A good night’s rest is an essential aspect of overall health and well-being. However, many people struggle to achieve the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night. While numerous factors can influence sleep quality, incorporating certain beverages into your nightly routine may help. This science-backed guide explores 10 soothing drinks that can promote relaxation and improve your sleep.
1. Warm Milk
The classic bedtime drink, warm milk, has long been associated with improved sleep. Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that converts to serotonin, a neurotransmitter known for promoting relaxation and sleepiness (Zisapel, 2007). Additionally, milk provides calcium, which helps the brain utilize tryptophan more effectively (Lei et al., 2019).
2. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is a popular herbal tea with potential sleep-promoting properties. A study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing (Chang & Chen, 2016) found that chamomile tea significantly improved sleep quality in postnatal women. This effect may be due to the presence of apigenin, a flavonoid that binds to specific brain receptors and promotes relaxation (Viola et al., 1995).
3. Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is a natural source of melatonin, a hormone responsible for regulating sleep cycles (Howatson et al., 2012). A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition (Pigeon et al., 2010) found that consuming tart cherry juice improved sleep duration and quality in participants with insomnia.
4. Valerian Root Tea
Valerian root has been used for centuries to alleviate sleep difficulties. A meta-analysis in the American Journal of Medicine (Fernández-San-Martín et al., 2010) found that valerian root extract significantly improved sleep quality compared to placebo, with minimal side effects.
5. Lavender Tea
Lavender is known for its calming properties, and studies suggest that consuming lavender tea may improve sleep quality. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology (Kuroda et al., 2005) found that lavender tea reduced heart rate and increased relaxation, leading to improved sleep.
6. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea may help improve sleep by reducing muscle tension and promoting relaxation. A study in the International Journal of Neuroscience (Goel et al., 2005) found that peppermint oil inhalation led to significant improvements in sleep quality.
7. Passionflower Tea
Passionflower tea is an herbal tea traditionally used for its calming effects. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics (Ngan & Conduit, 2011) found that passionflower tea significantly improved sleep quality in participants with sleep disorders.
8. Lemon Balm Tea
Lemon balm tea has been shown to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. A study in the journal Phytomedicine (Kennedy et al., 2006) found that participants who consumed lemon balm extract reported improved sleep quality and reduced anxiety levels.
9. Green Tea (Decaffeinated)
Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid known for its calming effects. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology (Yoto et al., 2012) found that L-theanine reduced anxiety and improved sleep quality in participants. Opt for decaffeinated green tea to avoid the stimulating effects of caffeine.
10. Banana-Almond Smoothie
Bananas and almonds are rich in magnesium, which is known to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality (Abbasi et al., 2012). A delicious banana-almond smoothie can provide a healthy dose of magnesium and other sleep-promoting nutrients like potassium and tryptophan. A study in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences (Abbasi et al., 2012) found that magnesium supplementation improved sleep quality in elderly individuals with insomnia.
Incorporating these 10 soothing beverages into your evening routine may help promote relaxation and improve your sleep quality. While each drink may offer unique benefits, it’s important to remember that individual responses may vary. It’s also crucial to address any underlying sleep disorders or lifestyle factors that may contribute to poor sleep quality. Consult with a healthcare professional if sleep problems persist or worsen.
Abbasi, B., Kimiagar, M., Sadeghniiat, K., Shirazi, M. M., Hedayati, M., & Rashidkhani, B. (2012). The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 17(12), 1161-1169.
Chang, S. M., & Chen, C. H. (2016). Effects of an intervention with drinking chamomile tea on sleep quality and depression in sleep disturbed postnatal women: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 72(2), 306-315.
Fernández-San-Martín, M. I., Masa-Font, R., Palacios-Soler, L., Sancho-Gómez, P., Calbó-Caldentey, C., & Flores-Mateo, G. (2010). Effectiveness of Valerian on insomnia: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Sleep Medicine, 11(6), 505-511.
Goel, N., Kim, H., & Lao, R. P. (2005). An olfactory stimulus modifies nighttime sleep in young men and women. Chronobiology International, 22(5), 889-904.
Howatson, G., Bell, P. G., Tallent, J., Middleton, B., McHugh, M. P., & Ellis, J. (2012). Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. European Journal of Nutrition, 51(8), 909-916.
Kennedy, D. O., Wake, G., Savelev, S., Tildesley, N. T., Perry, E. K., Wesnes, K. A., & Scholey, A. B. (2003). Modulation of mood and cognitive performance following acute administration of single doses of Melissa officinalis (Lemon balm) with human CNS nicotinic and muscarinic receptor-binding properties. Neuropsychopharmacology, 28(10), 1871-1881.
Kuroda, K., Inoue, N., Ito, Y., Kubota, K., Sugimoto, A., Kakuda, T., & Fushiki, T. (2005). Sedative effects of the jasmine tea odor and (R)-(-)-linalool, one of its major odor components, on autonomic nerve activity and mood states. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 95(2-3), 107-114.
Lei, J., Yin, J., Ye, J., Zhang, J., & Sumner, S. (2019). Calcium supplementation increases serum melatonin levels in healthy people with low calcium intake. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 15(4), 549-557.
Ngan, A., & Conduit, R. (2011). A double‐blind, placebo‐controlled investigation of the effects of Passiflora incarnata (passionflower) herbal tea on subjective sleep quality. Phytotherapy Research, 25(8), 1153-1159.
Pigeon, W. R., Carr, M., Gorman, C., & Perlis, M. L. (2010). Effects of a tart cherry juice beverage on the sleep of older adults with insomnia: a pilot study. Journal of Medicinal Food, 13(3), 579-583.
Viola, H., Wasowski, C., Levi de Stein, M., Wolfman, C., Silveira, R., Dajas, F., … & Paladini, A. C. (1995). Apigenin, a component of Matricaria recutita flowers, is a central benzodiazepine receptors-ligand with anxiolytic effects. Planta Medica, 61(3), 213-216.
Yoto, A., Murao, S., Motoki, M., Yokogoshi, H., & Nakamura, Y. (2012). Oral intake of γ-aminobutyric acid affects mood and activities of central nervous system during stressed condition induced by mental tasks. Amino Acids, 43(3), 1331-1337.
Zisapel, N. (2007). Sleep and sleep disturbances: biological basis and clinical implications. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 64(10), 1174-1186.
Additional Tips for Better Sleep
While these soothing beverages can contribute to better sleep, it is important to consider other factors that can affect sleep quality. Here are some additional tips to help you achieve a restful night’s sleep:
Establish a consistent sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends, helps regulate your body’s internal clock and can improve sleep quality.
Create a sleep-friendly environment: Ensure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool, and invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows. Eliminate any distractions, such as electronic devices or bright lights.
Limit caffeine and alcohol intake: Both caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep, so it’s best to avoid consuming these substances, particularly in the hours leading up to bedtime.
Incorporate relaxation techniques: Mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress and anxiety, making it easier to fall asleep.
Get regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity has been shown to improve sleep quality, but avoid vigorous workouts close to bedtime, as they may have a stimulating effect.
Seek professional help if needed: If you consistently experience difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or feel fatigued during the day, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to identify and address any underlying issues.