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5 Natural Herbs Guaranteed to Help You Sleep

5 Natural Herbs Guaranteed to Help You Sleep

Ugh, mornings.

Everyone around you is somehow always so chipper mere moments after waking up. Everyone, that is, except you.

You may have just resigned to the fact that you’re “not a morning person,” but there may be an underlying issue that causes your morning grumpiness that you haven’t really thought about.

You might not have even realized it, but maybe the problem is you’re having trouble falling asleep, and staying asleep throughout the night. You don’t actually hate mornings – you just don’t have enough energy to enjoy them!

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Luckily, there are many ways to combat insomnia and the inability to sleep using herbal supplements that can be bought at health food stores, or even found in nature. These fragrant plants can help you get the rest and relaxation you deserve after a hard day’s work.

Passionflower

Though clinical testing has, as of yet, shown no true correlation between ingestion of passionflower and an increased ability to fall asleep, the herb has been proven to alleviate nerves and anxiety – two key causes of an inability to sleep well.

Along with calming mental “nerves,” passionflower also physically calms the body, as well. Passionflower extract has shown to help calm the nerves of those who suffer from restless leg syndrome, a condition which tends to be most prevalent at night.

California Poppy

The California poppy is a “gentle balancer to the emotions and a calming remedy for times of stress.” It helps reduce the anxious feelings that have built up over the course of a day, and allows its users to fall into a deep sleep without the unpleasant drowsiness that many over-the-counter medications lead to.

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It’s also an antispasmodic, alleviating symptoms of physical stress and pain. In infants, California poppy can help reduce instances of colic. In school-age children, it can lead to a reduction in stress-related responses, such as bedwetting and asthma.

California poppy can be ingested in teas and tinctures, as well as lotions and oils.

Hops

Yes, the same herb that gives your favorite IPA its bitterness can also help you get to sleep at night. In fact, Germany’s Commission E (the German version of the FDA) approves of using hops to combat anxiety and restlessness. Also, once you have drifted off to sleep, the effects of hops allows you to stay asleep until fully rested.

As hops is quite bitter, you don’t want to overload your tea mixture with it. However, a small dose will do just fine in alleviating your insomnia.

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Lastly, do not use hops if you’re currently taking prescription sleep aids, as doing so will increase the effectiveness of the sedative.

Chamomile

Chamomile is a mild sedative that is most often infused in tea at nighttime.

In addition to reducing anxiety and insomnia, chamomile reduces physical malaises as well. The herb has been proven to alleviate symptoms of heartburn, nausea, and colic. It also is thought to have a soothing effect on skin irritations and scratches.

When making chamomile tea, you want to make it strong. Use more of the herb than you normally would in a cup of tea, and steep it for about fifteen minutes. Make sure you cover it while steeping, or you’ll lose the essential oils that give the tea its calming powers.

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Lavender

Of the herbs on this list so far, lavender is likely the most well-known, and perhaps the most-used.

The scent of lavender alone is enough to take the edge off after a long day. Clinical trials have proven that lavender decreases anxiety and insomnia, leading to a much better quality of sleep. In sleeping subjects, lavender increases instances of slow-wave sleep – the type of deep sleep necessary to awaken fully-refreshed.

Using essential oils either in a diffuser or sprinkled on your pillow, lavender will send you off to dreamland with ease, allowing you to wake up ready to face the day come morning.

Featured photo credit: Flickr / asleep / hopetorture via farm9.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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