More than 60% of Germans feel stressed in everyday life. In addition to numerous negative effects on health and well-being, stress also disrupts sleep and promotes problems falling asleep and sleep disorders. Find out here which plant extracts alleviate stress symptoms, best support the relaxation process and prepare you for a peaceful sleep.
Table of Contents
1. Stress is so harmfulStress is omnipresent in today's society and now affects more than 60% of people. When we find something stressful varies from person to person and can have numerous internal and external triggers. According to a study by the Techniker Krankenkasse, work, leisure time, family life or financial worries are among the most common reasons for feeling stressed. In the long term, this damages both our physical and mental health, disrupts our daily well-being and also has a negative impact on our sleep.
Stress and a lack of relaxation before going to bed ensure that the much-needed nighttime regeneration is disrupted and the body cannot recover sufficiently. How exactly does persistent stress affect our sleep and falling asleep?
2. Stress, relaxation & sleep
Stress basically describes our body's reaction to a negative stimulus. Our brain then signals to the body that it should prepare for stress and releases increased levels of the hormones cortisol, norepinephrine and adrenaline. These ensure that, among other things, fat and blood sugar levels increase, blood pressure rises and the body is put on alert.
Cortisol also plays an important role in regulating our sleep-wake rhythm and functions as a kind of antagonist of the well-known sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin makes us tired in the evening and prepares the body for the rest phase. The melatonin level drops overnight and our body produces more cortisol, which is then responsible for us becoming active again and waking up in the morning after sleep.
If we feel stress before going to bed, the cortisol level rises exactly when the body actually needs to rest. This often leads to problems falling asleep and promotes sleep and concentration disorders, which in turn has a negative impact on sleep and its important function for health, well-being and performance.
Certain plant-based extracts can naturally support relaxation and help to gently relieve stress and tension. This is particularly important in the evening in order to quickly find a restful sleep. That's why today we're introducing you to 5 herbal extracts that can help you switch off after a stressful day and prepare your body for sleep.
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3. The 5 best plant extracts for relaxation
Most people know hops primarily as the main ingredient in beer. Because hops are said to have a calming and soporific effect, the extracts of the hop plant have been used for centuries to relieve restlessness and anxiety, nervous tension and sleep disorders.
» This is how hops work
Hops are particularly rich in healthy tannins and bitter substances, with the bitter substances humulone and lupulone in particular being considered to be essential for the plant's sleep-promoting and relaxing effects. And studies also show that hops can have a calming effect on the central nervous system.
Hops are said to have a calming effect and promote relaxation, especially in combination with other calming substances such as lemon balm, lavender or valerian.
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort is one of the most well-researched natural sedatives, whose relaxing and mood-enhancing effects have been proven in numerous studies. St. John's wort offers natural support against states of anxiety and restlessness as well as mild to moderate depression.
» This is how St. John's wort works
The effect of the St. John's wort plant can be attributed to the fact that its ingredients have a positive effect on the hormonal balance and in particular have a positive effect on serotonin, known as the happiness hormone. Since this in turn is crucial for melatonin production, the herb not only has a mood-enhancing effect, but also supports the body's own sleep-wake rhythm. St. John's wort ensures more relaxation in times of stress and restlessness and also naturally helps the body to prepare for a restful sleep.
St. John's wort is also classified as safe and well tolerated - so there are only a few known side effects. However, women need to be careful, because the effect of the birth control pill can be impaired by St. John's wort.
Lavender is rightly considered one of the most popular herbal sedatives. The extracts of the Mediterranean plant calm the nerves, relieve stress and tension and help the body and mind relax naturally. Lavender is often used to combat restlessness, anxiety or physical and psychological stress and also supports the body when there is a lack of relaxation or depressive moods.
» This is how lavender works
The ingredients of the lavender flower reduce the release of stress hormones and protect our nervous system from an overload of negative stimuli. At the same time, the production of the happiness hormone serotonin is influenced. This has a positive effect on our mood and in turn supports the conversion of serotonin into melatonin. Therefore, lavender not only has a calming effect, but also promotes healthy sleep and makes it easier to fall asleep.
The balancing effect of lavender extracts calms, reduces stress and helps relax and prepare for sleep. You can read more about the effects of lavender in this article .
The lemon balm (also known as lemon balm) is considered a versatile medicinal plant that is said to have a calming effect. Studies show that lemon balm extracts can be used successfully to combat the effects of stress by reducing anxiety, tension and insomnia.
» This is how lemon balm works
The lemon balm contains, among other things, essential oils and tannins. These influence important metabolic mechanisms and reduce the activity of nerve cells in the brain. This means that stress and anxiety signals are perceived and processed less strongly and, on the contrary, relaxation is promoted.
The popular plant serves as a natural relaxant for stress, nervousness, restlessness and difficulty falling asleep and is particularly popular as a tea.
Green tea is actually known for its invigorating effect, which is due to the nerve-stimulating ingredient caffeine. However, numerous scientific studies show that green tea also has a calming effect that can alleviate stress and have a balancing and relaxing effect.
» This is how green tea works
In addition to caffeine and natural tannins, green tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine works directly in the brain and influences the regulation of some messenger substances that are crucial for our mood, such as norepinephrine and dopamine. Studies have shown that L-theanine has a positive effect on the psyche and reduces susceptibility to stress and anxiety disorders.
In this way, green tea offers natural support against the negative consequences of stress, promotes the general state of mind and helps prepare the body for a peaceful sleep.
Stress is harmful to health, can disrupt sleep and thus reduce the important regeneration at night.
Hops have a calming and relaxing effect, especially in combination with other substances.
St. John's Wort is a natural mood enhancer and offers support against anxiety and restlessness, mild to moderate depression and the regulation of a healthy sleep-wake rhythm.
Lavender calms, reduces stress and nervousness and helps relax and prepare for sleep.
Balm is a natural relaxant for stress, nervousness, restlessness and difficulty falling asleep and is often consumed as a tea.
Green tea and the L-theanine it contains reduce susceptibility to stress and anxiety disorders and have a balancing and relaxing effect.
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