Scientific studies on the effects of plants on sleep are rare. However, it is generally accepted that some plants can act as sleep aids. For example, drinking herbal tea as part of a bedtime ritual can be interpreted by the brain as a sleep signal.
Relaxation and reduction of anxiety
A dozen plants have a reputation for reducing anxiety and facilitating sleep because of their relaxing effects. These include mimosa, California poppy, hops, and valerian. Plants such as chamomile, linden, and lavender act especially on anxiety.
Rigorous scientific studies carried out on a significant number of insomniacs or on people with fragile sleep have shown that three of these plants possess truly relaxing properties: passionflower, hops, and valerian. Their effects indicate an improvement in the quality of sleep.
Instructions for use: capsule or herbal tea?
These plants can be used in capsules or herbal teas. The herbal tea form has the advantage of being part of a pre-bedtime ritual. This sends signals to the brain that encourage sleeping conditions. However, the absorption of liquid can make you want to urinate and cause you to get up at night. In this case, you may consider capsules instead.
Herbal teas should be taken about 1 to 2 hours before bedtime and capsules should be taken 30 minutes before bedtime.
Characteristics of the plants
acts on the brain systems that deactivate wakefulness to enable sleep. In order to make an herbal tea, you will need a teaspoon of passionflower or a 2-gram sachet infused for at least 3 minutes. If its effects are not sufficient, add valerian and linden to the infusion. The capsule can be taken at a dose of 500 mg.
contain a substance that acts mainly on the biological clock. It activates the melatonin production system, thus indicating to the body clock that it is night time. It also facilitates sleep by lowering body temperature, which naturally occurs at night. It is taken in the form of dried cones to be infused as an herbal tea.
acts in two ways: it reduces stress and anxiety, allowing the level of wakefulness to drop, and most importantly, it facilitates sleep by acting directly on the cerebral systems that induce it. To increase its effects, passionflower, hops, or lemon balm can be added. Valerian root is available in capsules or tea bags. Adding hot milk to the herbal tea can soften its taste and increase its calming effect.
The smell of plants: essential oils
The use of plants through the smell of their essential oils has been a new trend in recent years. A few rare scientific studies, which have taken an interest in this question, indicate that certain aromas have beneficial effects on anxiety and sleep, in particular lavender essential oils.
Essential oils of lavender, camomile, neroli
It has been proven, in a hospital environment, that repeated inhalation of a mixture of lavender, camomile, and neroli essential oils (2 drops of a mixture of 12 drops of lavender, 4 of camomile, and 1 of neroli), followed by placement of this mixture on the pillow for the night, significantly improves sleep and causes a very clear drop in anxiety levels.
Lavender essential oil
Breathing lavender essential oil for 2 minutes, 10 minutes before bedtime, leads to a slow increase in deep sleep, a feeling of good recovery, and increased energy the next morning.
The simplest method is to use a lavender aroma spray. At bedtime, spray it into the four corners of the room and then spray it on a handkerchief that you can place on a bedside table. In addition to the pleasant scent in the room, it will improve your sleep. You should feel the beneficial effects the next morning.
General Practitioner, Homeopath, Acupuncturist, Osteopath.