7 Herbs That Help You Sleep Better And Doze Off Faster

What can you do if you‘re having trouble falling asleep at night? I hope these naturally effective spices and herbs will help you sleep sounder and doze off faster. 

a woman having a difficulty falling asleep

You’ve probably heard the phrase “sleeping as soundly as a baby,” but if you are anything like me, then you likely have questioned the accuracy of that axiom.

I’ve personally struggled with achieving truly restful sleep for the majority of my life. I’ve tried a multitude of touted remedies to help regulate my sleep patterns. From counting sheep to meditation to breathing exercises and even pharmaceuticals, I’ve tried it all. Some therapeutics have helped more than others.

I’ve been especially leery of putting chemicals into my body. My goal has always been to keep my wellness regimen as natural as possible using plants, herbs, and spices. 

Fortunately, in my quest to catch that elusive Zzzs, I’ve come across a number of natural herbal solutions that have been arguably more effective than anything I’ve come across so far.

spices herbs that make you sleep

This isn’t to say that I don’t believe in the effectiveness of scientific approaches, but if research-based solutions can be sourced naturally, I’m more comfortable with adding them to my daily routine.

As such, I’m very excited to share with you some of my findings. I’ve compiled a list of 7 spices and herbs that help you help fall asleep quickly and sleep more soundly.

Historically these aromatic plants have been used for their tranquil effects and personally helped me to fall asleep and stay asleep without unwanted side effects.

As with any therapeutic, it’s crucial to understand how to effectively use these herbs for the most efficacious results.

7 Spices And Herbs That Help You Sleep Better (and how to use them).

1. Lavender

One of the most studied and scientifically proven natural sleep inducers is also one of the most pleasantly fragrant. Lavender, a flowering plant in the mint family, has been cultivated for its stress-reducing and calmative sleep-supporting effects since ancient times.

Science has also confirmed the efficacy of lavender as a natural means of not only just falling asleep but also experiencing sounder more restful sleep. A team of researchers at Wesleyan University in Connecticut employed the help of 31 men and women who volunteered to sniff lavender essential oil one night and distilled water the next. [1]

The subject’s sleep cycles were then monitored with brain scans, and the team found that lavender was effective at increasing what is known as slow-wave sleep.

Lavender also proved to be instrumental in slowing heartbeat and relaxing tense muscles. Not only did the test group sleep more restfully on their lavender night, but they also reported feeling more energetic the following morning.

Organic Lavender Tea | 100% Certified Organic | Food Grade Dried Lavender Flowers | Perfect for Tea, Baking, Lemonade, DIY Beauty, Sachets & Fresh Fragrance | 100% Raw Albanian Harvest | Large 4oz

How To Effectively Use Lavender For Sleep?

Lavender is often found as an essential oil. (Check out my favorite lavender oil on Amazon).

In the video below, I will cover the four easiest and most effective ways to use Lavender for a good night’s sleep.

Lavender oil can be diffused in you’re bedroom 30 minutes before you go to bed. You can also apply one or two drops of diluted lavender oil to your temples, neck, or even your pillow for its aromatic effects.

You can also brew a calming cup of lavender tea – although most research tends to side with lavender oil as being the more effective means of tapping into its anxiety-reducing and sleep-inducing effects. Keep in mind that lavender oil is for external use only.

2. Chamomile

Another herb of sleepy-time fame is chamomile. Like lavender, chamomile comes from a flowering plant with a long history of use as a mild tranquilizer.

It’s a cousin of the daisy, and its flowers have a distinct aromatic scent. It’s personally my go-to sleep aid when I’m feeling wired.

Chamomile’s sedative effects are caused by one of its chemical constituents called apigenin, which binds to the benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. If that sounds like a bunch of science jargon that you aren’t familiar with, that’s okay. In short, chamomile reacts with your body in a similar way as a pharmaceutical such as Xanax would – just on a significantly smaller and less intrusive scale.

Unfortunately, scientific studies on the effectiveness of chamomile have been sorely lacking. Still, it is reasonable to trust the centuries of anecdotal evidence that has shown that chamomile is an effective sleep inducer. [2]

Nearly every culture in regions where it can be cultivated has had a tradition of it being used for this purpose.

Additionally, chamomile is well known to have anti-inflammatory qualities as well.

Traditional Medicinals Tea, Organic Chamomile & Lavender, Stress Relief, 16 Tea Bags

Best Ways To Use Chamomile For Better Sleep

Most folks enjoy a nice relaxing cup of tea made from the chamomile plant’s dried flowers. Other herbal infusions utilize dried or fresh flowers or occasionally powdered plant material. Still yet, chamomile essential oil (for external use only) can be used in a diffuser for its aromatic qualities.

