Are you feeling tired all of the time? Do you suffer from insomnia? Sleep deprivation can be a common occurrence in our busy lives today. It is well documented that sleep loss disrupts our attention span and causes emotional stress. Symptoms include mood swings, memory loss, lack of motivation, increased appetite and irritability.
Ongoing lack of sleep can have negative effects of your immune system which means it could take you longer to recover from common illnesses.
Our first recommendation is always to take a long walk in a natural environment. Join one of our day tours in nature or look for your nearest park or coastal town, walk slowly, breathe in the fresh air and allow yourself to become immersed in the nature around you. Try to leave your phone at home. If you are struggling to fall asleep at night try using some relaxation techniques, listen to soothing music and sounds.
Here are three of our favourite wild plants that are known to help relax the mind and help you to get a better nights sleep.
Lavender is treasured for it’s scent around the world, from perfumes to cleaning products to beauty products. It can be found growing throughout Europe. The lavender plant has multiple varieties. Studies have found that lavender can aid sleep through aromatherapy. To get a more peaceful nights sleep try placing a small bunch of lavender in your pillow case or lighting a lavender scented candle for a short time before going to bed.
Chamomile is one of the most popular wild plants, used by herbalists and foragers around the world. It’s daisy-like flowers are easy to recognise. Both the flowers and leaves are edible. The dried flowers contain terpenoids and flavonoids, which are known to help with insomnia, anxiety and relaxing the muscles.
For a better nights sleep make a simple tea from the flowers or put a bunch of chamomile under your pillow and enjoy the scent until it rocks you to sleep.
When many people hear the word today they may think of House Velaryon from Game of Thrones but long before Game of Thrones came to our T.V. screens the Valerian Plant was being used for medicinal purposes. This pretty plant prefers the sunshine and you will find it along the coastlines. The ancient greeks used to hang valerian in their homes to keep out evil spirits. When most people think of the Valerian plant they think of sleep as it is the most commonly used over the counter sedative in Germany. It is also said to reduce anxiety, stress and migraines. It contains calcium, iron and magnesium.
When preparing Valerian to aid sleep it is best to use the root of the plant and simmer is gently in water until it reaches boiling point. Drain away the root and sip on the remaining liquid. You can also use it as a foot bath and this is said to aid insomnia. Simply take a bundle of the herb (flowers and leaves), wrap it with string and add it to a basin of warm water, allow your feet to soak in the mixture for ten minutes. Let us know if this works for you.
These plants are readily available throughout Europe. They may be more obvious in the late spring and early summer months when the flowers start to bloom but the leaves can be just as effective.
If you are suffering from insomnia for a prolonged period of time than it is a good idea to see your doctor for recommendations.
For more information on any of our wild foraging tours please contact one of our travel experts.