Tea is one of the most preferred beverages around the world after water. In the US alone, around 80% of individuals drink tea – out of which 50% are regular tea drinkers.
Americans are incredibly fond of their tea. It provides similar enhancements in alertness as coffee, but with a comparatively lesser amount of caffeine, and therefore tea interferes relatively lower with your sleep as compared to coffee and can be easily enjoyed during the latter half of the day than the usual 2 pm cut off point for consuming coffee.
Also, there are several bedtime tea recipes that are herbal preparations and are completely caffeine-free. Herbal teas usually contain the same ingredients as found in a wide range of herbal sleep supplements. As such, it is not the tea itself, but rather the constituents that aid in providing you a better sleep.
Though tea is generally a much more pleasing way to consume these ingredients as compared to sleep supplements and can, therefore, be used to deliver a calming effect along with promoting better sleep.
Millions of people across the US suffer from poor sleep quality or insomnia. Also, stress and anxiety can make it tough for the body to get a good night’s sleep.
By creating a combination of many anti-anxiety and pro-sleep herbal ingredients, several bedtime tea recipes create a calming and pleasant bedtime experience that induces a sound sleep at the same time.
Certain sleep-enhancing tea ingredients tend to have a sedative effect, such as valerian or chamomile, while others, such as lemon balm or lavender, help in reducing the anxiety and stress that is a significant trigger behind chronic insomnia.
Also, there are a few sleep-enhancing teas, such as those containing spearmint, which help reduce a wide range of symptoms associated with indigestion. Such herbal preparations ensure that your body stays relaxed and ready for sleep.
Herbal teas can dramatically enhance sleep quality as well as mood, thanks to a wide range of herbs and chemical compounds featuring soothing aromas along with sleep-inducing properties.
In this article, we bring you a collection of top 8 herbal teas that help you treat insomnia, reduce the symptoms of depression, relax your body, and get a good night’s sleep.
What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a condition associated with difficulty in falling asleep or remaining asleep, even while individual desires to stay asleep. Individuals with insomnia tend to feel dissatisfied with the sleep and generally experience a wide range of symptoms, including fatigue, low energy, mood disturbances, reduced performance, and difficulty concentrating.
Insomnia can be of Two Types:
- Acute insomnia: a brief phase of sleeplessness that may be triggered by a life circumstance; for example, difficulty falling asleep due to some bad news or the night before an examination.
- Chronic insomnia: a disrupted sleep pattern that can last for weeks, months, or more. It can be triggered by an underlying medical or psychiatric issue.
[Read: Natural Ways to Treat Insomnia]
Role of Herbal Teas to Treat Insomnia
Drinking tea before going to sleep soothes many individuals. There is a common calming effect of sipping a warm liquid before you nod off.
Of course, caffeinated beverages such as black tea, white tea, or caffeinated green tea must be avoided right before going to bed; there is clear evidence that drinking herbal teas before going to bed can facilitate sound sleep.
Herbal teas contain the same ingredients as found in a wide range of sleep supplements such as the valerian root. As such, most of these ingredients are quite stinky to be consumed alone. Also, taking with a swig of water doesn’t produce the same relaxing experience as slowly sipping a cup of warm herbal tea.
The majority of herbal teas contain the right blend of anti-anxiety and pro-sleep ingredients that help soothe and calm your body along with promoting sleepiness. While several pro-sleep teas have ingredients like lemon balm and lavender that help reduce anxiety and stress to facilitate a great sleep, some contain mild sedatives such as valerian or chamomile that boost sleepiness.
Did You Know?
- 12% of individuals dream in black and white
- 2/3rd of a cat’s life is spent asleep
- 1/3rd of a human’s life is spent sleeping
8 Best Herbal Tea for Insomnia
Let’s now discuss some of the most effective herbal teas that help relax your body and induce sleepiness when consumed before going to bed.
1. Chamomile tea
One of the most popular herbs amongst Americans, chamomile works excellent when used as an ingredient in an herbal tea preparation for sleep. This perennially-popular tea has been used for thousands of years to treat insomnia, upset stomach, anxiety, and stress.
Chamomile has an extremely positive effect on people suffering from mild to moderate anxiety disorder. Also, it has potent antidepressant properties. The tea serves as a mild tranquilizer to relax your muscles and nerves.
Several studies have revealed that chamomile provides various advantages, though most results and findings are still inconclusive when it comes to sleep. A 2011 study split people with insomnia into two groups. While one group used a placebo, the other consumed a chamomile extract for 4 consecutive weeks twice a day.
While chamomile extract did not affect the onset, quality, and overall length of the sleep, it did show minor improvements in daytime functioning. In another study conducted in 2005, chamomile extracts helped rats fall asleep much quicker.
Despite concrete evidence, chamomile is believed to facilitate sound sleep and keep insomnia at bay since it exhibits strong calming effects that promote relaxation in the body, which is a close promoter of sleep.
