10 Herbs for Sleep and Sleep-Related Struggles

Herbs have been used for centuries to promote and support overall health and wellness.
Struggles & Remedies
Herbs for sleep.
Herbs have been used for centuries to promote and support overall health and wellness. When it comes to a topic like sleep, we all know that there is more to getting enough Zzzs than a consistent bedtime routine. Sometimes, the stresses of the day or the season of life we’re in adds another layer to the barriers that keep you from dozing off into restful sleep.

Quality sleep is important for your overall health, and tossing and turning won’t get you much sleep. About 35.2% of US adults sleep for less than seven hours per night on average.1 That’s less sleep than the recommended 7-9 hours adults need for optimal health.2 If you are struggling with getting enough sleep, you are not alone.

Keep reading to learn about what herbs have been used to address sleep-related struggles.

Why Use Herbs for Sleep

Certain herbs may act as natural promoters of sleep. Unlike synthetic or manufactured medicines, herbs come directly from plants.

Some people seek more naturally-sourced products as health remedies. Many herbs are classified as foods or dietary supplements, so unlike over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medicines, they are regulated differently.

Herbs are natural, but like all good things, taking an appropriate amount clinically shown to provide a benefit is the best way to approach adding them to your diet via your food or a dietary supplement from a trusted brand. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions about herbs and sleep supplements.

10 Herbs for Sleep and Sleep-Related Issues

If you are experiencing occasional sleepless nights, it may be time to try something different. The team at ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs have spent time uncovering what keeps people up at night, and formulating different products with certain herbs to help address and complement sleep-related issues.

Herbs for Sleep

1. Valerian Root

Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis), also known as valerian, comes from the root of the valerian plant. With over 200 species globally, valerian is considered safe to consume and is regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a dietary supplement.3 In ancient Greece and Rome, people used valerian root for medicinal reasons.4 Today, valerian root is grown in Europe, North America, and Asia.5

ZzzQuil Pure Zzzs Restorative Herbal Sleep, a plant-based, melatonin-free sleep aid, contains 300 mg of valerian root extract in one serving.

2. Hops

Hops (Humulus lupulus) are the flower cones of a perennial plant belonging to the hemp plant family.6 Hops are cultivated in many regions, mostly central Europe in the German state of Bavaria, as well as in the United States, China, and Czech Republic.6 The main component in hops is bitter resin, which is also useful in making beer due to their flavor.

When hops are combined with valerian, they work together to promote sleep.7 Studies show that consuming both herbs may increase alpha waves present in the early stage of sleep.6

ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs Restorative Herbal Sleep contains 60 mg of hops flower extract in one serving.

3. Passion Flower

Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) is a woody, climbing vine. It’s found in warm temperate and tropical regions, although rarer in Asia, Australia, and tropical Africa.8 Passion flower was discovered in archaeological sites in Virginia and parts of North America, suggesting that the herb was used by native American Indians.8

ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs Restorative Herbal Sleep contains 160 mg of passion flower extract in one serving.

ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs Restorative Herbal Sleep is a melatonin free sleep aid made with a botanical blend that contains clinically studied and effective valerian root, hops and passion flower shown to help promote better, restorative sleep.*^

Herbs for Sleep-Related Issues and What Else May Keep You Up at Night

4. Black Cohosh

Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa) belongs to the buttercup family and is native to eastern North America.9 Some people call it snakeroot, black bugbane, rattleweed, macrotys, or rheumatism weed.10 Possessing wand-like flowers, it grows up to four to eight feet in height.9

5. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also called Indian ginseng, is commonly used in India as a medicinal herb. In Ayurveda, ashwagandha is known as a Rasayana, an herb believed to help with the rejuvenation of the body.11

ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs Sleep + De-Stress Gummies have ashwagandha to help calm your mind and body* before bedtime.

6. Hibiscus

Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a shrubby plant that has light yellow flowers with reddish-purple centers.12 It is found in tropical areas of the world. Hibiscus is a native of India but is now cultivated in various regions, including Central America, West Indies, and Africa.13 In different parts of the world, hibiscus is used for medicinal reasons. This plant contains antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and anthocyanin.14

You can have hibiscus in various ways. You can make hibiscus tea by boiling the leaves in a pot or steeping hibiscus tea bags in hot water. You can also enjoy hibiscus as a supplement in liquid extract or encapsulated powder form.14

7. Elderberry

European elder (Sambucus nigra) is a tall tree-like shrub native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. People have used the dried flowers of elderberry for medicinal use for many years,15 possibly because they contain flavonoids.16

ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs Sleep + Immune Support has zinc so you can maintain a healthy immune system while you sleep,* in addition to complimentary elderberry.)

