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The Best Chinese Herbs for Improved Sleep

Whether you are struggling with a sleep disorder or you simply don’t get enough sleep, you’re not alone. In fact, researchers estimate that at least 100 million Americans are sleep deprived, with 70 million of us suffering from a diagnosed sleep condition.

With the help of Chinese herbs for sleep, you can break the cycle of poor sleep and get the rest you and your body need. Here, we’ll share how Chinese medicine works to naturally improve your sleep and highlight a few of our favorite Chinese herbal formulas for better sleep. 

The Importance of Restful Sleep

Anyone who has struggled to sleep knows how vital this function is. Of course, proper sleep is what allows you to have the energy you need to take on the day. But it’s also essential for your body to regenerate, heal, and prevent disease. 

 

Without enough sleep, you’re running on empty. Physically, you feel tired and worn out. Mentally, you struggle to focus, think clearly, and solve problems. On an emotional level, we are more likely to feel stressed, anxious, or moody when we don’t get the sleep we need. 

 

Unfortunately, trouble sleeping and sleep disorders are common in our modern age. Sleep disorders are conditions that keep you from sleeping, or prevent you from getting restful, uninterrupted sleep during the night. Along with the immediate problems sleep conditions cause (daytime sleepiness, mood imbalances, and lack of focus), these sleep issues also pose some serious long-term issues. Studies show that sleep disorders are linked to chronic health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. 

 

Thankfully, Chinese herbalism offers an effective solution to improve your sleep naturally – without the negative side effects of sleeping medications. 

Chinese Medicine for Improved Sleep 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been used to help treat insomnia and other sleep disorders for centuries. While Chinese herbal medicine is still an underutilized natural sleep remedy in the West, studies show that herbal medicine is an effective way to combat sleep problems. 

 

Rather than force the body to fall asleep (like sleep medications do), Traditional Chinese Medicine eases the body into a natural state of rest. Herbal formulas help reduce the underlying causes of insomnia, such as inflammation, stress, anxiety, and organ system imbalances. In TCM, there are many possible imbalances that can lead to sleep problems, but here are some of the most common reasons you may be struggling to sleep:

  • Liver fire: Trouble sleeping with irritability or anger, red eyes, restlessness.

  • Heart fire: Difficulty falling asleep with restlessness, palpitations, and sometimes nightmares or vivid dreams. 

  • Spleen qi deficiency: Feeling tired, yet unable to sleep, with grogginess, lethargy, and poor digestion.

 

Chinese Herbs for Better Sleep

In Chinese medicine, there is no single best herb for sleep. Rather than use an herb by itself, Chinese medicine combines different herbs to create a harmonious “recipe” or formula that addresses both the symptoms of poor sleep and the underlying causes. Discover our range of the best Chinese herbs for sleep: 

Chinese Herbs for Insomnia

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep, or waking frequently during the night and not being able to get back to sleep. It is a frustrating condition that leaves you feeling exhausted. A bedtime routine that promotes sleep, as well as these sleep-inducing herbal formulas, can help you get the rest you need naturally, without having to rely on habit-forming sleep medications. 

 

  • Tian Wang Bu Xin Wan
    Tian Wang Bu Xin Wan is one of the go-to formulas for insomnia. It helps by both relaxing the mind and addressing underlying imbalances that can cause restlessness, anxiety, and other issues that disrupt your sleep.

  • Suan Zao Ren Tang Pian
    This formula is another commonly used formula for insomnia. Choose this one if you experience hot flashes, night sweats, thirst, dryness, or other heat/inflammatory signs. It can also be used if overwork is at the root of your insomnia. In this case, you may feel quite irritable and struggle to sleep even though you’re exhausted. 

 

Chinese Herbs for Sleep Aid

If you don’t have a chronic sleep condition, but sometimes need help dozing off, these formulas may help:

 

  • An Mian Pian
    An Mian Pian is a great formula to have on hand for those nights when you just can’t turn your mind off. Take this formula an hour before bedtime to encourage a calmer mind and more restful sleep.

  • Sleep Better Tea and Triple Stress Relief Tea
    Drinking a cup of sleep-enhancing tea before bed can help relax your mind and prepare your body for rest. Bravo Tea’s Sleep Better Tea is great for those who want to enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep. Triple Stress Relief Tea is a good choice if you experience stress, frustration, or worrying thoughts before bed that keep you up at night. 

 

Chinese Herbs for Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing stops and starts while you are asleep. This reduces the amount of oxygen your body gets through the night, which can lead to fatigue, headaches, and other health issues. Talk to your doctor about getting sleep apnea support (like a CPAP machine), and try these herbal remedies to improve your sleep quality:

 

  • Er Chen Wan
    Sleep apnea and snoring is often related to obesity. In Chinese medicine, this is considered “phlegm-dampness.” If you struggle with sleep apnea and also have trouble managing your weight, or have other issues with accumulations, nodules, or congestion, a phlegm-clearing formula like Er Chen Wan could help.

Chinese Herbs to Calm the Mind for Sleep 

You need a restful mind for restful sleep. But if you find yourself lying awake night after night, it could be your racing thoughts keeping you from sleep. By calming your mind and reducing stress with Chinese herbs, you can finally get the peace you need to sleep. 

 

  • An Shen Bu Xin Wan
    This formula helps calm the mind and relax the “shen” or spirit. In TCM, sleep can only occur when the shen can quietly retreat into the Heart. If you have a deficiency of Heart blood or Heart yin, the shen cannot retreat which causes anxiety and insomnia. This formula helps build the Heart’s yin and blood to reduce feelings of restlessness and promote restful sleep.

 

Improve Your Sleep, Improve Your Health 

Quality sleep is essential for good health. But, getting the recommended eight hours of shut-eye per night isn’t always easy. That’s where Best Chinese Medicines comes in. Our collection of the best Chinese herbs for improved sleep helps you stop tossing and turning so you can wake up feeling healthy and refreshed.

Click here to shop our herbal remedies for insomnia and other sleep problems!

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About the Author

Kaitlan Downes, MSAOM, L.AC

Kaitlan Downes, MSAOM, L.AC

Kate Downes is a Chinese medicine practitioner with a passion for herbal medicine. In fact, it was her love for plant and earth medicine that first drew her to study Chinese medicine.

Kate has a MSAOM (Master of Science, Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine) certification and practiced acupuncture in Indianapolis, IN for five years before packing her bags to roam the world. In order to stay in touch with the wellness community and continue to help others thrive with herbal medicine, she transformed her work from face-to-face patient care to spreading wellness through words. Her life as a remote herbalist and writer has allowed her to work with a variety of wellness brands, health pioneers, and her wonderful clients. She has a special interest in working with women’s health.

Kate thoroughly enjoys writing educational and useful pieces for Best Chinese Medicine. Her goal is to help the public gain a better understanding of the wonders of Chinese herbal medicine so they can be empowered in their own quest for natural, vibrant health.

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