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The 10 Best Drinks That Help You Sleep Better

Ana Marie Schick Oct 18, 2023

Drinks that can help you sleep

Are you among the millions of people struggling to get a good night's sleep? Do you find yourself tossing and turning, unable to quiet your mind or drift off into a peaceful sleep?

If you answered yes, the good news is that you're not alone. Sleep deprivation is a common problem affecting numerous people of all ages.

But did you know certain drinks (often called sleep drinks) can help you sleep better? Below, you’ll find several natural sleep aids and some of the best drinks to consume before bed that can help promote relaxation and prepare your body for a full night's sleep.

In addition to certain drinks, several natural remedies may help you to sleep better, including melatonin, magnesium, and valerian root.

So, grab a cozy blanket, curl up with a warm mug of your favorite bedtime beverage, and read on to learn more about some of the best drinks to help you sleep.

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Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is an herbal tea made from the chamomile plant's flowers. It contains apigenin, an antioxidant that has been proven to reduce anxiety. Additionally, it has been shown to improve overall sleep quality.

Those who drink this tea may also suffer from fewer depressive symptoms. Depression is a major contributor to disturbed sleep.

Study: Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with a bright future. [1]

Additional Chamomile Tea Benefits:

How to Incorporate Chamomile Into Your Sleep Routine

  • Use 1-2 teaspoons of chamomile flower per cup of water.
  • Steep for 5-10 minutes
  • Strain chamomile flowers and enjoy!

Chamomile tea is available at most health food and grocery stores- in bag form so all you need is a mug and hot water.

Did You Know: A hot cup of chamomile tea can help relieve symptoms of jet lag.

Warm Milk

Milk is a natural source of the amino acid tryptophan, a building block for the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate mood and sleep, and it gets converted into another neurotransmitter called melatonin, which plays a vital role in the sleep-wake cycle.

Drinking warm milk can have a calming effect on your mind and body, resulting in feeling more relaxed and ready for sleep.

A research study conducted on adults aged 60 and above found that consuming fermented milk for three weeks decreased the number of times they woke up during the night. [5]

Regular Milk

There is an age-old remedy that is still popular today for aiding in better sleep, and it's warm milk. This simple beverage is believed to be effective due to the presence of an amino acid called tryptophan. Cow's milk is rich in tryptophan and vitamin D, both of which are linked to improved sleep quality.

When consumed, tryptophan is converted into serotonin, which is then turned into melatonin. What exactly is melatonin? It's a hormone that helps our body regulate our sleep cycles and acts as a natural sleep aid. Therefore, warm milk may be a good choice for those looking for a natural, non-medicinal way to improve their sleep quality.

Fun Fact: When cows are milked at night, their milk contains more melatonin. This makes it a natural source of the sleep hormone and could be useful for those who have trouble sleeping.

Almond Milk

Almond milk before bed? Yes, it’s been frequently praised as a sleep aid because of its high magnesium content, which can help to reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation. As mentioned above, drinking warm milk before bed can be soothing and help you fall asleep more easily.

According to a study conducted on 442 college students, the percentage of participants who experienced insomnia reduced by 8.4% after consuming ten almonds daily for two weeks. [6]

Passionflower Tea

Similar to chamomile, passionflower tea contains apigenin. This antioxidant does its job by binding to specific receptors in the brain and producing a calming effect.

In addition to its antioxidant powers, there are plenty of benefits, including increased production of the brain chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). [4] GABA can prevent other brain chemicals from inducing stress.

Valerian Tea

Valerian root has been known for centuries for its sedative properties in the medical field. As a natural remedy for stress, it has been used to help alleviate feelings of anxiety and promote relaxation and calmness, which can improve sleep quality.

  • Promotes better quality of sleep
  • Helps manage symptoms of menopause
  • Curbs hyperactivity

Lavender Tea

Lavender contains compounds that have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels, which can be major contributors to sleeplessness.

Drinking a cup of lavender tea before bed may also help regulate your body's circadian rhythm, the natural sleep-wake cycle that governs when you feel sleepy and when you feel alert.

According to a study, consuming lavender tea effectively reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, both of which could be potential contributors to insomnia. [7]

To prepare lavender tea, you need to steep the lavender flower buds in hot water. This infusion results in a visually pleasing purple beverage with a distinct taste and fragrance that is both calming and refreshing.

Lavender tea is widely available in both health and grocery stores in bag form.

Did You Know: The scent of lavender is commonly used, which has been known to have a soothing effect on the mind and body.

Tart Cherry Juice

If you do not like warm milk or tea, tart cherry juice is a great option to help with sleep. It’s a natural remedy that may help you fall asleep more easily.

Research has shown [8] that cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Drinking cherry juice may increase melatonin production in your body, resulting in feeling more sleepy, which may improve the quality of your sleep.

