Avena sativa (oats) has a mild sedative effect and has long been used as a herbal treatment of insomnia.
California Poppy (not the same as opium poppy!) is particularly helpful if anxiousness and acute pain is involved. Because of its mild sedative and analgesic properties, it can be given safely to children.
Catnip is often used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and nervousness because it has a sedating effect.
Celery has a calming effect on the central nervous system. Celery seed has been used as a herbal remedy to treat nervousness, insomnia, and anxiety.
Hops, a major flavoring component of beer, has a long history of use for sleeplessness, nervousness, and restlessness when used in combination with valerian. Hops pillows are sometimes used for mild insomnia.
Kava kava has been shown in recent clinical studies to be a safe non-addictive anti-anxiety medicine. It is as effective as prescription anxiety agents containing benzodiazepines, such as valium. It imparts a calm feeling, relaxes the body, and sometimes enhances dreaming.
Lavender produces calming, soothing, and sedative effects. Scientific research suggests that aromatherapy with lavender slows the activity of the nervous system, improves sleep quality, promotes relaxation, and lifts mood in people suffering from sleep disorders. Put small pouch inside pillowcase or add a few drops of lavender oil to a bedtime bath. (Not recommended for pregnant or nursing moms.)
Lemon Balm combined with other calming herbs (such as valerian) helps reduce anxiety and promote sleep.
Linden is well known as a relaxing remedy for use in nervous tension. The flowers are brewed to make a tea as a treatment for insomnia.
Melatonin, while not an herb, has been reported to help people fall asleep faster, but evidence remains unclear. Some studies have found that it has no effect on total sleep time or daytime feeling of sleepiness or fatigue.
Passion flower (often combined with Valerian) is used for sleep problems in both children and adults. It is an excellent sedative with no side effects even when used in large doses. It has narcotic and tranquilizing properties, including mild sedative and anti-anxiety effects. Especially useful if insomnia caused by mental worry, overwork, or nervous exhaustion.
Valerian is a herb that has been long used as a remedy for insomnia. Users report an improvement in sleep quality and they feel more rested after waking, as well as experiencing general well-being. Valerian produces a drug-like hypnotic effect within the central nervous system. Similar to benzodiazepine drugs (OTC), a tolerance effect may occur with valerian due to its Valium-like properties. Users often need to take greater and greater amounts of it as time goes by in order to continue to obtain the desired hypnotic (sleep-inducing) effect. Numerous clinical research studies have shown that 270-600 milligrams of valerian taken daily for 14-30 days decreases the time it takes to fall asleep. It has also been reported to reduce nighttime waking.
Wild Lettuce is beneficial in the treatment of insomnia as it contains a sleep-inducing substance called lectucarium, which was frequently used by 19th century doctors.
Valerian and Kava kava have the strongest clinical research to support their use in insomnia and other sleep disorders.