Restful Sleep with Herbs

>> Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's early, way too early for most people to get out of their warm, cozy beds. But for me, this is when daily life begins. Before the sun comes up, before the roosters crow, before the newspaper hits the sidewalk. I have to wake up.

Oh, I'm not saying I am forced awake by any sense of duty to some job or any person. No, there isn't any looming deadline that requires my every waking moment's attention. None of the usual reasons one would think of to be forced to face the day. My need to awaken so early every day is fed by my own internal clock. Spiteful as it may seem at times.

It is something I seemingly have no control over. Well, I suppose I do have the ability to force myself to sleep for longer periods using pharmaceuticals, but I reject their use on several levels. Foremost being I don't want man made substances disrupting my natural rhythm.

“Better living through chemistry” is an ungodly advertising mantra that has plagued us for far too long. How our parents and grandparents were sold this idea borders on criminal, the way our environment and our bodies have paid the price. Anything man made has a tendency to lay waste to some part of nature. Opting to choose man made concoctions over natural herbs and holistic practices is inviting trouble into your life. This is no longer for me.

Have you ever seen drug advertisements and listened to their side-effects? That list alone should be enough to scare the bejesus out of anyone. The promise of any beneficial properties to out-weigh those side effects causes Pharma to be deceitful towards consumers in order to turn a profit. It is a market built of death and destruction. Knowing this, how can man made sleep aids be beneficial to anyone?

We need sleep, one of the fastest ways to compromise our immune system is to refrain from getting enough restful sleep over long periods of time. Studies have shown that individuals who scrimped on their sleep were much more likely to get sick for extended amounts of time.

An interesting factoid I ran across recently states that fifty years ago the average person received an average of nine to ten hours of sleep each night. That sounds really dreamy but I just don't see how that can happen in today's hectic demanding world. Most people today only get five to six. I am one of those people and it isn't because of any frantic work schedule, for I am retired and don't have a job to go to, thank goodness.

I don't feel overly stressed about much of anything, and even though studies have shown that we need seven to eight hours to function properly, I feel I do okay on my usual five to six.

One herb that works well to promote sleep is Valerian. It has been confirmed by clinical researchers that Valerian improves sleep quality and helps people suffering from insomnia.

Chamomile is an herb that has long been used to aid in a restful sleep. I drink Chamomile tea with honey several nights a week and find that even though I don't actually sleep longer I do feel somewhat rested the next day.

Passionflower has sedating and tranquilizing properties but doesn't leave you dazed the next morning. Use it as a tea and you can also find it in encapsulated form. Also known to ease depression.

Jasmine tea has amazing calming effects on the nerves, so it is a good choice to help you put aside your troubles and get some restful sleep.

I have found that none of these herbs allow you or more importantly force you to sleep longer than you normally would but I do feel very rested after taking any of them. I have only taken each of these in tea but I suppose capsule forms would work equally well.

At any rate, giving your money to support drug companies seems, at least to me, counterproductive in setting us on a more natural path to healing and general well-being. And remember, anyone can grow these herbs themselves and enjoy the plants flowers as well.


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