Sleep is such a crucial part of our health and well-being. Not only do we generally feel better when we've had sufficient sleep, it lays the foundation of health for various systems in the body. For these reasons, my family and I enjoy a lovely brew most evenings as part of our sleep-ritual. It's safe for children, during pregnancy and while breast feeding! Learn my recipe and more about the benefits of sleep below.
Why Sleep Matters
Sufficient sleep has shown to have a direct effect in the following areas:
- Cardiovascular Health (heals and repairs heart and blood vessels)
- Reduced Diabetes Risk (balances the effects of insulin)
- Brain Function (improves the ability to learn, attention span, decisiveness and creativity)
- Emotional Well-Being (decreases the effects of stress, reduces mood swings, impulsive anger and improves coping skills)
- Stable Weight (increases the "full" hormone leptin and decreases the "hunger" hormone ghrelin - so you feel satiated quicker when you are rested)
- Improved Immune Function
- Growth and Development (facilitates normal physical growth in children and teens, and muscle/tissue repair in adults)
According to Chinese Medicine, we generate "blood" during our sleep - one of the deepest nourishment sources within our physiology. It can be both difficult to regenerate and easy to deplete. Getting a good nights sleep is a simple (and profoundly effective) way to maintain adequate stores of this essential component to health.
The "blood" is responsible for many aspects of our emotional and physical health including hormone balance. Without sufficient blood a woman may notice irregularities in her menstrual cycle, acne, hair loss, headaches or other hormonal complaints.
So, prioritizing sleep is a key to unlocking vibrant health in our daily lives. Committing to sleep hygiene is equally (if not more) important to the other health choices you make throughout your day - such as diet and exercise.
For that reason, my family and I enjoy this sleepy tea most nights before bed. It helps to wind-down the nervous system and promote feelings of relaxation. Plus, it is gentle and safe for long-term use. Enjoy!
Erin's Sleepy Tea
- Skullcap Leaf - 2 parts
- Catnip Leaf - 2 parts
- Chamomile Flower - 1 part
- Lavender Flower - 1/2 part
Brew 2 Tbsp of herb mixture in 2-3 cups of boiling water. Cover (to retain volatile oils) and steep for 20-30 minutes. Enjoy a cup (or two!) an hour before bedtime.
*For enhanced sedative benefits, add a dropper-full of Passionflower tincture to your cup of tea