The Best Tea for Sleep
Practicing good sleep hygiene is one of the most effective things you can do to improve your chances of falling asleep on time at night and gaining a restful night’s sleep. This set of practices includes making sure that your bedroom offers a conducive environment for sleep and setting up nighttime rituals that promote relaxation prior to bedtime. One common practice among those who take the time to create mindful bedtime routines is to drink a cup of tea in the evening.
For the greatest benefit, you’ll want to avoid any teas that include caffeine, as consuming caffeine late in the day can lead to nighttime wakefulness. You should also pay as much attention to how you’re drinking your tea as you do to what kind of tea you’re drinking. Slugging down a mugful as you’re trying to get a last item or two checked off your list for the day isn’t going to create the peaceful mood you need to unwind. If you’re ready to add relaxing with a warm cup of tea to your nighttime routine, here are some of the best herbal options:
Chamomile tea: This herbal tea, which is made from dried chamomile flowers, has long been recommended as a nighttime remedy to promote slumber. A 2010 study evaluating chamomile’s therapeutic effects suggested that the flavonoid apigenin found in the tea might be responsible for its sedative effect.
Peppermint tea: Mint tea is known as stress-reducer with anti-inflammatory properties. The menthol in the tea is also helpful for soothing a sore throat or relieving congestion. Peppermint also soothes an upset stomach and improves digestion. If your insomnia stems at least in part from feeling under the weather, peppermint tea may help you attack both problems at once.
Lemon balm tea: Lemon balm is a member of the mint family with mildly lemon-scented leaves. Like peppermint tea, it is typically used for soothing indigestion, combating anxiety, fighting colds and flu, and promoting sleep. For those who want the benefits of a mint tea but aren’t partial to the flavor of peppermint, this is a great option.
Lavender tea: You may be familiar with the scent of lavender from aromatherapy, where it is often used to promote calm. Lavender tea, made from fresh or dried buds of lavender, can help you achieve more restful sleep, and it has anti-inflammatory properties that can help you feel better while you rest.
Passionflower tea: Made from the leaves, stems, and flowers of the passionflower plant, this tea has traditionally been used to improve sleep and reduce anxiety. A 2011 study showed that it did, in fact, improve sleep quality in adults as compared to a placebo.
Many brands of teas marketed as being for bedtime include combinations of these and other herbs useful for promoting sleep, so if you would like to try more than one at a time, you may want to try a blend. If you’re taking prescription medications, check with your doctor before adding any herbal tea to your nighttime routine—they work because they contain powerful compounds that might interact in unexpected ways with your regular medication.
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