Make a Natural Sleep Aid

17 Nov

I’ve been a little wound up lately.  Balancing work, writing, friends, wedding planning, travel, holidays and other projects has seemed harder than usual lately, especially because the days just seems so short. In a cruel twist, I’ve been getting a little anxious my lack of time and energy to get everything done, which has made it a little harder for me to get to sleep, leaving me with less energy the next day.  Getting enough sleep has luckily never been much of a problem for me (I fall asleep 98% of the time I watch TV/movies or sit down with a book.  Sitting up, drinking coffee, it doesn’t matter.  If I get into any kind of semi-repose and can zone out a little, I am out for the count), so I wanted to nip this thing in the bud.

I’ve always liked chamomile, but have never found it to be particularly sleep inducing.  I did a little research and learned Valerian is an herb that  aids sleep, the root of which, according to all-knowing Wikipedia, “is used for insomnia and other disorders as an alternative to benzodiazepine drugs, and as a sedative for nervous tension, hysteria, excitability, stress and intestinal colic or cramps.”  Just what I need!  We started making tea with Valerian root I bought at our local co-op (and which you can also find online).  And it worked!  I was asleep ten to fifteen minutes after drinking it and woke up feeling wonderful without any weird groggy or cloudy side effects.  The problem is that Valerian has a smell and taste that is somewhat… funky.  Kind of like sour licorice.  Not super tasty for a cup of tea.

I decided to make a tincture out of the bulk herb since it will be more concentrated and so just a few drops on the tongue, in a cup or tea or in a glass of juice will have the same effect as a whole cup of funky tea.  If you need a little help getting sleep, I highly recommend this tincture.

Valerian Sleep Aid Tincture

Combine valerian and vodka in a glass jar and let sit for two weeks.  After two weeks of infusion, strain through a cheesecloth or coffee filter, squeezing to expel as much liquid as possible from the root.  Funnel into an amber dropper bottle.  Take 3-5 drops fifteen minutes before sleep.

Random side note: While I don’t particularly enjoy the smell of valerian, my cats certainly do. Both of them were going wild as I was straining the stuff.  Not sure what that’s all about, but check out our cat Duckie loving on my new tincture:

For more recipes like this one, check out the Apothecary page.


4 Responses to “Make a Natural Sleep Aid”

  1. Anonymous November 17, 2011 at 5:26 am #

    Melatonin knocks me out and gives me epic dreams. Win-win!

  2. Sarah Burghardt November 28, 2011 at 3:25 am #

    Catnip is also a good sleep aid for humans!

  3. Lucia Mat December 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    Very good article. I just would like to add one small comment. Sometimes it is worth to try to use different herbal sleep aids in combination. For example chamomile works well with herbs such as valerian. One cup of tea 30 minutes before going to bed should do the trick.
    Best Regards
    Lucia Mat

  4. Lindalu Forseth January 23, 2012 at 2:34 am #

    Valerian is like catnip for cats. They love it! It is one of the few essential oils that aren’t toxic to cats. Use it just like catnip and your cats will be in heaven….

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