Tea drinking is on a noticeable rise amongst Americans – and alternative types are becoming even more popular as we begin to research the different benefits inherent in the variety of flavors and ingredients available.
One of the most talked about side-effects of tea drinking is the sleep advantages that particular teas are supposed to have.
However, this is a surprisingly conflicted area of discussion – does tea really help us sleep, or is it all just a warm, comforting placebo?
The fact is, although there is lacking scientific research, and subsequent evidence, into the night-time advantages of tea drinking, there is also ample evidence that many of the ingredients do have benefits, and thus, until more research is done, we can safely assume that the teas do their sleepy job, too.
10 Best Teas for Sleep
But which teas are the best? Let’s find out.
Let’s start with the obvious – chamomile tea. Ask anyone for a sleepy tea recommendation and you know chamomile tea will come up as the best tea for sleep.
And there’s good reason for it, too. The actual ingredient of chamomile has been linked with sleep aid since the dawn of the tea-drinking-caveman (cave gentleman?), mostly because the flower has proven anxiety and stress relieving properties, which are huge components of contemporary insomnia.
The reason chamomile tea has retained such a popularity is arguably due to its lack of other side-effects, or heavy sedation that comes with some other natural remedies.
It’s relaxing, yummy and gentle – making it the perfect cup of sleeping tea.
Naturally, you want to make sure that you’re drinking a decaffeinated form of green tea otherwise the beneficial effects can be nulled. But as long as you go decaf, green is a great tea to help you sleep. That’s ’cause these teas contain theanine – an amino acid that encourages drowsiness and fulfilling sleep.
As an added bonus, green tea can also contain flavonoids which prompt your metabolism to tick over during the night, helping with weight and appetite regulation. So if you want to lose weight while you sleep – who doesn’t? – this is your best tea for sleep.
The root of the valerian plant is used for a multitude of medicinal solutions. The most popular, by far, is its track record for helping insomnia sufferers get some much needed shut-eye, again, devoid of troublesome side effects.
However, the plant also has a reputation as being a powerful anxiety combatant, but recent studies have shown that there is little substantial evidence for this claim, so take it with a pinch of figurative salt.
Kava Kava tea
Kava is a controversial addition to the list. On one hand, it’s effective – seriously, it is a tea that makes you sleep. But on the other, it’s main ingredient (kava) is thought to be responsible for a whole list of complications with the FDA offering warnings about the ingredient.
That being said, it is, again, effective, thanks to its anxiety and insomnia combating effects, and it is still unclear whether the problems associated with it can be empirically proven once and for all.
Stisl, it’s advised that you do some more research of your own to quell any worries you might have about taking this particular tea before you incorporate it into your nightly ritual.
Lemon balm tea
You will often see lemon balm worm its way into sleep aid articles and recommendations due to the plethora of maladies it has helped with through the centuries.
Its most prominent use, today, is for relaxing and alleviating stress, whilst also making for a pretty yummy cup of tea itself (often combined with honey for an extra little spark!).
This one might not make it to the top of many lists of teas to help you sleep, mainly because it’s thought to be an energizing infusion which helps with digestive issues (which is all true); however many peoples’ insomnia is caused by just those symptoms – particularly after a heavy evening meal.
As such; if its cramps or digestive discomfort keeping you from nightly slumber, peppermint might be the one for you.
Oh, peppermint also helps lower testosterone levels and has been shown to reduce excess hairiness in excessively hairy women. So if you’ve got that going on, you’re killing three birds with one tea. Not a bad deal.
If your insomnia is caused by a racing mind, or frequent interruptions during your nightly sleep (followed by a struggle to get back to sleep), then passionflower tea just might be your cup of sleepy tea.
This particular infusion boosts GABA production in the brain (helps to lower activity a little, and ‘quieten’ things down mentally) and allow for a more relaxed drifting off.
An unusual entry, hibiscus tea is another sleep aid tea which takes out symptoms of insomnia at the root and indirectly helps with sleep. This tea has been proven to have positive effects over high blood pressure and bodily tension – two symptoms which can keep even the deepest sleeper awake at night.
It also has the added benefit of potentially helping fend off diabetes (although this shouldn’t be taken as gospel until more research is carried out).
Hawthorne infused tea
This plant is chock full of good stuff – not least its calming effects in general, but also its relaxing power over the cardiovascular system which can lower blood pressure and subsequently take some of the bite out of nightly stress.
This is another tea for sleeping that’s also abundant in flavonoids, just like the green tea, which we already know comes with its own battery of positive effects on the body. Another perk? Hawthorne tea is safe to drink regularly throughout the day, with no real warnings to go with it.
Magnolia Bark tea
Magnolia bark is a longstanding herbal remedy for anxiety and stress complaints in Asian countries, which is also thought to contain some sleep-inducing properties to boot.
The bark can come in tea bag variety, or in tinctures which can be added to other teas for an added nocturnal kick.