If you’ve ever been dead tired only to hit the pillow and find yourself wide awake (haven’t we all?), then you know just how difficult it can be to unwind at the end of the day.
One thing your grandma may have suggested when you were a kid: Sip on a nice cup of hot tea before bed. Well, that advice is actually legit (thanks, G-Ma!) according to Barbie Boules, R.D.N., founder of Nyoutrition. “A good cup of tea is a nice signal to your senses that dinner is over and the day is winding down,” she says.
Just make sure to choose decaffeinated or herbal teas, Boules says, many of which have the added benefit of providing antioxidant and immune-boosting benefits. “At the very least, they’re a flavorful way to hydrate,” she says.
This one probably comes as no surprise-chamomile is a top choice when it comes to teas that help you rest better.
“Chamomile is an herb that provides medicinal benefits-namely, it’s linked with a natural tranquil effect that helps you shut down at the end of a hectic day,” says Samantha Cassetty, R.D. “Chamomile has been shown to improve sleep quality in certain people.”
It’s true: Some studies indicate chamomile may not only help encourage deeper sleep, but also decrease stress.
Boules says she counts passionflower tea amongst her favorites for bedtime teas. In fact, the one in her cabinet right now is Trader Joe’s Herbal Tea Well Rested Tea, which includes a blend of passionflower leaves, chamomile flowers, and spearmint and peppermint leaves, all of which contribute to a better night’s rest.
3. Decaffeinated Green Tea
Just like its caffeinated cousin (regular green tea), decaf green tea contains a compound called L-theanine, “which helps promote feelings of relaxation,” says Casetty, “and that chill vibe may be just what you need to help you sleep.”
In one 2017 study, researchers found that nixing the caffeine in green tea and letting the L-theanine work its magic was key to improving sleep quality, as well as reducing stress.
Valerian root tea, is a solid option when you want to unwind. In fact, a comprehensive review of valerian root and its effects on sleep showed that participants who enjoyed it regularly had an 80 percent greater chance of reporting improved sleep compared to patients who were taking a placebo.
“Beyond the calming compounds, many people find sipping on hot tea is a soothing ritual that can set the stage for getting a good night’s rest,” Cassetty says.
If you’ve ever dabbed a bit of lavender essential oil on your wrist or inhaled the fragrant flower in the wild, then you know firsthand just how soothing it smells. You won’t be shocked then that the same vibe applies to lavender as a tea, and Boules says that’s why it’s always in her arsenal.
6. Fennel and Ginger Tea
Boules says teas geared toward better digestion may also provide more restful sleep because, well, have you ever been awake with indigestion from those midnight nachos you had to have?
This Yogi stomach ease tea includes ingredients like fennel and ginger, which Boules says are helpful to keep your digestive track happy.