Enough deep and restful sleep each night is as important as eating healthy and nourishing food and exercising regularly. Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night.
Not getting enough sleep can affect your body and your mind. It could cause you to be less alert, moody, and struggle with remembering things and paying attention. If you go long periods without getting enough sleep, you could develop serious health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular issues. A lack of enough sleep can also lead to premature wrinkles and dark circles under your eyes. Yikes!
We know there are few things as frustrating as being all snuggled up in bed, your pillows are fluffed, and your duvet is drawn up to your chin… only to find yourself staring and the ceiling, the wall, the bookshelf with no hope of drifting off into dreamland.
Luckily there are some natural substances like CBN, passion flower, Californian poppy, and America skullcap that can assist you with relaxing, drifting off, and resting well while you are at it!
I’ve heard about CBD, but what is CBN?
Cannabinol (CBN) is a cannabinoid that develops when Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) breaks down due to heat and oxidation. It can occur naturally in the cannabis plant or be derived from THC that has been extracted from the plant. Whether CBN is present in a plant or extract has less to do with the genetics of the plant and more to do with the environmental factors.
Although CBN is made from THC, it does not produce the high that is synonymous with THC. The high you experience from THC happens when it binds to the CB1 receptors in your body’s endocannabinoid system. CBN also connects with these CB1 receptors. They also connect to CB2 receptors. Some studies found that CBN produces greater sedative effects than THC and CBD – which means better sleep for you!
Ironically, CBN was the first cannabinoid that was isolated by scientists, and yet the compounds of the cannabis plant that have been featured in research and studies are CBD and THC. While there hasn’t been a lot of research done on CBN, it is purported that this cannabinoid promotes better sleep while having little to no psychoactive effects. Even better, it doesn’t give you that groggy, hangover-like feeling that over the counter or prescription sleep medications sometimes do.
The Californian poppy is a distant relative to the opium poppy – but it does not contain any opium. The main active compounds in the Californian poppy are alkaloids like chelirubine, sanguinarine, and macarpine. These alkaloids are mostly found in the parts of the plant that grow above ground.
Alkaloids are compounds that naturally occur in plants. These compounds have various physiological effects on humans and animals. The alkaloids found in the Californian poppy has a sedative effect that promotes relaxation and improved sleep. Because the California poppy does not contain any opium, it is not addictive, unlike its cousin, the opium poppy.
The Hindu name for Holy basil is Tulsi, which means ‘the incomparable one.’ The plant is considered the ‘Mother medicine of nature’ and is often planted around Hindu shrines. It makes sense, then, that Holy basil features strongly in ayurvedic medicine.
Holy basil is an adaptogen – a natural substance that helps your body to deal with stress and maintain homeostasis (balance) naturally. It is said to assist in dealing with psychological, physiological, immunological, and metabolic stress that we encounter in our everyday lives.
It is not the same as the basil that you find in your grocery store; in fact, it is one of about 150 different basil varieties available. It has a peppery taste and is often used in cooking in Asia. Holy basil contains β-caryophyllene (BCP), a terpene also found in some strains of cannabis. β-caryophyllene binds with CB2 receptors in your endocannabinoid system. What is more, it is the only terpene that can directly influence a cannabinoid receptor.
In herbalism, Passion flowers are referred to as a nervine – a herb that supports the nervous system.
Passion flower contains a compound called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is also naturally produced in your brain to help regulate your mood. Essentially it counters the brain chemicals that cause you to become excited (the good and bad kind), and thus it makes you more calm. While GABA does help to regulate your mood, and it is found in passion flower, it is not clear whether your brain can absorb GABA ingested with food (as opposed to that normally produced by your body). Still, passion flower has been found to have benefits characteristic of nervine herbs.
Skullcap can refer to two different herbs with very different properties. Chinese skullcap is commonly used for allergies, infections, and inflammation, while American skullcap is mostly used for its relaxant properties. In this article, we will focus on American Skullcap.
American skullcap is a member of the mint family, but many other plants are also referred to as skullcap. It is super important to be clear on what you are purchasing and using.
Wood betony is also a member of the mint family, like American skullcap. Wood betony contains chlorogenic acid and phenylethanoid glycosides. Both chlorogenic acid and phenylethanoid glycoside are natural compounds that have been found to neuroprotective effects. That means that they protect, regenerate, and assist with the recovery of your nervous system and the cells and structures involved in that system. Neuroprotective compounds also assist the functions of your nervous system. These functions include neurochemical actions that affect just about everything in your body, including your mood and sleep patterns.
What Are Nervines?
Nervines are herbs or plants that benefit the nervous system. There are different categories of and they have different properties, but they all help us deal better with stress.
Nerve tonics strengthen and balance your nervous system. This group of nervines includes skullcap, lavender, lemon balm, rose petals, milky oat seed, St. Johnswort, blue vervain, and wood betony.
Nervine relaxants work directly on relaxing the nervous system, reduce mental and physical tension and anxiety. It also helps you to have a restful night’s sleep. Common nervine relaxants include California poppy, passion flower, lavender, chamomile, catnip, motherwort, and lemon balm.
Nervine sedatives slow down your nerve function. These nervine sedatives are mild and can help promote better sleep. Valerian root, hops, and California poppy are all nervine sedatives.
What About Adaptogens?
Adaptogenic herbs or plants help your body to, well, adapt to different kinds of stress. They often lower cortisol levels. Holy basil is a part of this group.
Enough sleep is vital for us to function at our best mentally. It is also essential to keep our bodies healthy – and looking good! *wink, wink*. Sometimes it is difficult to get a full night’s sleep – and especially so when you are dealing with a lot of stress or anxiety – along with a bunch of thoughts racing through your mind. Natural tinctures that contain adaptogens and nervines in combination with cannabinol can help you feel calm and relax as you drift off to sleep. These substances do not have that iconic high associated with ingesting THC and are non-addictive, making them good to use every now and then or long term.
A good night’s sleep will help you feel refreshed and relaxed. It can help you stay at your peak when it comes to any activity that requires mental activity – plus, it helps you to look your very best. Really, not enough can be said about it. Try it; you can thank us later.