4 Herbs to Help You Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep

Herbs for sleep-chamomile, lavender, lemon balm and skullcap

Table of Contents

List of Herbs for Sleep

After a stressful day, it can be hard to relax and fall asleep at night. Growing your own natural sleep remedy is easy. Here are four plants to grow and four ways to use them to help you drift off to dreamland.

1. Lavender

(Lavandula species)
Lavender flowers in the garden (Lavandula species)

Lavender has a flowery and soothing scent that has long been used to relieve stress, ease anxiety and invite sleep. The buds and flowers are useful fresh or dry. Choose English lavender if you are looking for that distinct lavender scent.

2. Chamomile

(Chamaemelum nobile)

Close up of chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) flowers in a garden

Most well known as a tea, chamomile is useful for settling the nerves and easing insomnia. Harvest the blossoms for the many uses shown below. Both Roman and German chamomile work well.

3. Lemon Balm

(Melissa officinalis)

Close up of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) plant

Lemon balm has been shown to reduce stress and calm the mind. This lemony herb is in the mint family. The leaves are easy to hang dry or use fresh.

4. California Poppy

(Eschscholzia californica)

Orange California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) flowers in a garden

These bright orange and yellow flowers will be cheerful in your garden and helpful in your sleep remedies. California poppy is relaxing and acts as a mild sedative. Harvest the leaves and flowers.

Make Your Own Natural Sleeping Remedies Using Fresh or Dried Herbs

1. How to Dry Herbs

plastic drying trays with leaves from lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) drying

Upon harvesting, rinse the cut pieces and dry them with a clean cloth or paper towel to remove excess water. You can use the herbs fresh or dry to make herbal teas and essential oils. If you would like to make potpourri or sachets, you will need to dry the herbs first. Dry the leaves, flowers and buds with an even, gentle heat.
Here are some ways you can dry herbs:
  • Place in a single layer on trays in a food dehydrator.
  • Microwave (in 30-second increments) on paper towels.
  • Bake in a low oven (below 180 degrees F) for one to two hours.
  • Hang herbs upside down in small bunches and air dry in a cool, dry place.
  • When dry, store the herbs in an airtight container with a label.

2. How to Make Herbal Tea

woman brewing a pot of tea made with an assortment of dried herbs

Sip away the concerns of the day by making an herbal tea before bedtime. Place fresh or dried herbs in a tea ball infuser, lightly crushing the ingredients to release essential oils. You may also place loose herbs in a pan or kettle and strain them into a cup. Steep herbs in boiling water for at least five minutes. Steep up to ten minutes for a stronger, more potent tea.

3. How to Make Essential Oil from Herbs

Oil diffuser and zz plant on a dresser

To help you fall asleep, place some oil in a diffuser on your dresser so it will fill the room to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
To make your own essential oil, follow these steps:
  1. Place a good amount of fresh or dried herbs in a crockpot and cover them with water.
  2. Cover and heat on low for three to four hours.
  3. Turn off the crockpot and let it cool, keeping it covered.
  4. When cool, place the covered crockpot in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. Skim the oil off the surface of the water and put it into a glass jar, leaving the jar open in a cool, dry place for several days to allow any remaining water to evaporate.
  6. Seal the jar with an airtight lid.

4. How to Make Potpourri

Bowl of potpourri made with dried flowers and herbs

To make a potpourri, dry all desired plant parts using one of the methods described above. Mix the dry ingredients and place them in a bowl on your nightstand. Before you go to bed, lightly crush the mixture with your fingertips to release the essential oils. When the herbs go stale, replace them with fresh ones.

5. How to Make an Herbal Sachet

Decorative fabric bags filled with dried lavender to make a sachet

Mix a batch of potpourri and place the dry mixture in a cloth drawstring bag. Breathable fabrics such as burlap, muslin and lightweight cotton work well. Knead the bag lightly to release the soothing scents and place them on the bedside stand so you can breathe it in all night. When the mixture loses its potency, simply empty the bag and replace it with a mixture of fresh potpourri.
Sitting in the garden in the evening, experiencing the beauty and fragrance of these wonderful herbs, will enhance their soporific effect. As you unwind from your busy day, think back on the satisfying garden work that got you here, and think forward to the restful sleep that will come later. For more information on growing, harvesting and making tea with your herbs, read Herbal Tea from your Windowsill.
Potted lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) in windowsill


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