My herb teacher, Michael Vertolli, addresses insomnia first with "nervine relaxant herbs" and only when these gentlest of herbs fail to change the sleep pattern with "nervine sedative herbs".
Nervine Relaxants include:...
and one might use a mixture of, say...
a dropperful (10 to 15 drops) of each
in water / before meals
three times a day (tid)
Herbs: as a rule, herbs are best taken as tinctures and not as capsules or tablets.
(Many herbal properties are only found in fresh preparations, and tinctures are the only preparations in which these properties are preserved.)
Herbal Tinctures: herbal tinctures should be taken on an empty stomach 30 minutes before meals (to allow for direct absorption), in a small amount of water (a "finger" or two to dilute the alcohol - or in hot water if you wish the alcohol to evaporate off).
The dosage is prescribed in terms of the number of drops to be used, or of "droppers". A "dropper" is the amount you get when you simply squeeze the teat on the dropper (not trying to fill the dropper to the top).
Herbal Infusions: herb teas are a wonderfully direct and traditional way of taking herbs and are relatively inexpensive. However, the procedure is more complicated than taking a tincture, and there is usually no guarantee of the freshness of the herbs. As a rule herbal teas should be taken 30 minutes before meals (to allow direct absorption). One method of preparing a herbal infusion is as follows: place a tea spoon of the herb in a mug; add boiling water; cover, and allow to steep for ten minutes; strain.
Note, that in herbal combinations, tinctures can be added to herbal teas: you can mix them.
Motherwort should also be tried as a herbal tea (as the tea feels nurturing).
Note: if there is a major GI component substitute Catnip for Skullcap
if there is a Chronic Fatigue aspect substitute Lemon Balm for Skullcap.
Nervine Sedatives: If sleep disturbance is not corrected by "nervine relaxants" (and meditaion!) nervine sedatives may be taken: a total of up to 30 drops (or 3 dropperfuls) in any combination of the following, an hour before bed.
Valerian (can feel groggy, hung-over in the morning with Valerian)
"Sedatives" should not be used for extensive periods. Limit to 4 weeks.