Sleep…I think we can both agree that it’s pretty important, yes?
But did you know it’s actually vital to pretty much every function of the human body?
In fact, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health!
And for the lucky few… dosing off as soon as your head hits the pillow & sleeping all the way through to the bright & sunny morning is a walk in the park.
For many though – It’s a march through hell with so many sheep piling up that you’ve lost your count…In short – scatter brain, toilet breaks & multiple alarm snoozes.
Now research indicates that we actually need between 7-9 hours of solid sleep per night.
But lack of sleep doesn’t just give you the energy levels of a gold fish or a fuse so short it’s about to become invisible.
It affects your memory, your immune system, your physical performance, your emotions, your mood & your hormones.
You’re also compromising your body’s ability to undertake the all-important ‘rest & repair’ process, which is what helps it to recover from the damage sustained throughout the day.
Yep – It’s that Important!
So if you’re not part of those lucky few who can drift off into a peaceful sleep at the click of a finger (I’m yet to meet someone like this by the way – let me know if you come across anyone!) there are a number of things you can start doing to reclaim your shuteye, feel rejuvenated in the morning – & the biggie – actually want to get out of bed!
Our favourite is to use herbs.
Specifically – 6 medicinal herbs that have been used throughout the ages for their ability to reduce stress, calm the mind & most importantly, bring on a restful, restorative sleep.
You can also grow these herbs yourself – which not only keeps costs down… but also gives you access to them 24/7… win win!
So here they are…
Our top 6 sleep promoting herbs you can grow yourself!
1. Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family & has been used for hundreds of years to naturally bring on sleep. More recent studies have confirmed its ability to not only promote restful sleep, but to reduce stress, anxiety & improve memory. Lemon balm also helps the body to produce 2 incredibly important antioxidants: Glutathione & superoxide dismutase, which protect the body from oxidative stress & DNA damage.
Lemon Balm is an easy to grow herb & spreads like wildfire. It’s a cool weather perennial & grows best in partial shade in temperate & sub-tropic areas.
Lavender is great for helping you relax, de-stress & of course – get a good night’s sleep! As a little bonus it can also bring relief from headaches.
Make sure you plant your Lavender in full sun, if it doesn’t get enough it will actually bend towards the sun to try & get more light! It doesn’t like soggy soil & can tolerate some drought.
Chamomile is another herb with a long history of medicinal use. It’s used to treat insomnia, bring on restful sleep, reduce anxiety & calm the nerves. It’s also used to give relief to children who are going through teething.
Chamomile grows best in temperate climates & doesn’t do well in heat. It thrives in full sun to part shade.
Catnip is a herb with sedative properties & is used as a relaxant to bring on sleep. It provides relief from insomnia as well as headaches, anxiety & stress. It can also help with menstrual cramps.
Catnip is a perennial herb that grows best in warm or temperate climates in part shade. It won’t do well in frost.
Valerian has been used for thousands of years to help people with sleep issues. It’s often combined with Lemon Balm as a natural remedy against insomnia. It also brings relief from stress, anxiety & high blood pressure.
The root of Valerian is the most powerful so this can be pulled up, chopped & dried (in a dehydrator). You can also use the leaves for a less potent version.
6. Passion Flower
Passion Flower is often mixed with valerian root & lemon balm & used to make a natural sedative. On top of helping you get to sleep, Passion Flower also reduces anxiety & inflammation.
Most varieties of Passion Flower hate frost & grow best in warm weather. They need to be kept well-watered especially during those hot days.
All of these herbs can be used together to make an incredibly potent, fresh herbal tea. Alternatively you can just use one! And even though it’s all completely natural – I always recommend starting with small amounts to see how your body reacts to it.
Other things you can try to promote quality sleep
No bright lights!
Aim to switch them off a MINIMUM of 1 hour before you go to bed (2 hours is ideal) & replace them with Himalayan salt lamps. Artificial light destroys your melatonin, a hormone your body produces throughout the day to get you ready for sleep that night.
No screen time before bed!
Yep – on top of no bright lights – no screen time. The light from your phone/TV/Computer unfortunately does the same thing as those bright lights you just switched off – PLUS if you already struggle from ‘scatter brain’ – taking your phone to bed is going to give you the opposite effect of calmly dosing off!
No big late-night meals!
It’s important to let your body digest your food well before you hit the hay! Try to make your last meal of the day 2 hours before bedtime!
Take a high-quality magnesium supplement!
Lousy sleep can actually be related to low magnesium levels. And unfortuantely most people today have a magnesium deficiency (you can read more about that here!) – We recommend the supplement brand Thorne Research (absolutely no affiliation – we just love their quality!) & they make a great magnesium threonate supplement. You can find it on iherb.com
Try Bioblends ‘Sleep Restore’.
Bioblends is a line of supplements created by our amazing & incredibly knowledgeable ‘health-encyclopedia-in-human-version’ friend Dr Libby. All of the bioblends supplements are made from only organic wholefood sources & Sleep Restore is a combination of some incredible herbs (including a few of our top 6 listed above!) all packed together in a little capsule! It’s the first thing we pack when travelling & always works a treat! You can find them at bioblends.co.nz
Make your sleep a priority.
Okay – this seems pretty obvious doesn’t it? But come on – how many times have you said to yourself “Just one more email…” or “Just one more episode…” or “I’ll just have a quick scroll through facebook”….1 hour later! If you can – set yourself a bedtime (ideally before 10.30pm) & try to stick to it as much as possible. It really is worth it.
I hope these 6 incredible herbs + this little list of extras gives you the sleep you need to be your amazing awesome self! In fact I hope it makes you part of those lucky walk-in-the-park few so you can wake up feeling your best every day!
Here’s to amazing sleep & awesome health!