You’ve had a long day and you’re ready to slip into a deep, restorative slumber — until that familiar inner voice chimes in. Your head is suddenly filled with a daunting to-do list, a burst of creative ideas, and a few memories of embarrassing moments you haven’t thought of since elementary school.
Getting better sleep is an essential step to improving wellness on all levels, but how do we get there when we’re helplessly wired and unable to turn down?
We love this list of herbs and adaptogens for better sleep from herbalist and acupuncture pro, Mona Dan of Vie Healing. Combined with a strong mindfulness practice and some essential boundaries on screentime before bed, these natural remedies will help usher your mind and body into a serious state of rest…
The relationship between sleep and adaptogens, in the perspective of Chinese Medicine, goes hand in hand with what I normally preach: Keeping the nervous system stabilized to remove the body from fight-or-flight mode to processing mode is key. The way we sleep and the quality of sleep is directly related to the level of stress we’re dealing with. Oftentimes, people think they are not experiencing stress, but are only dealing with insomnia. In my experience and practice, it is very common that the insomnia is actually the way the body is manifesting and translating that stress.
Sleep is really important for the proper function of our organs. Getting to sleep at the right time is equally important as the quality of sleep because of the way organs regenerate themselves. Going to sleep later than 11pm at night consistently damages the quality of the liver function, which causes a domino effect with every other organ.
Understanding why we’re having trouble sleeping is key. Knowing that our body needs to relax and adapt to the changes around us is key and using the proper herbs that will boost our blood flow and relax and nervous system is a great way to start.
How Adaptogens Affect SleepAdaptogens are herbs that stabilize the nervous system to adapt better to stress without any known side effects. There are many great adaptogens that assist with sleep, including the more commonly known ones such as eleuthero, rhodiola and ginseng. I want to go a step further and talk about adaptogen formulations. These are formulas that consist of multiple herbs that regulate the nervous system, have no harmful side effects to the body, support the adrenals and, most importantly, assist the body in adapting to stress.
I love using dynamic blends like Dee Cee Labs Formula 303 which contains magnesium, passionflower and valerian root. When there is a combination of herbs like this, instead of single herbs, they assist each other in function. My favorite formula for aiding sleep is my Vie Healing Calm Supplement. The ingredients work together to bring balance to the blood flow, calm the mind, heart and excessive chatter or rambling of stressful thoughts, while clearing heat in the body and reducing irritability. This formula has been around for thousands of years and studied extensively. Each herb has a specific function for itself and has an important relationship with the other herbs in the formula. There is a primary function to the formula and a secondary function.
How To Blend Adaptogens For Better SleepChinese herbal formulas combined this way offer specific synergistic actions and effects on body and mind. The reason why Chinese herbal formulas are so effective is because of the way the formulas are built. For example, in the formulation, there is a chief herb, assistant herbs and envoy herbs. Each herb has a role and responsibility.
CHIEF HERB | This herb in the formula has the greatest effect on regulating the main issue that is being worked on and is the most important ingredient. It is the energetic and therapeutic focus of the entire formula.
DEPUTY HERBS | These herbs in the formula support the chief herb in regulation. Deputy herbs usually address secondary signs and symptoms.
ASSISTANT HERBS | The role of assistant herb is to support and reinforce the effects of the other herbs. They also help moderate or eliminate any harsh properties of herbs within the formula.
ENVOY HERBS | Envoy herbs harmonize, guide and focus the action of the entire formula to certain areas of the body.
The Best Adaptogen + Herbs For Better Sleep
Below are a few herbs I love blending together for better sleep, based on the formulation of my Calm supplements. The primary function of this blend is to relax the heart and calm the mind. Taking these herbs individually will help, but taking them together has an even more potent effect.
Zizyphus Seeds | The chief herb. This herb is sweet and sour in taste and nourishes the heart and liver while calming the spirit.
Poria Fungus | The deputy herb. This astringent herb regulates the way the liver blood flows. This combination of one astringent and one dispersing herb is very effective in nourishing and regulating the liver while calming the spirit.
Ligusticum Root | The assistant herb. In this case, it calms the mind and assists in boosting proper digestion of the spleen and stomach.
Anemarrhena Rhizome | The second assistant herb. Enriches the hydration of the body, cools down the body and moistens internal dryness while balancing the drying properties of the deputy herb
Licorice Root | The envoy herb. In this formulation, licorice root regulates the actions of the other herbs and creates a balanced environment for digestion in the body.
In Chinese medicine, we believe we hold our emotions in our blood, and we get the proper nutrition from our food. We also believe that proper digestion is key to gaining proper energy to assist in building blood and having good blood flow. It is all interconnected. When our blood doesn’t flow well, we feel stuck and we can’t process our emotions, thoughts, food and everything else in between. Balancing all these components is key in keeping the body relaxed so we can regenerate and reinvigorate during our sleep.
The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.