Herbal Sleep Hygiene Rituals

A good night’s sleep is precious. It can put the bounce back in our step, a smile back on our face, and even restore us to health when we’ve been pushing ourselves too hard. However, getting a good night’s rest is anything but a given. According to the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, one of every five people experiences sleeplessness. To curtail this, it’s important to create healthy habits around our bedtime rituals, a wellness term called, “sleep hygiene.” Practicing good sleep hygiene puts us in a positive frame of mind, helping us transition from the worry and hurry of our busy lives into a restful, refreshing, and restorative sleep. As herbalists, we like to put our own spin on sleep hygiene, by infusing relaxing and calming herbs into bedtime rituals to help ease a restless body and mind.

Types of Sleeplessness & Herbal Rituals to Help

Sleeplessness is not a general state—rather, there are many different types. Some people have trouble falling asleep, while others have trouble staying asleep, often falling prey to the dreaded 3 a.m. wake up. Some people may have trouble physically relaxing, and others suffer from circular thinking. Now factor in that 60%-80% of all sleep problems stem from stress, and suddenly, finding a solution doesn’t seem easy…that is, unless you talk to an herbalist! Read below to find the best herbal rituals to help address your needs.

I’m tired but I have trouble falling asleep:

Creating a ritual around bedtime is as important as habits for starting your day. Easing into bedtime and fluffing your nest gets you in the zone for a good night’s sleep. Going to bed at the same time every night certainly helps your body prepare itself for bedtime, as well. You may consider enjoying a cup of Nighty Night® tea to gently lull you to sleep. In addition, Traditional Medicinals Herbalist Amber Valenzuela recommends assembling a sleep ceremony box filled with beneficial bedtime herbals like bath salts, calming essential oils, a dream pillow, an herbal sleep ointment or spray, and an herbal eye mask.

I have trouble staying asleep and often wake up between 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m.:

For those who tend to wake up between 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., your liver may be the culprit. Drinking alcohol during or after dinner or eating rich foods can put the liver into overdrive, stimulating your body at a time when you need to be resting. The liver performs up to 500 different functions for the body while you sleep, including helping the body rid itself of toxins, metabolizing hormones, and breaking down fats, to name just a few. That’s when hepatics, or liver-supporting herbs, can help. Dandelion and milk thistle are both hepatic in nature, while incorporating a digestive bitter herb like artichoke into your daily routine can also support liver function.

I can’t relax my body:

For those who occasionally experience restless energy, nervous energy, or minor aches and pains from exercise, the body is talking loudly at what should be the quietest moment of your day. Consider helping your body wind down for bedtime with rituals like a 15-minute gentle yoga practice or taking a relaxing, herbal bath to soothe sore muscles or promote circulation. Certain yoga poses are designed to help bring you to a more tranquil state, and herbs like catnip, hops, and passionflower can help relieve nervous energy. If you are experiencing inflammation, our herbalists recommend Turmeric with Meadowsweet & Ginger tea for its anti-inflammatory and pain relieving benefits.

I can’t relax my mind:

The mind is one of the most active organs of the entire body, and for many people, bedtime can signal an instant replay of all the things that went wrong during the day, or a last-minute reminder of all the things you forgot on your to-do list. The quickest way to help relieve the hamster wheel that is the mind is to have a notebook or journal beside your bed. Use it to get all of the thoughts out of your head, from your to-do lists and complaints, to maybe even a few things that you’re happy about or grateful for. For those who want to go one step deeper, developing a regular meditation practice can work wonders. Consider starting with five minutes before bedtime, and slowly build up to 30 minutes, and watch your mindset shift. (Our team recommends the free Insight Timer app! OR Canadian developer app: mindbliss). Try drinking our Cup of Calm® tea to calm your mind to rest, or our Organic Stress Soother™ Cinnamon tea to ease irritability, tension and stress.

Herbal sleep hygiene takes plant power to a new level, helping you put the events of your day into perspective and take the calming breaths you deserve. Infusing herbal sleep hygiene rituals into just a few nights of your week can not only promote healthy sleep, but also the quality of your waking hours.

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