In today’s busy and demanding world many people suffer from insomnia and anxiety. The good news is, that there are several herbal teas that can help with these problems. Continue reading to find out what are the 6 best herbal teas for sleeping and relaxing.
Unfortunately, a lot of people take sedatives or tranquilizers for relaxing or helping them to fall asleep. While this can be an effective solution in the short term, it definitely is not a good long term solution. I can tell this from my own experience: because of back pain, I got several strong pills from a doctor to help me with sleeping and coping with the pain. These pills have side effects, like drowsiness in the morning, and in the long run, it is very common to get addicted to them.
Herbal teas are not nearly as strong as many pills that you can get with a prescription. However, if you put a little effort and try relaxing exercises or meditation, and combine it with the right herbal tea, you can find a natural way that helps you with relaxing and sleeping, and it comes without side-effects!
Valerian Root Tea
Valerian root is a strong natural remedy traditionally used for treating sleeping problems, anxiety and stress. It is not known, how exactly valerian root tea affects our sleep, but the current theory is that its effects are related to increasing our GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) levels. Several studies have found it to be an effective aid for sleeping.
In a double-blind study with 27 participants taking valerian extract, 89% of the participants reported improved sleep and no side effects were noticed. In another study, the participants ingested liquefied valerian root and experienced improvement in sleep quality as well as being able to fall asleep faster. In addition, this meta-analysis of 18 randomized clinical trials, suggests that it is effective for a subjective improvement of insomnia.
As a conclusion, we can say that valerian root tea is probably the strongest herbal remedy for insomnia and nervousness. However, many people might find that it doesn’t taste very pleasant. The best way to drink valerian root tea is to combine it with other herbs for better taste. For example, you can combine it with lemon balm and add some honey. In addition to taste, this will also enhance the relaxing properties of the tea.
To learn more about valerian root, I warmly recommend that you watch this interesting video by Yarrow Willard, the Herbal Jedi:
Chamomile tea is an old and well-known remedy for insomnia and anxiety. It contains plenty of apigenin, which is an antioxidant that binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain and seems to act as a mild tranquilizer. In addition to apigenin, chamomile tea contains other compounds, such as a flavonoid called chrysin, that bind to benzodiazepine and GABA receptors in the brain, but many of these compounds have not yet been thoroughly researched.
A study conducted in a nursing home with 60 elderly people, found out that chamomile extract can significantly improve sleep quality among elderly people. In another study, conducted with 80 Taiwanese postnatal women with poor sleep quality, the results indicate that drinking chamomile tea every day for 2 weeks helped them with depression and sleeping problems. Another study from 2009 indicates that chamomile extract works as a mild tranquilizer and helps with reducing stress and relaxing muscles.
To summarize these results, we can say that chamomile tea is likely to help with initiating sleep and improving sleep quality. How effective it is, it probably depends on the person. Some people are more sensitive to it than others. In addition, chamomile tea tastes good and is one of my favorite teas to drink before bedtime!
Looking for a nice chamomile tea to buy? Read this article: What is the Best Chamomile Tea – My Favorite Brands
Lavender is used for many things from aromatherapy to cosmetics, as its scent is pleasant and has a calming effect. Lavender tea is made from dried lavender buds and flower petals which have a purple color. It is good for relaxing and many people have found out, that drinking it in the evening helps with calming down and falling asleep.
There are also studies that confirm the relaxing properties of lavender tea. A study conducted in 2005, had 31 young and healthy sleepers tested in a laboratory. Each one spent 3 nights in the laboratory (the first one was for adaptation), where on one night they received lavender oil stimulus and on another nigh distilled water stimulus before sleeping. Lavender increased the amount of deep sleep and a feeling of vigor and energy in the morning.
The effects of lavender tea could be stronger for women. In a Taiwanese study, 34 out of 67 women with sleeping difficulties inhaled lavender for 20 minutes, twice per week, the women who received the aromatherapy experienced a significant improvement in sleep quality.
Lemon Balm Tea
Lemon balm is an herb that is closely related to mint and has been commonly used to relieve stress and indigestion since the Middle Ages. Lemon balm has a minty and lemony taste and makes a tea that tastes refreshing.
A 2011 study, where the participants were treated with lemon balm leaf extract for 15 days, found that all 20 volunteers demonstrated a clinically significant positive treatment response to insomnia and 19 out of 20 demonstrated positive responses for anxiety. It is not completely understood how lemon balm affects our system. A proposed mechanism is that it increases GABA availability in the brain, but further research is needed to confirm this.
Passionflower tea is a floral tea that calms the mind and helps with indigestion. It is brewed from fresh or dried leaves of passiflora incarnata, commonly known as maypop or purple passionflower, and tastes mildly floral and earthy.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study from 2011 had 41 participants drinking a cup of passionflower tea (or placebo) for 1 week. The quality of sleep was measured by sleep diaries and validated by polysomnography (PSG). The study found that the group drinking passionflower tea had significantly improved sleep quality compared to the placebo group.
Rooibos tea has many medicinal properties and it is also an excellent tea for bedtime. It helps with reducing cortisol levels and this way it enhances the quality of sleep because cortisol is a stress hormone that is not good for sleep. Rooibos tea also contains the magnesium and potassium which help with calming nerves, relaxing muscles and supporting melatonin production.
Read this article to find the best rooibos product to buy.
Best Herbal Teas for Sleeping and Relaxation
I think that the best way to find effective herbal tea to help with sleeping and relaxing is to try what works best for you. In this article, I have introduced the 6 best ones according to research, but we are all individuals, and what works with most people, might not be the best option for you.
One important thing to consider is the taste and scent of the tea. If you find that just smelling a certain tea has a relaxing and calming effect on you, and then it’s probably good for that purpose. It’s not just about the compounds that directly affect our brain chemistry, the feeling that you get from drinking, tasting and smelling the tea is as important!
Please comment below and share your experience of using herbal teas for sleeping and relaxation.