17 Best Herbs for Sleep

Find out which herbs are popular for nighttime insomnia and anxiety, plus how to pick the right one

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Key Takeaways

  • Herbs have been used for centuries to help people in numerous ways, including insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
  • Sleep herbs are natural herbs that are used to help people sleep better. They work by stimulating the central nervous system and calming the mind, body, and spirit.
  • Many people are allergic to certain plants, and some of the side effects of sleep herbs include dizziness, nausea, and headaches.
  • Many of these herbs contain certain nutrients and minerals like magnesium, tryptophan, and glycine, which can all help with sleep quality and insomnia symptoms.

Chamomile tea is one example of a well-known herb whose sedative properties have been used for hundreds of years.

Other popular natural sleep aids include valerian root, lemon balm, and passionflower. There is evidence that these herbs can be used daily to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders.

Herbs can be a natural alternative to prescription drugs or sleeping pills. They can also help you relax, reduce stress, and improve your mood.

However, herbs, like medicines, affect everyone differently. There is no accurate way to list herbs in order of effectiveness.

For this reason, we’ve compiled an extensive list of herbs as well as information about them. We’ll answer some of the most common questions about herbal sleep aids to help you make an informed decision about what is right for you.

Read on to learn about the best natural herbs for sleep.

17 Best Herbs for Sleep Reviewed

Different herbs have different strengths. They get taken in several modalities, including teas, tinctures, tablets, etc.

If you’re new to herbs, check out the quick herb guide below for further information.

Lavender – Best Overall

Lavender helps with several health purposes. It works as an anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant.

Lavender can help to relieve insomnia and improve the quality of sleep. It also has calming properties that can help with stress and anxiety.

Lavender is also considered an effective treatment for digestive problems, including indigestion, nausea, and heartburn. It’s best for people having trouble sleeping due to stress, anxiety, or depression. Some people use lavender in their bath water for relaxation before bedtime.

Lavender also works as an aromatherapy remedy. It can help with headaches and sinus problems and reduce inflammation in the body.

Chamomile – Best for Tea

Chamomile is an excellent herb to drink before bedtime. It helps people sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed.

Chamomile tea has many health benefits. It can help with insomnia, anxiety, stress, and depression. It also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

It’s best for those who want to improve their sleep quality in the long term.

Valerian – Best for Relaxation

Valerian is a common herb that helps people to relax and sleep. It works as a natural way to treat insomnia, anxiety, stress, or even pain.

Valerian is an herbal remedy for insomnia and nervousness. It was discovered in the Caucasus Mountains by the Romans. It is usually taken as a tea or tincture but can also be eaten raw in candies or tablets.

Valerian has no known side effects or contraindications. It’s safe for most people to take it any day or night.

Passionflower – Best for Combining With Other Herbs

Passionflower is the best herb for people who want to combine it with other herbs. It has a calming effect that makes it easier to sleep and reduces stress.

Passionflower also works as an anti-anxiety agent. It can help with insomnia, anxiety, and panic attacks. In addition, it is effective in treating depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Passionflower is a mild sedative that helps with sleep cycles and induces relaxation. It’s also an herbal remedy for digestive issues, headaches, heartburn, and menstrual cramps.

Passionflower has an herbal taste that combines well with the herbs lavender or chamomile.

Ashwagandha – Best for Insomnia

Ashwagandha is one of the most popular herbs used in Ayurveda. It has many benefits, including stress relief, improved memory, and mood enhancement.

Ashwagandha is best for people who suffer from insomnia. Insomnia appears from stress, anxiety, or depression. Its calming effect on the mind can help you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling refreshed.

The main active ingredient in ashwagandha is Withanolide. Withanolide accounts for its calming and soothing effects. It also helps relieve stress and anxiety, which are common causes of insomnia.

Ashwagandha is excellent for those with sleep issues caused by chronic pain.

Holy Basil – Best for Anxiety

Holy Basil is one of the best herbs for anxiety. It can also help you sleep better.

