Natural sleeping pills help you gently fall asleep and sleep through the night. These seven helpers ensure a relaxed and restful night!
Why shouldn’t I use chemical sleeping pills permanently?
There are many chemical sleeping pills available over the counter in the pharmacy. And those who have slept poorly for a longer period of time use it much more often. The problem: So you can catch up on the much needed sleep, but they are not a permanent solution. Frequently used active ingredients such as zopiclone and benzodiazepines should be taken without interruption for a maximum of four weeks. Because then a habituation effect sets in: the sleeping pill is less effective and the risk of addiction increases significantly. We then need an increasing dose of the sleeping pills to calm down.
Herbal sleeping pills as an alternative
There are many natural sleeping pills that can help us relax and sleep more easily. Unlike chemical agents, they do not make you dependent and can therefore mostly be used over a longer period of time. However, this does not mean that you should use these remedies to bridge your sleep disorders forever – it is still important to find out the cause of the symptoms and to remedy them.
For healthy sleep: 7 great plants for sleep disorders
These 7 plants have proven their worth for sleep disorders:
Valerian is one of the longest used natural sleeping pills. And not for nothing. In a study, researchers from the University of Gießen were able to prove the effect of valerian on sleep disorders: “Valerian often works well against sleep disorders just one hour after it is taken,” the scientists conclude. Experts believe, among other things, that one of the plant substances present in valerian docks to the same receptors in the brain as the active ingredient benzodiazepine.
The easiest way to take valerian as a sleep aid is in the form of tea: For a cup, simply brew a teaspoon of dried valerian root (pharmacy) with 150 milliliters of water and let the mixture steep for ten to 15 minutes. In order for the valerian to exert its optimal effect, it should be drunk about an hour before going to bed.
The passion flower is the perfect support when stress does not calm us down, because its ingredients soothe tense nerves and help us find sleep more easily. The preparation in the form of tea is also easiest here. Simply pour one liter of boiling water over one or two teaspoons of dried passion flower and let it steep for ten minutes. Then strain and drink a cup in small sips before going to bed.
Lavender is also a classic when it comes to calming tension and anxiety and relaxing the body. The essential oils of the plant are responsible for this. There are several ways to curb sleep problems with lavender. You can, for example, put a bouquet of freshly picked lavender on the bedside table next to the bed or fill a small fabric bag with the leaves and place it under the pillow.
Similar to valerian, hops have a calming effect on our nerves due to their natural bitter substances – both plants are therefore used together in many herbal preparations for sleep disorders. Hops can also act as a sleep aid on their own: Experts suspect that the plant has a similar effect in the body as the sleep hormone melatonin. For a soothing tea made of hops, pour about 150 milliliters of boiling water over one or two teaspoons of crushed hop cones (pharmacy) and let them steep for about ten minutes, then strain and drink slowly.
With the help of a study, researchers from the University of Düsseldorf found that the scent of jasmine flowers has a similar effect to Valium. In fact, the mere scent can be as strong as chemical sleeping pills, but unlike them, it does not make you addicted. If you want to relax in your sleep, you should put a few drops of jasmine oil (pharmacy) either on the pillow or in a fragrance lamp.
6. Milk with honey
The classic from our childhood is still valid today when we cannot sleep. Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, which is converted into the sleep hormone melatonin in the brain. And the honey contains fructose that can speed up this process.
Allerdings enthält ein Glas Milch eigentlich viel zu wenig Tryptophan, um wirklich etwas als Schlafmittel auszurichten. Warum also hilft der Klassiker trotzdem? Prof. Dr. med. Ingo Fietze, Leiter des Interdisziplinären Schlafmedizinischen Zentrums an der Charité, geht davon aus, dass die warme Milch eher hilft, weil sie den Magen beschäftigt: “Wenn Sie schlaffördernde Milchmengen zu sich nehmen wollten, müssten Sie schon etliche Liter trinken! Aber etwas Warmes als Einschlafhilfe ist schon eine gute Idee. Denn der Magen arbeitet dann und zieht dazu auch Blut ab aus dem Gehirn. Das macht schläfrig – denken Sie an das Tief nach dem Mittagessen.”
Grapes promote the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Around 300 grams of grapes in the evening can help you as a sleeping pill. But be careful: Even if you could think that instead of grapes you could also rely on red wine – that would be a mistake. It is often easier to fall asleep through alcohol consumption, but sleep is often restless. You wake up more often at night and tend to sweat more.
Note: It generally applies to tea drinkers that herbal products do not work overnight. You should drink one to two cups of the tea each day for two to three weeks so that the natural sleeping pills can also help.
In a study conducted in 2018, the Stiftung Warentest also noted that the study situation on natural sleep aids such as valerian, passion flower and Co. was quite manageable and the results were not always clear. Of course, everyone can try to treat their own sleep disorders with the means mentioned. However, if they do not strike after two months at the latest, it makes sense to test another sleep aid and to check with the doctor beforehand about the reasons for the symptoms.
Reading tips: Why healthy sleep is so important is explained here. We also share our best sleep tips and how to treat restless legs syndrome and sleep disorders. And here we explain what restless sleep can mean.