My favorite way to prepare chamomile is to take about a teaspoon of dried flower blossoms and put them into a tea infuser. I then slowly pour boiling water over the flowers taking time to enjoy its vibrantly rich aroma. I then cover the cup with a plate for 5 to 7 minutes to allow it to steep. Then I add a splash of lemon juice and honey and curl up with a nice book until my eyes start to feel heavy.

When I’m feeling especially restless, I’ll add a few sprigs of lavender to my tea ball for an herbal one-two punch.

3. Valerian Root

The ancient Greek and Roman apothecaries carried Valerian root and for very good reason. Valerian is both a potent sleep aid as well as a powerful tool to help manage anxiety. It works its magic by increasing levels of a neurotransmitter in your brain called GABA.

As with most things, it’s important to consult your physician before adding any substance – herbal or not – to your daily health and wellness routine, but the Mayo Clinic does note that it can help some people to fall asleep quicker as well as achieve a deeper sleep. [3]

Not all studies agree with how effective Valerian root is compared to other medications, but I can attest to the fact that when anxiety and stress are robbing me of my precious beauty sleep, I turn to Valerian root and it works 9 times out of 10.

MaryRuth Organics, Herbal Supplement Drop, Supports Sleep, Stress Relief, Calming, Pack of 1, USDA Valerian Root, 2 Month Supply, Sugar/Gluten Free, Vegan, Non-GMO, 60 Servings

Valerian Root Dosage For Insomnia

The National Institute of Health recommends taking 400 milligrams of standardized valerian root extract 30 minutes before you go to bed for the best results. WebMD notes that you should not exceed a dosage of 900 milligrams a day. [5] [6]

Valerian can have some drug interactions, so it’s important to do your research first if you are on any medications. It’s also important to be on the lookout for standardized extracts.

Not all Valerian root is created equal. If it is not extracted, then it is virtually ineffective at relieving either insomnia or anxiety.

4. Cumin Seeds

Also known as Jeera, this tasty spice has been used for thousands of years, not only for its culinary kick but also for its relaxing medicinal effects.

A hormone called melatonin is present in the seed, and melatonin is extensively proven to be an effective sleep aid. In fact, your brain produces its own supply of melatonin in your pineal gland. As such, it is by far one of the safest and most effective herbal sleep aids out there. [7]

The Spice Way Cumin Seeds - whole cumin seed 8 oz resealable bag

How To Use Cumin Seeds For Sleeplessness?

One of the best ways to use cumin seeds is by mixing one teaspoon of the ground seed into a mashed-up ripe banana and enjoying a little bedtime snack. It might not be the tastiest treat you’ve ever had, but the banana will mask most of the seed’s pungent flavor while simultaneously giving you something else in your tummy to metabolize it with.

If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then you could go with – well, a cup of tea!

Bring 8 ounces of water to a boil and add a teaspoon of ground seeds. Take the mixture off the heat and allow it to steep for 5 to 7 minutes. Strain out the seeds, or you can consume them if you don’t mind the grit. I sometimes add a little honey to improve the flavor.

Read Also: 10 Worst Foods To Eat Before Bed.

5. Nutmeg

You probably associate nutmeg with egg nog or as one of the key components to pumpkin spice – or at least that’s where my mind goes. It’s also a popular spice for cooking. It’s commonly found in Indian dishes, and maybe you’re grandma put a sprinkle of this tasty spice into her secret Alfredo sauce recipe.

Nutmeg has also been used for a very long time as a potential aid for sleeplessness. Ayurvedic medicine has touted nutmegs efficacy as a means to remedy insomnia for ages.

In modern times we’ve discovered that nutmeg contains a chemical called trimyristin, which can effectively induce sleep, relax your muscular and nervous system, and produce a relaxing sense of calm.

SPICE TRAIN Nutmeg Powder (226g/8oz) Non GMO, Gluten Free, 100% Raw, Sourced from India, For Cooking, Smoothies, Lattes, Packed in Resealable Ziplock Pouch

Tips For Using Nutmeg For Deep Slumber

Nutmeg may be an effective tool to help you get a good night’s sleep, but it should be noted that you shouldn’t take it in excess. Too much nutmeg can cause intoxicating and impairing effects similar to a deliriant.

Nutmeg’s effectiveness comes from its use in small amounts. All you need is a pinch.

