Tea For Sleep

 

Teas That Help You Sleep

Good sleep is crucial to your overall good health but did you know about 30% of the general public suffer from insomnia, or the chronic inability to fall asleep naturally, stay asleep for a full 6 hours or more or achieve restorative, high-quality sleep for 6 hours or more download. Herbal teas are a very popular bedtime beverage choice when it comes time to relax and unwind at the end of a long day. For centuries, they have been used all around the world as natural sleep remedies. Modern research also agrees that the use of herbal teas and their effectiveness as a sleep aid.

 

Chamomile Tea

For many years, chamomile herbal tea has been used as a natural remedy to reduce inflammation, decrease anxiety and treat some forms of insomnia. In fact, chamomile is commonly regarded as a very mild tranquilizer or sleep inducer. Its calming effects on the body and mind may be attributed to an antioxidant called apigenin, which is found in abundance in chamomile herbal tea. Apigenin binds to specific receptors in our brain that may decrease anxiety and initiate sleep (download).

A study some time ago in 60 nursing home for the elderly residents found that those who received 400 mg of chamomile extract daily had significantly far better sleep quality than those who did not receive any of the extract download. Another study involving postpartum women who had very poor sleep quality has found that those who drank chamomile tea for a minimum of a two-week period reported overall far better sleep quality than those who did not drink any of the chamomile herbal tea (download).

Also, a study involving people with chronic insomnia found that those who received 270 mg of chamomile extract twice daily for a minimum of 28 days fell asleep approximately  15 minutes faster than participants who did not receive the chamomile extract. Moreover, those who received the chamomile extract woke up far fewer times in the middle of the night, compared to the placebo group of people (download).

The results of these studies are very encouraging, and especially for those people who struggle with getting a good night’s sleep. However, further studies are needed to confirm chamomile tea's effects on sleep. We will update this post when more reports are published.

 

2. Valerian Root

Valerian is an herb that has been used for many centuries to treat problems like insomnia, nervousness and headaches and tension. Historically, it was used in the United Kingdom during World War II to relieve the stress and anxiety caused by air raids for the German bomber planes and V2 rockets. Today, valerian is one of the most popular herbal drink sleep aids in both Europe and the United States download.

It’s available both online and in health food shops as a dietary supplement in capsule or liquid form.  Valerian Root is also commonly dried and sold as tea product. download Researchers are not entirely sure how valerian root works to improve sleep but it is documented to help. However, one theory is that it increases levels of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. When GABA is found present in large abundance, it can certainly increase sleepiness. In fact, this the way in which certain anti-anxiety medications like Xanax work. Some smaller studies support valerian root as a very effective sleep aid.

For example, one particular study that 27 people with sleep difficulties found that 89% of participants reported improved sleep when taking the valerian root extract. download Additionally, no adverse side effects, such as morning drowsiness, or any other symptoms were observed after taking the valerian extract. Comparatively, a study in 128 men and women people found those who received approximately 400 mg of liquified valerian root had reported a decrease in the time it took them to actually fall asleep, fewer night time wake ups and overall a more improved sleep quality, compared to those men and women who did not receive the valerian root extract (download).

It is important to note that these findings were based on participant reporting, which is subjective. The studies did not evaluate objective data that is associated with sleep quality, such as heart rate or brain activity. Nevertheless, drinking valerian root tea may help improve sleep quality without adverse side effects.

 

3. Lavender

Lavender is a herb that is often touted for its aromatic and soothing scent.

In ancient times, both the Greeks and Romans would often add lavender to their drawn baths and breathe in the calming fragrance when bathing. Lavender tea is made from the small purple buds of the flowering plant. Originally native to many parts of the Mediterranean region, it’s now grown worldwide (download).

Lots of people drink lavender herbal tea to relax, settle their nerves and aid a good nights sleep. In fact, there is research to support these benefits, A study of 80 Taiwanese postnatal women showed that the ones that took time to smell the delicate aroma and drink lavender herbal tea daily for a minimum of two weeks reported less fatigue, compared to those who did not drink lavender tea (download). Additionally, another study in women with insomnia found reductions in heart rate, heart rate variability and improvements in sleep after about 20 minutes of lavender inhalation twice weekly for a minimum of 12 weeks (download).

Research has also shown that lavender may decrease anxiety and improve sleep quality in people with anxiety or anxiety-related disorders. Therefore, if anxiety is one of the reasons you may be missing out on some vital shut-eye, drinking lavender tea may help.download

4. Passionflower

Passion flower tea is made from the dried leaves, flowers, and stems of the Passiflora plant. Traditionally, it has been used to alleviate anxiety and improve the quality of sleep. More up to date, studies have examined the ability of passionflower tea to improve insomnia and sleep quality.

For example, one study in 40 healthy men and women has found that those who drank passionflower tea daily for a minimum of a  week reported download significantly better quality of sleep quality, compared to adults who did not drink the tea. Another study compared passionflower in conjunction with valerian root and hops to Ambien, a medication commonly given to treat insomnia. Results have shown that the passionflower combination was as effective as Ambien at improving sleep quality download.

5. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm belongs to the mint family and is found in most parts of the world. It is frequently sold in extract form for use in aromatherapy, lemon balm leaves are also dried to make a herbal tea. This citrus-scented, aromatic herb has been used for reducing stress and improving sleep since the Middle Ages. download  The latest evidence has shown that lemon balm increases GABA levels in mice, indicating that lemon balm may act as a sedative. Also, one human study showed a 42% reduction in insomnia symptoms after participants received 600 mg of lemon balm extract per day for 15 days If you experience sleep problems, sipping lemon balm tea before bed may help.

6. Magnolia Bark

Magnolia is a flowering plant that has been around for over 100 million years so it is believed. Magnolia herbal tea is made mostly from the bark of the plant but also consists of some dried buds and stems. Traditionally, magnolia was used in Chinese medicine for various symptoms of illness, including abdominal discomfort, nasal congestion and also stress relief. It is now regarded worldwide for its antianxiety and sedative with calming effects. Its sedative effect is most likely attributed to the compound honokiol, which is found in the stems, flowers, and bark of the magnolia plant. Honokiol is said to work by modifying GABA receptors in your brain, which could increase sleepiness.downlod

In several studies in mice, magnolia or honokiol extracted from the magnolia plant decreased the time it took to fall asleep and increased the amount of sleep downloadWhile further research is needed to confirm these effects in humans, preliminary research suggests that drinking magnolia bark tea may help improve sleep.download

 

So To Sum Up

Lots of herbal teas including chamomile, valerian root, and lavender, are used and sold as sleep aids. Lots of the herbs they contain work by increasing or modifying specific neurotransmitters that are involved in getting you to sleep. Yet, they may help you fall asleep faster, decrease nighttime awakenings and improve your overall quality of sleep. But most of the current research used these herbs in extract or supplement form — not the herbal tea itself. Given that herbal supplements and extracts are very concentrated versions of the herb, a diluted source like herbal tea is likely to be less effective. So research that involves larger sample sizes is needed to fully establish herbal teas and their role in improving sleep in the long run. Additionally, since many herbs and supplements have the potential to interact with both prescription and over-the-counter drugs, always consult your healthcare provider before adding an herbal tea to your nightly routine.