Herbal remedies for deep, restorative sleep

Chamomile, lavender and hops

Herbs used in Sleep Aid tincture
Credit: Gina Hulse

Simplify the bedtime routine!

If you’re having trouble sleeping, you’re in good company. According to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, at least 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders and another 20 to 30 million experience occasional sleep problems.

Unfortunately, even minimal sleep loss can take a toll on your mood, energy, efficiency, and ability to handle stress. Ignoring sleep problems and disorders can lead to poor health, weight gain, accidents, impaired job performance, and relationship strain. If you want to feel your best, stay healthy, and perform up to your potential, sleep is a necessity, not a luxury.

As someone with a chronic illness (I have lupus and a host of overlapping illnesses), sleep is often hard to come by....deep restorative sleep.  As a result, I whipped up an herbal sleep tincture with chamomile, lavender and hops. I put the herbs into a quart mason jar and covered with vodka. You can also add other herbs such as catnip or lemon balm. Valerian root is great, if you can handle the smell. I, personally, don't like it. Let the tincture sit in a dark place for 4-6 weeks for best effectiveness. 

Why use a sleep tincture?

If your family is anything like mine, you have some night owls.  I have a little one who could stay up until the wee hours of the morning.  Getting to sleep is a challenge, but I have several tricks in my arsenal ranging from essential oil massages to tinctures and teas to help family members to get to sleep.

Sleep tinctures, like the one here, can be made in advance with just a few minutes of active preparation time.  It can then given before bed without the hassle of boiling water, adding the tea and waiting for it to cool.

Chamomile, Lavender and Hops

Add to mason jar.

Chamomile, Lavender and Hops
Credit: Gina Hulse

Added vodka to the herbs

Herbs with vodka added
Credit: Gina Hulse

Enough vodka is added to the herbs to cover them.  The container is then capped and placed in a dark place for 4-6 weeks until ready.


Why these herbs?

 Hops has been traditionally used for variety of health benefits that lately has been confirmed through research. Among these health benefits from hops include relaxation and sleep inducer, anti-inflammatory effect, estrogenic effect, antioxidant activity and as an anti tumor properties. Hops thus aids in restful sleep and healing. 

Chamomile Flowers have been used for relaxation and pleasant dreams.   Chamomile is gaining popularity among herbalists, and has even been mentioned in children’s books.  Remember how Peter Rabbit's mom used to put him to bed with chamomile tea?

Lavender flowers have the ability to ease stress, soothe, and relax. A simple pillow made only with lavender can be simply perfect. The lavender plant is an absolutely gorgeous herb with a very pleasing fragrance. It is no wonder lavender has been one of the most popular garden herbs for centuries. 

Sleep Care Liquid Extract, Sleep Aid Herbal Supplement Tincture 4 oz
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(price as of Aug 23, 2016)

Other herbs that promote sleep

There are several more herbs that are thought to have a positive effect on sleep. 

Lemon Balm is known for it’s ability to reduce anxiety and insomnia. It is also valuable for relieving headaches and stress.  It has been used since the Romans and Greeks to calm the heart and the body.

Catnip increases restful sleep, and is especially good for babies and children.  You've probably heard of catnip before as an herb that is particularly attractive to cats. Catnip has natural relaxing and soothing properties, however, for children also.

Valerian root is another herb that has long been used to promote deep and restful sleep. It quiets, calms and has a healing effect on the nervous system.

Other sleep aid alternatives

Sleep pillow

Simple to prepare, sewing aromatic herbs into small pillows can help bring peaceful sleep, enhance dreams, and encourage dream memory. The practice of placing herbs under one’s pillow dates back centuries, and was originally done to protect against evil, calm bad dreams, foresee the future, bring good dreams, or conjure a lover into one’s life. No matter the reason, herbal pillows are beneficial for adults, children, and pets.

Dream Pillow Recipe For Peaceful Sleep

1 part lavender flowers 

1 part rose petals -

1 part chamomile

1 part mugwort

1 part hop flowers

1 part cedar tops

a small amount of rosemary

Unbleached muslin bag


Fill the muslin bag with the herbs.  Pull the drawstring closed.  Place under your pillow at night t promote a restful sleep.

Dream pillow

Dream pillow
Credit: Gina Hulse

Life in Recovery

Sleep hygiene


Do you have other ideas for sleep aids?  Please share by commenting below.  I would love to hear your thoughts.