Take a stroll through any grocery and you’ll find countless bedtime teas. Their claims often seem hard to beat: relaxation, calmness, and a soothing night of rest. It all sounds like a dream a come true, but do these teas actually work?
For most of us, they do. Herbs can be pretty powerful! Of course, it also depends on the exact combination of ingredients and your personal tolerance. Caffeine intake, sleeping disorders, and environmental factors also play a part. Otherwise, bedtime teas might have a beneficial effect, and the actual act of drinking is also comforting. Just grab a book and a blanket and you’re good to go. Give these teas a try.
Most people are familiar with chamomile. You can find it in groceries, drugstores, and cafes. It’s been used as a sleep aid for thousands of years, but research has found mixed results. Regardless, chamomile has been shown to reduce anxiety and tension. It might be just what you need after a long and stressful day.1
In aromatherapy, lavender essential oil is well-known for inducing relaxation. A 2005 study found that it shortens the time it takes to fall asleep. As a tea, lavender may also help you snooze, so it’s worth a sip. This fragrant herb offers anti-anxiety, anti-depressive, and analgesic effects. And if you suffer from migraines? Lavender will help ease those, too.2 3
Is chamomile too mild? Reach for valerian. According to small studies, it decreases sleep onset time and promotes deep rest. Possible side effects include diarrhea, nausea, and headache. If any of these crop up, stop using valerian immediately.4
4. Kava Kava
Kava kava is another ancient remedy. For years, its roots have been used for its sedative and anti-anxiety effects. Some even call it “euphoric.” Most studies give kava kava a thumbs up for anxiety, making it a top choice for stress relief. And like valerian, it’ll shorten how long it takes you to fall asleep.5 6
Have you been tossing and turning? Passionflower tea can bring on sleep, even at low doses. Anxiety and tension will also take a backseat. Also, compared to other herbs, passionflower has a more tropical and fruity flavor.7 8
In traditional Chinese medicine, skullcap is another go-to sleep aid. This anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, and anti-allergy herb doubles as a strong sedative. Specifically, its active compound baicalin acts on neurotransmitters that promote sleep.9
7. Lemon Balm
Many brands add lemon balm for flavor, but it may help you sleep, too. Animal studies have found that it prolongs sleep duration in mice. In humans, lemon balm enhances memory, mood, and calmness, making it a smart choice for a big test or meeting.10 11
A Word Of Caution
Talk to your doctor before drinking any of these teas. They might be plants, but the drug-like effects might mess with existing health conditions. It’s even more important if you’re on prescription medication. Allergies are also possible. Again, check with your doctor or allergist beforehand.
Still can’t get your beauty sleep? Try warm milk and tart cherry juice, two traditional home remedies. Yoga, meditation, and regular exercise will also lend a hand.
|↑1||Amsterdam, Jay D., Justine Shults, Irene Soeller, Jun James Mao, Kenneth Rockwell, and Andrew B. Newberg. “Chamomile (matricaria recutita) may have antidepressant activity in anxious depressed humans-an exploratory study.” Alternative therapies in health and medicine 18, no. 5 (2012): 44.|
|↑2||Goel, Namni, Hyungsoo Kim, and Raymund P. Lao. “An olfactory stimulus modifies nighttime sleep in young men and women.” Chronobiology international 22, no. 5 (2005): 889-904.|
|↑3||Koulivand, Peir Hossein, Maryam Khaleghi Ghadiri, and Ali Gorji. “Lavender and the nervous system.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).|
|↑4||Gyllenhaal, Charlotte, Sharon L. Merritt, Sara Davia Peterson, Keith I. Block, and Tom Gochenour. “Efficacy and safety of herbal stimulants and sedatives in sleep disorders.” Sleep Medicine Reviews 4, no. 3 (2000): 229-251.|
|↑5, ↑6||Yurcheshen, Michael, Martin Seehuus, and Wilfred Pigeon. “Updates on nutraceutical sleep therapeutics and investigational research.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015 (2015).|
|↑7||Ngan, A., and R. Conduit. “A double‐blind, placebo‐controlled investigation of the effects of Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower) herbal tea on subjective sleep quality.” Phytotherapy research 25, no. 8 (2011): 1153-1159.|
|↑8||Akhondzadeh, Shahin, H. R. Naghavi, M. Vazirian, A. Shayeganpour, H. Rashidi, and M. Khani. “Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: A pilot double‐blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam.” Journal of clinical pharmacy and therapeutics 26, no. 5 (2001): 363-367.|
|↑9||Chang, Han-Han, Pei-Lu Yi, Chiung-Hsiang Cheng, Chin-Yu Lu, Yi-Tse Hsiao, Yi-Fong Tsai, Chia-Ling Li, and Fang-Chia Chang. “Biphasic effects of baicalin, an active constituent of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, in the spontaneous sleep–wake regulation.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 135, no. 2 (2011): 359-368.|
|↑10||Hajhashemi, Valiollah, and Azadeh Safaei. “Hypnotic effect of Coriandrum sativum, Ziziphus jujuba, Lavandula angustifolia and Melissa officinalis extracts in mice.” Research in pharmaceutical sciences 10, no. 6 (2015): 477.|
|↑11||Kennedy, D. O., G. Wake, S. Savelev, N. T. J. Tildesley, E. K. Perry, K. A. Wesnes, and A. B. Scholey. “Modulation of mood and cognitive performance following acute administration of single doses of Melissa officinalis (Lemon balm) with human CNS nicotinic and muscarinic receptor-binding properties.” Neuropsychopharmacology 28, no. 10 (2003): 1871.|