Did You Know: Every 100 grams of tart cherries contain roughly 9 milligrams of tryptophan. [9]

Cherry Juice Benefits:

  • Antioxidants: Help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Can help alleviate inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and gout.
  • Magnesium: A mineral that is important for sleep. It can help you relax your mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep.

Additionally, it's good for your heart health. Studies have found that consuming cherries can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. [10]

If you want to add a glass of cherry juice to your nighttime routine, consume it about an hour before bedtime.

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Peppermint Tea

For years, peppermint has been utilized in traditional medicine due to its various health benefits. The menthol in peppermint can help relax the mind and body to promote better sleep.

Peppermint is also believed to possess antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-allergenic properties. Additionally, it's also thought to help treat gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). [11]

Banana Smoothie

Bananas are known to contain certain ingredients such as potassium, [12] magnesium, and vitamin B6, which have all been linked to improving sleep. Banana smoothies are easy to make leading up to bedtime and are great for promoting healthy sleep patterns. It can help induce muscle relaxation and is a great healthy way to fight off the temptation of a midnight snack.

Did You Know: When you blend bananas and almond milk together for a smoothie, it can be a great source of both melatonin and tryptophan. This powerful combination may help reduce symptoms of insomnia and improve your sleep.

Fresh Herbs

Sage and basil, in particular, can have a calming effect and reduce tension. You can do almost anything with fresh herbs. Mix them with yogurt or cream cheese to get a dose of tryptophan in addition to the calm you get from herbs.

Final Thought

Sometimes, achieving a good night's sleep feels impossible. Luckily, there are various natural remedies for sleep in the form of beverages.

As you can see, several drinks promote sleep by containing compounds such as tryptophan and melatonin. Others work by easing pain and discomfort in the evening, resulting in better quality sleep.

As a general guideline, limiting your fluid intake at least two hours before bedtime is recommended.

Not everyone finds that certain drinks listed above can help them sleep better. If you’re unsure which works best for you, try them and see which helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. However, if you continue to struggle with sleep, it's best to consult your primary healthcare provider to identify the underlying causes.

Citations / Resources

[1] Srivastava, J. K., Shankar, E., & Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Molecular medicine reports, 3(6), 895–901. View Study

[2] Khalesi, Z. B., Beiranvand, S. P., & Bokaie, M. (2019). Efficacy of Chamomile in the Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome: A Systematic Review. Journal of pharmacopuncture, 22(4), 204–209. View Study

[3] El Mihyaoui, A., Esteves da Silva, J. C. G., Charfi, S., Candela Castillo, M. E., Lamarti, A., & Arnao, M. B. (2022). Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.): A Review of Ethnomedicinal Use, Phytochemistry and Pharmacological Uses. Life (Basel, Switzerland), 12(4), 479. View Study

[4] Akhondzadeh, S., Naghavi, H. R., Vazirian, M., Shayeganpour, A., Rashidi, H., & Khani, M. (2001). Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam. Journal of clinical pharmacy and therapeutics, 26(5), 363–367. View Study

[5] Yamamura, S., Morishima, H., Kumano-go, T., Suganuma, N., Matsumoto, H., Adachi, H., Sigedo, Y., Mikami, A., Kai, T., Masuyama, A., Takano, T., Sugita, Y., & Takeda, M. (2009). The effect of Lactobacillus helveticus fermented milk on sleep and health perception in elderly subjects. European journal of clinical nutrition, 63(1), 100–105. View Study

[6] Ghafarzadeh, J., Sadeghniiat-Haghighi, K., Sadeghpour, O., Akbarpour, S., & Amini-Behbahani, F. (2019). Investigating the Prevalence of Sleep Disorder and the Impact of Sweet Almond on the Quality of Sleep in Students of Tehran, Iran. Iranian journal of public health, 48(6), 1149–1154.

[7] Bazrafshan, M. R., Jokar, M., Shokrpour, N., & Delam, H. (2020). The effect of lavender herbal tea on the anxiety and depression of the elderly: A randomized clinical trial. Complementary therapies in medicine, 50, 102393. View Study

[8] 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. View Study

[9] Losso, J. N., Finley, J. W., Karki, N., Liu, A. G., Prudente, A., Tipton, R., Yu, Y., & Greenway, F. L. (2018). Pilot Study of the Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms. American journal of therapeutics, 25(2), e194–e201. View Study

[10] CDC. (2021, September 27). High Blood Pressure Facts . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

[11] McKay, D. L., & Blumberg, J. B. (2006). A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.). Phytotherapy research : PTR, 20(8), 619–633. View Study

[12] Grandner, M. A., Jackson, N., Gerstner, J. R., & Knutson, K. L. (2014). Sleep symptoms associated with intake of specific dietary nutrients. Journal of sleep research, 23(1), 22–34. View Study