6 Best Herbal Teas for Sleeping and Relaxation

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.

I will tell you how drinking these teas have helped me and provide scientific evidence related to their effectiveness.

Here is a summary of the Best Teas for Sleep and Relaxation:

  • Valerian Root Tea: One of the strongest natural remedies for insomnia and nervousness.
  • Chamomile Tea: Contains tranquilizing compounds that help with relaxing and improving quality of sleep.
  • Lavender Tea: May help with calming down and falling asleep.
  • Lemon Balm Tea: Shows promise in treating anxiety and insomnia.
  • Passionflower Tea: Calming tea that also improves digestion.
  • Rooibos Tea: Aids with reducing stress levels and relaxing.

Use Herbs Instead of Drugs

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 caused by disc bulges in my lower back, I got several types of strong pills from a doctor to help me with sleeping and coping with the pain.

back pain

These pills had side effects, like drowsiness in the morning. In the long run, it is also possible to get addicted to them.

Herbal teas are not nearly as strong as many drugs that you can get with a prescription.

Yet, they can provide a natural way to help you relax and sleep better without experiencing side effects.

Combine the right herbal teas with relaxing exercises or meditation and you might be able to ditch the pills for good!

If you want to add another natural product to help with sleeping, you can also try CBD oil. This herbal oil shows potential in improving sleep quality but more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness.

6 Best Herbal Teas for Sleep and Relaxation

Relaxing herbal remedies have been used by humans for thousands of years.

Indian Ayurvedic practice and traditional Chinese medicine contain plenty of knowledge about natural sleep-inducing teas and extracts. Their effectiveness has later been confirmed by scientific studies.

Next, let’s take a closer look at some of the best options available. All of them are naturally caffeine-free.

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.

valerian root
Valerian root

Research Results on Valerian Root

Several studies have found valerian root 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.

Another study found that the participants who ingested liquefied valerian root experienced an improvement in sleep quality as well as being able to fall asleep faster.

Finally, this meta-analysis of 18 randomized clinical trials, suggests that it is effective for a subjective improvement of insomnia.

In 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.

TIP: The best way to drink valerian root tea is to combine it with other herbs to improve its taste.

For example, you can mix it with lemon balm and add some honey. In addition to taste, this will also enhance the relaxing properties of the tea.

If you want to try valerian root tea, my recommendation is Buddha Teas Organic Valerian Root Tea.

To learn more about valerian root, I warmly recommend that you watch this interesting video by Yarrow Willard, the Herbal Jedi:

 

Chamomile tea

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 also have a relaxing effect.

A cup of chamomile tea

Research Results on Chamomile

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, carried out 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.

In addition, a 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, depends on the individual. Some of us are more susceptible to it than others.

Chamomile tea also tastes good and is one of my favorite teas to drink before bedtime!

Looking for a nice chamomile tea to buy?

Check out this guide: What is the Best Chamomile Tea – My Favorite Brands

Lavender tea

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.

Lavender tea is good for relaxing and I often drink it in the evening to help with calming down and falling asleep.

purple lavender

Research Results on Lavender

There are 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 night 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.

Want to try some lavender tea? You can find the best lavender teas in this guide.

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.

It has a minty and lemony flavor and makes a tea that tastes refreshing.

Best tea for Relaxing: Lemon Balm

Research Results on Lemon Balm

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 to 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.

You can order my favorite passionflower tea here: Buddha Teas Organic Lemon Balm Tea.

Passionflower Tea

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.

Purple passionflower

Research Results on Passionflower

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.

As you might guess, my favorite is Buddha Teas Organic Passion Flower Tea.

Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea has many medicinal properties and it is also an excellent tea for bedtime.

This South African herbal tea helps with reducing cortisol levels and this way it may enhance the quality of sleep. Cortisol is a stress hormone and high levels are not good for sleep.

rooibos tea

Rooibos tea also contains magnesium and potassium which can help with calming nerves, relaxing muscles and supporting melatonin production.

There are no reliable scientific studies related to rooibos tea’s effect on sleep. But this doesn’t mean it is not effective.

Here is a buying guide with the best rooibos tea brands.

Things to Avoid

While having a healthy lifestyle and drinking the herbal teas introduced in this guide is important, there are also certain things that should be avoided.

Caffeine: Consuming too much caffeine can definitely ruin your sleep. It is especially important not to drink coffee or energy drinks late in the evening.

Blue Light: Avoid using electronic devices before going to bed. They emit blue light which reduces melatonin levels in your body. Melatonin is an important hormone that helps you relax and sleep better.

Alcohol: Even small amounts of alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns and make you feel tired in the morning.

Most herbal teas are caffeine-free so you can drink them without worries. However, drinking yerba mate before going to sleep is not recommended as it has high caffeine content.

Best Teas for Sleeping – Final Thoughts

I think that the best way to find the most effective herbal tea for sleeping and relaxing is to try what works best for you.

In this article, I have introduced the 6 best ones based on my personal experience and scientific research. But we are all individuals, and what works with most people, might not be the best option for you.

woman drinking herbal tea before sleeping

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 body and brain chemistry. The feeling that you get from drinking, tasting, and smelling the tea is as important!

Please post a comment below and share your experience of using herbal teas for sleeping and relaxation.

Enjoy Your Herbal Teas and Sleep Well!

-Joonas

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10 thoughts on “6 Best Herbal Teas for Sleeping and Relaxation”

  1. Hi, thanks for sharing this article.

    I have been working a lot lately and that has left effects on the quality of my sleep. It could use a booster. The Valerian Root sounds like a great solution. I’ll check it out.

    I tried green tea though it’s not recommended by experts because of the caffeine in it. However, I’ve felt the change. What is your take on this?

    Ivan

    Reply
    • Hi Ivan,

      I definitely recommend trying the valerian root. Green tea has a little bit of caffeine, so maybe it’s not the best option before sleeping. But if you are not very sensitive to caffeine it is ok to drink a cup of green tea in the evening. I do it sometimes and I have not had trouble sleeping.

      -Joonas

      Reply
  2. This is amazing, very informative with video & visual that is engaging. Very well written and very thorough on the subject matter.

    Reply
  3. I love Rooibos tea and drink it daily, but had never thought of having it at bed. I literally make a liter of it daily and bring to work. I was curious about your article because I don’t like chamomile tea. Which of the other options do you think tastes the best?

    Reply
    • Thanks for commenting Kendra! I recommend trying lavender, lemon balm, and passionflower tea. I think all of those taste good. You can also try mixing them together.

      -Joonas

      Reply
  4. These are some great choices and most I have not even heard of before. I am a huge tea drinker and I drink at least one cup a day.

    I think I would want to try the Chamomile tea. I definitely have a problem with Insomnia. I like the fact that it can improve sleep among the elderly as well which means I can share it with my grandparents.

    Thanks for such a thorough review.

    Reply
    • Great to hear that my article was useful for you Nate! Go ahead and try the chamomile tea, it tastes good and really helps with relaxing. And I think it’s definitely good for your parents as well.

      Regards,
      Joonas

      Reply
  5. Thank you for this very informative article. I have tried chamomile tea for relaxation, I used to drink one to two cups a day but my skin started breaking out and I thought I got an allergic reaction from it. Is this one of the side effects of drinking chamomile tea?

    Reply
    • Hi Sue! Good to hear that you liked my article and sorry to hear that you might have gotten an allergic reaction from chamomile tea. It is very rare to get any side effects or allergic reactions from chamomile tea. However, if you are sensitive to flowers such as ragweed, daisies, asters, marigolds or chrysanthemums, you can get an allergic reaction from drinking chamomile tea.

      -Joonas

      Reply

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