If you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep as long as you desire, then you might have insomnia. [1] This sleep disorder affects 1 out of 3 people and causes difficulty in falling asleep, waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep or waking up too early in the morning. [2]

Types & Causes of Insomnia

There are two types of insomnia: primary insomnia and secondary insomnia. Both can occur at any age, but are particularly common among the elderly.

Primary insomnia is not caused by any medical or psychiatric problem. It is simply the disturbance of sleep or the experience of non-refreshing sleep, and is not associated with any health condition. [1][3]

To people with primary insomnia, this sleeping disorder may have been caused by the following: [2]

1. Long-lasting stress
2. Work schedule that disrupts the sleeping routine
3. Physical discomfort
4. Jet lag

Secondary insomnia is a symptom or side effect of a medical disorder. This may include emotional, neurological, or psychiatric disorder. [3] It could also be due to a medication they are taking or a substance they are using, like alcohol. [1]

This type is caused by the following: [3]

1. Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic depression
2. An overactive thyroid
3. Menopause and hot flashes
4. Conditions such as asthma and heart failure
5. Substances like alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and sedatives

While there are many over-the-counter pills and medications prescribed by your doctor, there is also the option of going through the natural route. Using the herbs and essential oils listed below may help you get a good night’s sleep. [4]

Herbs For Insomnia

1. Chamomile. Sold in the form of tea, extract, and topical ointment, chamomile is found to have a soothing effect and is used as a remedy for insomnia.

2. Magnolia. Magnolia bark is used for reducing the patient’s anxiety due to its sedative effects, giving them better sleep quality.

3. Lemon Balm. When used in combination with other herbs, lemon balm can significantly relieve stress and anxiety, and promote adequate sleep.

4. Hops. Researchers have found out that using hops as a mild sedative can reduce the symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. [5]

5. St. John’s Wort. This herb is considered as an effective treatment for chronic insomnia and mild depression. [6]

6. Valerian. Valerian is a powerful sedative herb used to improve the speed and overall quality of sleep especially when used for a long period of time. [5]

7. California poppy. This is a very effective mild sedative and analgesic that promotes sleep and relaxation, and eases mild anxiety. [6]

8. Motherwort. This is a plant used as a natural relaxant and mild sedative, and is also believed to promote heart health.

9. Passion flower. This powerful sedative can help both children and adults remain in deep sleep throughout the night.

10. Lavender. Lavender is considered valuable for insomnia and other sleeping disorders. Even placing some flowers by the bed or under the pillow so that their fragrance can be inhaled is reported as having benefits.

Essential Oils For Insomnia

The following essential oils are known for their calming qualities, which can help you achieve better sleep quality. [7][8] Note that essential oils are not to be taken internally, and should be diluted before applying onto skin. [9]

1. Lavender Essential Oil. Lavender contains esters and alcohols which has therapeutic effects.

2. Valerian Essential Oil. Due to its known sedative effects, valerian is used for inducing sleep among insomnia patients.

3. Neroli Essential Oil. Widely used in aromatherapy, it is cited as easing tension and increasing blood circulation.

4. Clary Sage Essential Oil. Clary sage is known for its pharmacological properties and is considered to provide euphoria and calmness.

5. Vetiver Essential Oil. It acts on the nervous system as a sedative, which makes it an effective treatment for insomnia.

6. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil. Mixing this essential oil with lavender can boost its relaxing properties.

7. Patchouli Essential Oil. The essential oil of this herb is used as an antidepressant, and relieves fevers and headaches.

8. Sandalwood Essential Oil. Used in aromatherapy, sandalwood relieves anxiety, stress, and depression.

9. Cedarwood Essential Oil. When inhaled, cedar wood has a sedative effect which can help induce sleep.

10. Marjoram Essential Oil. It has calming and sedative properties that eases your nervous system.


[1] Insomnia

[2] Insomnia Fact Sheet

[3] What Causes Insomnia?

[4] Herbs for Insomnia

[5] 8 Natural Remedies That May Help You Sleep

[6] Herbs and Natural Remedies for Insomnia

[7] Top 10 Essential Oils for Sleep and Insomnia

[8] Best Essential Oils for Sleep and Relaxation

[9] List of Essential Oils

9 Causes Of Insomnia Plus 10 Herbs And 10 Essential Oils That May Help

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