Published: April 25, 2023

Herbs for sleep can greatly impact mood, appearance, and overall health.* Quality sleep can immensely affect mood, appearance, and overall health. Without sleep, the body cannot heal and recover from daily activity properly, which can lead to a weakened immune system, among other issues. Roughly one in three adults deal with symptoms of insomnia. 

When experiencing insomnia, the symptoms can manifest in various forms, including the inability to sleep, trouble staying asleep, and waking up too early. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), insomnia is categorized into distinct patterns. Chinese herbal formulas can help alleviate insomnia by effectively calming the mind, stabilizing the nervous system, and replenishing the body’s resources for deep rest and relaxation.

Insomnia And Restlessness

Sleep problems are typically classified into two categories: short-term insomnia and chronic (long-term) insomnia. Short-term insomnia usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks, while long-term insomnia persists for three or more nights per week for three or more months. In cases of chronic insomnia, the condition cannot be attributed to any other health issues or medication.

Sleeping trouble can negatively impact waking hours, leaving individuals feeling tired, unable to focus, having memory problems, and having mood issues. The reason why someone may struggle with sleep could be connected to many different problems, including personal habits like drinking and an erratic sleep schedule. The ideal herbs for sleep will depend on the type of insomnia and other associated symptoms. 

Herbs for Sleep

With TCM, the inability to sleep is perceived as a disruption in the body’s qi. As each patient presents a unique set of circumstances, the treatment approach will vary slightly for each individual. Typically, difficulty falling asleep is attributed to an imbalance in the liver, while the inability to sleep soundly is related to imbalances in the heart and spleen.

A licensed practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine possesses the expertise to diagnose the specific imbalances of each patient and recommend a natural solution accordingly. Below are some of the more common formulas recommended to improve sleep depending on the root cause. 


Insomnia resulting from yin deficiency is an example of burnout. Yin refers to the body’s cooling system and the protective lining of all body tissues and nerves, commonly known as yin fluids. It reflects the appropriate hydration of the body’s tissues. When the yin depletes, the body overheats, leading to symptoms such as night sweats and insomnia. 

The herbal formula Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan is often recommended for this issue, as it contains herbs called yin tonics and helps clear out heat deficiency. 


The formula Bao He Wan is used when dealing with evening indigestion. When the digestive system is overly active, it can lead to restlessness and difficulty falling asleep. In such cases, the best remedy is often to avoid eating too close to bedtime and not enjoy a spicy meal right before sleep. However, when indigestion persists, Bao He Wan may help alleviate a restless stomach. It includes beneficial digestives like citrus peel and herbs to help calm the mind, like Fu Ling.  

Digestion and Blood Deficiency

Indigestion is usually a singular problem unassociated with other issues. However, chronic indigestion may be connected to fatigue, poor memory, and insomnia. This points to a deficient digestive system and an issue with the blood, which may respond better to Gui Pi Tang

The quality of blood is vital in ensuring that the heart and mind can settle into a restful sleep. In cases of insomnia caused by blood deficiency, falling or staying asleep can be challenging, often due to excessive worry or rumination. According to TCM, excessive anxiety is closely associated with a deficiency in the digestive system. Gui Pi Tang helps the digestive system, the head, and the heart. 


Racing thoughts and a restless mind frequently contribute to difficulty sleeping. Stress is a significant factor in sleep, and excessive amounts can lead to consistent insomnia and more complications while awake leading to a vicious cycle. 

The body’s response and adaptation to stress are intimately linked to the movement of qi throughout the body. Therefore, high-stress levels are commonly associated with the diagnosis of qi stagnation. Suan Zao Ren Tang provides the nervous system with more tools to combat stress and improve relaxation and the ability to sleep. It includes herbs to enhance blood flow and improve irritability and anxiety. 

Herbs for Sleep: Better Sleep, Better Health

Sleep and health are entirely intertwined. It is often impossible to have one without the other. Treating insomnia and stress can take many different forms, including when utilizing TCM and more natural remedies. Acupuncture, meditation, and herbal formulas can all provide a better night’s sleep. 

When seeking Chinese herbs for sleep in TCM, a comprehensive diagnosis is vital. Consulting with a specialist and undergoing a thorough evaluation to determine the best course of treatment for your specific imbalances is the best way to receive proper treatment. 

Utilizing herbal formulas can offer a wide array of benefits, including improved sleep. However, using high-quality herbs and a reputable manufacturer is essential to receive all the available benefits. KPC Herbs has been creating and distributing herbal formulas for over 100 years, creating a long-lasting family business built on quality herbs and high formula standards. Find out more about all the formulas available and how KPC has maintained reputable and safe manufacturing systems for so long.


*Please note: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This article is not intended to suggest specific treatments for patients or that any supplements mentioned prevent or cure diseases or problems. Before taking any herbs, all patients should discuss their options with a licensed practitioner, including any other medications the patient is currently taking, as there may be contraindications between pharmaceuticals and herbs.

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