauty sleep saviour can work immediately, or it may take three days, a week, a month or longer even.  We suggest you try it for at least a tub’s worth, in conjunction with a dedicated wind-down routine as well as incorporating our ten top tips for sleep (eating carbs with protein at each meal, getting outside, decreasing exposure to blue light at night are key).  Sleep is so tied up with our health that any hidden (or otherwise) health problems, such as inflammation and low thyroid for example, can ramp up our stress response which in turn can keep us awake regardless.  So if you’re taking on board our suggestions and there’s been no improvement over time, then there’s something else getting in the way of your sleep: good health is accompanied by good sleep and vice versa.

Time Is A Great Healer

Give it time is definitely good advice for those who’ve been on sleeping tablets.  The longer you have been taking medication, the longer it will take to return to non-medicated sleep. Your body needs time to adjust and this could take months.  But time heals as they say and you were designed to sleep, so hang on in there. And sleep well.


PS.  Have a question about sleep?  Join us on Facebook.

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

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