Anyone else struggling with their sleep right now? My gosh we are here. I don’t know if it’s the fact that we’re just not going out so much during the day and therefore not as shattered as usual, or if it’s simply lockdown related anxiety, but the last few nights I have really struggled to drift off.
Fortunately, there are a number of herbs and plants that have a longstanding use for nourishing the nervous system and helping us relax. And that’s just what I need right now to catch up on some ZZZs.
With that in mind I asked Holly Huntley, Pukka’s Herbal Education Specialist, to tell me a little more about which herbs could help me sleep and what I should be eating, drinking in my pre-bed herbal tea or putting in my bath to help me drift off.
Below Holly reveals the seven plants and herbs that can help us to relax:
This violet wonder is high in essential oils that relieve stress and improve sleep. Lavender’s relaxing effects are considered to be largely due to the essential oils present, whether inhaled, ingested or applied topically. Use Lavender oil to make home made shower melts or a pillow spray. This fragrant flower can be found in our Night Time and Love teas.
It’s not just lavender that provides relaxing essential oils; chamomile flower does too. These oils help calm our ‘fight or flight’, sympathetic nervous system, improving sleep quality. Chamomile flower also contains an antioxidant called apigenin, said to help calm an anxious mind. What’s more, chamomile tea has traditionally been used to ease digestive complaints linked to nervous conditions. Here at Pukka we love Chamomile and include it in blends such as Three Chamomile, Love, Night Time and Relax.
A small bowl of porridge an hour before bedtime might not be the worst idea. Oats have been traditionally used to recover from stress-induced nervous fatigue and to aid restful sleep.
Valerian has been used by people for thousands of years. Even today, it’s remarkably calming effect is a great comfort to people struggling with everything from sleep and insomnia to nervous anxiousness. This is one of our favourite herbs for sleep and can be found in our much-loved Night Time tea and organic Night Time capsules. Interestingly, many cats also love the smell of this herb and its affects are similar to catnip.
Not just for Christmas, this warming spice has a reputation for its settling and calming properties in both traditional Indonesian herbal medicine and Western herbal medicine. It’s said to help you stay asleep as well as fall asleep.
Cinnamon provides a gently warming, sweet yet sugar-free flavour while helping improve blood sugar levels. Sleep deprivation increases cortisol levels, which can cause increased rates of insulin resistance; the leading cause of type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon is said to prevent this insulin resistance, as well as helping improve glucose tolerance. Cinnamon has also been said to improve indigestion, which can often end up keeping us awake at night. Try having a warming cup of Pukka’s Three Cinnamon tea or sprinkle some over your pre-bed bowl of porridge and drift off peacefully.
A tonic root used to help the body under long-term stress, ashwagandha can help with sleep. Ashwagandha improves energy and cognition by acting on relaxing neurotransmitter systems and protecting brain cells from damage. As stress is a huge factor in raised cortisol levels, helping to keep stress under control will be a huge factor in boosting sleep quality. This adaptogenic herb can be found in our Wholistic Ashwagandha capsules and our Night Time capsules.
If you’re struggling with your sleep right now, then why not take Pukka’s sleep quiz. The quiz will help you learn about your individual sleep style and find out more about how you can improve the quality of your sleep with simple lifestyle changes and the power of organic herbs.
Enjoy the quiz, I’m off to get a Pukka Night Time tea that the Pukka team kindly #gifted to me and chill. Here’s hoping I get a good night’s sleep!