5 Best Teas for Sleep

By April Mayer
Last Updated On February 8th, 2021

Getting to sleep can be hard, especially after a long day or if you have a stressful day ahead of you. Poor sleep can lead to a variety of health…

5 Best Teas for Sleep

Getting to sleep can be hard, especially after a long day or if you have a stressful day ahead of you. Poor sleep can lead to a variety of health conditions, including weight gain, depression, stroke, and heart diseases.

A simple way to induce sleep is by drinking tea. Tea is a natural remedy for sleeplessness and helps you wind down before bed. Many teas have been used since ancient times to reduce stress, help you unwind, and improve sleep quality.

Award-Winning Mattresses

15,000+ Reviews

Shop Our Mattresses

When trying to sleep, avoid caffeinated teas such as green tea or matcha as they only leave you alert and unable to sleep. Instead, try caffeine-free herbal teas, which are made from all types of plants outside of the Camellia sinensis plant.

We review some of the 5 best teas for sleep so you can start sleeping sooner and deeper.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is an anti-inflammatory tea used to help with nervousness, stress, and an upset stomach. It also reduces the symptoms of insomnia and sleeplessness. Chamomile tea acts as a tranquilizer. Its sedative effects may be a result of apigenin, Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source an antioxidant that relaxes the nerves and promotes sleep.

In one 2017 study, Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source 60 nursing home residents ingested 400 mg of chamomile extract daily. Their sleep quality drastically improved compared to those who didn’t consume any chamomile extract.

Similarly, a 2016 study Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source found that postpartum women slept better after drinking a cup of chamomile tea compared to those who did not drink chamomile tea. Please note that while chamomile tea is safe for postpartum women to consume, pregnant women should avoid drinking chamomile because it is a potential blood thinner.

During a study on individuals with chronic insomnia, one group took chamomile extract twice a day for 4 weeks, while the other group took a placebo. While there was no significant difference in sleep latency, quality, and duration, the group who had the chamomile extract noticeably improved in daytime functioning.

So, while the proven benefits of chamomile are inconclusive, several studies suggest chamomile tea is worth trying.

Lavender Tea

Lavender tea not only smells fantastic, but it’s also great for inducing sleep. Ancient Roman and Greek societies first used lavender in their baths to help them unwind.

Silexan, a type of lavender essential oil, may help decrease anxiety, Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source reduce stress, Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source and improve sleep quality. In a 2005 study, researchers found that even sniffing lavender oil increased the time participants spent sleeping.

In another 2012 study, women who struggled with insomnia noticed improvements in their sleep after inhaling lavender for 20 minutes twice a week for 12 weeks. Along with that, researchers found the women had slower and consistent heart rates after introducing lavender aromatherapy.

Lavender is potentially more effective in women than in men. During a 2015 study Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source on sleep-deprived postnatal women, women who drank a cup of lavender tea nightly for two weeks were less fatigued. After they stopped drinking the tea, their fatigue reappeared.

Valerian Root Tea

Valerian root has been used since the second century to treat anxiety, Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source headaches, insomnia, and improve sleep quality as a whole. Valerian root also comes in capsules and liquid form instead of only tea leaves.

It’s not quite clear how valerian root functions, but scientists believe it increases the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA receptors increase sleepiness and act similarly to certain anti-anxiety medications. Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source

Valerian tea has a variety of studies Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source supporting it as a sleep aid. It also doesn’t come with the negative side effects Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source of using sleep medications or supplements. However, since valerian root can potentially interfere with certain medications, talk to your doctor before drinking valerian root tea regularly.

Passionflower Tea

Passionflower tea is brewed from the leaves, flowers, and stems of the Passiflora plant.

Passionflower increases GABA Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source in the brain to promote relaxation, a good mood, and improved sleep quality. It can also help treat symptoms Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source of a generalized anxiety disorder without as many side effects as other treatments.

Best Teas for Sleep

During a 2011 study Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source on healthy adults, the 40 participants noted drastically better sleep quality after drinking one cup of passionflower tea for one week compared to the control group.

A 2013 study Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source suggests that passionflower tea is as effective at improving sleep quality as some prescription sedatives for insomnia.

Lemon Balm Tea

Lemon balm is citrus-scented tea, but is part of the mint family. While it’s most commonly sold as an oil extract, lemon balm leaves are also dried and seeped to be used as teas. Lemon balm has been used since the Middle Ages to reduce restlessness and promote deeper sleep.

In a 2011 medical study, Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source , lemon balm increased GABA levels in mice, suggesting that lemon balm may have a mild sedative effect. However, since this study was conducted on mice, it’s unknown how this translates to humans.

Still, another study Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source on human participants showed participants slept better after ingesting 600mg of lemon balm extract daily for two weeks.

FAQs

When should you drink nighttime tea?

It’s best to drink sleep-inducing foods and drinks, such as herbal tea, at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. This way, your body has the time to digest it, and then you can reap the benefits of your nighttime tea.

You can continue drinking tea up until you sleep. However, be cautious of drinking too much tea before sleeping as you may wake up at night to use the restroom.

Is drinking too much herbal tea bad for you?

Most people can drink about 3 to 4 cups of tea daily without any negative side effects. Also, most adverse effects are related to caffeinated teas, not herbal teas.

Still, drinking too much tea this frequently can cause anxiety, headaches, digestive issues, and worsen your sleep. Some herbal teas can also make prescription medications less effective, so always speak to your doctor before drinking herbal tea regularly.

Does milk help you sleep better?

Milk contains L-tryptophan and melatonin, two compounds connected to inducing sleep. Tryptophan is an amino acid found in protein-rich foods and helps produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating your mood and sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin is the sleep hormone and helps regulate your circadian rhythm.

Drinking warm milk before sleeping may also have a placebo effect in that the warm beverage is comforting. This is particularly true if your parents fed you warm milk before bed when you were a child. This soothing memory subconsciously relaxes your brain at nighttime and helps you get to sleep.

What is the most effective natural sleep aid?

If you’re not a fan of tea, you can always consume the capsule form of herbs such as chamomile, valerian root, and lavender. You can also try taking tryptophan, hops, or magnesium supplements since they contain sleep-inducing compounds.

What is the best food to eat at night?

Different foods contain a variety of nutrients and compounds to reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and induce sleep. Foods that induce sleep include the following:

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Turkey
  • Salmon
  • Kiwis
  • Bananas
  • Tart cherry juice
  • White rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Greek yogurt

When eating before bed, we recommend avoiding spicy, salty, or fatty foods because they can cause indigestion, acid reflux, and heartburn, thus making it harder to sleep.

Conclusion

The best bedtime teas include chamomile, lavender, and valerian root, among others. While tea isn’t guaranteed to give you the best sleep of your life, it can help induce sleepiness and relaxation. We suggest drinking tea alongside improving your sleep hygiene to promote high-quality sleep long-term.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.


About the author

April Mayer has a degree in exercise physiology and is a firm believer in the power of a good night’s sleep. April’s passion lies in helping others lead more productive lives by helping them get sound, restful sleep every night. April primarily writes about foods and vitamins for better sleep and has written several “better sleep guides” covering a wide variety of topics in her time with Early Bird.

View all posts

You’ll enjoy these posts

Based on your reading history, we think you’ll enjoy these posts…

Discover the ultimate sleep system

Choose your mattress

Shop top-rated mattresses with proven sleep-boosting materials.

Browse Mattresses

Get a pillow

We have the perfect pillow to pair with your mattress.

Browse Pillows

Pick out bedding

Bring out the best in your mattress with our soft and breathable bedding.

Browse Bedding