American writer Daniel Gilbert once uttered: “The secret of happiness is variety, but the secret of variety, like the secret of all spices, is knowing when to use it.” While Middle-Eastern spices are most commonly associated with culinary creations, some have also been proven to be very beneficial when it comes to combatting sleeping problems. This is great news for the 33% of Canadians that do not sleep enough according to a recent report released by Statistics Canada.  Instead of turning to a consumer market inundated with remedies claiming to cure insomnia, an increasing number of people are seeking more natural alternatives to these chemically-laden pharmaceuticals. These alternatives may already be in your kitchen or pantry in the form of common herbs and spices, such as the following, that can help you wave goodbye to the long sleepless nights you have become accustomed to.

Cumin seed tea alleviates insomnia

Apart from being used worldwide in culinary dishes, cumin seeds also boast a number of very beneficial medicinal properties. Cumin has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to induce sleep and has also made its way into countless westernized households to help bring on slumber.  There are two common ways in which cumin is consumed in order to obtain a good night’s rest. It can either be mixed with a mashed banana or brewed into a fragrant tea. To make cumin seed tea simply roast 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds over low heat for about half a minute. Add one cup of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes before straining it. Drink the tea about an hour before bedtime.

Nutmeg is a natural sedative

We know that sleep is essential and the crew over at BedTester agrees, stating that “Sleep is an important part of life, arguably one of the most important parts”.  Sleep plays a pivotal role in our lives and without enough of it, our health and well-being can deteriorate greatly.  Luckily nutmeg has proven to be a very effective remedy for insomnia. Not only does nutmeg contain high levels of myristicin which inhibits the secretion of stress-inducing hormones, but it is also a powerful sedative. Add a sprinkle of nutmeg together with a squeeze of honey to a glass of warm milk or mix it in with a teaspoon or jam and consume an hour before bedtime.  Remember to only use a pinch of nutmeg at a time, however, as an overdose can lead to hallucinations and other psychiatric concerns.

Saffron ensures a good night’s rest

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world and with good reason -it takes nearly 250,000 stigmas to produce just one pound of the spice. The lavish spice is known to have many healing properties including alleviating insomnia.  The best way to use saffron as a sleep remedy is to add a pinch, together with your favorite sweetener, to a glass of warm milk or tea, an consume it just before bedtime. Not only will you soon find yourself drifting off to dreamland, but you are also less likely to wake up during the course of the night.

Cinnamon does more than prevent cardiac disease

Cinnamon has long been praised for sporting numerous health benefits including aiding in weight loss, the prevention of cardiac disease, and combatting insomnia. Although cinnamon does not trigger the release of sleep-related hormones like other spices do, it does prepare your body for a good, uninterrupted night’s sleep by easing your anxiety and preventing blood sugar spikes and crashes from occurring. You can mix a few pinches of cinnamon and a small dollop of honey into a warm cup of milk or, alternatively, brew a tea with a few cinnamon sticks and a sweetener of your choice.

Although mass-produced pills and potions will always have a place in our modern-day lives, it is good to know that we have options. By experimenting with the various herbs and spices in your kitchen you may soon find yourself sleeping better than ever before.