Herbal Remedies in Chinese Medicine: Natural Solutions for Insomnia

Lenore Cangeloso

By Lenore Cangeloso


Herbal Remedies in Chinese Medicine: Natural Solutions for Insomnia

Do you struggle to fall asleep, frequently experience restless nights, or constantly wake up tired?  You're definitely not alone.  The constant buzz of modern life, stress, and low emotion as often take a toll on our sleep quality. While there are numerous conventional treatments for insomnia, many people are turning to the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine to find natural solutions for their sleep needs In this article, we will explore how Chinese medicine offers a holistic approach to combating insomnia through herbal remedies and wellness practices that have been trusted for centuries.

The Holistic Approach of Chinese Medicine 

Traditional Chinese Medicine has a rich history that spans thousands of years. Unlike Western medicine, which often focuses on treating specific symptoms or diseases, Traditional Chinese Medicine takes a more systemic and holistic approach to health and wellness. It views the human body as an interconnected system directly in tune with nature. This perspective is essential in addressing the root causes of imbalances, such as insomnia, and helps to achieve long-lasting relief through;

  • Natural and herbal remedies,
  • Addressing the root cause of imbalances,
  • Incorporating in healthy lifestyle and wellness ideals.
Understanding Poor Sleep - And Herbs That Can Help!

Before diving into Chinese Medicine for sleep, it's crucial to understand why we suffer from poor sleep.  According to the National Institute of Health, issues related to sleep are characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing non-restorative sleep.

Chronic sleep issues can lead to daytime fatigue, irritability, and a host of other health issues. People who are struggling with sleep needs often have trouble with one or more of the following; 

  • Falling asleep
  • Staying asleep
  • Getting good quality sleep, and waking up feeling rested

chinese medicine for sleep

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, sleep issues are often associated with imbalances in the quality of the Blood, the body's Organ systems and meridian, and the Shen (mind-body connection)

With Traditional Chinese Medicine, individual herbs are rarely used to treat sleep imbalances. Combinations of herbs, called formulas, are used instead that highlight various conditions that may be leading to sleep issues. The synergistic nature of these herbs when formulated together makes potent natural sleep remedies. 

Chinese Medicine for Better Sleep

Sleep difficulties can be due to a myriad of factors, from a racing mind to poor digestion, emotional complaints, or physical pain.  Some of the best Chinese medicine for sleep herbal formulas include: 

  • Gui Pi Tang- This herbal formula is known for promoting sleep and addressing insomnia. It is comprised of herbs like Astragalus, Angelica, and Ginseng. It nourishes the Heart and Spleen and is used to calm the mind, nourish the Spirit, and boost one’s Qi. It can also help address stress, poor memory, fatigue, low appetite, and poor digestion. 
  • Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan- This renowned herbal formula is used to address poor, inconsistent sleep and heart palpitations, forgetfulness, and stress. Ingredients like Rehmannia, Salvia, and Ginseng, nourish the Heart and Kidneys, promoting tranquility and improving sleep quality. People who have difficulty staying asleep through the night or have night sweats may benefit from this formula. 
  • Suan Zao Ren Tang- The chief herb in this formula Ziziphus Jujuba, Suan Zao, is what this herbal remedy is named after. This formula helps to nourish the Blood and quiets the Spirit. This solution can be better for people who are often irritable, anxious, and have difficulty falling asleep.
  • Bao He Wan- This formula, traditionally used for food stagnation, overeating, or sluggish digestion, can also be used as needed to help support sleeplessness due to ingestion impacting healthy sleep.

chinese medicine for sleep

Traditional Chinese Medicine Practices for Better Sleep

In addition to herbal solutions, Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a range of wellness practices that can aid in improving sleep quality. 

  • Acupuncture- Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points of the body. It is believed to help balance the body's energy and relieve sleep-related issues.

  • Qi Gong/ Tai Qi- Qi Gong and Tai Chi are meditative practices that combine slow, flowing movements with deep breathing. It promotes relaxation and reduces stress. Regular practice can help reduce anxiety and promote better sleep.

  • Diet and Nutrition- Chinese medicine strongly emphasizes the role of diet in overall health. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals before bedtime can improve sleep quality.

  • Breathwork and meditation- Taking a few moments before bed to wind down and practice good sleep hygiene can make a huge difference to the quality of sleep. Combining this with calming deep breaths, a sleep meditation, or some gentle stretching before bed can have long-lasting results. 

chinese medicine for sleep

Try Chinese Medicine for Better Sleep

If you're struggling with poor sleep and seeking a natural solution, then consider Chinese herbal formulas for sleep might be just the thing you are looking for. Chinese medicine offers a holistic and natural approach to combatting poor, inconsistent sleep through herbal remedies and daily wellness practices

By addressing the underlying imbalances in the body and promoting harmony, these herbal remedies and practices can help you achieve a better night's sleep.


Insomnia. National Institute for Health. Accessed 11/05/2023. 

Maciocia, G. (1989). The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text for Acupuncturists and Herbalists. Edinburgh, London: Churchill Livingstone.

Care Consideration: 

Just a reminder that the above information is not a substitute for medical care and is not a substitute for medical advice or recommendations from a healthcare provider. This information is not intended to treat, mitigate, or cure any disease. That said, we encourage you to connect with an Acupuncturist in your community to learn more about this and other Traditional Chinese Medicine options. If you’ve got questions about Chinese herbal medicine or getting started with an Acupuncturist, feel free to connect with us at hello@mydaolabs.com.

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