A sound sleep does a lot of good for your health.
There are lots of herbal teas in the market that promises to help you unwind and relax.
These teas have been used for centuries as natural sleep remedies. Scientific research also proves that herbal teas help with sleep.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the best teas for sleep.
Chamomile tea has been used to ease anxiety, inflammation, and insomnia for years.
Do you know that chamomile is usually regarded as a sleep inducer or a tranquilizer? This may explain why it is classified as one of the best teas for sleep.
It has calming effects. These calming effects are attributed to apigenin, an antioxidant. Chamomile tea contains a lot of apigenin. This antioxidant binds to certain receptors in your brain that can ease anxiety and trigger the sleep mechanism (3).
A study involving 60 residents at a nursing home found that those who took 400mg of chamomile extract every day slept better than those who did not take it (4).
Another study was done on postpartum women. These women suffered sleep problems, and so couldn’t sleep as well as they should. The women drank chamomile tea for two weeks. Results from the study showed that those who drank reported better sleep quality compared to those who did not (5).
But then, another study involving insomnia patients found that intake of 270mg twice per day for 28 days did not cause any significant improvements in sleep quality (6).
Frankly, the evidence supporting the sleep benefits of chamomile is weak and inconsistent. Very few studies have yielded any positive results. There is a need for more studies to prove that really, chamomile tea promotes good sleep.
The valerian root is one of the best teas for sleep. This herb has been used for hundreds of years to treat nervousness, headaches, and insomnia.
Presently, valerian root is widely used in the United States and Europe as a herbal sleep aid (8).
It is present in liquid or capsule form. It is also dried and sold in tea form.
Scientists and nutritionists do not have a full understanding of the sleep effects of valerian root.
But then, some researchers propose that it boosts the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter.
High levels of GABA increase sleepiness. This is the secret behind some anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax (7).
A few studies, although small, support the sleep aid benefits of valerian root.
For instance, a study involving 27 people with sleep problems discovered that more than 80 percent of participants slept better when taking the extract of valerian root.
As a plus, there were no side effects, like drowsiness, after taking the extract (9).
A comparative study involving 128 subjects found that administration of 400mg of valerian root (in liquid form) decreased the time it took for the subjects to fall asleep. It also improved the sleep quality in those who took it, compared to those who did not (10).
Another study evaluated the long-term effects of valerian root. Subjects in this study took 600mg of dried valerian root for 28 days. The effects they experienced was similar to the effect felt when taking 10mg of oxazepam. Oxazepam is a drug that is prescribed for insomnia (7).
The results from these studies were subjective, meaning that they were based on reports from the participant. There was no evaluation of brain activity, heart rate, or other objective data that is usually linked with sleep quality.
Valerian root tea qualifies as one of the best bedtime teas for a sound sleep considering that it has no side effects.
The lavender herb is well-known for its soothing and aromatic scent.
Ancient Romans and Greeks used lavender for their drawn bath.
The tea is made from the buds of the flowering plant. The buds have a purple color.
Lavender is native to the Mediterranean. However, it is cultivated all over the world (11).
Many people testify to the relaxing effects of lavender tea, as well as its ability to calm their nerves and improve sleep quality.
The good news is that these claims are supported by research.
A Taiwanese study involving 80 postnatal women found that intake of lavender tea or inhaling its aroma for two weeks reduced fatigue compared to those who did not take the tea. But then, it had no effects on their quality of sleep (12).
Another study involving 67 women found that lavender reduced their heart rate and heart rate variability, while also improving sleep quality (13).
There isn’t much evidence to prove that lavender improves the quality of sleep. However, it has a very relaxing aroma which helps you unwind, thus making you fall asleep faster.
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family. You can find it anywhere in the world.
Lemon balm is mostly sold in extract form. It is also widely used for aromatherapy. The leaves of lemon balm can be dried and used for tea.
Lemon balm has a citrus scent. It has been used since the Middle Ages to improve sleep and reduce stress.
Studies have shown that lemon balm increases the level of Gama aminobutyric acid in mice, indicating that it has sedative properties (16).
Also, a study showed that daily administration of 600mg of lemon balm extract for 15 days caused a 42% reduction in the symptoms of insomnia. Unfortunately, there was no control group in the study, thus making the results somewhat invalid (17).
If you have chronic sleep problems, try sipping some lemon balm tea before you sleep. It may help.
Most herbal teas are advertised as sleep aids. They include lavender, valerian root, and chamomile.
The herbs contained in these teas work by modifying or increasing the levels of certain sleep neurotransmitters.
Some neurotransmitters can help you to sleep faster, and improve your sleep quality. But then, the pieces of evidence are few.
Most researches failed to use the herb itself. Instead, they used the supplement or the extract form of the herb.
It is well-known that herbal extracts or supplements are concentrated forms of the herb. Thus, the more diluted tea may be less effective.
There is a need for larger studies to fully understand the sleep benefits of these herbal teas.
It is also worthy of note that many supplements and herbs can interact with medications (both OTC and prescription). As such, you should consult your doctor before taking any herbal tea alongside your medications. Yes, the results may vary by individual, but then, you lose nothing by giving these teas a try. Who knows? You could find them your best teas for sleep.