You can put a dash in a cup of tea or even add it to your dinner if you prefer to mask its pungent flavor. I personally don’t care for the taste of nutmeg, so I typically take this route.

Traditionally, a pinch of nutmeg would be added to a warm bowl of milk about an hour before bedtime. This potentially might be the most effective way of consuming it, as the lipids (fats) in the milk might bind to the trimyristin, allowing for fuller metabolization.

Also, if you are suffering from gastrointestinal distress, and that is keeping you from falling asleep, then nutmeg can help to relieve bloating by removing excess gas.

6. Cinnamon

Who doesn’t have a bottle of cinnamon in their pantry? It’s not only tasty on toast with sugar and butter, but it actually helps prepare your body for a more restful night of sleep.

Unlike other items on this list, cinnamon doesn’t have any drug-like effects. It doesn’t release any sleep-inducing hormones, and by itself, it’s not a very effective tranquilizer. Still, it does do one thing well that helps you stay asleep and not wake up multiple times throughout the night.

Cinnamon is an effective blood sugar regulator. Sometimes when our blood sugar spikes or crashes, this causes us to wake up.

If you are having trouble staying asleep, then perhaps cinnamon is right for you. It’s at least worth a try, and chances are you already have some sitting in your kitchen cabinet.

How To Use Cinnamon Before Bedtime?

Organic Ceylon Cinnamon Powder, 2lbs | Premium Sri Lanka Cinnamon for Spice & Seasoning | Great for Baking, Cooking & Drinks | Additive Free, Non-GMO, Bulk Supply

My preferred way to use cinnamon at bedtime is in a nice hot cup of sweetened cinnamon milk.

I use 8 ounces of milk or non-dairy milk that I bring to a simmer with 1 tablespoon of unfiltered raw honey and ¼ a teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon or one Ceylon cinnamon stick. If you want to be extra fancy, you can add a sprinkle of nutmeg or a chamomile flower for a little more oomph to your nighty-night beverage.

Read Also: 8 Easy Ways to Incorporate More Cinnamon Into Your Diet.

7. Passionflower

Studies have shown that passionflower is a potent sleep aid and an effective tool for alleviating feelings of anxiety. Also known as incarnata, purple passionflower, and maypop, this herb appears to work by increasing levels of GABA in your brain in a similar manner as Valerian root. [8]

The Passionflower has been used extensively as a traditional medicinal herb by Native Americans. The fresh or dried leaves are often times made into tea.

Extracts are commonly found in health food stores, supplement stores, and apothecaries. Some preparations combine the effectiveness of Valerian root with passionflower to maximize the effects, like the one below.

NOW Supplements, Sleep with Valerian Root Extract Plus Hops, Passionflower and GABA, Botanical Sleep Blend*, 90 Veg Capsules

Passionflower Dosage For Sleep

Besides taking concentrated drops of passionflower extract at its recommended dosage, you can infuse 1 tbsp. dried passionflower, that is about 2 grams of dried leaves, or one teabag into boiling water and steep the mixture for 5 minutes.

I personally prefer the tea over the extracts because I find the floral flavor to be relaxing on its own.

Sometimes, when I’m short on time though, I will opt for an extract. When I do, I’ll take 30 drops about 45 minutes before bed and will quickly feel its relaxing effects.

Horbäach Passion Flower Tincture | 2 fl oz | Alcohol Free Liquid Extract Drops | Super Concentrated Supplement | Vegetarian, Non-GMO, Gluten Free

Read Also: 20 Best Foods to Eat Before a Test.

Parting Words

I think I already mentioned it, but before you start taking anything for its therapeutic or medicinal effects, it’s always best to consult with your healthcare provider. This runs true, especially if you are taking any medications.

Additionally, this isn’t a comprehensive list of every seep aid herb that might help with your sleeplessness. There are also magnolia bark, blue skullcap, ashwagandha, mint, lemon balm, hops flower, or even just a warm cup of milk or a bowl of oat porridge, which some people have found helpful.

But these ones above are the ones that I personally feel are the most effective means to help fight insomnia. I hope this information can be of assistance to you – and oh yeah, good night!

What NOT To Drink When You Can’t Sleep?

Although many people believe that drinking coffee just before bed does not affect the quality of sleep, there is a coffee that will certainly keep you up. If you are having trouble falling asleep, then absolutely stay away from this drink.

Check out my latest article below:

Warning! This Drink Will Affect Your Sleep – Here’s The Strongest Caffeine Fix You Can Get.

Leave a Comment

About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.