By Stacey Feintuch
Up all night counting sheep? Millions of people have trouble getting a solid eight hours due to factors ranging from sleep disorders to sickness to stress. You feel like you've attempted everything to get some slumber. But have you given tea a try?
Something is calming about the ritual of sipping some warm liquid before bed. Fortunately, plenty of teas are out there that can help you slip into dreamland faster. The teas below contain the right ingredients to help you get a better night's sleep. So, kick back, relax and sip these brews.
Antioxidant-brimming valerian is known for being a strong natural sedative and for increasing sleep quality. It reduces the time it takes for you to fall asleep. It helps address pain, insomnia and nervousness, too. Sip a brew from this flowering plant an hour or so before bedtime. You may have to drink it for a few nights in a row before it works. Just be careful not to overdo it, because too much of this tea (not more than two weeks at a time) can become addictive. And it can interfere with some medications or supplements for sleep or cholesterol. Speak with your health care provider before drinking valerian tea.
This traditional herbal remedy has been used to fight insomnia, anxiety, stress and other health issues since ancient times. The classic sleep aid promotes sleepiness while helping calm upset bellies. Researchers say this sweet and flowery tea increases a chemical that relaxes nerves and muscles, acting like a mild sedative. Be sure to steep the leaves for at least 10 minutes before drinking.
Catnip isn't just for your furry friend! It has been used to make tea for centuries. It's part of the mint family, with culinary uses similar to other mints. The tea contains an organic compound that helps with insomnia, promoting relaxation and drowsiness. You can find catnip tea in grocery stores, specialty tea shops and health-food stores.
Caffeine-free herbal tea can help you sleep as it relaxes and calms you. Many bedtime, aka sleepytime, teas are made from the same compounds used in sleep-promoting supplements. The tea's magical ingredients are sure to knock you out in minutes.
This herb works well for people who have anxiety and a lot of obsessive thoughts, thanks to its ingredient that boasts anti-anxiety benefits. Passionflower is typically combined with other calming herbs. Drink a cup of it one hour before bedtime to help you sleep more soundly. Researchers believe that high levels of certain chemicals in the flower affect your nervous system, making you tired.
Decaf green tea
While all teas are healthy, green tea is among the healthiest and oldest teas in the world. The decaf variety contains theanine, known to reduce stress and improve sleep.
You've likely heard of hops in regards to the beer-making process; it helps create the beverage's bitter flavor. But hops—the female flowers from the hop plant—aren't just for beer. They've had a long history in herbal medicine, used to treat an array of ailments. Hops tea can help relieve stress, calm your nerves and relax your body. And that makes it the perfect drink for before bedtime.
And read more about the best teas to drink for weight loss, too.