photo of passionflowers
Passionflower, taken as an herbal tea or tincture are traditionally used to aid restful sleep

Natural remedies for insomnia

2 March, 2015

Sleeplessness may be a short-term or long-term problem.

The amount of sleep needed will vary from person to person, and for the same person at different stages of their life. Short-term sleeplessness may be brought about by  anxiety, fear, stress or excitement.

Most people will suffer the odd sleepless night at some time; the problem is that sleeplessness can become rather a habit, and anxiety will develop around not being able to sleep which may become self-perpetuating. Sleep disorders such as early morning waking, if accompanied by dark moods, can indicate an underlying depression which may need professional help.

The following remedies will be useful to break the habit, but for chronic insomniacs constitutional treatment by a qualified practitioner will be necessary.

A useful exercise if the mind is full of thoughts and unresolved problems is to mentally work backwards through the day going over everything you have done without becoming attached to anyone issue. Stimulating foods and drinks, and eating late at night can all be aggravating factors, and should be avoided.


A basic herbal tea mixture, such as the one below, can be enhanced with other herbs depending on the cause of the insomnia. For instance:

Lemon balm, chamomile, lime flowers, orange blossom, passionflower A pleasant tasting relaxing bedtime drink. Combine equal amounts of the dried herbs beforehand. Make an infusion by adding one heaped teaspoon of the dried herb mixture for every cup of boiling water, and drink a cupful in the evening.

Skullcap, Vervain Add these to the above mixture if nervous tension is present. Avoid vervain during pregnancy and breastfeeding unless prescribed by a qualified

Valerian Add if the mixture needs to be stronger, e.g. if pain is present. Can also be used as a tincture or decoction (a liquid made by simmering the plant material for 20-30 mins).


Choose the remedy that best matches the symptoms.

Aconite 30C Insomnia after a frightening experience. Anxiety with restlessness and fear. Anxious dreams. Try one dose and only repeat if necessary.

Arnica 30C Sleeplessness due to being overtired, after overworking, or due to shock. Body aches and the bed feels too hard. One dose as required.

Coffea 6C or 30C Most common remedy. Person wakes up with thoughts racing around the mind and then can’t get back to sleep. Sleeplessness due to anxiety and agitation. One dose as required.

Kali Phos 6X Nervous tension, habitual sleeplessness. Take one a night for ten nights; this remedy should begin to work after the second or third night.

Kali Phos, Mag Phos, Nat Phos 6X This combination which can be made up by a homoeopathic pharmacy, aids sleep after stress. Insomnia from being under strain and overwrought. Two or three doses at 30 minute intervals.


Chamomile, Lavender, Neroli Add 4-5 drops of the oil of your choice to 10ml of vegetable oil and add to a warm bath in the evening. To help it disperse in the water try mixing it in an little milk.

Lavender Put a couple of drops on a piece of cotton wool or a tissue and place on the pillow (between the pillow and the pillowcase) , alternatively use an aromatherapy diffuser.

Bach flower remedies

The following may be useful when dealing with the emotional contributory factors.

Olive Exhaustion, tired but sleepless. Needing sleep.

Vervain Over-straining, over-enthusiasm.

White Chestnut Persistent and racing thoughts, worries and troubles.