(NaturalNews) What can you do to help improve your natural ability to sleep? With over seventy five percent of Americans claiming to have difficulty sleeping (according to the National Sleep Foundation) sleeplessness has become an epidemic. Forty two million prescriptions for sleeping pills were written last year, for one in five Americans. There are natural herbs that have been used since ancient times as sleep aids.
The most common herb to treat sleeplessness is valerian, whose Latin name is Valeriana. It was even used in ancient Greece to calm restlessness and nervousness. Valerian is a twig, and is easily found in tea or raw form. A simple glass of valerian tea before bedtime can help induce sleep.
Peppermint is another calming nerve herb that is frequently mixed with valerian for flavor. It is a digestive herb, as well as calming to the nervous system.
Another digestive herb is Chamomilla. It is also sleep inducing and readily available in tea form.
Passionflower or Passiflora tea can aid with sleeplessness, but may be more difficult to locate.
In addition to teas, herbal compresses can be placed over the face, or under the pillow.
Lavender is frequently used in this manner. Simply place lavender flowers into a small cotton bag and place under your pillow to induce natural sleep, and dreams.
Lemon balm is another herb known to calm the nervous system and induce sleep.
Meditation or prayer and other quieting activities before bed can also relax the body into sleep.
Nutritional supplements that may help increase sleep are calcium, (as in warm milk) theanine, l-glutamine, and GABA. L-Glutamine is an amino acid, and very plentiful in the body. It improves mood as well as helping to increase GABA level. GABA is a neurotransmitter known to help with general relaxation. Theanine is a natural ingredient found in tea.
If you have trouble with frequent rising at night, or a small bladder, do not drink tea too close to bedtime, but rather a few hours before. You will have the same medicinal effects from the herbs, but avoid the discomfort of a full bladder.
The famous warm milk at bedtime of grandmother`s day was popular for a reason. The calcium is nature`s tranquilizer, and a glass of warm milk speeds the calcium to your nerves and helps induce sleep. The warm milk draws blood to your stomach, away from your brain, which also helps you sleep.
About the author
Melanie Grimes is a writer, award-winning screenwriter, medical journal editor, and adjunct faculty member at Bastyr University. She also teaches homeopathy at the Seattle School of Homeopathy and the American Homeopathic Medical College. A trained homeopath, she is the editor of the homeopathic journal, Simillimum, and has edited alternative and integrative medical journals for 15 years. She has taught creative writing, founded the first Birkenstock store in the USA and authored medical textbooks. Her ebook on Natural Remedies for the Flu is available at: http://melanie-grimes.blogspot.com/2009/04/b... Follow her blog at http://melanie-grimes.blogspot.com/ www.melaniegrimes.com