Best Herbal Remedies for Sleep: Sleep Soundly with Ayurveda

Melatonin - Time to bed

Generated by the pineal gland in response to fading light, melatonin controls your internal clock. As daylight dims and darkness prevails, melatonin production takes the lead, whispering to your body that it's time to unwind. However, the lack of this makes us get it in supplements. 

Can melatonin help me sleep?

Melatonin supplements are commonly used for the following situations:

• Insomnia: 

People with difficulty falling or staying asleep find melatonin supplements beneficial. It helps regulate sleep patterns and improve the quality and duration of sleep.

 Jet Lag: 

Being the deep sleep herbal supplement, melatonin is often used to alleviate the symptoms of jet lag, helping the body adjust to changes in time zones more quickly.

 Shift Work Sleep Disorder: 

Individuals who work non-traditional hours and struggle with sleep-related issues due to irregular work schedules may use melatonin to help adjust their circadian rhythm.

• Sleep Disorders in the Elderly: 

Melatonin production tends to decrease with age, and older adults may use melatonin supplements to address sleep disturbances associated with aging.

How Much Melatonin Does It Take to Help Increase Sleep?

The effective dosage of melatonin varies from person to person. Lower doses (around 0.5 to 1 milligram) are sufficient for some individuals, while others may require higher doses (3 to 5 milligrams). It's important to start with the lowest effective dose and adjust as needed. Timing is also crucial – taking melatonin about 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime is a common recommendation. However, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage based on individual factors such as age, health status, and specific sleep issue.

Is Taking Melatonin Safe?

• Low Risk of Dependency

Melatonin is not habit-forming, and there is a low risk of dependency or withdrawal symptoms associated with its use.

 Easy consumption 

It is well-tolerated by most individuals. However, as with any supplement or medication, individual responses vary.

 Popularity and Acceptance

Melatonin supplements are widely available over the counter and are commonly used by individuals seeking herbal remedies for sleep.


Derived from the valerian plant's earthy root, this gentle elixir is renowned for its potential to usher calmness and is among the natural remedies to help sleep. Valerian's magic is grounded in unique compounds, like valerenic acid, thought to guide the central nervous system into a serene state gently.

Does Valerian Help in Achieving Deep Sleep?

Yes, Valerian has been traditionally used as a natural remedy to promote relaxation and deep sleep herbal supplement. While its specific effects vary from person to person, many individuals find that Valerian helps create a conducive environment for achieving deep, restful sleep. Its calming properties are believed to contribute to a more tranquil and rejuvenating sleep experience.

Is Taking Valerian Safe?

Taking Valerian is generally considered safe when used appropriately. Valerian is an herbal supplement derived from the root of the valerian plant. It has been used for centuries for its calming effects. Valerian is not associated with the same risks of dependency or side effects as some prescription sleep medications, making it a safer option for those seeking a natural sleep aid. However, as with any supplement, it's advisable to use Valerian under the guidance of a healthcare professional, especially if you have underlying health conditions, are taking other medications, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Sleep Soundly with Ayurveda

Work has been keeping you anxious, tensed, and away from a deep, restful sleep, and it has started showing up on your face and eyes as your days are spent in a daze. Not giving your body the right amount of sleep affects your productivity, prana levels (life force), and overall health. Sleeplessness over a prolonged period equates to the dreaded Insomnia.

Instead of turning to alcohol or popping pills, try Ayurveda and herbal remedies for sleep without bargaining with physical and mental health. Ayurveda, an ancient science of healing and longevity, has simple yet very effective herbal remedies to help you get quality sleep, even if the number of hours remains less.

1) Boil milk with 10 grams of cumin seeds and licorice and have it at night after dinner.

Cumin (Jeeraka in Sanskrit) has a good amount of melatonin which is one of the herbal remedies for sleep. It is also anti-congestive and is rich in essential oils which helps in treating cold and flu. The presence of riboflavin, vitamin B6 and niacin in cumin regularizes brain function too.

