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Sweet Dreams: The Best Tea for Sleep

Do you have problems when you try to fall asleep or even suffer from mild insomnia? While there will most likely be underlying issues at play, having a cup of herbal tea can help you get better sleep and might even replace the sleep aid you’ve tried for so long without success. 

Teas have long been known to have calming effects and can help with a variety of mild health issues. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the most popular teas that are used as sleep aids and will show you where to buy them as well. 

Things to Consider 

There are many factors affecting our ability to get a good night’s sleep, such as stress and ill health. The best teas for sleep will be more beneficial if you deal with the issues that created the problem in the first place.

If you have serious issues with insomnia, you might want to consult with a doctor before taking herbal supplements, although they certainly can help on your way to configuring a multi-faceted plan to tackle sleepless nights and finally fall asleep.

Most of us can remember being told to drink a glass or cup of warm milk with nutmeg to help usher in a good night’s sleep by an elderly relative when we were young, but some people find the associated indigestion, bloating and gas to be a bit much when trying to drop off to sleep.

Paving the Way for Good Sleeping Patterns

First of all, the most important thing to do is to analyze your evening rituals, eating habits and general health to discover any possible traits that can be altered before delving into a successful sleeping regime or discovering what tea is the best for sleep. 

Some good habits to develop include:

  • Having a set bedtime every night
  • Winding down before bed with reading or meditating
  • Trying not to eat foods that take a while to digest
  • Reducing stressful activities and night-time TV
  • Creating a peaceful setting for sleep

It takes time to set up a whole new pattern when you’re used to living a certain way, however, you will appreciate these simple steps once they become natural to you and a nice, warm cup of tea is just the thing to get you in the mood when preparing for bed.

Why sleep quality is important

In today’s modern world, getting enough quality sleep is increasingly difficult. However, having proper rest is essential for helping you maintain your wellbeing and overall health. In fact, sleep is considered to be just as important for your health as having a balanced diet and regular exercise regime.

But, today it’s tough! We have smartphones, demanding jobs and less time for ourselves than ever before. But, with quality sleep, you can enjoy the following benefits.

1 – Better concentration and productivity

By having proper sleep quality, you give your cognitive abilities the best possible chance to work at their peak. Just think about the last time you were really tired: you were probably feeling very unfocused and unable to think properly.

2 – Healthy weight maintenance

While there is no direct link to poor sleep and weight gain, the signs are all there. Tired people are a lot less likely to exercise or spend too much time putting together healthy meals. If you’ve had a night’s worth of quality sleep, you’re much more likely to be motivated to look after yourself. Otherwise, it’ll be far too easy to order take-out and veg in front of the TV.

3 – Lower the risk of heart disease

According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting enough sleep during the nights helps the body to regulate its blood pressure levels. By helping your body carry out this function, you can reduce the chances of developing sleep-related medical conditions such as sleep apnea.

4 – Better emotional intelligence and social skills

If you’re wide-eyed, awake and feeling good after a night’s sleep, people are going to notice. Studies have also shown that those who don’t get enough sleep are less likely to be empathetic and take other people into consideration, resulting in negative social interactions.

5 – Better mental health

The links between sleep quality and mental health are well-known. People who have regular bad sleep or even suffer from insomnia are often diagnosed with conditions such as anxiety or even depression. While good sleep won’t cure mental illness, it is an important part of your health.

6 – Supports your immunity

Sleep helps your body repair, recover and regenerate, and your immune system is no exception. By having plenty of good sleep and all the other benefits that come from it (such as less stress and better heart health) your overall immune system will respond in kind.

The best teas for sleep

Ranging from the gentlest to the more potent herbal teas, the following list details a variety of herbal teas so you can find out what’s best suited to your needs. While one tea sipper might prefer a stronger action, another might need to be eased into a gentle sleep.

The best choices for sleep depend on a variety of factors so read on to find the one for you. Also, please bear in mind that loose leaf teas are typically better than tea bags because they are often more ‘whole’, but tea bags can also be great as well – just make sure that you get high-quality options.

