I have noticed that using some herbs for sleep will cause you to "sleep like the dead" and wake with no recollection of dreaming. This means that it is interfering with REM sleep. Is it still safe to use them, or would it just worsen the effects of the insomnia that makes me seek them out in the first place?
Re: Herbs and Sleep?
By: AmberLover / Novice Jan 14, 2012
Post # 3
As long as you feel like you're getting rest, I'm sure it's fine. I don't think it could make your insomnia worse but if you have any kinds of signs for it you should stop using them. Just because you don't remember your dreams doesn't mean you're not getting your REM sleep. Maybe you're just sleeping so well you don't dream. I know that happens to me pretty often, usually when I'm really tired.
Re: Herbs and Sleep?
By: LdyGry / Adept Jan 14, 2012
Post # 4
Many people "sleep like the dead and wake with no recollection of dreaming," herbs or not. I dont think there's any correlation with herbs interferring with REM stage of sleep, but i could be wrong. I'd be interested in your sources.
The REM stage of sleep is the state in which we dream. I was not meaning to say someone told me herbs interfere with this. Some herbs I have used have caused a lack of dreaming though. I am simply stating that if one is not dreaming, that part of the sleep cycle could be being stopped. A lack of REM sleep is just as bad if not worse then getting no sleep so I did not want to worsen my condition -.-
Re: Herbs and Sleep?
By: WhiteRav3n / Knowledgeable Jan 14, 2012
Post # 6
Many herbs that cause sleep (sedatives) do so by calming down the nervous system or lowering blood pressure. Some even have properties that act directly on the chemicals of the brain itself. Nervines merely relax tension, while sedatives like hops, valerian, skullcap, and passionflower are stronger based off of the dosage you take. Out of the 4, I prefer valerian and passionflower when recommending herbal sleep aids. Hops can cause a "hangover" effect, and skullcap, if overdosed, can cause some very bad effects. Both valerian and passionflower are nontoxic and have no true "overdose" nor a hangover effect. I would suggest lowering your dose and/or changing the way you are taking it. For instance, valerian capsules or tincture are better for anxiety. But the tea is best used for sleep. Water takes in different constituents than alcohol and vinegar, and taking an herb straight has varying effects as well, depending on the oil content of the herbs. Warm liquid has a warm calming effect of its own and absorbs faster into the body. The normal steps is to take the lowest dose and work your way up until you gain the effect you desire. Less is often more. I suggest teas when using them for insomnia. Passionflower is my favorite because it is such a gentle herb and it actually contains a constituent that is identical to our natural chemical serotonin. So it not only soothes the nervous system but it also leaves us with a feeling of "all is well". I've offered passionflower to some of the worst insomniacs I've known and they've slept like babies. I steep it for 10min covered, then give them the option of sweetening with milk and sugar or honey. I've seen no difference in using either.
The great thing about passionflower is, unlike some sleeping aids, it is easily countered with caffeine without hurting you. Great for parents or someone who's job requires them to be "on call". Be sure though that you don't drink or eat caffeine (even "decaf" has some caffeine) any time even remotely close to taking sleeping aids if you want them to work properly.
I have used herbs in place of sleep medication for years now. I especially love using lavender or chamomile for calming down. Marrijuana works very well as well, but as it is illegal in many states and provinces isn't the most ideal.
if you are wanting a dreaming tea here is a recepie i use, although not dreaming can be ok.. you just might not be remembering them but usually your body wont skip the stages of sleep offten. you just might be getting such good rest that you simply dont remember. :)
grind them together and use just a tablespoon of it in your tea bag for a cup of tea.. if your out of bags a coffee filter can work too. drink no more then a cup though or you will be sleeping a bit longer then you want :P and i personaly like to at just a little bit on honey to make it sweet. a local honey is always best i say, especially if you have allergies as to which local honey can help calm them :D hope you enjoy! it is a very good tea and really helps you sleep well!