Herbs Known for Sleep

8. Chamomile

You may know that chamomile is a popular ingredient in herbal tea. A member of the daisy family, chamomile is one of the oldest medicinal herbs (think 5000 years ago).17 The evidence that ancient people consumed chamomile is seen in historical medical writings from Egypt, Greece, and Rome.18 Chamomile is native to southern and eastern Europe.19It is also grown by farmers in Germany, Hungary, France, Russia, Yugoslavia, and Brazil.19

Chamomile is found in the complementary botanical blend in ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs Melatonin Gummies and Vicks PURE Zzzs Kidz Melatonin Gummies.

9. Lavender

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a shrub that belongs to the Lamiaceae family of plants.20 The leaves of this herb are pale violet color. However, some varieties have white and pink flowers. This herb is native to the Mediterranean region. The most important component of lavender is its essential oil. Lavender is commonly used as a flavor and fragrance.20

ZzzQuil PURE Zzzs use lavender as an ingredient in several products.

10. Lemon balm

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is found in the Mediterranean, southern Europe, and western Asia.21 Lemon balm contains sesquiterpenes, and is also naturally rich in antioxidants.21

^vs placebo for better quality sleep


  1. Sleep Statistics - Facts and Data About Sleep 2022. Sleep Foundation. Published October 25, 2021. Accessed February 14, 2022.
  2. Hirshkowitz, M., Whiton, K., Albert, S. M., Alessi, C., Bruni, O., DonCarlos, L., Hazen, N., Herman, J., Katz, E. S., Kheirandish-Gozal, L., Neubauer, D. N., O'Donnell, A. E., Ohayon, M., Peever, J., Rawding, R., Sachdeva, R. C., Setters, B., Vitiello, M. V., Ware, J. C., & Adams Hillard, P. J. (2015). National Sleep Foundation's sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Sleep health, 1(1), 40–43.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2014.12.010
  3. Shinjyo N, Waddell G, Green J. Valerian Root in Treating Sleep Problems and Associated Disorders-A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Evid-Based Integr Med. 2020;25:2515690X20967323. doi:10.1177/2515690X20967323
  4. Valerian Root: Sleep Benefits and Side Effects. Sleep Foundation. Published January 20, 2022. Accessed February 16, 2022.
  5. Sharma M, Jain U, Patel A, Gupta N. A comprehensive pharmacognostic report on valerian. Int J Pharm Sci Res. 2010;1(7):6-40.
  6. Biendl M, Engelhard B, Forster A, et al. Hops: Their Cultivation, Composition and Usage. Fachverlag Hans Carl; 2015.
  7. Franco L, Sánchez C, Bravo R, Rodriguez A, Barriga C, Juánez JC. The sedative effects of hops (Humulus lupulus), a component of beer, on the activity/rest rhythm. Acta Physiol Hung. 2012;99(2):133-139. doi:10.1556/APhysiol.99.2012.2.6
  8. Dhawan K, Dhawan S, Sharma A. Passiflora: a review update. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;94(1):1-23. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.02.023
  9. Foster S. Black cohosh: a literature review. HerbalGram. 1999;(45):35-50. Available at: . Accessed February 17, 2019.
  10. Office of Dietary Supplements - Black Cohosh. Accessed February 16, 2022.
  11. Dar NJ, Hamid A, Ahmad M. Pharmacologic overview of Withania somnifera, the Indian Ginseng. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2015;72(23):4445-4460. doi:10.1007/s00018-015-2012-1
  12. HerbalGram: Herb Profile: Hibiscus. Accessed February 16, 2022.
  13. Nkumah OC. Phytochemical analysis and medicinal uses of Hibiscus sabdariffa. Int J Herb Med. 2015;2(6):16-19.
  14. 7 Benefits of Hibiscus Tea. Cleveland Clinic. Published February 16, 2022. Accessed February 17, 2022.
  15. Porter RS, Bode RF. A Review of the Antiviral Properties of Black Elder (Sambucus nigra L.) Products. Phytother Res PTR. 2017;31(4):533-554. doi:10.1002/ptr.5782
  16. Roschek B, Fink RC, McMichael MD, Li D, Alberte RS. Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro. Phytochemistry. 2009;70(10):1255-1261. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2009.06.003
  17. Srivastava JK, Shankar E, Gupta S. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Mol Med Rep. 2010;3(6):895-901. doi:10.3892/mmr.2010.377
  18. Chamomile. NCCIH. Accessed February 14, 2022.
  19. Singh O, Khanam Z, Misra N, Srivastava MK. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.): An overview. Pharmacogn Rev. 2011;5(9):82-95. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.79103
  20. Prusinowska R, Śmigielski KB. Composition, biological properties and therapeutic effects of lavender L). A review. Herba Pol. 2014;60(2):56-66.
  21. Chizzola R, Lohwasser U, Franz C. Biodiversity within Melissa officinalis: Variability of Bioactive Compounds in a Cultivated Collection. Mol Basel Switz. 2018;23(2):E294. doi:10.3390/molecules23020294
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