A healthy uninterrupted sleep is as important as breathing and eating. However, if sleep has been eluding you lately, you are not alone. Sleeplessness, or insomnia, is a common complaint among many Americans and is one of the fall-outs of a stressful life.

Natural herbs can treat insomnia and have fewer or no side effects. So before you rush to the drugstore in search of a good night’s sleep, try these six natural sleep remedies.

1. California Poppy

Protopine, the active ingredient of California Poppy, acts as a natural sedative. It makes you fall asleep, improves the quality of your sleep and also fights anxiety.

How To Use It: This herb is most commonly used as a tincture which can be taken close to bedtime. You can also use the dried herb (leaves or flowers) to make tea. Boil two cups of water with 1tsp of the dried herb for 10 minutes. You can buy California poppy here.

2. Valerian Root

This is an excellent herbal sedative which improves the latency of sleep. When taken as a supplement, valerian reduces the time taken to slip into a deep sleep. It is effective in treating nervousness and restlessness. (Related Article: De-stress And Relax With Valerian Root)

How To Use It: Valerian root tea can be bought here. Drink this tea 30 minutes before bedtime. You can also take 1tsp valerian root tincture with a glass of water or juice, or capsules before sleeping. (Related Recipe: Valerian Root, Lemon Balm, Ginger & Linden Tea For Stressed-Out Skin)

3. Passionflower

If you wake up frequently during the night, this is the herb for you. Passionflower contains tranquilizing compounds, which ease anxiety and make you sleep better.

How To Use It: The leaves and flowers of this vine have a mild flavor and can be used to make a soothing herbal tea. Steep 1tsp of the dried herb in one cup of boiling water to make tea. Drink this an hour before bed daily. Alternatively, you can use 30-40 drops of passionflower tincture before you sleep daily.

4. Hops

This natural sedative is popularly used to make beer. Although drinking beer will not help you sleep better, drinking a cup of tea brewed with hops will.

How To Use It: Dried flowers can be bought online and used to make tea. Steep 2tsp of dried hops flowers in two cups of hot water for 15 minutes. Drink once daily, preferably at night before bedtime. Alternatively, you can grab a herbal extract of it and use as directed on the bottle.

5. Chamomile

This is the most recognized sleeping aid and induces sleep by calming the mind. The delicious scent of this herb improves mental calmness and works to reduce anxiety.

How To Use It: Boil two cups of water and add 1tbsp of dried chamomile flowers. Steep for 15 minutes so that you don’t lose any of its essential oils. You can also use tea bags which are available here. Alternatively, sprinkle a few drops of chamomile essential oil on your pillow to sleep better. (Related Recipe: Children’s Sleep Time Chamomile Tea)

6. Kava

The national drink of Fiji, kava soothes nerves and promotes deep sleep by decreasing anxiety. It calms the mind, relaxes the body and enhances dreaming and cognitive performance. Brew a tea and drink before bed to enjoy a relaxing deep sleep.

How To Use It: Mix 1tbsp of dried kava powder with two cups of boiling water and steep for 5 minutes. Strain and drink once cool. You can buy dried kava powder or tea bags here.

A daily dose of these herbs when complemented with reduced anxiety and stress levels, healthy eating habits and adequate exercise can work wonders for a good night’s sleep.