Sleep is crucial for our bodies to not only relax, but recharge. However, issues including anxiety, stress, an overactive mind, and insomnia can prevent us from getting a good night’s rest. One of the ways to combat these ailments naturally is in the form of teas, more aptly described as herbal infusions. Enjoying a mug of an herbal infusion a couple of hours before tucking in for the night can help relax your body and prime your system for sleep.
Preparing an herbal infusion is simple and only requires a few ingredients: herbs and hot water. You can buy dried or fresh herbs at grocery stores, or directly from herbal shops; when purchasing, make sure the herbs are vibrant in colour, as this indicates freshness. The fresher the herbs, the better your infusion will taste and the better effect it will have.
Natural herbal infusions that help with sleep
Part used: the flowers
Chamomile is a versatile plant with small white and yellow flowers. It has a variety of uses for helping the body, including reducing anxiety, settling an uneasy stomach, soothing restlessness, and calming hyperactivity. Chamomile acts as a mild sedative, allowing you to fall asleep quickly; meanwhile, its nervine properties help relax the nervous system, thus lowering tension. Its mild flavour makes it great for both kids and adults. Keep in mind that chamomile contains bitters, so the longer it steeps, the more bitter it will be.
Part used: the leaves
Lemon balm is an aromatic citrusy herb that is part of the mint family. Lovingly referred to as bee balm, this plant has sedative properties that encourage a more restful sleep by relaxing the nervous system and helping reduce stress. In addition, lemon balm is beneficial for the digestive system and is known to be restorative. It’s great for lifting one’s spirits, which hopefully leads to happy dreams.
Part used: the flowers
Hops are an essential ingredient in the beer world (especially for India pale ales), yet most people don’t realize how beneficial this herb is when taken as an infusion. The dried flowers, known as strobiles, have sedative properties, which help relieve insomnia as well as restlessness. Hops produce a calming effect on the nervous system and can reduce anxiety. Typically they are combined with other herbs (such as lavender or lemon balm) to mellow out the flavour. Note that if you have depression, hops should be avoided, as they may exacerbate symptoms.
How to make a herbal infusion
Put your chosen herbs into a reusable tea bag: one tablespoon of dried herbs or two tablespoons of fresh herbs. Add this to your mug with one cup of hot water. Steep the infusion for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how strong you would like the flavour to be.
Tip: herbal infusions pair extremely well with vitruvi’s Sleep Blend—a calming aroma that includes Chamomile and Lavender. Sweet dreams.