Insomnia can make your life a living hell, especially when your body is exhausted after a long day at work. So you stay awake at night, stare at the ceiling, count imaginary sheep, or perhaps sing a song. Sounds familiar?
We wouldn’t recommend popping the pills yet because they will make you feel drowsy in the morning. Your entire day will be spent in a bubble where everything seems out of place to you. Not a good feeling… at all!
Here’s what we suggest — try the herbal route first. There are plenty of herbal supplements that work the same as benzodiazepines but have fewer side effects or possibly none.
Following are three natural herbs that can help you treat insomnia:
1. Honokiol (Magnolia)
Honokiol extract comes from the flowering tree called Magnolia. Originating from China, the bark of this tree has therapeutic effects that promote relaxation and sleep. The extract is found in several sleep-inducing supplements, herbal teas, and oils.
The bioactive compounds in the magnolia tree have anti-allergic, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Two of the most effective compounds are magnolol and Honokiol. The compound Honokiol promotes GABA activity and improves sleep by reducing stress. According to a study published in Neuropharmacology, the compounds in Magnolia bark have potent anti-epileptic effects. The results revealed that the compounds in the bark can shorten sleep latency and modulate sleep behaviors to prevent insomnia.
2. Lemon Balm
Native to North Africa, West Asia, and Europe, lemon balm is simply an herb that has a lemony smell. It belongs to the “mint” family and is traditionally used to improve cognitive function and mood. The key ingredient in lemon balm that promotes sleep is eugenol. This oily substance has similar effects as of a numbing agent.
According to a study published in the journal of Phytomedicine, lemon balm relieves stress and improves sleep disorders like insomnia. 918 children took part in the study and were dosed with lemon balm. 96.7% of children and their parents said that lemon balm worked quite well in reducing dyssomnia.
Chamomile is a plant that is mostly used to make herbal infusions. While the plant and flowers are not used directly, several versions of the compound, such as chamomile tea, essential oil and creams, are used for reducing inflammation, treating insomnia, and decreasing anxiety.
The calming effects of chamomile come from apigenin, an antioxidant that is found in abundance in chamomile tea. The antioxidant binds itself to specific brain receptors and helps in reducing anxiety and enhancing the quality of sleep.
According to a study published in the journal of Complimentary Therapies in Medicine, chamomile extract works as a tranquilizer. The study chose participants from a nursing home and divided them into two groups. One group was given chamomile extract capsules while the other was given wheat flour capsules. After two weeks, their sleep quality was assessed and it was concluded that the group that received the chamomile extract slept better and more peacefully.
So there you have it — three sleep-inducing extracts that will not only help you treat insomnia but also stave off depression and anxiety that usually follow the sleepless nights. Try these herbs for two weeks and feel the difference in your quality of sleep.