Insomnia herbs and natural remedies

People with insomnia should try natural remedies before turning to sleeping pills and alcohol. There are several medicinal herbs that can really help, especially when used in the right combinations and dosages.

Everyone is different, so finding the right herbs for your personality and body type can take some time. Don't give up if the first thing you try doesn't knock you out. Herbs work gently, allowing the muscles to relax. They also help to calm the mind, so thoughts are not running around wild at bed time.

Keep reading for easy to follow directions and tips for treating insomnia with herbal remedies.

Woman with insomnia needs herbal tea and a massage.
Dreamstime Stock Photos

This woman needs a cup of strong wild lettuce and bee balm tea so that she can get some sleep.

Medicinal herbs like bee balm can help people sleep.

Many herbs can help insomniacs relax enough to fall asleep. Bee Balm, lemon balm, valerian, passionflower, St. John's wort, lavender, chamomile, hops, rosemary, catnip, spearmint, and wild lettuce are the most well known.

I grow most of these herbs here on Payne Mountain Farms. Others we harvest in the nearby meadows and forests. Every year we offer an herbal tea blend that helps relax the body, calm the mind, and sooth various conditions, including anxiety and insomnia. You can purchase our organic tea blend here.


People with insomnia have trouble falling asleep.

Do you wake up after only a few hours, then can't go back to sleep? You may have insomnia if this happens more than once or twice a month.

The causes of insomnia can be medical, psychological, dietary, drug related, or environmental (including things like loud noise, excessive heat, and high humidity). Insomnia can also be caused by pain, worry, or fear. In these cases, turn to stress reducing herbs for relief.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleeping disorder associated with arthritis, depression, anxiety, tension, stress, pain, hypoglycemia, B vitamin deficiency, asthma, indigestion, high copper levels, mineral imbalance, hormonal imbalance, poor diet, and age.

Insomnia can strike at any age, but usually affects older adults. Medicinal herbs can help when nothing else does!

Home remedies are safer than sleeping pills.

It is estimated that half the population experiences reoccurring and persistent insomnia at some time in their life. Over ten million Americans take prescription drugs to help them sleep, and millions more take over-the-counter medicines.

Drug induced sleep is not the best answer. Harmful side effects of sleeping pills include dependency, addiction, and even death.

Try a change of diet at first signs of reoccurring insomnia. Good diet is often the best cure.

Insomniacs should cut back on sugar and salt.

Avoid MSG ( monosodium glutamate) and never drink coffee or any beverage containing caffeine after 5:00 p.m. Insomniacs should eat small evening meals and never eat heavy snacks at night.

Good foods to add to your diet include brown rice, almonds, celery, wheat germ, brewer's yeast, lemon, and honey. A small glass of wine may be taken in the evening as a sleep aid.

Exercise and sunshine

Daily exercise is one of the best ways to treat insomnia. Insomniacs should get into the habit of a regular exercise routine. My exercises of choice are swimming, walking, and dancing but weight lifting, sports, and yoga are good, too.

When combined with morning sunshine, the benefits are even more noticeable. Bright sunshine has been shown to induce sleep approximately twelve hours later.

Cannabis for insomnia

Cannabis and cannabis oil can be a great help when treating insomnia, but it is not legal in all parts of the United States or the world. Check local laws before purchasing cannabis for medical or recreational purposes.

Essential oils can help treat insomnia.

Try marjoram essential oil with aromatherapy. The aroma of marjoram is very relaxing when combined with deep breathing.

Frankincense essential oil can also be used to bring about a restful night's sleep.

If you have been reading my Every Green Herb blog for a while, then you know we grow lots of our own herbs, plus have access to surrounding forests and meadows. Still, there are times when we need things that can't be found locally, or won't grow here in the North Georgia Mountains.

I purchase herbal products from Starwest Botanicals, Rocky Mountain Oils, and Mountain Rose Herbs on a regular basis. Their herbs are a good value for the money and I have rarely been disappointed. If you can't find what you are looking for in the Every Green Herb online store, then try my favorite online shops. See my list of links to the best herbal brands.

Herbs and tintures from favorite suppliers


Deep breathing exercises have been shown to help insomniacs.

Take ten deep breaths, wait five minutes while breathing normally, and then take ten more deep breaths. Good breathing habits can also help with pain management.

Herbal pillows can bring about restful sleep.

Sleeping with an herb-filled pillow is another natural remedy that may bring good results. Lavender, hops, and chamomile flowers can be stuffed into a small pillowcase and the fragrance will help aid relaxation throughout the night. Also try putting a drop or two of lavender essential oil on a regular pillow. It really helps.

Other tips for insomnia

Some people find that gazing at a lighted candle for three minutes before bedtime can help relieve insomnia. Prayer and meditation can also help bring restful sleep.

Gentle bedtime massage can relieve insomnia. Use a light carrier oil mixed with lavender essential oil or chamomile essential oil. Dab a little on the bottom of the feet and on the temples for added benefits.

Remember that loving hands can heal. A loving massage may be all a person needs to get a good night's sleep.

A warm Epsom salts bath before bedtime can also help insomniacs sleep through the night. Combine with aromatherapy for best results.

Some insomniacs complain of restless leg syndrome. In these cases, vitamin E and folic acid supplements may help.

Sometimes a drop in blood sugar during sleep can cause sudden awakening. Try eating a banana with a small glass of milk before bed time.

Do not use electronic devices like laptops and cell phones right before bed as the blue light can cause restlessness.

Use passion flower to treat insomnia.

Passion flower induces sleep and calms the nerves. It is especially recommended for insomnia, panic attacks, and anxiety. Combine with valerian, bee balm, or lemon balm for best results.

*Avoid Passion flower during pregnancy. Do not use Passion Flower if taking MAO inhibiting anti-depressants drugs. Do not use Passion flower when driving, when operating heavy machinery, or when using any dangerous equipment. Never put anything into the ear if a perforated or ruptured ear drum is suspected. St. John's wort may cause sensitivity to sunlight. Always consult with a healthcare professional before taking any herbal remedies especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking other medicines.

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Thanks so much for reading my blog. Jan.

Herb Articles by Janice Boling

"The best way to really learn about herbal medicine is to smell different herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if at all possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix so give your herbs time to work." Janice Boling -- herbalist, web designer, artist, and writer

I love to hear from my readers and my customers. The best way to reach me is by email at -- I answer emails several times daily.

* Note - the information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

** Most of my posts in this blog were first published by the North Georgia News in my weekly column titled Every Green Herb.

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