Healthy Living Magazine


You run through an exhausting day filled with work, school, family, traffic. At the end of it, you go to bed ready for a deep sleep. But what happens next? Suddenly you’re wide awake: you can’t turn off your brain! The events of the day and the commitments of tomorrow run through your mind like a movie. Not being able to sleep adds to your stress and you start the next morning less refreshed than you would like.

This is a very common phenomenon – almost everyone has experienced it to some degree. And while the solution might be just to relax the body and calm the mind, for many people this just isn’t possible. Many turn to prescription medications to soothe stress and anxiety, or medications to help them sleep – these often have addiction potential as well as side effects such as drowsiness – great when you are falling asleep, but not very good the following morning.

However there are effective natural remedies, which you can try, depending on what the problem is with falling asleep.

First, analyze why you cannot fall asleep. Are you physically uncomfortable in your bed, with achiness or restlessness? Does your mind run on and on? Do you have hormonal-related sleep disturbances?
Stress and anxiety are the most common reasons most people have trouble sleeping. There are a lot of good, well-researched natural therapies which can be helpful for insomnia or other sleep problems which are due to these causes.

Melissa, valerian, hops, St. John’s wort, and passionflower are all herbs, which are indicated for helping a person sleep. In particular, St. John’s wort and passionflower are both very good at improving sleep disturbances caused by stress and anxiety and have been shown to be effective in clinical trials. Both herbs work at the level of the brain, to increase the neurotransmitters GABA and serotonin which are responsible for mood and feelings of anxiety. St. John’s wort also has a modifying effect on cortisol levels in the body: a low dose taken throughout the day can be very helpful for reducing the overall effects of stress. However, many people are fearful of taking St. John’s wort for sleeping due to unknown potential drug interactions or side effects.

Passionflower is a very important herb when it comes to sleep. It has been known for centuries to be an excellent remedy to help with sleep disturbances, particularly in cases of stress and anxiety. Recent studies have shown that passionflower can reduce both chronic and acute anxiety, supporting its traditional use. While it is not a sedative (i.e. it does not make you drowsy), it helps you sleep by turning off all the anxious thoughts which are running through your mind at bedtime. The mind can relax, followed by the body, and sleep will follow. And as one of the safest herbs, there are no concerns with side effects such as addiction or drowsiness. Studies have shown that the passionflower products starts to work within 30 minutes. Therefore, take one tablet of passionflower just before bed in cases of stress-related sleep problems. You can also take one tablet three times daily if you are experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety in your life.

For those who simply cannot relax enough at night to fall asleep, passionflower provides an excellent solution for helping turn off the brain and allowing you to drift off naturally, wake up refreshed, and be better prepared to tackle any stresses the new day throws at you.  

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