There are natural ways to help promote sleep rather than turning to a sleeping pill. Whether the holidays have disrupted your sleeping patterns or if stress is getting in the way of resting, these herbs have a soothing, calming effect that can help settle your mind and allow you to drift off to sleep, naturally.
Hops (Humulus lupus) have been used for centuries, both as tea and as a sleep pillow ingredient. The dried fruits' volatile oils have a significant impact in promoting restful sleep. To make the tea, to be drunk a few minutes before join to bed, use 1 heaping teaspoon of hops per cup of boiling water. Allow to steep several minutes, then enjoy. As a sleep pillow, stuff dried hops into a small cloth pillowcase, sew shut and then place the sleep pillow under your regular pillow or next to your bed.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) has a relaxing effect when brewed as a tea and drunk before bedtime. Adding chamomile will increase the chances of a relaxing, healthy sleep. Use 1 heaping teaspoon to a cup of boiling water, then allow to steep for 3 - 4 minutes before drinking.
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) has alkaloids and flavonoids to help reduce anxiety and aids in calming. To make a tea, use 1/2 teaspoon per cup of boiling water, steep for a few minutes then drink. In each of these teas, I add local honey as a slight sweetener, but that is my personal preference.
In Madison you can find these herbs at Community Pharmacy and Willy Street Co Op. During the summer, consider growing these herbs in your own organic garden.