Getting good quality sleep is imperative for your overall health. Unfortunately, over 30% of people suffer from sleep-related problems, which render them unable to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get restorative sleep. Not getting high-quality sleep for the recommended seven or more hours can result in various health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and depression.
If you, too, suffer from sleep-rated problems, we have the perfect tool to help you catch some z’s: herbal teas.
Herbal teas have been around for centuries, used as natural sleep aids in ancient medicine. Modern scientific evidence also supports the use of herbal teas as a holistic way to reduce fatigue and stress and improve overall sleep quality. They can be a great beverage choice to relax and unwind during both day and night, especially if you are trying to cut down your caffeine intake.
While herbal teas can be made from almost any edible plant or herb, certain teas are more effective in aiding sleep and improving sleep quality than others. Below are the five herbal teas that will help you unwind and fall asleep with ease after a long and tiring day:
For years, tea made from the flowers of the chamomile plant has been used in herbal medicine to treat various ailments, such as insomnia, anxiety, and inflammation. The sweet and earthy tea manages to soothe your nerves and lull you to sleep – so much so that people often take it as a mild tranquilizer or sleep inducer. This calming effect is attributed to apigenin – an antioxidant rife in chamomile. Apigenin binds to particular receptors in the brain, which, in turn, alleviate anxiety and induce sleep.
According to a study conducted on sixty nursing home residents, those who consumed 400 mg of chamomile extract every day experienced better quality sleep than those who did not consume any. Another study that involved postpartum women experiencing poor sleep quality found that those who drank chamomile tea for two weeks reported an overall better sleep quality with reduced sleep barriers and depressive symptoms than controls.
Valerian root has been consumed as a sleep and stress aid for centuries. It has a long history of being used to treat sleep-impacting issues, such as nervousness, headaches, stress, and heart palpitations. Historically, it gained popularity during World War II when people in England began to use it to relieve stress and anxiety caused by airstrikes. Today, valerian root extract is one of the most widely consumed herbal sleep aids in the United States and Europe – commonly takes as tea. It is popular because it improves sleep quality without causing any adverse side effects typical of most sleep aids.
Valerian root has scientists scratching their heads as they cannot figure out exactly how this handy little sleep aid works to improve sleep quality. One theory is that it increases the levels of GABA – a neurotransmitter – in the body. When there is enough GABA running in your body, it can make you fall asleep.
Results from various studies prove the effectiveness of valerian root as a sleep aid. For instance, one study involving 27 people with sleep difficulties found that around 90% of participants reported improved sleep quality after drinking valerian tea. Moreover, those participants observed no adverse side effects – such as morning drowsiness – after consuming the tea. In another study, people who received 400 mg of valerian root every day fell asleep faster and experienced overall improved sleep quality compared to those who did not consume the extract. A recent review of 18 studies found that valerian tea could be effective as a remedy for insomnia, as well.
Valerian root has a distinct odor and earthy taste that some people find rather unpleasant. Adding a spoon of honey or maple syrup to your valerian tea can help improve its taste.
It is impossible to go through your chill-time arsenal without finding a lavender product – be it a lotion, bath bomb, or scented candle. The reason is plain and simple: it has a calming effect. Lavender is a purple herb that has been famous for its aromatic and relaxing scent since the Roman Empire. The Greeks and Romans often added lavender to their baths and were obsessed with its calming fragrance.
Despite its widespread use in aromatherapy, not many people know that you can drink lavender in tea form, as well. Lavender tea is obtained from the tiny purple buds of the flowering herb. It makes a great addition to a relaxing nighttime routine, as it settles your nerves and helps you fall asleep.
According to a study conducted on eighty postnatal women, those who inhaled the scent of lavender tea and drank it daily for a period of two weeks experienced less fatigue than the control group. While there is limited evidence to prove the efficacy of lavender tea as a sleep aid, there is no doubt that its relaxing aroma can help you unwind and fall into a peaceful slumber after a tiring day.
Floral and soothing, passionflower tea is made from the dried leaves, stems, and flowers of a plant called Passiflora incarnata. For years, passionflower tea has been used to alleviate anxiety and improve sleep quality. Like chamomile, passionflower also contains some flavonoids, which bind to the specific receptors in the brain and help ease symptoms of anxiety.
Recent studies prove that passionflower tea has the ability to improve sleep quality and treat insomnia, as well. For instance, one study conducted on forty healthy adults concluded that those who drank passionflower tea every day for a whole week reported a significant improvement in sleep quality compared to participants who did not drink the tea. Moreover, researchers have found that passionflower can be combined with other sleep-enhancing herbs to provide just as effective short-term insomnia relief as traditional sleeping medications. In one study, a combination of passionflower and valerian roots was used and compared with Ambien, a medicine commonly prescribed to insomniac patients. Results from the study concluded that the passionflower mixture was as effective as Ambien in improving sleep quality.
Magnolia is a traditional Chinese flowering part that has been around for more than a hundred million years. This ancient flowering plant is known for its sleep-inducing and stress-relieving effects. It has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years to treat various ailments, such as nasal congestion, abdominal pain, and stress.
The sedative effect of magnolia tea is due to honokiol- a chemical compound abundant in the stems, leaves, and bark of the magnolia plant. Honokiol reduces the time it takes to fall asleep by binding to GABA receptors in the brain, which help induce sleep. According to several studies conducted on mice, consuming magnolia tea or honokiol extracted from the magnolia plant significantly reduced the time taken to fall asleep and increased the length of sleep. Preliminary research suggests that drinking magnolia tea helps improve sleep quality and increase the overall sleep length; however, further research is required to confirm these effects.
Magnolia tea is mostly made from the bark of the magnolia plant; however, it can also comprise some dried stems and buds. Some people find the taste of the tea very strong and unpleasant. If the taste bothers you, you can opt for the capsulated magnolia bark supplement to gain the same benefits.
The five best herbal teas mentioned above have a rich history of use as natural sleep aids. Moreover, research also backs their efficacy in helping people fall into peaceful slumbers. Some herbal teas might help you fall asleep faster, while others might increase your overall sleep length. While more research is needed, it is conclusive that the sedative effects of some of the above-mentioned herbal teas can significantly people struggling to shut their eyes. However, always talk to your doctor before adding a new herbal tea to your nighttime routine to avoid any possible drug interactions or allergies.