As a clinical herbalist, I find insomnia to be incredibly responsive to herbs. But it's important to remember that they often stop working if you never address the underlying cause—such as stress or poor sleep hygiene—especially in severe or longstanding insomnia problems.
Be diligent, and be sure to incorporate nonherbal lifestyle changes at the same time. Not every sleep herb works for everyone. So if you notice no improvement after one to two weeks on an herbal formula, try different herbs or discuss with a practitioner or herbalist. Here are a few main factors to keep in mind:
Diet: In general, eat a quality diet that promotes balanced blood sugar, limits stimulants, and avoids late-night meals and snacking. Consider therapeutic foods like tart cherry juice or warm milk with honey, or a pinch of nutmeg in your recipes.
Lifestyle: Find a good sleep ritual and minimize stimulation before bedtime. Address any stress factors. And use the sleep tips below.
Herbs: Nervine and sedative herbs quell overstimulation while promoting sleep. Top herbs include valerian, hops, passionflower, skullcap, California poppy, and chamomile.