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5 best teas to help promote better sleep

More research is needed, but adding a cup of tea to your bedtime routine could have health benefits.

Getting enough zzz's isn’t just something most of us love to do, it’s actually essential to our health. Unfortunately, according to the National Sleep Foundation, 35% of all adults in the U.S. report sleeping for less than the recommended seven hours per night, on average. 

Evenings can play a huge role in the quality of sleep you get. Your brain produces more melatonin, the sleep hormone, at night as it prepares itself to go to sleep. As it gets dark outside your brain knows to make more of this hormone. So, dimming lights and turning off electronics can help. Try turning down lights after dinner and turning off electronics at least 30 minutes prior to going to bed. Studies show that blue light negatively effects our sleep by disrupting our circadian rhythm. Writing down anything you want to remember for the next day can help quiet your mind too. Setting a regular bedtime is also helpful. And, so is drinking tea. The act of making tea alone can be a relaxing ritual, but there’s more to it than that. Yes, teas may be your new sleep savior.

Tea such as green, black and white, all come from the leaves of the same plant and all naturally contain caffeine. Herbal tea isn’t technically tea since it isn’t made from this plant. Instead, herbal teas are made from the roots, seeds, flowers and fruits of other plants and are naturally caffeine-free. So, don’t worry that these teas will keep you buzzing all night long. If caffeine is something that you consume in tea, coffee or other beverages and your sleep is suffering, it’s a good idea to cut back altogether and definitely avoid that afternoon pick-me-up. 

Here are my favorite teas to help you get some shut-eye:


Chamomile builds in the system over time and can be an effective sleep aid. Chamomile has a calming effect, which is why it may help you fall asleep. When you’re more relaxed (think head not racing) it’s easier to drift off to sleep. One study published in 2017 found that when hospitalized elderly patients in nursing homes received oral capsules of chamomile twice daily, for four weeks, their sleep quality improved.

Apigenin is an antioxidant compound found in chamomile that affects the central nervous system. It’s believed that apigenin binds to receptors in the brain that may decrease anxiety and induce sleep. While more research is needed to establish the link between chamomile and sleep, a cup of this tea may just be the missing ingredient to your bedtime routine.

Lemon balm

Part of the mint family, lemon balm tea is well known to help with digestive issues such as gas and bloating and may also improve sleep disorders. One study showed that lemon balm supplementation may decrease depression, anxiety, stress and sleep disorders in patients with chronic stable angina. It’s also been known to be anti-anxiolytic which may also help that racing mind. 

Valerian root

Valerian root has been used for centuries and is best known for its sedative effects. Multiple studies have shown the effectiveness of valerian root for sleep problems including insomnia and improving quality of sleep. 


Passionflower’s sleepy side effects may be due to its link to gamma aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter in the brain. Although the exact mechanism isn’t understood, passionflower’s ability to relax you and help you get your zzz's may be due to increasing levels of GABA, which may lower the activity levels of certain brain cells, causing you to feel more relaxed. 


Most people think of dried flowers in sachets when they hear of lavender. But, you can consume these flowers in tea form and they may even help you get some shut-eye. Various studies have shown a link between lavender and sleep quality. Lavender may affect the GABA pathway (similar to passionflower) which also plays a role in the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Lavender also has a calming effect on our “fight-or-flight” response as well.