Can we get a show of hands from the people getting a full 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night?
What was that? Radio Silence?!
Yes, there are literally untold millions of people not getting enough sleep which should be about 8, even 9 hours of sleep per night. But, help is available!
Let’s take a look at some of my favorite botanicals to help support a good night’s sleep.
And please, if you’re going to make any changes to your health protocol, work with a qualified healthcare professional.
When the sun goes down, our bodies are supposed to naturally produce and circulate melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that does many things, including helping us fall asleep and stay asleep.
Melatonin is released from a pea-sized gland in the center of our brains, called the pineal gland. When the sun goes down, the pineal gland releases melatonin. It’s released throughout the night. And then when the sun arises melatonin production ceases and we wake up refreshed!
This is the ideal. But…
We are in no way living in a natural environment with the natural rhythm of daylight and nighttime. The pineal gland needs darkness to produce melatonin. Even as I type this, it’s around 8 p.m. and dark outside, but my computer screen is emitting light. And, I have an overhead light on. This can go on for hours!
With all this light, my melatonin production is inhibited. This effects my sleep and I know it.
And yes, occasionally I do use 1mg of melatonin, but very rarely. It is a hormone after all and in general, I prefer to take as little as possible in “pill” form. But when needed, melatonin has been a blessing to me!
Beyond overexposure to light sources, there are many reasons why we don’t get enough sleep and just as many ways to address imbalances.
Granted, those of us living in privileged environments are not getting enough sleep for far different reasons then people living in poverty, without heat, going to bed hungry, or in conflict zones. These, I’m not qualified to talk about in this public of a forum.
But what I can talk about, and what I know is how to support a healthy nourishing night’s sleep by incorporating simple, natural botanicals and lifestyle considerations.
Botanical Options – Calming Herbs
- Calming herbs – stress can be a big factor in not sleeping well. Anything we can do to help support a healthy stress response will go a long way in supporting overall health, including sleep.
- Chamomile is a delicate flower that appears docile but, it can pack a punch! This beautiful fragrant flower is renown as a calmative and is a source (albeit not in large amounts) of magnesium which is a muscle relaxant. I love a cup of chamomile tea before bed. Or even a sun tea to drink over a weekend in the garden. So soothing!
- Kava kava. I love Kava. Granted I actually don’t use it that often but when I do, I love it. Kava is native to the Pacific Islands including Tonga, Vanuatu and Hawaii. Traditionally it has been used ceremonially as well as a beverage shared in gatherings and social settings. It imparts a relaxing feeling, and for some, is somewhat euphoric. If you are going to use Kava kava please follow the suggested dosage and absolutely do not mix it with alcohol. Kava can dramatically exponentiate alcohol’s effects.
Botanical Options – Adaptogenic Herbs
- Adaptogenic herbs – adaptogens are botanicals that, simply put, help us adapt to stress. And having a healthy stress response helps everything! Including sleep.
- Ashwagandha – the magnificent botanical from the Ayurvedic tradition of India. Ashwagandha helps regulate hormones and stress response. The best way to take Ashwagandha is #1, go for certified organic. Botanicals, like any crop can be grown with the usage of herbicides and pesticides. Organic, and local if possible, is always ideal. And, it typically isn’t one of those that you’re going to feel right away. You know, like coffee. You’ll feel that, likely pretty quickly. Ashwagandha works more slowly and best taken over time.
- Eleuthero – Eleuthero is another classic adaptogen. And again, like Ashwagandha helps support a healthy stress response and is best used over time.
Beyond botanicals of course, there are things we can do in our day-to-day that will help support a healthy stress response and a good night’s sleep. Exercise, meditation, time in nature and with loved ones and community…all of these things help.
Let’s commit to taking baby steps or broad strokes to support our health every day! You got this!
Here’s to your health,
Julie Dennis Fox, Canna Joint Relief Founder & Formulator
For more information on a healthy stress response: