Do you find yourself tossing and turning all night? Centuries before Ambien and melatonin supplements existed, insomniacs and people with poor sleep quality used herbal tea to help get the rest they needed. Some of these teas can still be an effective sleep aid option for people who prefer to use natural remedies to improve their health and wellness.
You can buy herbal tea for sleep management at an online tea and coffee shop. Most of the varieties listed below can be found in various blends and may also be purchased as loose leaf tea or in convenient tea bags.
Valerian is one of the most popular herbal remedies for poor sleep. It has been used in natural sleep remedies for decades. Studies have found that valerian has a positive effect on sleep latency, structure, and perception; in other words, subjects who took it fell asleep more quickly, spent more time in the most restful phases of sleep, and did not feel as if they had a hard time getting to sleep.
Valerian is usually described as tasting woodsy, with strong earthy flavors that intensify the longer it is brewed. This means that while valerian is a tried-and-true sleep aid, many people will find it unpleasant to sip casually on a regular basis. Luckily, there are many delicious tea blends featuring valerian that temper its strong flavors with lighter notes for a more palatable final product.
2. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is a common herbal ingredient in teas meant to improve sleep. In a mouse study, subjects given lemon balm extract fell asleep more quickly and stayed asleep longer than subjects in the control group. Lemon balm is frequently used in conjunction with valerian to provide a more potent effect, but it is sometimes used alone as well.
Tea made with lemon balm has a mild lemon taste with a mellow brightness. It makes a very subtle brew all on its own, so it is often paired with other ingredients to provide more depth of flavor. This is another reason why you will usually find it blended with valerian – their flavor profiles complement each other very well. The way they work together to provide a greater improvement to sleep quality is an added bonus.
Chamomile tea is used promote calmness and relaxation, and that can help you get better sleep. In a scientific study, exhausted women who had recently given birth were instructed to drink chamomile tea for 4 weeks. By the end of this period, these women demonstrated significantly lower sleep inefficiency scores compared to women in the control group, as well as fewer symptoms of depression.
Chamomile tea has a light, slightly sweet floral flavor that resembles the taste of apples. It’s a popular, classic beverage that is often given to children because it is so mild and easily tolerated. If you don’t drink tea very often, this may be a good type to start with. However, those who enjoy bold flavors may find it a bit boring all on its own.
Lavender is another calming herb that shows promise as a sleep aid. Japanese students who were exposed to the scent of lavender for 5 days reported less sleepiness after they woke up each day, suggesting that their sleep was deeper and more restful than usual.
Lavender tea is very floral and with a slight hint of mint. Some people describe it tasting soapy, likely because of how often lavender is used in personal hygiene products. Like valerian and lemon balm, it is often blended with another ingredient when used in herbal tea. When consumed alone, many people like to add a spoonful of honey to their cup.
Peppermint tea is best known for its stomach-soothing properties, but science suggests that it can also be used to help calm you down and prepare you for restful sleep. Study participants exposed to peppermint oil before bed slept longer and experienced fewer sleep disturbances than those who did not use the oil. Peppermint tea is less concentrated but still offers similar sleep-promoting benefits.
Peppermint tea is a classic herbal option that tastes cool, slightly sweet, and of course, minty. If you don’t usually enjoy peppermint candies and other mint-flavored items, this may not be the best option for you. The taste of menthol is unmistakable and adding sugar or milk will not disguise it. However, many people love the sharp bite and cooling sensation that peppermint is known for.
Contrary to its invigorating name, passionflower has also been found to improve sleep when brewed into a tea. In one study, participants were instructed to drink a cup of passionflower tea right before bed for 7 straight days, keeping a sleep diary during the entire period. Participants who actually consumed the tea reported significantly better sleep than those who were given a placebo.
Passionflower tea is described as tasting light and slightly grassy, but rather bland overall. The leaves provide a very delicate flavor that, like chamomile, doesn’t always capture people’s interest when brewed alone. If you find you don’t care for it, try it in a blend with other herbs or with a little milk and sugar to make it more appealing.
The Natural Route to Better Sleep
Using herbal tea for sleep is an effective and low-risk way to get more rest and start living a better life. It’s easier than ever to find delicious high-quality teas that incorporate the ingredients listed above. Choose one that appeals to you and start adding a nightly cup of tea into your bedtime routine; it can’t hurt, and it might help you recapture some of that energy you’ve been missing.