However, chamomile has the potential to induce allergic reactions, and must, therefore, be avoided entirely by pregnant or nursing women or anyone nearing a surgery because of its potent blood-thinning properties. To get the most favorable results, steep this flowery and sweet tea for some 10 minutes before consuming.
[Read: Benefits of Chamomile Tea]
2. Valerian tea
Whereas chamomile is the most sought after tea to facilitate sound sleep, there is a comparatively stronger option that is extensively used by people who need assistance falling asleep: valerian tea.
As compared to chamomile, valerian tea has shown moderate improvements in treating the symptoms of insomnia with regular use.
As a potent natural sedative, the valerian root has been extensively used ever since the 2nd century to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and insomnia, help individuals fall asleep, and improve the overall sleep quality.
The valerian root works exceptionally well and is, therefore, fancied over melatonin supplements by a large number of people across the US. Also, valerian tea facilitates a sound sleep without inducing most of the adverse effects associated with other widely-used sleep medications.
However, the valerian root can be habit-forming or cause adverse effects when consumed with other medications. Therefore, it is recommended that you consult your doctor before including it in your daily routine to aid sleep. To get the most favorable results, steep it for a minimum of 5 minutes before consuming.
3. Decaf green tea
In general, green tea is a great option and offers a wide range of health benefits. Apart from its numerous health benefits to boost your overall health and wellness, green tea serves as a strong bedtime tea that tastes better than most herbal teas and helps induce sound sleep.
The decaf variant consists of theanine, which improves sleep and reduces stress.
A recent study, which focused on men in their 20s, concluded that consuming a pure L-theanine supplement ahead of going to sleep helps enhance sleep efficiency, along with leading to a more energized state of mind upon waking.
Since a cup of decaf green tea doesn’t offer the right amount of theanine, people having the moderate-to-high intensity of insomnia might consider using a pure L-theanine supplement.
Other health benefits of green tea include increased cognitive performance, potential weight loss, deeper sleep, reduced diabetes risk, and better digestion.
4. Lavender tea
Lavender works well to reduce anxiety and stress, which tends to aggravate insomnia to keep people up at night.
The remarkable sleep benefits of lavender tea can be attributed to its small, instead of ingesting it: a 2005 research concluded that inhaling lavender oil ahead of going to bed increased the deep-sleep time, along with leading to higher energy levels on waking up the next morning(1).
Lavender tea tends to exhibit stronger effects in women as compared to men.
In a research carried out on new postnatal mothers, it was found that the participants who consumed 1 cup of lavender tea for 2 straight weeks resulted in lower rates of fatigue and depression, an effect that vanished when the participants stopped consuming the lavender tea.
5. Lemon balm tea
Ever since the Middle Age, people who have insomnia have been using this calming and soothing herb to reduce indigestion, anxiety, and stress. Lemon balm, which belongs to the mint family, exhibits a soothing aroma along with a minty yet lemony flavor. You can purchase lemon balm teas from the market, or steep a few lemon balm leaves in a bowl of hot water to prepare the tea at home.
To get the most favorable results against insomnia, the lemon balm can be combined with some other herbs. In a recent study, 81% of the participants having mild sleep problems slept better on using a combination of lemon balm and the valerian root as compared to those who used a placebo.
As such, the lemon balm has the potential to interact with your brain’s GABA receptors, the activation of which leads to reduced stress and better sleep.
[Read: Benefits of Lemon Balm]
6. Passionflower tea
Passion flower tea is highly preferred by individuals with obsessive and anxious thoughts. The floral tea helps in calming the stomach as well as the mind to induce better sleep along with alleviating indigestion.
Passionflower also helps in relaxing your nervous system. A 2011 study concluded that it improves the quality of sleep at least in the short-term.
7. Magnolia Bark
A popular flowering plant, Magnolia has been around for more than 100mn years.
Magnolia tea, which is mostly prepared from the plant’s bark but can occasionally contain dried stems and buds, has been used in ancient Chinese medicine for relieving the symptoms of stress, nasal congestion, and abdominal discomfort.
It is also known for its potent sedative and antianxiety effects. The sedative effect of this plant is attributed to honokiol, a compound found in the flowers, bark, and stems of the magnolia plant. Honokiol tends to activate the GABA receptors to increase sleepiness.
8. Rose Tea
Herbal tea prepared from rose petals provides a soothing aroma along with a floral flavor. The rose plant is known for its mild tranquilizing effects.
A study published in the Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences concluded that rose tea interacts with our nervous system to create a mild hypnotic effect that induces sleep in a manner similar to medications such as Valium
The herbal teas discussed in this article inhibit stress hormones in the brain to relieve the symptoms of anxiety, thus facilitating sleep. Drinking a cup of herbal tea 30 minutes before going to bed can soothe and clam your body along with inducing sleepiness.
Also, the ingredients in these teas increase the quality and time you spend in the deep sleep cycle. Choose one of the teas discussed above, prepare a hot cup, and sip your way to a great night’s sleep.