Sleep is fundamental to maintain a healthy body and mind, as it is the moment the body does its reboot to regenerate after the daily aggressions and put up its defenses for the following day. Nevertheless, for one reason or another, you might find yourself unable to fall asleep or are constantly waking up. If you’re looking for an effective and natural way to recover your Z’s then you should know these teas that help you sleep.
5 teas that help you sleep like a baby
Taking teas that help you sleep is one of the best and healthier ways to get you the rest you need. Some will relax you so you can fall asleep easier. Others will act as mild sedatives that will help you go through the night but won’t leave you feeling drowsy in the morning.
Chamomile tea has been used for centuries as a sleep and relaxation enhancer.
There are already several scientific studies pointing to its efficiency to work as a mild tranquilizer without side-effects to help subjects fall asleep faster and improve their sleep quality. Nevertheless, they lack a placebo group for comparison and, where it was added, the results were not as conclusive.
Likewise, the researchers are still not 100% sure of how chamomile tea works. According to the main theory to date, it is probably due to its content in apigenin, an antioxidant that affects specific brain receptors and induces sleep.
Either due to its real or placebo effect, the truth is that chamomile didn’t acquire its fame out of the blue. Even if its mysteries are yet to uncover it is still one of the best teas that help you sleep.
Valerian, like chamomile, has been used for centuries as a mild tranquilizer and sleep inducer, but researchers also seem to struggle to understand its effect.
Studies so far have been weak, “noisy” or lacking, but this plant’s efficiency already granted it a big presence in several mild sleeping aid medications. The main theory regarding its effect is that it works similarly to some prescribed drugs such as Xanax by increasing neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which increases sleep.
Unlike prescribe medications, however, valerian tea doesn’t cause addiction or drowsiness.
Avoid this tea if you’re already taking anxiety medication or if you are nursing or pregnant.
Lemon balm teas help to sleep but also to reduce anxiety and stress. It is from the mint family and has an aromatic flavor with soft citric notes.
A 2011 pilot study concluded that its effect is due to the increase of GABA, which induces and promotes better sleep.
However good lemon balm tea works to get you the Z’s you need, you should be aware that it can cause dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Ideally, you should mix it with other herbal teas or avoid drinking it every day.
Its use as a tea is not as common, though, perhaps because there are no studies that verify its effect. Inhaling the flowers’ aroma or their essential oil, though, has been proved to work to relax the body enough to make sleep come easier and with a better quality.
So, even if this tea doesn’t work for you, you can always take advantage of its aroma or go as natural as you can go and put a pot of lavender flowers in your bedroom.
Passionflower is probably one of the least known teas that help you sleep, and yet one of the best supported by scientific claims.
A 2011 study confirmed that taken in small doses such as the ones found in teas, this flower can help to induce sleep in adults, although its effect regarding sleep quality was not as straightforward.
In 2017, a more thorough analysis of the effect of Passionflower on sleep concluded that it can be considered as a sleep inducer.
Science-backed tips for faster and better sleep
The aforementioned teas that help you sleep can act fast and well, but the ideal situation would be to avoid needing them. Your first step should be to make sure you’re not sabotaging your body from getting its Z’s without any aid.
Turn off your electronics
Your mobile, tablet and TV emit blue light which the brain interprets as white light, most commonly known as sunlight.
Therefore, when you decide to quickly check what’s new on Instagram before going to bed, you’re in reality signaling your brain that the sun is shining high. This means it will stop the releasing of any sleep-inducing hormone and will switch to those that leave you more active.
No last drink
Although drinking one glass of red wine before bed can prove to be beneficial, a higher consumption or different types of alcohol can ruin everything for you.
It’s true that alcohol makes you fall asleep faster, but it affects the REM sleep, the deepest and last stage where the memory and learning areas of the brain get a go. You are more likely to toss around during this stage and, even if you don’t wake up, you will feel tired the following day, as if you didn’t even close your eye the previous night.
No food up to 3h hours before bed
Science already proved that eating dinner early has many advantages, and one of them is that this meal won’t then affect your sleep.
Your body takes a long time digesting food. If you eat too close to bedtime your digestive system will be blasting when you are supposed to be relaxing. Besides increasing the risk of indigestion and heartburn, it will make it much harder to fall asleep and to have a quality rest.
If you are really craving for some food, there are some bedtime snacks that can help soothe the pangs without affecting your sleep.
Go to bed and wake up always at the same hour
Your body works like a clock. That’s why it becomes active when the sun is out and begins to relax and feeling without energies as soon as daylight goes away. Because of this, it is also highly influenced by routines.
If you always wake up and go to sleep at the same time, even before the hour comes, your body will start making arrangements for the phase that it’s approaching. Therefore, since the body is aware of what’s coming, it will start relaxing and getting sleepy as soon as the set bedtime approaches. And in the morning you are also less likely to feel drowsy.
Have an orgasm
Either through sex or masturbation, the sexual stimulation decreases the level of cortisol, a hormone directly linked with stress.
However, it’s the climax that can help you get a faster and better sleep. During the orgasm, the body increases the release of the protein prolactin that induces sleepiness and works as a tranquilizer too.
Other tips to fall asleep faster
There are several other tricks that can aid you to get the rest you need. Using these aforementioned teas that help you sleep is a good and natural strategy, but you also need to make sure that you’re not the one sabotaging yourself with your bad habits.
For more strategies, check out Dr. Mike’s tips in the video below.