When it comes to getting a quality night’s sleep, you can do everything right—turn off the screens after 8 p.m, sleep atop a supportive and comfortable mattress, turn in early—and shut-eye can still elude you.
Before you break out the melatonin, you can add a few herbal remedies—from chamomile and lavender to peppermint and valerian—to your nightly routine to support your sleep and relaxation throughout the night.
That said, we’ve pulled together a list of sleep herbs to make your sleep experience an absolute dream.
Head to any grocery store and you’re sure to find this herb in tea form. Since chamomile tea is a widely known sleep aid, you may find these types of teas labeled “sleepy tea” or “bedtime tea.”
As one of the most common home remedies for falling and staying asleep, chamomile has been used for centuries to help promote relaxation and resting. In fact, some studies found that adding this herb to your nighttime routine can help you feel more tranquil and fall asleep more easily.1
You may find yourself drifting into a dreamscape after encountering this herb, whether you’re adding the chamomile flowers to a salad, using its essential oil, or drinking chamomile tea.
Research has found that a flavonoid in chamomile may help promote relaxation and drowsiness and avoid any bit of insomnia. When the flavonoid binds to the benzodiazepine receptors in your brain, the herb naturally promotes feelings of sleepiness and allows your entire body to relax.2
Another study found that inhaling the vapor of chamomile oil may reduce a stress-induced increase of ACTH plasma levels (adrenocorticotropic hormone), which are created in the pituitary.
The pituitary controls cortisol, too (the body’s primary stress hormone), which is made in the adrenal gland above the kidneys. Fortunately, the study found that chamomile may reduce ACTH levels, thus reducing the amount of stress felt by participants and relaxing the body.
In addition to potentially improving sleep quality, chamomile has also been shown to:2
Helpful Hint: Much like pharmaceuticals, chamomile has several active ingredients. As such, it’s important to keep chamomile tea and essential oils away from children. Additionally, if you’re worried about experiencing an allergic reaction, it’s recommended that you consult with your healthcare provider before adding this sleep herb to your routine.
Of the many herbs to help sleep, lavender is perhaps one of the most well-known. The lilac flowers of this mint plant are famed for their sweet and relaxing scent.
From diffusing lavender oil in your bedroom before you go to bed to taking a relaxing lavender-infused bubble bath, this herb may help restless sleepers sink into sleep more easily.
Lavender is most commonly used as an essential oil, which can be added into your bedtime routine by simply putting into a diffuser or rubbed directly onto your skin. In limited studies, lavender has been shown to increase participants’ slow and deep-wave sleep and promote restfulness the following day.3
Why? This sweet-smelling flower may work as an anxiety reducer and sedative to help users relax and sleep better.4 That’s because it interacts with the neurotransmitter GABA, which can help to calm the brain and nervous system and reduce feelings of stress and restlessness.
This antibacterial herb has also been found to relieve factors that may contribute to a night of tossing and turning, such as physical discomfort and inflammation.
This lovely little flower is great for kicking back, relaxing, and getting some much-needed deep sleep, but it may also prevent or mitigate:5
Helpful Hint: Lavender oil is an endocrine disruptor, which means it interacts with your hormones and can affect both estrogen and testosterone levels. As such, always consult with your healthcare provider before making lavender a regular in your nightly routine.
If you’re looking for an herb to help you sleep and a new nighttime drink, give peppermint a try.
Often infused into tea before bed, this caffeine-free herb can help support full-body relaxation.
Peppermint has been seen to work as a muscle relaxant as well as a sedative, although studies are limited.6,7 The main components of peppermint oil are menthol and menthone, which have been found in animal studies to have a relaxing effect on various systems, including the peripheral nervous system.
In smaller studies, peppermint has also been found to help prolong the amount of deep sleep certain participants got when using it in oil form.8
Whether you enjoy a nice cup of peppermint tea each night or rub on a few drops of peppermint essential oil before bed, the benefits of peppermint are abundant. In addition to helping support restful sleep, peppermint may also positively affect:8
Helpful Hint: Peppermint oil may be harmful to cats and dogs.9 As such, avoid diffusing the oil if your furry friends are slumbering in the same room as you.
Native to Asia and Europe, valerian provides numerous benefits to those who incorporate it into their daily routine, from promoting better rest to easing stomach cramps.10 Studies have also found that valerian may provide support to those who experience insomnia and other sleep disorders.11
When used to assist sleep, the root of this herb is dried and then consumed by way of a tea, capsule, or even tincture.
Studies are still being done on how exactly valerian works, but some research has found that certain chemicals within the valerian herb may interact with the nervous system and its GABA receptors, which facilitate sleep regulation.11,12
Valerian may also interact with the body’s serotonin and adenosine receptors, which regulate two chemicals that affect mood and sleep.12 While research is limited, you may find that this herb helps you sleep deeper and more soundly.
While this herb is primarily known for assisting sleep, valerian may also have positive effects on other physical and mental functions, such as:13
Helpful Hint: Pregnant women and children under three should avoid using this herb as there may be unknown risks. As always, check with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.
While chamomile, lavender, peppermint, and valerian are some of the best herbs for sleep, there are a few other sleep-supporting herbs you may want to add to your medicine cabinet. (However, be aware that studies on how these natural herbs work and their effectiveness are limited).
Let’s take a look:
When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, there are a variety of sleep herbs you can add to your nightly routine, from chamomile to lemon balm. That said, before adding an herb to your night, it’s recommended to discuss its benefits and effects, as well as additional herbal recommendations with your healthcare provider.
In addition to supplementing your sleep with natural herbs, consider rooting your sleep in an oh-so-cozy bed mattress and bedding. At Casper, we offer a variety of foam mattresses, pillows, and toppers to support you along your healthy sleep journey.
For a good night’s sleep, accessorize your sleep with our silk pillowcases, sleep masks, and glow lamps—we have everything you need to fall asleep fast and sleep soundly.
Naturally, the best way to support restful sleep is to shop Casper.