On the gentle way to sleep

Sleep Disorders: Home remedies help

  • Switch to rest one hour before going to bed. The television set is now ready for broadcast.
  • Relax with a book or quiet music and drink a cup of tea.
  • A valerian bath helps to switch off: 100 grams of crushed valerian root to two liters of hot water, strain after ten minutes and pour the infusion into the bath.
  • Also concentration and relaxation exercises such as autogenic training can be helpful.
  • You should not use the bed to work, eat or watch TV. This helps so that your body associates this place only with sleep and relaxation.
  • By the way: The optimum bedroom temperature is 15 to 18 degrees. Make your bedroom nice and cozy so that you feel comfortable there and clear away the things that burden you (the bills left over, the full ironing basket).


Avoid caffeinated drinks in the afternoons, and do not eat rich, rich meals in the evenings. You should also refrain from wine, schnapps or beer, because alcohol makes you tired, but disturbs the natural sleep rhythm.


Herbal teas such as valerian or hops gently soothe. After two to four weeks of regular intake you will notice that you can relax better.

  • Valerian: Pour two teaspoons of shredded valerian root with a cup of boiling water, let it cover for five minutes, and strain. Drink several cups in sips. Valerian does not taste good, so it is recommended to mix lemon balm and passionflower.
  • Hops: Pour a teaspoon of hops blossoms with a cup of boiling water, cover for ten minutes and strain. Have a cup for lunch and dinner.
  • Lavender: Pour two teaspoons of lavender flowers with a cup of boiling water, cover for ten minutes and strain. Drink a cup several times a day.
  • Balm: Cover two teaspoons of lemon balm leaves with a cup of boiling water, let it rest for five minutes and strain. Drink a cup several times a day.

Herbal medications

Hop cones, passion flower, lemon balm leaves, lavender flowers, valerian root do not make you feel directly tired, but they calm your nerves. One is then more relaxed overall and can sleep better. However, the full effect does not occur immediately, but on average only after two to four weeks. The plants are available as over-the-counter drugs individually or in combinations. Important for valerian preparations: they should contain 400 to 600 milligrams of European valerian per coated tablet. If you do not want to take a finished drug, you can have a tea mixed in the pharmacy and drink about three cups of it throughout the day.

Professional support

Professional support (for example, family doctor, psychologist) is necessary if, despite the plant medicines, you still have sleep problems after a maximum of four weeks. Because sometimes they are an indication of a previously unrecognized disease (for example, depression, heart and lung disease, disorders of thyroid function, high blood pressure). Certain medications (such as appetite suppressants) and alcohol abuse can trigger sleep disorders.

If you are often depressed or sad: St. John's wort

St. John's wort has a direct effect on the chemistry set of emotions, namely the messenger substances in the brain and the associated receiving antennas. In people who are prone to depressive moods, the interaction is sometimes disturbed. It is likely that under the influence of St. John's Wort some of the body's own messengers, which lighten the mood, stay active longer. Just like the synthetic drugs for depression, the effect becomes noticeable after two to three weeks of regular use. Studies have shown that high-dose St. John's wort supplements (at least 300 milligrams of St. John's wort extract per dragee) are just as good at treating mild and moderate depression as common synthetic remedies. The only known side effect of St. John's wort: the skin is more sensitive to UV rays; especially fair-skinned people get a sunburn faster.

When the emotional deep lasts longer

Professional support is needed when the mental depression lasts more than two weeks and you find it difficult to cope with your everyday life. Possible causes of depression are stressful life events and career crises, constant physical and / or mental overload (for example, through the care of a sick relative) or unprocessed mental injuries from the past.Depression can also be a concomitant of physical illnesses (including cancers, heart disease, metabolic disorders) or medications (such as cortisone, antihypertensive drugs, hormone preparations).

Running away from fear ...

What else you can do for yourself: sleep disorders, fears or depressive moods: these problems can be overcome more easily if you are physically fit as possible. Try cycling, swimming, jogging or walking fast. Such endurance sport has several positive effects. The metabolism gets going, the mood increases, and in the evening you are still comfortably tired. After some time you have a better overall condition - and that helps in difficult situations, such as anxiety attacks.

Those who reduce morbid stress will automatically sleep better and will not suffer as often from anxiety. Incidentally, the body reacts to stress and anxiety in a very similar way - for example with muscle tensing, faster heartbeat and / or profuse sweating. With stimulating drinks (coffee, tea, coke) and cigarettes, it is best to use sparingly when the nerves are tense. One reacts then relaxed in stress situations and can also sleep better.

Alcohol is not helpful in a mental depression: Although it first lifts the mood - but the next day, when the effect is over, you feel even worse.

Chemical sleeping pills: Only as emergency aid

OTC chemical sleeping tablets contain diphenhydramine or doxylamine. Both drugs are among the antihistamines that help especially against allergy symptoms, but at the same time make you tired. The advantage over the herbal remedies: they work immediately. The disadvantages of the preparations: They can have side effects (for example, tiredness and headache the next morning, dry mouth), and you get used to it, so after some time, the dose must increase. Therefore, such preparations should be taken only as a single emergency or for a week at the most. Prescription supplements for severe anxiety have a significant search risk. This is especially true for drugs with an active ingredient from the group of benzodiazepines.

Treating sleep disorders or feelings of anxiety exclusively with medication is definitely a concern, because it only helps against the symptoms and not against the causes. Psychological procedures such as behavioral training and psychotherapy can help to deal with the causes of the problem and to change it.

Sleep Disorders: Who will help if home remedies are no longer helpful?

General practitioners can clarify the physical causes of sleep disorders, depression and anxiety and, if necessary, referred to specialists. Information on psychological counseling, behavioral training and psychotherapy as well as therapists - addresses can be found at the free psychotherapy information service set up by the Professional Association of German Psychologists.

The German Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine (DGSM) has on its pages a list of all recognized medical sleep centers and sleep laboratories. The approximately 300 entries are sorted by postal code.

Help with Narcolepsy: German Narcolepsy Society e.V.

Help with Restless Leg Syndrome: German Restless Legs e.V.

Gentle Sleep Training using the Pick-Up / Put-Down Method (June 2021).

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