Herbal remedies to improve sleep (Herbs that improve sleep quality)
I am no stranger to sleep deprivation due to my past history of being in the military, but to my surprise even after being out of the army for 4 years my sleep patterns still haven’t been that great .
This was mainly due to working long hours and my go-getter attitude always trying to do as much as I could in a 24 hour period even if it meant cutting back on sleep. These days I force myself to sleep 6-8 hours per night, this is mainly due to my knowledge of the relation of lack of sleep and low testosterone levels.
Sometimes it can be hard form going 100 miles per hour to hitting the sack for some sleep. This is where herbal teas can come in handy to help you relax and improve quality of sleep.
Testosterone levels relation to quality of sleep
Lower levels of testosterone affect more than just the libido as testosterone deficiency is also linked to lower energy, poor concentration, fatigue and decreased strength.
A new study directed by Van Cauter, PhD finds that skipping sleep can drastically lower testosterone levels in healthy guys in as little as one week. A recent study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found testosterone levels dropped significantly in men who don’t get enough sleep—equivalent to aging 10-15 years.
The team of researchers at the University Of Chicago Medical Center found that men who slept less than five hours a night for one week had lower levels of testosterone than when they’re fully rested. The study analyzed 10 healthy, lean guys, averaging around 24 years old. When deprived of sleep, their testosterone levels dropped by a whopping 10-15%— with the lowest levels reported between 2-10 p.m. To learn more about the connection between sleep and testosterone check out this post (How sleep affects testosterone production -Sleep boosts testosterone production).
Top 4 herbs for better sleep
If you are worried about taking sleeping pills you can always turn to herbal remedies to help. For some herbal remedies disappointingly few studies have been done this is because that herbs cannot be patented, only an active chemical ingredient of the herb. This doesn’t mean that they don’t work.
For sleep purposes, this extract has been widely used as a mild sedative for anxiety and insomnia. Take 30 to 120 milligrams before climbing under the covers. 97 % of Hops in America is grown in the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho’s panhandle. Interestingly enough Hops is also used as a flavoring and stability agent in beer,
Valerian is a perennial flowering plant, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers that bloom in the summer. Numerous studies have found that valerian improves deep sleep, speed of falling asleep, and overall quality of sleep. Valerian is one of the most common sleep remedies for insomnia.
Valerian root has a long history of use as a mild sedative. Taken as supplement, valerian reduces the amount of time to slip into deep sleep It can also be used with kava Kava. In one double-blind study conducted by the Foellinge Health Center in Sweden, the effects of valerian on poor sleep were significant. Of the study participants, 44 percent reported perfect sleep while 89 percent reported improved sleep when taking valerian root. In addition, no side effects were observed for this group (Study Link).
Passionflower was first discovered by Spanish Jesuits in Peru in the 17th century, and was named for its resemblance to the crucifixion of Christ. The Peruvians used the flower as a sedative. Once it spread to Europe, it was used to treat restlessness and agitation, along with other ailments like indigestion and Studies suggests that the flavonoids “chrysin” and “benzoflavone” may be the primary flavonoids in passion flower that are responsible for decreasing anxiety.
In a study from the Universite de Metz in France, it was suggested that the flavonoids contained in passion flower were responsible for decreasing anxiety symptoms in mice that had been dosed with addictive substances and then subjected to a period of withdrawal. In another study using rats, prolonged sleeping time and lowered levels of activity were noted as significant behavioral changes. Today, it’s commonly used to treat anxiety and as a sleeping aid.
Kava is prepared and taken ceremonially in indigenous cultures in the Western Pacific.
It is originated from indigenous cultures in the Western Pacific, who have used the roots of this shrub in intoxicating beverages for centuries. Like many of the “sleep herbs” listed here, kava is not technically a sedative, and has had mixed results in treating insomnia.
Kava can promote sleep by decreasing anxiety. In fact the National Institutes of Health suggests that kava may be just as effective as Valium for promoting calmness (Find out more).
Common Causes of Sleep Trouble
Lack of sleep due to lifestyle choices or even if you have insomnia will affect your hormone levels and accelerate aging, and may also play a role in diabetes, depression and cancer.
Insomnia can occur intermittently or for several days or months at a time, here are some signs and symptoms of having insomnia:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking frequently during the night
- Waking too early in the morning and not being able to get back to sleep
- Waking feeling unrefreshed
Some Underlying causes of such sleep disorders can include:
Stress: All types of negative emotions, including worry, fear, anxiety, etc., can keep you up at night. Stress tops the list when it comes to pinning down the cause of insomnia and other sleep disturbances. Nevertheless, many people under stress do not have insomnia.
Overactive adrenals: Increased levels of stress hormones in your body can lead to a hyperaroused state that makes it difficult to sleep. Overactive adrenals increased production of stress hormones is likely to lead not only to depression, but also to high blood pressure, obesity and osteoporosis.
Cell phones: Using a cell phone before going to bed could cause insomnia, headaches and confusion, and may also cut your amount of deep sleep, interfering with your body‘s ability to refresh itself. The blue light emitted by screens on cell phones, computers, tablets, and televisions restrain the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle. Reducing melatonin makes it harder to fall and stay asleep.
Be careful not to get caught up in downward spiral into exhaustion and stress due to lack of sleep. Don’t forget a lack of sleep can decrease your testosterone levels rapidly. So if you find yourself experiencing a high amount of stress, take the non-obvious strategy of getting more sleep. If you find it hard to have quality sleeping patterns give some of the natural remedies mentioned in this post a trial or get some more tips from this post (Sleeping Hacks For increased sex drive and testosterone levels).