Queering Herbs: 5 Herbs to Help You Sleep and 3 Easy Ways to Prepare Them

Queering Herbs: 5 Herbs to Help You Sleep and 3 Easy Ways to Prepare Them

Not too long ago, we talked about some different things that you can do to gently set yourself up for a restful night.

But sometimes you just want to knock yourself out

But thinking about how we choose to set ourselves up to go to bed, one of the easiest ways that people turn to when they have a hard time getting to sleep is usually some kind of sleeping pill. Whether its Nyquil, Tylenol PM, or prescription medication like Ambien, these things are known to knock you out for the night.

And if that’s the solution that’s been working for you and you want to stick with that, you do you. But if you want to try out some other ways to help you get to sleep, keep reading

Pills or plants?

To get into my story for a moment: for the past couple of years, I’ve been moving away from taking pills (that were not prescribed to me) for anxiety and starting to develop a relationship with different herbs.

It feels better to me, personally, to be working with plants. There’s no judgement for whatever feels best for you—you are in charge of your own healing work—if your prescription is working for you, that’s wonderful.

But maybe you can try some of these herbs to go with what you’re already doing.

Or maybe you don’t have any prescriptions, but have been wanting to explore herbs as a way to support your system.

I want to share some of what I’ve learned along the way, because I think herbs can help out a lot and that you could be into it too.

You do you

*DISCLAIMER* Oh hey, by the way, my name is Joelle and I’m not a doctor. I’ve done a lot of self-study of herbs, but you are the expert on what is right for you.

Like with all of the information here (or anywhere), it’s for you to evaluate for yourself what you want to do and how you want to do it.

If you choose to try any of this out, start slow. Get a sense for what different herbs feel like individually for you and how you respond to them.

It’s an experiment. Find out what works for you and what doesn’t.

Maybe you’ll love taking a certain herb in tincture form, but prefer taking another as a tea.

Maybe you’ll find that you prefer chamomile to cannabis.

Who knows?!

Okay, so now that we’re all very clear that this none of this is FDA-approved medical advice™, let’s talk about some herbs!

Sleep-supporting herbs

There’s lots of herbs that can help you unwind and feel ready to go to bed.

Here are some of the herbs that are called nervines. That means they work directly on your nervous system. They’re known for being chill, helping your body and mind to relax.

Gentle herbs

These herbs are known for being mild, but still effective.

Lemon balm

-increases calmness

-improves mood

-aids digestion


Passionflower

-anti-anxiety

-helps with obsessive thoughts

-reduces inflammation


Chamomile*

-promotes sleepiness

-relaxes muscles

*if you’re allergic to ragweed or plants in the daisy family, you might have an allergic reaction to chamomile


Sedative herbs

These herbs are a little more serious about getting you to sleep.

Kava kava

-promotes calmness

-reduces anxiety

-eases muscle tension


Valerian*

-natural sedative

-pain reliever

-anti-anxiety

*if you need to drive or are on other pain medications don’t take this one, also consult with a professional before taking it if you’re pregnant


If you’re not used to working with herbs, try one out for a week to see how it feels for you.

Also make sure to check about possible interactions with any other medicines you might be taking.

How to prepare them 

Okay, so now that we’ve got some ideas about herbs to work with, but what do you do with them?

Some of the easiest ways to take herbs are in teas, infusions, and decoctions. They’re all pretty easy to make, but some take a little bit longer to prepare.

Tea

Of all the ways you can take herbs, tea is probably the most familiar one.

You can get herbal tea that’s all ready to go in most grocery stores. Then you can just follow the directions for preparing it that are on the box.

there are lots of herbal teas that will support your relaxation and rest. You can buy any of the herbs listed above loose and make tea that way, and there’s also packaged teas available of these at health food stores and online.

But if you want to take your tea game to the next level, try making tea with loose herbs.

Making tea

So the main thing with dried herbs is having a way to keep them in your hot water, but not ending up inside of your tea at the end. There’s some different ways you can do this:

  • tea ball/infuser
  • your own tea bags
  • a strainer

 

tea ball/infuser

it’s just a little thing you can put your tea into, you can also find them in fun shapes like robots.

your own tea bags

You can also get your own tea bags that you can fill up with herbs and reuse.

strainer

Or you can put your herbs in with the hot water, and then use a strainer to pour the tea into your cup.

How to do it

Heat up some water.

Put the herbs in your infuser or tea bag, or directly into the water if you’re using a strainer.

Let it steep (steep=sit there) for about 7 minutes.

if you’re using a strainer, now you can strain the liquid into your cup

 

Okay, now you should have tea!

 

Infusion

An infusion is like tea, but super charged.

All you do is follow the instructions for making tea, but instead of letting the herbs steep for a few minutes, let the tea steep for an hour.

And that’s how you make an infusion!

Decoction

A decoction is when you also boil the tougher parts of the plant, like roots or bark for a while.

So put your tough plant materials in a pot full of water and heat it up to a boil.

Turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, with a covering on the pot.

Then strain, and drink it while it’s still hot.

Other herbal options

Okay, so these are a few of the simplest ways that you can prepare herbs.

You can choose one or some of the herbs from the list above and try making a tea, infusion, or decoction.

I listed a few here to get you started, but you can also do your own research on relaxing herbs and find one that appeals to you and give that a try.

And aside from teas, infusions, and decoctions, there are also other ways to take herbs, like tinctures or smoking.

I want to go more in-depth with those so I’ll write about them soon too.

Happy herbing!


Thanks for reading! Try some of these herbs before bed and see how that goes for you. And if you think this is interesting, please go ahead and share it with a friend who might also be into it.

Feel free to send us a note saying how it’s going for you. Or if you have any questions about your experience with it, feel free to ask, and we’ll get back to you.

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