Natural Sleep Inducers

Suffering from a serious snooze shortage? These herbs may help you get some shut-eye. Check with your doctor before using supplements if you are taking other medications.
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Kava Kava

What it is: Considered a natural tranquilizer that can reduce anxiety, thereby promoting sleep. Form: Available in a pill, capsule or liquid extract. Beware: Don't take with alcohol, tranquilizers or antidepressants.

Hops

What it is: Typically used as a flavor and preservative in beer, hops may help relax the nervous system. Form: Look for dried leaves or a tincture to make a tea. Beware: Do not use if pregnant; may cause upset stomach in some people.

Valerian Root

What it is: No one fully understands how the herb works to induce sleep, but it has long been recognized as a reliable treatment for nervousness and insomnia. Form: Available in a pill, capsule and as a tincture. Beware: Mildly unpleasant odor and taste; high doses can cause headaches and grogginess.

Chamomile

What it is: A gentle herb known to soothe nerves and promote relaxation. Form: Generally used as a tea but also available in a pill or capsule. Beware: If you have hay-fever allergies, you may be allergic to chamomile as well.

Passionflower

What it is: A plant thought to have a calming effect on the central nervous system. Form: Available in a capsule; often an ingredient in natural sleep preparations. Beware: Avoid if you are taking medication for hypertension.

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal magazine, 2000.

 

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