With 1 in 10 of us struggling with mild insomnia, many are looking for simple, cheap ways to get things back in order. That’s where herbal tea comes in – we’ll be diving into 5 of the best teas to get you through the night.
We’ve all been there – those nights where you swear you’re going to bed early, only to find yourself bingeing that show until the morning light alerts you to the fact that not only have you not slept, but your eyes are dry, your neck hurts from staring at the computer and you’ve got a whole day ahead of you. When we get our sleep cycle out of whack – and this also includes those times when we have a hard time getting off to sleep due to stress and anxiety, it has a knock-on effect for our whole day – and our whole body too. Sleep, after all, is an essential part of our function. Radio personality, Peter Tripp, proved this in his 1959 stunt to stay awake for 200 hours. As you can imagine, it didn’t end well – the radio star ended up losing his job due to the mental and physical after effects of this immense sleep deprivation. Of course, that is on the extreme end of things! Our bodies will force us off to sleep before it gets to that stage – but, what we’re trying to say is that getting quality, regular sleep is kind of a big deal. The ramifications of poor sleep on a smaller scale – say, you only get a couple of hours’ worth of shuteye – include grogginess, a lack of mental clarity and an inability to focus. Luckily, there are a number of teas with powerful sedative and relaxing qualities to help us get off to sleep and keep our sleep cycle regular. Take a look at our top 5 to sip on when you’re having one of those nights.
This comforting tea is one of the most popular herbal sleep remedies, and this comes down to the sedative properties of the chamomile plant. While it hasn’t been proven to improve insomnia, research has found it to significantly improve the quality of our sleep, which is especially beneficial for those of us who struggle with broken sleep or have some difficulty falling off to sleep. It works because of a chemical compound known as apigenin, which binds to the same receptors in the brain as some anti-anxiety medications. To put it simply, it’ll help you feel sleepy and relaxed.
This aromatic tea is believed to induce relaxation, sleepiness and a greater sense of calm. A study followed a group of people who drank a cup daily for 2 weeks, finding that their fatigue was significantly reduced, indicting that this tea may well improve our sleep quality and help set us up for good sleep hygiene. A common sleep-disturber is anxiety, and research found that lavender tea could reduce the severity of symptoms, thereby increasing our chances of getting a good night’s sleep.
Passionflower is a known natural remedy for mild anxiety symptoms, but what many don’t know is that it also has sedative properties. Of course, the anxiety-reducing elements may also play into the sleep improvement aspect, much like with lavender tea. In fact, research backs up this tea’s ability to not only fight anxiety, but to boost our sleep quality too. Some of the symptoms of anxiety that could be interfering with your sleep cycle include:
- Restlessness or edginess
- Headaches and unexplained pain
- Racing heart
- Shortness of breath
- Uncontrollable worry
- Inability to concentrate
So, if your anxiety is keeping you up all night, it could be worth brewing a warm cup of passionflower tea.
Magnolia tea is brewed using the dried bark and stems of the plant of the same name, and there are a number of promising studies indicating their uses for sleep improvement. This comes down to the compounds known as magnolol and honokiol, both of which are known to boast sedative effects. One study found that women who drank this tea saw a drastic reduction in symptoms of depression and poor sleep. While the research is still limited, one promising piece of research around animals found that this tea reduced insomnia and promoted sleepiness.
Valerian tea is made from the dried roots of the plant of the same name, and it’s commonly used to promote sleep. It’s believed to increase our levels of gamma-aminobutyric, a neurotransmitter which in turn helps reduce anxiety. Much like passionflower tea, this anxiety-reducing tea may also help boost our sleep hygiene by promoting relaxation, sleepiness and a sense of calm. Many of us can relate to those stressful nights of staring at the ceiling and hoping for sleep to come, but without relaxing our nerves, it can be hard to get the body to settle down in order to get some rest. If this sounds like you, valerian tea could be a promising option to drain that anxiety.
Keep in mind, these are supplementary aids for sleeping, and they haven’t been proven to be powerful enough to cure more chronic conditions like insomnia.
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