Tips for treating insomnia with medicinal herbs, essential oils, and home remedies

People with insomnia have trouble falling asleep or wake up after only a few hours then can't go back to sleep. The causes of insomnia can be medical, psychological, dietary, drug related, or environmental (including things like loud noise, excessive heat, and high humidity). Insomnia can also be caused by worry or fear.

Woman with insomnia needs herbal tea and a massage.
© Phil Date | Dreamstime Stock Photos

This woman needs a cup of strong herbal tea so that she can get some sleep.


Insomnia is a sleeping disorder.

Insomnia is a sleeping disorder associated with arthritis, depression, anxiety, tension, stress, pain, hypoglycemia, B vitamin deficiency, asthma, indigestion, high copper levels, mineral imbalance, hormonal imbalance, poor diet, and age. Insomnia can strike at any age but usually affects older adults.

Medicinal herbs are safer than sleeping pills.

It is estimated that half the population experiences reoccurring and persistent insomnia at some time in their life. Over ten million Americans take prescription drugs to help them sleep and millions more take over-the-counter sleep aids. Drug induced sleep is not the best answer. Harmful side effects of sleeping pills include dependency, addiction, and even death.

Insomniacs should cut back on sugar and salt.

They should also avoid MSG ( monosodium glutamate) and never drink coffee or any beverage containing caffeine after 5:00 p.m. They should eat small evening meals and never eat heavy snacks at night. Good foods for insomniacs include brown rice, almonds, celery, wheat germ, brewer's yeast, lemon, and honey. A small glass of wine may be taken in the evening as a sleep aid.

Insomniacs should exercise and get morning sunshine.

Daily exercise is one of the best ways to treat insomnia. They should get into the habit of a regular exercise routine. When combined with morning sunshine, the benefits are even more noticeable. Bright sunshine has been shown to induce sleep approximately twelve hours later.

Medicinal herbs like bee balm can help people sleep.

Many herbs can help insomniacs relax enough to fall asleep. Bee Balm, lemon balm, valerian, passionflower, St. John's wort, lavender, chamomile, hops, rosemary, catnip, spearmint, and wild lettuce are the most well known.

Essential oils can help treat insomnia.

Try marjoram essential oil in conjunction with aromatherapy. The aroma of marjoram is very relaxing when combined with deep breathing. Deep breathing exercises have been shown to help many insomniacs. Take ten deep breaths, wait five minutes while breathing normally, and then take ten more deep breaths.

Herbal pillows can bring about restful sleep.

Sleeping with an herb-filled pillow is another natural remedy that may bring good results. Lavender, hops, and chamomile flowers can be stuffed into a small pillowcase and the fragrance will help aid relaxation throughout the night. Also try putting a drop or two of lavender essential oil on a regular pillow. It really helps.

Other tips for insomniacs

Some people find that gazing at a lighted candle for three minutes before bedtime can help relieve insomnia. Prayer and meditation can also help bring restful sleep.

Gentle bedtime massage can relieve insomnia. Use a light carrier oil mixed with lavender essential oil or chamomile essential oil. Dab a little on the bottom of the feet and on the temples for added benefits. Remember that loving hands can heal. A loving massage may be all a person needs to get a good night's sleep.

A warm Epsom salts bath before bedtime can also help insomniacs sleep through the night. Combine with aromatherapy for best results. Some insomniacs complain of restless leg syndrome. In these cases, vitamin E and folic acid supplements may help. Sometimes a drop in blood sugar during sleep can cause sudden awakening. Try eating a banana with a small glass of milk before bed time. Do not use electronic devices like laptops and cell phones right before bed as the blue light can cause restlessness.

* St. John's wort may cause sensitivity to sunlight. Always consult with a healthcare professional before taking any herbal remedies.

Payne Mountain Farms

Buy yellowroot and other wild-harvested herbs at Payne Mountain Farms.

Herb Articles by Janice Boling

"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer

"Ointment and Perfume Rejoice the Heart." Proverbs 27:9

Every Green Herb is a place to learn about medicinal herbs and essential oils. Visit my online store to buy wild harvested yellowroot, mullein, bee balm, and other herbal products at Payne Mountain Farms.

* Note - the information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

© 2005-2017 website and all content by Janiceboling