Hot beverages are often our go-to when we are looking to get warm, relaxed, and cozy. While a hot mug of tea seems like the perfect way to end your night, to receive the sleep-inducing benefits of this beverage, you’ll have to understand what is in tea that makes it a great sleep aid.
As a whole, herbal teas help with sleep because of their natural sedatives and antioxidants. Different teas target specific issues, so you’ll want to know which to choose.
In this article, we will explore how herbal teas promote better sleep. As we learn about herbal tea, we will dig into the benefits of specific kinds of herbal teas, as well as tips for making your tea most effective and flavorful. Read on to learn how to make the best out of your cup of nighttime tea.
How Tea Helps You Sleep
Herbal Teas help you sleep by providing you with the natural sedatives that are present in plants like chamomile and lavender. These sedatives improve sleep duration and quality.
Like most things we eat and drink, it isn’t simply the food or beverage that gives us the desired results. What gets results is the ingredients that go into it. This is especially true when talking about tea. In tea’s case, it isn’t just any plant or leaf that will help you fall asleep.
True Tea vs Herbal Tea
All true teas are made from the leaves of the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. The oxidation of the leaves is what causes the different types of tea like green, black, and white. While these true teas have many health benefits, they also have caffeine. Physician One says that if you want a tea that will improve your sleep you should go for a caffeine-free blend. This leads us to herbal teas.
Herbal teas are a caffeine-free alternative to true teas. Herbal teas is a blend of different fruits and plants; this means that instead of being limited to only the benefits that the Camellia Sinensis has to offer, you can target a specific fruit or plant’s benefit. This gives us the freedom to choose teas infused with plants that have safe and natural sedatives for better sleep.
Some of the best teas for sleep contain chemical compounds such as
- Flavonoids and
These natural compounds help with issues like stress, anxiety and supporting sleep receptors. Herbal flavors can also be mixed to allow for more flavor with zero caffeine and zero sugars needed.
Now that we know the benefits of herbal tea overall, we’ll discuss some of the most beneficial kinds of herbal tea and what they target in this next section.
Best Teas For sleep
Great teas for sleep include lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, and valerian root. They’ve been proven to help with things like stress, anxiety, and quality and duration of sleep. Read on for teas that can help you sleep and wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Lavender Improves Duration and Quality of Sleep
In a study done by the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Medical University of Vienna, it was shown that taken as an oral supplement, lavender improves the duration and quality of sleep.
So, we know lavender oil leads to better slumber, but what about in tea? Well, in another study done by the Institute of Allied Health Sciences, postnatal women who experience poor sleep quality reported feeling less fatigued after drinking a cup of lavender tea. Both studies show us that the Lavendula Angustifolia by itself leads to a well-rested feeling, so add it to your favorite hot beverage and you’re in for a full night of first-rate sleep.
Chamomile Has a Mild Tranquilizing Effect
According to the Sleep Foundation, chamomile tea has a mild tranquilizing effect. While that may seem scary, it’s due to its natural antioxidant, apigenin, found in many sleep aid medicines. In a study focusing on the worsening of insomnia with age, one group reported that they experienced better sleep quality after taking chamomile extract tablets while those who did not receive the extract did not.
Lemon Balm Decreases Brain Activity
One of the main culprits for trouble getting to and staying asleep is restlessness, and lemon balm targets just that. As it inhibits the enzyme GABA transaminase, it encourages increased levels of neurotransmitter GABA which decreases activity in the nervous system. This decreased activity has a calming effect and reduces stress and anxiety.
Valerian Root Makes You Fall Asleep Faster
Valerian Root has sedatives, valepotriates, and sesquiterpenes. In one study conducted by the Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior Journal, it was found that those who drank valerian extract before bed fell asleep faster than those who’d taken the placebo.
Now that we’ve explored some of the best nighttime teas, we’ll learn some tips for brewing a better cup in the next section.
Tips for A Better Cup Of Tea
Some tips for a better cup of tea include using loose leaf tea, keeping ingredients simple, skipping the tea ball, and knowing the difference between an infusion and a decoction will drastically improve your cup of tea.
Consider Loose Leaf Tea
While you may be used to the convenience of store-bought tea bags there are many benefits to loose leaf tea. Aside from being able to customize your tea to fit your specific needs, and in this case better sleep, loose leaf tea combats the bitter taste most new tea drinkers complain of.
That bitter taste is often due to over-steeping those finely ground leaves, but it’s completely avoidable using loose leaf tea and a strainer.
Keep Ingredients Simple
If you want the herbal tea that you meticulously picked out to make the perfect nightcap to shine through, you mustn’t overpower your tea with different kinds of milk or sugars. A few honey drops won’t hurt you, but now that we’ve discussed how to get rid of that bitter taste, there is no need to distract from the natural flavors of your herbal tea with overpowering sweeteners or milk.
Skip The Tea Ball
When I suggest loose leaf tea, your first thought might be, “I need to purchase a tea ball.” but tea balls can end up ruining the taste of your tea entirely. The idea is for the leaves to expand in the water so all the flavor can be soaked up. The more space the water has to interact with your leaves the more favorable your tea will be.
Instead, opt for pouring your water over the loose leaves and then using a strainer to separate the leaves from your beverage.
Infusion vs. Decoction
Knowing when you’re making an infusion versus when you are making a decoction can be the difference between a bland, flavorless cup of tea and a nice calming delightful cup of tea.
An infusion is made with flowers, leaves, and fruit. This process is done by pouring hot water over the tea and letting it steep. Some people even plant herbal tea gardens for just this reason. Because these materials are softer they break down easily.
For tougher materials, a decoction is best. Teas made with
take longer to bring the flavor out of and to process properly. To get the most benefit out of these materials, you will want to pour cold water over the tea and bring it to a simmer. After 10 to 15 minutes, your decoction is done.
The Takeaway: Sleep Doesn’t have to Be Elusive with Herbal Teas
A lot of us struggle with sleep; hopefully, even more of us enjoy a great cup of tea. Making tea that tastes great and helps with sleep is possible. With a variety of flavors, all with natural calming effects, herbal tea is the way to go. If you can’t sleep because you’re feeling stressed, you might want to try an herbal tea for anxiety as well. Good luck and sleep well!