In my opinion, sleep or rest, is one of the 3 pillars of a balanced lifestyle, the other two being nutrition and hydration. Sleep is THE time to connect your spirit with the Universe; turn off the stimulants and allow your mind, body and soul to connect through calm breathing, circulation and of course, dreaming.
Sleep is typically out of balance in proportion to the health of a person’s diet and proper nutrition. For example, if I consume synthetic sugars during the day, it can often cause restlessness at night. In addition, not all sleep is created equal. There are clean, restful night’s sleep based on clean diets and proper nutrition that are rejuvenating and nourishing to the mind, body and soul. And there can be intoxicating night sleeps that are anything but restful; and create urges for stimulants as soon as one awakes, typically perpetuating a never-ending cycle.
In addition to providing nourishing vitamins and minerals that help calm the nervous system, these five herbs help create awareness as to what nutrition, hydration and activity serve you best during your day to support a good night rest.
- Sage – Considered by many herbalists throughout history as the Queen of all herbs. Sage stimulates vivid dreaming and calms the digestive and respiratory systems, as well as provides anti-inflammatory properties to support a good nights’ sleep.
- Lavender – A mild nervine and anti-depressant. Lavender is an excellent herb to calm anxiety and insomnia, which are often related. It is cooling and calming to the nervous system. Lavender smells and tastes delicious.
- Valerian – A strong nervine, Valerian is very effective in treating insomnia and other nervous system related disorders by relaxing the brain and muscular system. Valerian is a potent relaxant that should be used in small doses for long periods of time.
- Lilikoi flower and vine (Passion Flower) – A potent muscle relaxer and strong sedative that also provides pain relief. It is excellent treatment for insomnia and can be used to stop drug addiction along with Valerian.
- Tulsi – Tulsi is a subtle but strong nervine that help rejuvenate the body. Tulsi supports the digestive and respiratory systems while calming the mind and senses. It is a strong purifier that increases awareness and supports a balanced lifestyle.
On a related note and in my opinion, too much sleep may create laziness. And meditative rest when combined with sleep is most rejuvenating and effective in finding ultimate balance. When the body is super clean and pure, it does not require too much sleep. This concept of less sleep is somewhat age dependent and in my opinion, must be accompanied by rhythmic daily meditation. For example, younger, growing children need more sleep than adults in say their forties, whom are in the most productive stage of their life. It is in these later years that herbs like Sage, Valerian, Tulsi, Passion Flower and Lavender can be strategically taken to increase your meditative rest and the efficiency of your sleep; and to inevitably require less sleep.
Read more by Doug Wolkon