Like many college students, my sleep schedule is very inconsistent with 8 am classes and late night studying.  Sleep is a huge factor when it comes to stress and mental health, and lack of sleep can also cause various health problems from acne to migraines. So what should we do if we can’t fall asleep at night thinking about that approaching presentation? It turns out there are many natural alternatives to sleep aid pills with no side effects that various cultures have used for hundreds of years. These herbs for sleep will not only guarantee your beauty sleep but also impress your friends. 

1. Kava

cream, cappuccino, chocolate, tea, milk, espresso, coffee
Holly Park

If you ever browse through home and design magazines, you will probably see plants in the piper family. In addition to being a great house decoration, kava, or piper methysticum, is a beneficial plant thanks to the compound kavalactone, which helps you relax and reduces anxiety. It's so great that even James Cook tried it on his voyage. If you like going to fancy bars, why not try a Kava bar? We have one right here in Berkeley

2. Hops

coffee, matcha, green tea, tea
Holly Park

Why does this plant sound familiar? It’s because it is used in beer brewing and is actually what gives beer its bitter taste. The same plant actually also helps with anxiety and sleep. Pillows are even made from dried hops for a good night’s sleep.

3. Valerian Root

vegetable, herb
Holly Park

This plant is often used in combination with hops and works by increasing the amount of anxiety-reducing chemicals in your brain. In the 16th century, this plant was also used as perfume. Give it a try and maybe you’ll fall in love with the scent as well!

4. Lemon Balm

milk, espresso, tea, coffee
Holly Park

If you like the scents of lemon and mint, then you will love lemon balm tea. In addition to helping with sleep, this delicious tea can also improve cognitive functions. You'll be able to get your beauty sleep while improving your memory to ace those exams.

All four of these herbs for sleep can be drank as infusions, but if tea is not your thing, check out how you can achieve a good night's sleep through your diet. There are plenty of natural and healthy ways to combat anxiety and insomnia!