Holy Basil is also an herb that has been used in Ayurveda for centuries. It treats a variety of ailments, including insomnia, indigestion, and inflammation.

The best part about Holy Basil is that it’s a natural herb that you can find in your local grocery store.

The best time of day to take holy basil is when you are about to go to bed. It can also be taken with warm milk or honey for maximum effectiveness.

John’s Wort – Best for Depression

St. John’s Wort is a herb that has been used for centuries to help people with depression.

St. John’s Wort is a herb that can help to relieve negative feelings and make you feel less tired during the day. It can be taken as a supplement or an extract, easy to find in stores or online. It can also help you sleep better at night and have more energy in the morning.

This herb is best for people who feel depressed because they have low energy levels. It should not be taken if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because it has not undergone thorough testing. Instead, it should be taken while pregnant.

Wild Lettuce – Best for Restless Leg Syndrome

Wild Lettuce is a plant with many benefits. It has been used for centuries to help with insomnia, stress, and anxiety.

Wild Lettuce contains high levels of magnesium. Magnesium can help relax muscles and encourage sleep. It shows aid regarding depression and anxiety.

Hops – Best for Perfume Sachets

Hops is an herb that can be used in the perfume sachet to help sleep and relaxation. It has a calming effect on the body and mind.

Hops traditionally get used for medicinal properties. In addition, it seems to help with anti-inflammatory properties. Hops also helps with insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

Hops can help you sleep better by calming your mind and body. In addition, the hops in the perfume sachet will provide a sense of security from the outside world.

Mint – Best for Muscle Tension

Mint gets used for centuries in traditional medicine. It also gets used in many other ways.

The herb is known for relieving muscle tension, improving digestion, and reducing anxiety and stress. It also has a refreshing taste that can be enjoyed as a tea or added to foods and drinks.

It’s important to note that not all mints are created equal. So make sure you’re using the correct type of mint when trying to get some shut-eye!

Lemon Balm – Best Easy to Grow Herb

Lemon balm is a herb that many people use for its medicinal properties.  People used it for centuries for treating insomnia and other sleep disorders.

Lemon balm is an easy herb to grow and has a high medicinal value. It can be grown in pots or in the garden, and it’s easy to maintain with little effort. It’s also very resilient, so it will grow even if you forget to water it occasionally!

Lemon balm is best for people who are struggling with sleep disorders. For example, it could be from restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea. 

California Poppy – Best for Tincture

California poppy is a herb that can be used as a sleep aid. It’s also known as the “sleeping lady.” It contains chemicals. It can help with insomnia and sleep deprivation.

California poppy is an excellent herb for tincture due to its sedative effects. It’s great for those who want a natural sleep aid or pain relief without the need for other medications or drugs. Additionally, it can help anxiety-driven insomnia.

Melatonin – Best for Correcting Circadian Rhythms

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland. You’ll find it between the two hemispheres of the brain. It secretes when you sleep, and it helps regulate your circadian rhythm

Melatonin can help you sleep better, have more energy, and reduce depression. It can also improve your mood and reduce stress.

You find melatonin in many natural remedies dating back for centuries. We use it to treat insomnia, jet lag, and other sleep disorders. However, we do not recommend it for people with certain medical conditions. These include epilepsy and cancer. It can be dangerous for them to take melatonin without medical supervision.

It’s essential to have a good circadian rhythm. It helps you maintain healthy sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and alert. Additionally, it allows you to concentrate better throughout the day.

Ginseng – Best for Nutritional Health

Ginseng is one of the most popular herbs globally and has been used to help people sleep for centuries. In addition, it can treat a wide range of health conditions such as insomnia, fatigue, and stress.

Ginseng is known as an adaptogen. It helps the body adapt to stress and other external factors. This herb also helps with chronic fatigue and insomnia. In addition, ginseng is an excellent source of antioxidants. It protects us from free radicals that can cause aging, diseases, and cancer.

