Natural Sleep Aids: 6 Home Remedies for Insomnia

Updated in November 2023

Natural sleep aids are a great way to promote sleep without the risk of developing the common side effects of sleep medications. Natural sleep aids do not generally cause dependence or worsening insomnia over time.

It is important to note that the effect of these sleep aids is not as immediate as pharmacy medicines, however they boast the advantage of being more natural and well-tolerated by the bodies. They can be effective in regulating sleep cycles, and their effect can become faster over time.

When using home remedies, it is also advisable to take other measures to facilitate sleep, such as avoiding blue light in the room and avoiding stimulating activities in the 30 minutes before bedtime. Check out other tips for falling asleep fast that you can try.

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Top home remedies for sleep

Some natural sleep aids that you can use to combat insomnia include:

1. Melatonin

This is a type of hormone that is produced naturally by the body, which is why it is should not technically be referred to as a home remedy. However, melatonin is the main hormone responsible for inducing sleep, and taking it has notably proven effects against insomnia in several studies.

It is possible to increase melatonin production naturally. To achieve this, you should avoid stressful situations at the end of the day, reduce exposure to blue lights (e.g. from using your cell phone), such as your cell phone screen, opt for yellow lighting indoors, and eat foods that are rich in tryptophan, such as peanuts, eggs or chicken meat. 

People with a very busy lifestyle or who have tried to increase their melatonin levels naturally, but have not had good results can also opt to use a melatonin supplement, which can be purchased at pharmacies and natural health stores. natural. In this case, supplements should be taken as prescribed by a doctor. 

Learn more about how melatonin works and the recommended doses. 

2. Valerian

Valerian root tea has shown potent action against mild to moderate insomnia in several studies, as it has anxiolytic and sedative properties that help you fall asleep more easily. Read more about the benefits of valerian tea for your health.

Unlike pharmacy sedatives, valerian does not cause any type of dependence and, therefore, can be used safely. However, its effect may take up to 4 weeks to be noted, as the plant's substances influences the sleep cycle subtle and slowly.


  • 1 tablespoon of dry valerian root
  • 300 ml of water


Bring the water and valerian root to a boil over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes then remove from the heat and strain. Let it cool and drink one cup about 30 minutes before bed.

In addition to tea, valerian can also be consumed in the form of a supplement. It can be taken in a dose of 300 to 900 mg of 0.8% valerian extract. This dosage may need to be adapted by a doctor or medicinal plant specialist, according to the severity of insomnia and other health considerations. 

Valerian should be used with caution in pregnant women and patients with liver disease.

3. Hops

Hops are the same plant that is used in the production of beer, however, when consumed, in tea form, it has shown a positive effect against insomnia. The therapeutic action of hops is derived from its ability to prevent the breakdown of GABA, a substance that helps relax the nervous system. It also appears to improve the action of melatonin receptors, enhancing the effect of the main hormone responsible for sleep.


  • 1 teaspoon of hops
  • 1 cup of boiling water


Add the hops to the boiling water and let it soak for approximately 10 minutes. Then strain and consume 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime.

This tea should not be used during pregnancy without the approval of a doctor or medicinal plant specialist. 

4. Lemon balm

Lemon balm leaves have been used for several centuries to treat cases of insomnia and, in recent studies, their action has been proven to prevent the breakdown of GABA. Adequate levels of this neurotransmitter help to soothe the nervous system and facilitate sleep.

Read more about the health benefits of lemon balm and the side effects associated with use.


  • 2 teaspoons of lemon balm leaves
  • 500 ml of boiling water


Place the lemon balm in a teapot and cover with boiling water. Cover, allow to cool cool, strain and then drink, preferably 30 to 60 minutes before going to sleep.

Lemon balm can also be consumed in the form of capsules, with dosages between 300 and 500 mg per day, or drops. In these cases, the dose should be prescribed by a doctor or medicinal plant specialist. Lemon balm should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding without a doctor's advice.

5. Passionflower

Passionflower, the flower from passion fruit, has been used for many years to help treat insomnia. Although there are still few studies on the use of this plant for sleep, many of its substances have great potential to help with treatment.

For example, chrysin, which is the main flavonoid in passionflower, has demonstrated a strong action on benzodiazepine receptors, which are the same receptors used by pharmaceutical anxiolytic medications that help you to relax and fall sleep. Furthermore, in research carried out on rats, passionflower extract helped significantly to prolong sleep time.


  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of passionflower
  • 1 cup of boiling water


Add the water to the passionflower and let it infuse for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, allow to cool, strain and drink about 30 minutes before bed. Passionflower can often be added to valerian tea, for example, to obtain a stronger effect.

This tea should be not be consumed by pregnant women.

6. Juniper

Juniper essential oil has sedative properties that can promote sleep, improve sleep quality and combat insomnia. The essential oil can be inhaled directly from the bottle, and the plant can be used to prepare tea that should be taken before bed. 


  • 2 to 3 juniper berries
  • 1 cup of boiling water


Add the juniper berries to the boiled water, cover and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Then strain and drink 1 to 3 cups a day for a maximum of 6 weeks.

Both essential oil and juniper tea should not be used or consumed by pregnant women.

See the other herbs for anxiety and insomnia that you can take to prepare teas for sleep.

When to go to the doctor

Although natural sleep aids can help treat several cases of insomnia, they may not always be sufficient, particularly when insomnia is related to another underlying health condition Therefore, you should see a doctor if your insomnia does not improve within 4 weeks of using a natural sleep aid, or if your insomnia interferes with quality of life. These may indicate that the insomnia is related to another cause and medical interventions may be necessary. 

Read about the sleeping pills your doctor may prescribe to treat insomnia.