To add some sweetness to the preparation, we add licorice (Yashtimadhu) which is a healthy digestive agent as well as a great taste provider. Licorice detoxifies and cleanses the body, improves strength and immunity, and is useful in treating abdominal tumors, bloatedness, diarrhea, worm infection and skin diseases. In the ancient days, licorice was used in many herbal formulations to dilute the unpleasant taste of the other herbs present in the medicine.

Milk is known to contain tryptophan which produces serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a calmness-boosting hormone which provides us with restful sleep. In Ayurveda, milk is called the elixir par excellence. Milk also regulates Kapha dosha in the body which is needed for proper sleep.

2) Mix 10 grams of Triphala Churna with honey and have it after dinner

Before hitting the hay, you can have a spoon of honey mixed with 10 grams of Triphala powder. Triphala (three fruit combo) is a popular Ayurvedic formulation that consists of extracts of three power fruits – Indian gooseberry (Amalaki), Beleric ( Bibhitaki) and Black Myrobalan whole (Haritaki), which are rich in antioxidants. The formulation is good for the respiratory, cardiovascular, urinary, reproductive and nervous systems.

Indian gooseberries are good coolants that reduce Pitta dosha and work on the liver and immune system, while Beleric manages kapha and improves respiration. Haritaki is an effective detox agent and balances all three doshas.

Honey, like milk and containing tryptophan, is scientifically proven to improve and give you longer restorative sleep cycles.

Having a spoonful of honey about an hour before bedtime ensures sufficient glycogen production, so the body does not release stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) in the morning right after you wake up.

This preparation stabilizes sugar levels in the body

This preparation releases melatonin needed by the body for recovery and rejuvenation of body tissues during the resting period.

3) Drink a glass of sugarcane juice after dinner at bedtime

If you have been having a mentally taxing day where you have had to use your intellectual faculties a bit much, likely, your head is still abuzz and you are sleepless from the brain activity. On such days, you need to eat or apply natural ingredients or foods that increase the Kapha in the body for you to be able to nod off. In such cases, sugar cane juice is a great option and one of the natural remedies to help sleep. Sugar cane is nourishing and a natural coolant. It increases Kapha dosha slightly and calms down the Pitta in the body.

4) Mix 25 grams of lac powder into 100 ml of boiled coconut oil and give yourself a full body massage

Coconut oil contains saturated fats that prevent sugar or insulin levels from increasing in the body while you are sleeping. It also regulates the secretion of stress hormones in the body, so you do not wake up anxious and restless. 

Coconut oil is also a good carrier oil, as it helps absorption and assimilation of other essential oils into the skin. A gentle massage with virgin and cold-pressed coconut oil reduces fatigue and stress. Lac has multiple benefits for the body. As well as being an excellent rejuvenating agent, it also pacifies Kapha and Pitta in the body. It is helpful in treating joint pain, renal and spleen problems and wounds. Lac is good for the liver. Lac is good for increasing bone density and making bones stronger.

5) Head and foot massage for 15 to 20 minutes before food

Ayurveda experts recommend a 15 to 20-minute head and foot message before dinner. The message will relax your body and purge it off the fatigue and stress of the day, while preparing you to hit the sack and sleep for eight straight hours of undisturbed sleep.

6) Yogic sleep

After a long day of activity both mental and physical, now it is time to rest and let the body cells relax. It is very important to end the day with a guided meditation of Yoga Nidra (Yogic sleep). Even if you have worked out or practiced Yoga, it is recommended that you end the session with Yoga Nidra. Without proper rest after the workout, you miss out on the most important experience of exercise which is the deep spiritual rest that your body gets, after having exhausted the Rajas Guna in the body through focused activity

With inputs from Dr. Nibin, Sri Sri Ayurveda consultant

Disclaimer: The conditions and illnesses could also be due to a mix of Dosha imbalances. Please do not try to self-diagnose. This article is purely for informational purpose. We strongly recommend you consult a Sri Sri Ayurveda physician for a thorough examination of your constitution and its balances/imbalances.