It’s best for people who are aged 50 or older. It can benefit those who have had a heart attack or stroke. Additionally, it can help those with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. Pregnant women and those recovering from surgery or illness can also benefit.

Ginseng boosts immune function. It increases natural killer cell activity and IL-2 production, which helps fight infections.

Magnolia Bark – Best for Lowering Cortisol

Magnolia bark is a popular herb used to lower cortisol levels. It has been used for centuries for its calming properties and is known to help people sleep better. This herbal supplement can be taken in tea, capsules, or tincture.

It is also suitable for those recovering from a fever or illness, pregnant women, and nursing mothers. It can help people with digestive problems like constipation or diarrhea.

Magnolia bark also helps improve memory and cognitive function. It also can reduce inflammation.

Mimosa – Best Mood Enhancement

Mimosa is a plant that has been used for centuries to aid sleep and mood enhancement. It consists of the bark of the mimosa tree, which contains an alkaloid called mimosine.

Mimosa can help you fall asleep quickly and stay asleep all night long. It also helps with anxiety and depression.

The best time to take Mimosa capsules is before bedtime. It has a sedative effect that helps people fall asleep quickly and wake up feeling refreshed.

The best time to drink this herb as tea is during the day because it will boost energy without making you feel tired or sleepy at night.

Kava – Best for Daytime Calm

Kava is a root herb used to make tea or as a powder. Many recommend it for people who have trouble sleeping due to anxiety and stress.

Kava has worked as an herbal remedy for centuries, but the wellness industry has only recently popularized it. Kava can help improve your sleep quality, mood, energy levels, and overall health.

The best time of day to take kava is in the morning before breakfast because it will help you feel calm and collected during the day.

Guide to Using Herbs and Selecting The Best for Sleep

Sleep herbs are natural herbs that have been used for centuries in different cultures to help people sleep better. They work by stimulating the central nervous system and calming the mind, body, and spirit.

The most important thing to consider when buying sleep herbs is where they come from and how they were processed. For example, some plants get harvested while still alive, while others get harvested while they’re dead or dying, affecting their potency.

How to Take Sleep Herbs

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone, so finding a method that works for your lifestyle and needs is essential.

A few standard methods for taking sleep herbs are as follows:

  • Tablet form
  • Teas
  • Diffuser (essential oil extract)
  • Tincture (with alcohol, glycerin, or vinegar)
  • Topicals

Allergies and Side Effects

Many people are allergic to certain plants. Some of them may be allergic to the plant’s leaves, roots, or flowers. Some plants can cause serious side effects if inhaled or ingested. 

Sleep herbs’ side effects can include dizziness, nausea, and headaches. However, it is essential to note that these are not always caused by the herb but other factors such as other medications or medical conditions.

Other Sleep Aids

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body. It plays a vital role in keeping your muscles and nerves healthy and other bodily functions that affect sleep quality.

Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps with sleep quality. It helps us to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Glycine has been shown to help with some of insomnia symptoms, such as sleepiness and tiredness.


Lavender is the most well-known herb for sleep. It is often used as a natural remedy for insomnia, anxiety, and stress. In addition, lavender essential oil is popularly used in diffusers or baths to help induce sleep.

Lavender is one of the best herbs for sleep. Many cultures worldwide have used it as a natural remedy for insomnia, anxiety, and stress. The lavender essential oil can also be used in diffusers or baths to help induce sleep.

You can order excellent quality organic lavender today if you’re ready to experience a calmer mind and a more relaxed body before bedtime.

Nate Devore
Nate Devore
For over 15 years Nate has been obsessed with solving his own personal and difficult health challenges related to sleep, energy, and fatigue. As one of our sleep experts at sleeping.com, Nate is passionate about helping you get the best night’s sleep possible.

Medical Disclaimer: The content on this page should not be taken as medical advice or used as a recommendation for any specific treatment. Always consult your doctor before making any decisions.

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