1. Chamomile tea

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Chamomile is one of the gentlest herbs and is also one of the most effective bedtime teas around, which is even safe enough for children: however you should at least halve the dose for little ones. Naturally sweet, chamomile tea can be f enhanced with honey, making it a nice alternative dessert for those with a sweet tooth.

The calming actions of chamomile tea help with winding down after a stressful day and chamomile contain antioxidants and antimicrobial properties, along with the ability to reduce inflammation. This flowery tea relaxes the body like a mild sedative but is safe enough to be taken every day.

Our chamomile tea recommendation: Harney & Sons Chamomile Herbal Tea

2. Lemon Balm tea

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Another gentle herb, lemon balm is a naturally calming sedative that helps with treating anxiety. Lemon balm tea soothes overthinking and relaxes the brain, considered by many to be just as effective as a cup of caffeine-free green tea before bed.

The herbal actions of Lemon Balm tea for promoting good sleep have been known since the Dark Ages. This herb is tasty, can even relieve pain and other actions include the prevention of muscle spasms, which is useful for those who find it difficult to drop off at night due to restlessness and bad nerves.

Our lemon balm tea recommendation: Traditional Medicinals Organic Lemon Balm Tea

3. Catnip tea

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While the active ingredients in Catnip are well-known for driving cats into a frenzy, the opposite is true when it comes to how it affects humans. A mild sedative, this herb has been used for centuries to deal with insomnia and to promote relaxation.

Also known to increase perspiration, which is great for battling infections, Catnip can settle the stomach, relax tension headaches and soothe little ones if they are agitated before bed, although you should consult with your doctor before administering any herbs to children as well as yourself.

Our catnip tea recommendation: Health Embassy Catnip Tea

4. Passionflower tea

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A known herb for dealing with anxiety, Passionflower tea is a great night-time drink for those who toss and turn due to obsessive over-thinking. With anti-anxiety actions, passionflower tea can help with the nervous system to relax the body and ease you into a quality sleep, especially if you deal with insomnia.

Typically mixed with other relaxing herbs, a cup of this passionflower tea at least an hour before bedtime will help ease you sleep soundly without the after-effects of grogginess in the morning. Along with calming your body and mind, Passionflower is a beautiful bloom that is reminiscent of peaceful dreams.

Our passionflower tea recommendation: Buddha Teas Passionflower Tea

5. Valerian root tea

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Considered by many to be the mother of all sleep-inducing herbs, valerian tea is also pungent, so you might want to brew it outside or when no one else is home, as they might think you have a bunch of dirty socks lying around. The strange thing is that valerian root is actually quite flowery and pleasant to drink. 

A potent herbal sedative, valerian root is also great for chronic pain and can bring on a strong desire to sleep when taken an hour or so before bed. Naturally calming and relaxing, this valerian root can cause a “herbal hangover” so be sure to take it when you know you have time to recover in the morning.

Our valerian tea recommendation: Buddha Teas Organic Valerian Root Tea

Honorable Mentions 

  • Skullcap – great for periods of high stress
  • Peppermint – for promoting a peaceful sleep
  • Hops – has a long history of calming the nerves
  • California Poppy – a natural sedative and mild pain reliever
  • Lavender – relaxes the mind and eases depression

The best herbal tea for sleep is different for all of us, depending on our daily lives, psychological issues, and overall health. After consulting with your health professional, try out some of these herbal teas and see what works best for you.

Some might prefer to use essential oils in conjunction with a nice cup of tea before bed. Whatever works is the rule of thumb, as long as safety is considered, especially if you’re allergic to some plants or are pregnant or nursing.

Remember to water down the tea if administered to a child or an elderly person. Herbal teas are certainly better than popping pills unless your doctor advises otherwise.

Go forth and rest

So, now that you know more about finding the ideal bedtime herbal tea to improve your sleep, you can find better ways to fall asleep. By finding your ideal herbal tea to help you fall asleep you can drop potentially harmful sleep aids in favor of teas such as valerian, lavender, chamomile tea and others. All you need to do is try out our recommendations in the links above and find your favorite. And then, sweet dreams and better health await! Good night!

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