Although insomnia and other sleep disorders can affect people at various points in their life, the elderly population is more prone to suffering from them. To improve their quality of life without developing a dependency from prescription sleeping aids, many reach out for herbal solutions to their ailments.
Chamomile is widely known for its calmness-inducing properties, positioning itself as one of the most promising herbal treatments for insomnia as well as depression and anxiety.1 Despite existing studies on its benefits, those proving its sleep-inducing actions are conflicting.
Consequently, this study was conducted to evaluate the effects of chamomile on sleep quality among the elderly.
For this clinical trial, researchers recruited 60 elderly people at the average age of 70, who lived in a nursing home and struggled with insomnia and poor sleep quality. They divided them into two groups: the control and the treatment group.
Elderly in the treatment group were given two daily capsules with 200 mg of chamomile extract, while those in the control group received capsules with 200 mg of wheat flour. The duration of the trial was 28 days.
Sleep quality was evaluated using the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) before, throughout, and after the study. Researchers published the results of this trial in the renowned Complementary Therapies in Medicine journal.
After the intervention, sleep quality scores in participants in the treatment group were significantly better than those in the control group.
No beneficial effects on sleep duration and other PSQI features were noted in participants consuming chamomile extract.
None of the participants reported adverse reactions.
What Does this Mean?
As clearly shown by the results of this study, chamomile extract is effective for insomnia in elderly people. Improving the quality of sleep among suffering individuals can offer tangible benefits in terms of boosting their quality of life as well as protecting their mental health.
Thanks to its proven safety and efficacy, chamomile could potentially be an alternative insomnia treatment. Larger and longer trials are recommended to evaluate its therapeutic applications.
- Complementary Therapies in Medicine, The effects of chamomile extract on sleep quality among elderly people: A clinical trial, 2017
- Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. (2017). Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may have antidepressant activity in anxious depressed humans – an exploratory study. Retrieved January 19, 2021 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3600408/